Tune in and not quite zone out as you come to and from work with these essential podcasts.
You’ll sound like the smartest man in the room once you’ve listened to a few episodes of this BBC World Service programme, which unpacks one complex current affairs question into a neat 20-minute package each week. ‘Who wins in a cashless economy?’, ‘Is Islamic State finished?’, ‘Why don’t cities want the Olympics?’ . . . The Inquiry starts with the basics then explains the nuance behind some of the globe’s slipperiest subjects.
Here’s The Thing
This podcast just sounds like a couple of friends having a chat — but when those friends are Alec Baldwin and one of his Hollywood pals, eavesdropping on a couple of A-Listers enjoying a chinwag becomes must-listen radio. Baldwin’s unpolished interviewing style but obvious rapport with his guests is the highlight.
If you loved Freakonomics in book form then download the audio version, hosted by co-author Stephen J Dubner (with the occasional cameo from his mate Steven D Levitt). Just like the four best-sellers, the podcast applies the two Steves’ off-beat, data-driven analysis to everyday situations with the promise to reveal “the hidden side of everything”. And you’ve got six long seasons to trawl through . . . that’s a lot of morning commutes.
The Rich Roll Podcast
There’s no shortage of cheesy Tony Robbins wannabes peddling ‘personal development’ podcasts but this one stands out from the pack. Rich Roll is a vegan ultra-athlete who invites guests to share their fitness, nutrition and self-help tips — and listening to someone explain how they fuel their body mentally and physically for an ultra-marathon or some other feat of extreme endurance is pretty compelling stuff.
Host and founder Roman Mars started producing this show in his bedroom in 2010, and has since watched it grow into one of the world’s biggest podcasts. Mars has amassed 80 million downloads by picking apart all the little elements — the invisible 99 per cent — you don’t think about in the design of everything from fashion and gadgets to bridges and phone booths.