According to Nielson, there exist today more than 700,000 podcasts available to download––a number which itself is up from the meager 525,000 podcasts Apple reported to be available last year. That’s an absolutely overwhelming amount of podcastable content. There simply isn’t enough time for one to sift through it all. As a result, most of us tune into the same popular behemoths week-over-week. And, in consequence, we miss out on podcasts that could prove life-changing.
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That’s why the Minutes staff put our heads together and compiled this short list of our favorite podcasts to share with readers. Perhaps you’ll find something you missed out on heretofore.
So, without further adieu, here are the best podcasts of 2019:
Hidden Brain by NPR
“If you’ve ever wondered how your brain responds to ads, what robots mean for your future sex life, or why you prefer one food over another, listen to Hidden Brain. It is a wild, informative ride of science and storytelling. It intricately and interestingly combines areas of neurology, biology, anthropology, economics, and psychology to show listeners how world-renowned research connects to everyday life. And the host, social scientist Shankar Vedantum, has a knack for sharing scientific facts and stories in a way that makes you see the world—and yourself—differently. I recommend starting with one of my favorite episodes, Creative Differences: The Benefits Of Reaching Out To Others Unlike Ourselves.” –Katrina Kirsch
To Live and Die in LA by Neil Straus
“I’m not typically a True Crime fan. I find the genre sort of predictable. But this podcast, created by Rolling Stone writer Neil Straus, of whom I’m a big fan, bucks conventions in a number of ways. First, Straus tells the story of Adea Shabani, who disappeared from her Hollywood apartment just days before her 26th birthday, in real-time. He was in fact an integral component of the investigation––and he brings listeners into the world of crime, deception, and private investigation as he himself is experiencing and participating it. This in and of itself would make for a captivating listen, but the incredible true story of what happened to Shabani is riddled with twists and turns. Ultimately, it plays out like a well-plotted novel. At once a showcase from a creator at the top of his game, as well as a fascinating depiction of a true story, there’s a reason this podcast is so popular. I can’t recommend it enough.” – Dan Moore
Creative Confidence by IDEO U
“For us creatives, confidence is key. The work of writers, marketers, designers, architects, and artists alike requires not only know-how but also a certain level of inspiration and the right mental framework. This podcast explores the unique challenges faced by creative professionals, offers actionable advice to help you do your best creative work, and features interviews with a diverse array of high-profile creatives, from New York Times bestselling authors to CEOs and CIOs (chief innovation officers). In short, it’s awesome.”
RISE by Rachel Hollis
“Bestselling author Rachel Hollis has had a huge impact on my life. And her podcast, Rise, is bold and informative. In it, Hollis operates like a fitness coach who pushes you to take huge personal leaps and go after your goals. She provides tools and advice you can actually use. She has incredible guests, as well, who share their own inspiring stories––from Joe Biden to Brendon Burchard. If you’re someone who needs encouragement to not give up on yourself, your career, or your goals, then this is the podcast for you. Rachel isn’t your cheerleader––she tells you straight to your face that you need to suck it up, get over it, and go after what you want! And personally, I love that. Most people do.” –Ashley Perkins
Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown by Ear Wolf
“I stumbled upon this podcast a few years ago, after dissolving my relationship with cable. With so much going on in the world, I appreciate the break from reality that Bitch Sesh provides. Sick of hearing about apocalyptic politics? Throw on Bitch Sesh! Hosts Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider are seriously hilarious. Thanks to them, I know what is happening on Bravo without having to bum someone’s cable account to watch. They have awesome guests, of course, but the podcast is itself inherently amazing. If you want to laugh uncontrollably about Bravo “reality stars,” or people in general, do yourself a favor and check this one out.” –Latoya Fladger
Dissect by Cole Cuchna
“For music aficionados, there might not be a more engaging podcast available today than Dissect. Each season is like a college course dedicated to, well, dissecting a popular piece of music. The first season unpacked Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Season two was dedicated to Kanye West’s Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy, and seasons three and four took a deep dive into Frank Ocean’s and Lauren Hill’s discographies, respectively. Upon the conclusion of each season, you’ll walk away with a deeper and richer understanding of just how genius these bodies of work are, how layered their themes and plots, and how generally impressive the artists who made them prove to be. Each episode is a forensic and smart piece of contemplative audio which fascinates, entertains, and educates at the same time.” –Dan Moore
New Mindset, Who Dis by Case Kenny
“Case Kenny’s bi-weekly podcast shares short-but-real and relatable life advice. The iTunes reviews say it all: ‘I feel like Case is the homie that you can go to just get some real advice. Listening to this podcast makes me feel less alone in the world. He embodies exactly what he preaches and does it in a way that doesn’t come across as arrogant or entitled. A must listen for entrepreneurs or people looking for a fresh outlook on life.’ I dig the podcast because it’s real, raw, but also inspirational. Case is the guy I want talking sense into me.” –Dan Moore