You Should Know

/ 4 years ago /

 Article by Brenda Wong

14 educational podcasts guaranteed to make you sound smarter

Ah, podcasts. The ultimate busy commute saviour, the perfect remedy for a difficult work day. We know shifting your earbuds away from the latest Drake choon is a hard ask. But once you go podcast, trust us, you won’t go back.

1. Radiolab

educational podcasts

Why this podcast? This remarkable podcast hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich markets itself as a ‘show about curiosity’. If you’ve ever wanted to expand your mind to topics you’ve never even thought about, this is it.


Highlighted Episode: Colors is an episode special because it tackles something so visual purely through the medium of audio storytelling. Seriously impressive.

2. Freakonomics Radio

educational podcasts

Why this podcast? The book found on most pre-degree reading list is infinitely more digestible as a podcast. Plus, they cover some seriously mind-blowing stuff about human behaviour, helping you understand the people around you.


Highlighted Episode: How Did The Belt Win? tackles a quizzical question – why do we put up with belts, probably the worst part of your wardrobe?

3. TED Radio Hour

educational podcasts

Why this podcast? Not all of us can make the epic TED events that take place all around the world.  This podcast rounds talks up by theme, so you can listen to multiple different people from different countries. Talk about global inspiration.


Highlighted Episode: Their episode Success tackles a really hot topic in three very different ways. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve brought in the big guns like philosopher Alain de Botton and speaker Tony Robbins to hammer those points home.

4. Startup Podcast

educational podcasts

Why this podcast? Host Alex Blumberg started this podcast as an exercise in extreme transparency. Here he details how he built his company, Gimlet Media, from the ground up. Readers, if you’ve ever considered starting your own business, you need to listen to this.


Highlighted Episode: Diversification of Worry tackles Gimlet Media’s growing pains, and man, they are painful.

5. Science VS

educational podcasts

Why this podcast? Bubbly truth-seeker Wendy Zukerman tackles science myths like nobody’s business. In a world where truth can sometimes be relative, she sets things straight. The perfect podcasts to inform you during heated dinner party arguments.


Highlighted Episode: Their twopart special on Gun Control is really something, and offers food for thought on a really touchy subject.

6. Memory Palace

educational podcasts

Why this podcast? The Memory Palace is a gorgeous podcasts, taking bitesized, micro chunks out of history to create self-contained podcast stories. If you’ve ever wanted to be the person with all the cool anecdotes, this podcast is the one for you.


Highlighted Episode: White Horse is the one episode that apparently continually brings listeners to tears. So be warned, grab some Kleenex before plugging yourselves in.

7. The Allusionist


Why this podcast? As Hamlet once said, “words, words words.” This podcast’s obsession with linguistics will do well to improve your vocabulary. Time to chuck away your word-of-the-day calendar, cos’ this is the good stuff.


Highlighted Episode: The Allusionist’s careful examination of the word ‘Pride‘ is a wonderful celebration of LGBT+ issues.

8. Planet Money


Why this podcast? A whip-smart podcast that aims to make talking about the economy interesting. An ambitious task, but it nails it again and again and again.


Highlighted Episode: A little bit of a cheat, but ‘The Giant Pool of Money‘, the This American Life episode that actually led to the creation of Plant Money, is an unmissable explanation of the 2008 financial crisis.

9. Invisibilia


Why this podcast? Because since this is a podcast about things that are generally ‘unseen’, it tackles some truly fascinating and offbeat topics. Despite being rooted in science, some of the episodes are truly moving


Highlighted Episode: How to Become Batman is a remarkable tale about a blind man who (wait for it) can actually see.

10. Revisionist History


Why this podcast? You may have heard of Malcolm Gladwell. He’s the writer of such tomes as Blink and David and Goliath, and can be found on inspirational reading lists everywhere. This is his podcast, so expect your mind to be blown.


Highlighted Episode: ‘Food Fight‘ is an episode that asks you to consider the economic differences between two American colleges. Can cafeteria food really explain the rich/poor gap in higher education? Only one way to find out.

11. Reply All


Why this podcast? Reply All is extraordinary. It turns internet and geek culture into human interest stories you’ll be truly invested in.


Highlighted Episode: Their ‘On the Inside‘ saga has one of the Reply All producers Sruthi Pinnamaneni investigate the potential wrongful imprisonment of a man in maximum security prison. The ending – just chilling.

12. Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain logo
Why this podcast? If you’re at all interested in psychology and human behaviour, this podcast will crank your people-watching skills up a couple notches.


Highlighted Episode: Perhaps apt considering the US Presidential Election is around the corner, ‘Why The First Name On The Ballot Often Wins‘ explores this common phenomenon to find some real answers.

13. Surprisingly Awesome


Why this podcast? Ever tried to get your friends into something they think is really boring? That’s exactly what this podcast tries to do. Spoiler: they succeed.


Highlighted Episode: ‘Concrete‘. A topic so seemingly dull I yawned just thinking about it, but this episode is a classic lesson in persuasion you can’t miss.

14. 99% Invisible


Why this podcast? Anyone at all interested in design should be listening to this podcast. Like Invisibilia, host Roman Mars attempts to uncover the things we don’t always notice.


Highlighted Episode: Milk Carton Kids‘ weaves a narrative around the missing children ads that appeared on milk cartons in the 1980s in America. Something so simple is revealed to have some deep-rooted social and historical meaning, opening our eyes to  see more than what’s just in front of us.


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