I spend quite a bit of time at work listening to podcasts and books on Audible. For one thing, it keeps me abreast of what’s happening in the world, but for another, I just don’t have a lot of time to read, frankly. I’m a single mom with three kids, and I’m studying for the LSAT. Reading is one of my all-time favorite things to do, but after two hours staring at logic problems, my eyes cross.
I love the wide world of podcasting. I feel as though it’s a callback to the days of the steel belt radio, only the choice of programs is almost limitless, and you can listen from literally anywhere. Podcasts are one of the reasons that I’m convinced that the real revolution will take place slowly and while nobody is looking.
I have some podcasts that I genuinely love. I actually can’t believe that I wasn’t listening to some of them a year ago. I remember what life was like before them, but it looks like black and white by comparison. That’s how far I’m willing to go in my endorsements.
If you haven’t gotten into podcasts, I strongly advise you to do so. I’m going to list some of my favorites here with reviews. To all the folks that made it to this list, congratulations. I’m hard to please.
The Tom Woods Show
If you are a libertarian, but most especially if you are an anarcho-capitalist, and you don’t listen to this show, I can’t help you. Tom Woods is one of the greatest authorities in the liberty movement, and he deserves to be. The man has hustle. Woods is a wonderful combination of egghead and entrepreneur, which I love. He cuts across a gamut of subjects, from Rothbard to argumentation ethics, Roman Catholic liturgy to T. Harv Eker and back again.
I can’t quite remember when I first got “acquainted” with Woods, but it was prior to the 2012 campaign cycle, though not much in advance of that. I liked him a lot from the get-go because he was incredibly smart in his analyses while remaining accessible to relative newbs like me that didn’t know their Bastiat from their backside. I knew we could jam when he ripped Jesse Benton a new one in a YouTube video. I fell in love when he confessed his affection for Porcupine Tree.
Woods is smart. Woods covers a lot of ground. Woods is accessible, and he has a common sense approach to most things that I find appealing. I have been listening to his podcast almost from the beginning, and if you are just getting started or have questions about a certain topic, dig into his show archives. You’re bound to find something in there that will point you in the right direction.
Unregistered with Thaddeus Russell
I am unabashedly in love with Thaddeus Russell. I found him through Tom Woods. He trips my trap so hard. I think they were at Columbia at the same time. I really should have worked harder and gone Ivy League. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
Russell comes off like a left-leaning anarcho-capitalist at times, and he acknowledges the libertarian audience, it seems like, but I’ve never heard him explicitly state what exactly his beliefs are. I expect he may be reluctant to do so, if for no other reason than he seems open to changing them in the face of evidence that would force him to discard a given system of thinking.
If you like über-intellectual discussion, Russell’s got it. If you like über-intellectual discussion with hookers and drug dealers, he’s got that, too. Russell has a keen interest in social deviants, which isn’t entirely surprising, given his leftist heritage. He holds a space open for these people that really are outside “the 3x5 index card of allowable opinion,” as Woods would say. Frankly stated, his talks are fucking fascinating.
I have a tough time gauging what other people think of Thaddeus Russell. I bet people love him or hate him. Probably the left hates him. The funny thing is that he has all of these leftist sensibilities. He has a high tolerance for deviance and doesn’t seem to be made uncomfortable by things that polite society finds repugnant, which is a distinctly leftist characteristic, given that the left generally has a far higher threshold for that sort of thing. On the other hand, he seems to be completely anti-government and supportive of the free market, which throws him back the other direction.
Whatever the case, he is a highly intelligent individual that brings other highly intelligent, autodidact types onto the show, and if you want to hear people philosophize about porn, the occult, race relations, and drugs, his podcast is the place to be. I have gotten more deep down brain tingles from him than anyone else. I honestly cannot recommend this podcast highly enough. I don’t care who you are – he will force you to look at “bad” things through a totally different lens.
The Joe Rogan Experience
I’m a relative newcomer to Joe Rogan. Joe Rogan, in case you don’t know, is a standup comic who moonlights as a podcaster and MMA commentator. Joe is one of those guys that feels like everyman, even though he’s really pretty far from it. He’s the guy that you’d want to watch football and chug beer with. He’s smarter than he’ll ever give himself credit for on the air, and he has a certain common sense about him that we call common but is, again, anything but.
Joe Rogan, believe it or not, is a liberal, but he’s not stupid about it. He sees the ridiculousness of the SJW crowd and calls it out. In a nutshell, he’s a liberal that I can respect. And I do respect old school liberals. I don’t agree with them politically, but I understand why they believe the way they do, and I like to get together with them on certain issues. They are, sadly, a dying breed.
I strongly recommend that if you never listen to another Joe Rogan podcast, listen to his interview with Jordan Peterson. Jordan Peterson has literally changed my life. I would actually rank Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, and Jordan Peterson as the three most influential thinkers in my life because they all brought me forward in a significant way. Anyway, at the time, Rogan said that was his favorite show that he had ever done, and I highly recommend you listen to it.
I do not listen to all of Rogan’s podcasts because there are, for one thing, so damn many of them. I have incredible admiration for the consistent quality of content. When you hold that up against the amount of content, it’s really marvelous. Anyway, he sometimes interviews guests about things I’m just not interested in, like MMA, but he has also had Scott Adams, a couple of ex-Scientologists, Jocko Willink, Sturgill Simpson, and a list of others too lengthy to name.
If you want to laugh your ass off, check out his podcast with Alex Jones. Watch it on Youtube. YOUR WELCOME.
The Tim Ferriss Show
If podcasters could be measured like drugs, Tom Woods was my first beer, and Tim Ferriss was my first joint. A friend of mine recommended Tim to me a little over a year ago, and I was instantly hooked.
Tim Ferriss interviews people that are at the top of their game in a given industry or sport. He teases out their secrets to success, and he seems to have fun doing it. Interviews are by turns hilarious, smart, sad, entertaining, and informative. Tim didn’t make it into the top three for life-changers, but I would say he is probably in my top five. Tim Ferriss makes me want to do better, and he shows us how.
Some of the standout interviews for me have been Jamie Foxx, Coach Christopher Sommer (GST works, you should do it), Debbie Millman, Jocko Willink, and Tony Robbins.
The Jason Stapleton Program
I go to Jason when I need tough love. Jason Stapleton is ex-military, and it shows. He has that hard-ass attitude that undoubtedly comes from having been brutalized in basic and then having had to shine his shoes every day for several years. He’s sensible, he’s direct, and he has crazy hustle. I like it.
Stapleton is sort of my “news” program. He covers a lot of current events things, although the podcast hasn’t been as regular lately because he’s been traveling a lot for business. Nevertheless, I can count on him to give a straightforward, from the hip analysis of whatever nonsense is getting peddled in the media on a given day.
Must-listen: his interview with LP president Nicholas Sarwark. Stapleton took him to task, and he needed it.
Honorable Mention: Waking Up With Sam Harris
Sam Harris is another liberal that I like. I am neither an atheist nor a liberal, and I don’t necessarily share Harris’s view on much else, but he is wildly intelligent, and I appreciate his valuable insights. Regardless of whether or not you agree, he makes sound, thoughtful arguments, and he presents them well.
I don’t generally agree with his thoughts on Islam as a whole, simply because I think he misses the crucial foreign policy points sometimes and allows his general dislike of religion to blind him to other causes for the troubles in the Middle East. I’m not saying he’s wrong, only that I don’t totally agree with him.
I nevertheless enjoy his podcast, and I like hearing him debate. He’s a true intellectual, and I wish we had more of those.
Honorable Mention: Patterson in Pursuit
Steve Patterson focuses largely on questions of logic. He delves into math, religion, love, feminism, race, and a host of other topics. At face value, he’s coldly logical, but I have warmed up to him over time. He has made me rethink some ideas I had, particularly about math generally and irrational numbers specifically, and I’m still not quite sure where I stand. I love it when they leave me hanging!
Honorable Mention: Scott Adams’ Periscope videos
Dilbert and The Far Side were my favorite comic strips growing up, which should tell you a lot about me straight away. Scott Adams is an interesting guy. I can’t quite tell if I like him or not, although that doesn’t really matter. He has trained as a hypnotist and “master persuader,” and he has had a lot of unique insights about Donald Trump that have boosted him to greater prominence lately.
Scott Adams is the only unabashed statist that I listen to regularly. I do not agree with him on many things. I do not like a lot of the policy recommendations that he throws out. I don’t always think his predictions are going to come true. But all that said, I think he’s worth listening to because he has been right on a lot of things lately, and I think I can learn from him. Well, I’m sure I can. The fact of my disagreeing with him makes it all the more obvious to me that I can, actually.
There are other podcasts that I subscribe to, but I don’t listen to them as frequently, and there are still others from which I will occasionally cherry-pick episodes.
- Jocko Podcast
- Lions of Liberty
- Dave Smith’s Part of the Problem
- Liberty First by KrisAnne Hall
- Contra Krugman
- The Lara-Murphy Show
- The Scott Horton Show
- Dangerous History Podcast
- The James Altucher Show
Contra Krugman probably should have gotten bumped into the podcasts that I actively listen to, but I’m not as regular with it as I am with the others. Also, I sort of assumed that since I’m a rabid Woods listener, those in the know would immediately assume I listen to Contra Krugman, too.
I’ve tried to branch out away from political and business podcasts, but I just don’t enjoy anything else as much. I tried “S-Town,” but after the first couple of episodes, I got restless. I’ve taken recommendations from my coworkers and found myself at “My Perfect Murder” and “Natch Beaut,” but I’ve discovered something: I don’t like listening to a lot of claptrap. I have an exceedingly low tolerance for undirected conversation, and a lot of podcasts feature untold amounts of it. All of the ones I have listed are professional and generally remain directed.
I hope this has been at least moderately informative. I highly recommend that, if you have long commutes or if, like me, you’re simply bored constantly at work and need additional spots to focus your brain, you check out the wide world of podcasts. There is so much good stuff out there, and I’m sure there are great shows I haven’t discovered yet. I will try and remember to update this post if I find new ones that I really enjoy. I’m sure Michael Malice’s show will make it on here, if I ever decide to suck it up and pay.