Michele Pratusevich


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October 18, 2021

Favorite Podcasts 2019-2021

What is now becoming an annual tradition, here is my list of favorite podcasts from 2019-2021. See my past posts for comparison:

I’ve combined my 2019, 2020, and 2021 lists, since I (like many of us) was driving much much less, and therefore had less time to listen to podcasts. I didn’t particularly like this change of events (I really like podcasts!) but it meant I shifted my podcast focus a little bit.

This list is organized by category and annotated with average podcast length and a “seriousness scale.”

Stories / long form journalism:

This is by far my favorite kind of podcast format, tried and true. I devour this stuff, adding a few new podcasts in the regular mix from last year.

  • (40 minutes) serious Ear Hustle - This is the most unique podcast I’ve definitely heard. It is produced by an inmate in San Quentin prison in CA (together with Radiotopia) all about live in prison. Most of the episodes are serious, but they are absolutely riveting.
  • (40 minutes) casual Even The Rich - The various seasons take story arcs through the rich and powerful - what makes them tick, what is their downfall, what are their stories behind the scenes.

How the world works:

Who doesn’t love analysis of social behavior? This list is identical to last year’s - these podcasts are timeless, my absolute favorites.

  • (40 minutes) casual Freakonomics - From the authors of the popular book Freakonomics, they dive into why certain trends exist in the world from the perspective of economics. Very accessible to any audience, and I always come away learning something.
  • (20 minutes) casual Planet Money - Another NPR podcast talks about stories related to the economy, spending, or money, but tells it in an easy way that is engaging to listen to.
  • (30 minutes) serious Code Switch - Gene and Shereen from NPR take on race in America. They discuss various topics related to race, always respectfully, and always from the heart.
  • (30 minutes) serious Rough Translation - The host talks about foreign stories, told in the context of different cultures. You don’t hear these kinds of stories in American news!

Science and technology:

  • (20 minutes) casual Hidden Brain - An NPR podcast that talks about a human behavior phenomenon and attempts to explain it from the perspective of sociology, psychology, or neuroscience. The episodes are told in story format, and you come away thinking about how the episode might apply to your own life.
  • (30 minutes) casual The Pipeline: All Things CD & DevOps - I wanted to get a bit more knowledge into casual topics in CI/CD over the last year or so, and I found this podcast (by the Linux Foundation) engaging and interesting. Topics are varied, and there are often guest speakers with interesting ideas.

Home & Garden:

  • (10 minutes) casual Epic Gardening - Kevin the host talks excitedly about short topics related to home gardening. The topics are varied, and just short enough to keep up with almost daily!

Enjoy! What podcasts do you like?

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