Saturday, January 21, 2017

Listen up - Expand the Realm of Your Learning Through Podcasts - by Lily

I have been tuning in to my favorite programs, such as TED talk and Intelligence Squared for a while. It’s about time to explore other interesting podcasts. With choices abundantly available on many different topics, it’s not hard to identify quite a few fun and interesting ones. My criteria are simple, interesting topics, scientifically supported or evidence based, and of course great story telling and entertaining. Below are a few of my picks ranging from science, to economics, to entrepreneurship.

1. Hidden Brain:

I first heard about Shankar Vedantam’s voice on NPR. As NPR’s science correspondence his reporting focuses on human behavior, he reports neuroscience and psychology experiments to explain certain human behaviors and social issues. Hidden brain expands that 2-3 minutes of reporting into a 20-30 minutes of podcast with more interviews, story telling, and in-depth discussion. Some of the conclusions are seeming common sense but it’s comforting to know there’s science behind it. Others are mind boggling and requires thinking from a different perspective. My favorite episodes include interviewing with historian Allan Lichtman after the presidential election to understand “what happened”, “Thanksgiving” – how to live a happier life, and “Getting unstuck” in career path and in life.

2. Freakonomics Radio:

Steve Dubner can talk, and he is absolutely hilarious! You may have read the book Freakonomics, co-written by him and Steven Levitt, an economist from University of Chicago, which explores the hidden side of everything from an economist point of view. It was a hilarious book with a lot of surprising analyses and reasoning for human behaviors and social phenomena. His podcasts are filled with surprise findings and funny stories. I listened to the bad medicine series during our recent road trip and learned a lot about the history of medicine and the changes underway in the field (for the better!). Common sense is seemingly very useful in our daily life, but how is common sense established? It’s definitely refreshing to explore the assumptions people take to come to the common senses. It’s more interesting to tear apart the usual assumptions and look at things from fresh and hidden angles, that’s when new findings can be discovered.


3. How I Built This:

Guy Raz interviews innovators and entrepreneurs and tells stories on their journey to success. I’ve listened quite a few episodes, from the serial entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban, Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia, Angie’s list’s Angie Hicks, to Dermalogica’s founder Jane Wurwand and celebrity chef José Andrés. The common lesson I learned is to take actions on what you can do, keep exploring your options, and always work hard. If you are taking actions and working hard, opportunities (luck) will arrive. Only if you persevere can you overcome the many hurdles on your road to success and eventually come out ahead!

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