top podcast episodes

Get Hooked on Podcasts!

I have to give it to Chris for introducing me to podcasts. They’ve been a fantastic way to learn new things, challenge my mind, and be entertained—sometimes all at the same time! And now that I’m a podcast fan, I want to convince everyone to join me. So, with that in mind, here is my list. Here, in no particular order are the top 10 best podcast episodes I’ve listened to so far.

Best Podcast Episodes to be Inspired to Start (or Grow) Your Own Business

How I Built This – Spanx: Sara Blakely 

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For the ladies, we’ve all heard of Spanx. I’ve personally never purchased or used their products, but I have lots of friends who have and swear by their ability to keep everything in. In this podcast episode, Spanx’s founder Sara Blakely lets everything out in telling how she built her business.

For example, Blakely shares the story of her one big shot to get into fashion retailer Neiman Marcus and how she had to take drastic measures to seal the deal:

“In the middle of my meeting with her, I could tell I was losing her. And I just knew it was my one shot. So I said, you know what, Diane? Will you come with me to the bathroom? And she just paused. She goes, excuse me? I go, I know, I know, it’s little weird. Will you just please come with me to the bathroom?”

Blakely then describes her “intimate” experience of her and the buyer trying on Spanx together in the bathroom. An unconventional approach maybe but, needless to say, things went well from there.

#2: How I Built This – John Mackey & Whole Foods

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In this podcast, Guy Raz from How I Built This finds out how John Mackey, a college drop-out who grew up eating Cocoa Puffs for breakfast, a hamburger for lunch, and boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner launched an organic food revolution.

And what a successful revolution it was! Mackey just sold his business to Amazon for cool $13.7 billion. That’ll buy a lot of boxes of Cocoa Puffs…or better yet, boxes of non-GMO, organic granola.

#3: How I Built This – Patagonia: Yvon-Chouinard

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Yvon Chouinard founder of Patagonia shares his story about going from catching ground squirrels to supplement his diet in his twenties, to selling brightly coloured jerseys imported from the UK, New Zealand and Argentina, to creating one of the most notable outdoor apparel companies in the world today.

The Best Podcast Episodes to Make You Laugh a Little (or a Lot)

#4: My Dad Wrote A Porno

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Photo Credit: Pål Hansen for the Observer

Would you be embarrassed if your dad wrote a porno? I sure would be!

Luckily, it was Jamie Morton’s 60-year old dad that did and not mine because he’s sharing it with the world.

In this podcast, each week, Morton and his two friends get together to read a chapter of Belinda Blinked. This erotic novel series (yes, it’s a series) follows Belinda BlumenthaI, a sales director for a pots & pans company and her sexy (and awkward and hilarious) adventures. The ridiculous plot and witty commentary to go along with it has me laughing out loud.

#5: Comedy Bang! Bang! – Neil Campbell’s Vacuum Freestyle

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Comedy Bang! Bang! Photo from Carolina Theatre

Comedy Bang Bang! is a weekly comedy podcast that features host Scott Auckerman having insane conversations with celebrity guests and improv geniuses.

This recommendation is not actually a podcast episode but it still made the list because it’s hilarious. It’s a clip from one of Comedy Bang Bang’s rap battles on vacuum cleaners. Nothing is rehearsed so prepare for weirdness and hilarity.

The Best Podcasts Episodes to Expand Your Mind

#6: RadioLab – Playing God 

How do doctors and nurses decide who receives medical treatment during a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina? And who gets left to die?

How does one NGO volunteer on the border of Kosovo & Macedonia during the war, determine who is offered refugee services? And who gets left behind to fend for themselves?

This podcast tells the stories of people faced with these tough questions where there are no right answers. It gave me more insight into the severity of these events that I had only basic understanding of before and made my “tough” decision on what loaf of bread to buy at Safeway seem so trivial.

#7: Bulletproof Radio – Fasting & Feasting with Brad Pilon

Breakfast of champions. Photo by Thom Atkinson/Gallery Stock

Is it healthier to eat frequently? Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? I was surprised to learn by listening to this podcast that the answers might not be so obvious.

In this episode, Brad Pilon talks to host David Asprey about how prior to learning about the benefits of fasting and improving your metabolism, he used to believe what a lot of us still do:

“Not eating is horrible for you. You die. I knew you had to eat every 3 hours. It had to be 300g of protein. You had to eat at night. You had to wake up at 2am to eat. This was common knowledge.”

But, as he dug into the research and experimented on his own, he found the opposite may be true. He discovered eating less frequently (not to be mistaken with less overall) can have many positive effects on our bodies’, including faster metabolism, fat burning, and mental clarity.

#8: RadioLab – Colours

Top 10 Podcast Episodes
Wait, so is the ocean actually blue?

Is the sky really blue or are we just imagining the colour? Could it be that women have better fashion sense than men because they see more colour?

This Radiolab podcast on colour gave me some eye-opening insight into the science behind how we actually experience colour.

#9: Radiolab – The Girl Who Doesn’t Exist

This Radiolab podcast is a story about a woman who became famous for being invisible. For having no identity whatsoever. The topic is so bizarre yet apparently more common than we think.

Her story begins like this:

“My name is Alecia Faith Pennington. I am a US citizen by birth. I am now 19 years old and I am unable to get a drivers license, get a job,  go to college, get on a plane, get a bank account or get on a boat.”

In this podcast you’ll find out how this all happened and what hoops Alecia had to jump through to get even the most basic rights as a US citizen.

#10: This American Life – Batman

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Blind and completely in control. Photo: This American Life

Lulu Miller from This American Life tells the story of Daniel Kish. Daniel is blind, but can navigate the world by clicking with his tongue. Yes, it’s pretty much like sonar – clicking to pick up sounds and get an idea of what’s around him.

The podcast gives you an interesting perspective into the life of those visually impaired and the way we treat them in society. I don’t want to spoil it to just have a listen.


What’s On Your List of Best Podcast Episodes?

With hundreds of thousands of podcast episodes out there, trying to filter out the very best podcast episodes from the rest can be overwhelming. Hopefully my list will help you out.

Let me know what’s on your best podcast episodes list in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you (and to hear more great podcasts)!

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