Are you a generous person?
Do you want happier friends?
Then share the wealth!
Can podcasts really blow your mind? Listen to some of these 'smart' podcasts and hear for yourself.
They podcasts on this list have been praised and celebrated by many wisdom-seekers. It includes self-improvement podcasts, psychology podcasts, relationship podcasts, cultural podcasts, and many more.
Disclaimer: I went for quantity over quality here, but did my best to source good podcasts.
I love them. I value insights. I cherish perspectives. I believe these things can 'move mountains.'
Or rather, they can transform lives, reunite families, create jobs, and more.
All it takes is a creative, insightful approach to something, executed reasonably well, to completely change the game.
Insights and perspectives are powerful.
And our echo-chamber-ish social feeds could definitely use a fresh injection of wisdom.
Smart podcasts, podcasts about life, deliver that. They can be very empowering.
I remember coming across a post called “7 mind-blowing podcasts that made us question everything we thought we knew.“
It was refreshing, and it even mentioned a couple of the podcasts listed below.
After reading it, I searched for more “mind blowing podcasts” and “educational podcasts” only to find there weren’t any truly great lists or compilations out there.
I could find one in a reddit thread here, two in a discord server there, or trawl through the listicles on the first page of Google, but they all mentioned the same thing over and over.
Peterson, Harris, Rogan, etc.
Now I realize those men have done great things for the podcasting world, and I know they’ve brought some interesting ideas and guests to the mainstream…
…but where were all the other life-improving, self-improving podcasts?
So there was only one thing I could do.
Create my own list of revelatory, a-ha moment-fueled podcasts.
But I discovered another problem.
There weren’t that many around.
I could’ve taken that to mean that there’s no market for them. That people don’t value fresh insights or perspectives. That people prefer to be spoonfed opinions from popular influencers without thinking for themselves or asking the hard questions.
But even if that’s the case, I believe the tides are turning.
I believe that people are hungrier than ever for truthbombs that matter, and that if they just get a taste of some new ideas, they’ll make changes to their lives and elevate themselves.
And if I want people to get a taste of new ideas, I need this list to be impactful, noticeable, substantial.
So I decided to relax my standards a bit on what counts as a ‘mind blowing podcast.’
The point is, although some of these are better than others, I’d rather you have a comprehensive collection to browse through, than list the same 10 great podcasts everybody else mentions.
With that said, let’s get to the list of 71+ smart podcasts that’ll educate your mind, empower your body, and soothe your soul.
(Or at least give you a shot of adrenalin and something to think about.)
Just a quick heads up, some of these I’ve listened to, others are on my ‘to listen’ list. I aim to write another list that contains only the mind blowing podcasts I personally listen to and vouch for, but for now, this should get you pointed in the right direction. And hey, if there’s any of these you believe are essential listening, please feel free to drop me a line and let me know.
Note: These are not in any particular order. They cover much of the political spectrum. Some are niche, some are broad. Listen at your own discretion.
Stephen J. Dubner (co-author of the Freakonomics books) and research psychologist Angela Duckworth (author of Grit) really like to ask people questions, and came to believe there’s no such thing as a stupid one. So they made a podcast where they can ask each other as many “stupid questions” as they want.
Huberman Lab discusses neuroscience: how our brain and its connections with the organs of our body control our perceptions, our behaviors, and our health. We also discuss existing and emerging tools for measuring and changing how our nervous system works. This could be classified as a podcast about biology, psychology, and self-improvement.
You might think you know what it takes to lead a happier life… more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations. You’re dead wrong. Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. Laurie will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness.
Mindvalley is the world’s leading personal growth education company with a mission to teach wisdom and transformational ideas that our education system ignores. The Mindvalley podcast brings the best minds under one roof to discuss powerful ideas in personal growth for mind, body, spirit and work. Get results that stick
Join intellectual phenomenon Dr. Jordan Peterson for enlightening discourse that will change the way you think. This podcast breaks down the dichotomy of life through interviews and lectures that explain how individuals and culture are shaped by values, music, religion, and beyond. It will give you a new perspective and a modern understanding of your creativity, competence, and personality.
Cyn’s sincere asks. J-Ryze’s provocative answers. A new, unique kind of podcast delivering fresh views on taboos. Eyes wide open, people.
Unusually in-depth conversations about the world’s most pressing problems and what you can do to solve them.
A weekly interview series from Russell Brand that examines what’s beneath the surface—of the people we admire, the ideas that define our time, and the history we’re told. Speaking with guests from the worlds of academia, popular culture, and the arts, Russell seeks to uncover the ulterior truth behind our constructed reality. And have a laugh.]
Provides women resources to embrace their wild, feminine nature so they can attract and keep a masculine man. We explore ideas and practical steps to create and sustain polarity in relationships and live a life of freedom, joy and creativity by fully stepping into our feminine power. You will hear inspiring conversations with real women (and men) about their experience with polarity, feminine/masculinity, leadership, relationships, intimacy and more. Interesting podcast about relationships and life.
Through a quickly evolving world we are living in today, most men were given at a young age to act, feel and conduct their lives in a certain way. I am here to help empower men to embrace both forms of energy: the Masculine and Feminine, so they can step out of their hard shells and create a life where there’s equal strength, toughness and still fluidity and softness. Another interesting podcast about relationships and life.
Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been translated into 40+ languages. Newsweek calls him “the world’s best human guinea pig,” and The New York Times calls him “a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk.” In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.
Hosted by George Kamel, the EntreLeadership Podcast features lively discussions and tips on leadership and business by some of the top minds in the business, like Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, Jim Collins and Simon Sinek.
Marc Maron welcomes comedians, actors, directors, writers, authors, musicians and folks from all walks of life to his home for amazingly revealing conversations. Marc’s probing, comprehensive interview style allows guests to express themselves in ways listeners have never heard.
Dan Harris is a fidgety, skeptical journalist who had a panic attack on live national television, which led him to try something he otherwise never would have considered: meditation. He went on to write the bestselling book, 10% Happier. On this show, Dan talks with eminent meditation teachers, top scientists, and even the odd celebrity. Guests include everyone from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Brené Brown to Karamo from Queer Eye. Sometimes covering enlightenment and psychedelics. Other times it’s science-based techniques for issues such as anxiety, productivity, and relationships. Happiness is a trainable skill.
The official podcast of comedian Joe Rogan. One of, if not the, most popular ‘ideas’-focused podcast.
Welcome to The Playbook, hosted by entrepreneur, CEO, author and keynote speaker David Meltzer. On the podcast you’ll find a mix of interviews, Q&A, fireside chats, keynotes, and exclusive conversations with the most influential CEO’s, sports icons, and successful entrepreneurs who share their personal and professional play-by-play of the “what”, “why”, and “how” to achieve anything you set your mind to.
Conversations about science, technology, history, philosophy and the nature of intelligence, consciousness, love, and power. Lex is an AI researcher at MIT and beyond.
Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?
Ever wanted to know how music affects your brain, what quantum mechanics really is, or how black holes work? Do you wonder why you get emotional each time you see a certain movie, or how on earth video games are designed? Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Sean Carroll will host conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers in the world. From neuroscientists and engineers to authors and television producers, Sean and his guests talk about the biggest ideas in science, philosophy, culture and much more.
Every weekday our global network of correspondents makes sense of the stories beneath the headlines. We bring you surprising trends and tales from around the world, current affairs, business and finance—as well as science and technology.
Rationally Speaking is the bi-weekly podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join host Julia Galef and guests as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely from unlikely, and science from pseudoscience. Any topic is fair game as long as we can bring reason to bear upon it, with both a skeptical eye and a good dose of humor!
Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas, people and events that have shaped our world.
Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of ‘secular gurus’, iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.
"A lot of people listen to podcasts because they want to learn something and be entertained along the way." - Alex Blumberg
Unafraid conversations about anything.
“The Good Fight,” the podcast that searches for the ideas, policies and strategies that can beat authoritarian populism. Please do listen and spread the word about The Good Fight.
Retired Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink and Director, Echo Charles discuss discipline and leadership in business, war, relationships and everyday life.
The most interesting conversations in American life now happen in private. This show is bringing them out of the closet. Stories no one else is telling and conversations with the most fascinating people in the country, every week from former New York Times and Wall Street Journal journalist Bari Weiss.
Your weekly rhetorical assault on the on the news cycle, the people who make it, and occasionally ourselves. Kmele Foster (Freethink), Michael Moynihan (Vice), and Matt Welch (Reason) talk and laugh and drink their way to at least quasi-sanity in a world gone mad, often with the aid of clean and articulate guests.
Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. Many consider this one of the ‘best’ smart podcasts out there, but I’d say it’s more like one of the first, and one of the most popular, but nowhere near ‘the best.’
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is a weekly science podcast discussing the latest science news, critical thinking, bad science, conspiracies and controversies.
Steve Levitt, the iconoclastic University of Chicago economist and co-author of the Freakonomics book series, tracks down other high achievers and asks questions that only he would think to ask. Guests include all-time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, WNBA champion Sue Bird, Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui, and neuroscientist/actress Mayim Bialik.
(Apple’s Best of 2018) In-depth conversations with people at the top of their game. Jordan Harbinger unpacks guests’ wisdom into practical nuggets you can use to impact your work, life, and relationships. Learn from leaders (Ray Dalio, Simon Sinek, Mark Cuban), entertainers (Moby, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Dennis Quaid), scientists (Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye), athletes (Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman, Tony Hawk) and an eclectic array of fascinating minds, from art forgers and arms traffickers to spies and psychologists.
You Are Not So Smart is a show about psychology that celebrates science and self delusion. In each episode, we explore what we’ve learned so far about reasoning, biases, judgments, and decision-making.
Want to know what comes next in politics, culture, and libertarian ideas? Reason’s Nick Gillespie hosts relentlessly interesting interviews with the activists, artists, authors, entrepreneurs, newsmakers, and politicians who are defining the 21st century.
Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.
Author, essayist and journalist Meghan Daum has spent decades giving voice—and bringing nuance, humor and surprising perspectives—to things that lots of people are thinking but are afraid to say out loud. Now, she brings her observations to the realm of conversation. In candid, free-ranging interviews, Meghan talks with artists, entertainers, journalists, scientists, scholars, and anyone else who’s willing to do the “unspeakable” and question prevailing cultural and moral assumptions.
Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.
Three experts, one Story. Each fortnight we host a panel of international experts diving into the biggest geopolitical stories shaping the news both here and overseas.
Exploring theoretical physics, consciousness, free will, and God. If you’d like to support this podcast, then visit the Patreon (https://patreon.com/curtjaimungal). Thank you for your charitable and kind hearted support. My name is Curt Jaimungal, a Torontonian filmmaker making a documentary on the above topics (as for what shape the final settled project will take, I’m unsure). During the exploratory phase, there will be a plethora of interviews / conversations with intellectuals placed on this channel — approximately un-edited.
From Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam, and Justin Richmond. The musicians you love talk about their life, inspiration, and craft. Then play. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries.
Get the edge with Hidden Forces where media entrepreneur and financial analyst Demetri Kofinas gives you access to the people and ideas that matter, so you can build financial security and always stay ahead of the curve.
Entitled Opinions is a literary talk show on Stanford University Radio, KZSU, in which Professor Robert Harrison interviews guests about issues that range from literature and philosophy to politics and sports.
Master the best of what other people have already figured out so you can use their lessons in your life to create an unstoppable advantage. In The Knowledge Project, Shane interviews people at the top of their game. Every episode is packed with hard-earned lessons that you can use in your life. Tune in to create an unstoppable advantage.
Conversations with a series of people who have nothing in common except that program host Robert Wright is curious about what they’re thinking.
The Michael Shermer Show is a series of long-form conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.
The Origins Podcast features in-depth conversations with some of the most interesting people in the world about the issues that impact all of us in the 21st century. Host, theoretical physicist, lecturer, and author, Lawrence M. Krauss, will be joined by guests from a wide range of fields, including science, the arts, and journalism. The topics discussed on The Origins Podcast reflect the full range of the human experience – exploring science and culture in a way that seeks to entertain, educate, and inspire.
The United States is in the midst of a dramatic political realignment with shifting views on national security, economics, technology, and the role of government in our lives. Saagar Enjeti and Marshall Kosloff explore this with thinkers, policymakers, and more.
Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara as he breaks down legal topics in the news and engages thought leaders in a podcast about power, policy, and justice.
For centuries, all sorts of people—generals and politicians, athletes and coaches, writers and leaders—have looked to the teachings of Stoicism to help guide their lives. Each day, author and speaker Ryan Holiday brings you a new lesson about life, inspired by the thoughts and writings of great Stoic thinkers like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca the Younger. Daily Stoic Podcast also features Q+As with listeners and interviews with notable figures from sports, academia, politics, and more.
The world has never been more connected. Yet never more divided. We yell at each other from inside our echo chambers. But change doesn’t happen inside an echo chamber. It’s time to get out, to stretch our legs, to step on some land mines. It’s time to have an uncomfortable conversation with Josh Szeps.
Useful Idiots Useful Idiots is an informative and irreverent politics podcast with journalist Matt Taibbi and podcaster/writer Katie Halper. Episodes feature analysis of the political news of the week and exclusive interviews, with humor, commentary and dissection of why both Republicans and Democrats suck. Join Matt and Katie as they examine important stories that have slipped through the cracks and what the media got wrong – and laugh about whatever is left to laugh about.
We live in a winner-take-all economy that’s bifurcating into those who are part of the innovation economy and those who aren’t. Every week best-selling author, professor and entrepreneur Scott Galloway answers questions from you (his listeners) on who’s winning and losing, and how you can get ahead. Other professors, practitioners, and entrepreneurs join Scott to contribute ideas, alternate opinions, and insights to help you thrive at work. Tune in for a no mercy, no malice take on how you can level up your game in the world of business.
Direct questions, real answers. On with Kara Swisher is where “Silicon Valley’s most feared and well-liked journalist” gets to the heart of what makes powerful people tick. Kara makes sense of tech, business and politics through tough conversations with the newsmakers who matter. So why do they show up? “Smart people,” says Kara, “like difficult questions.” Plus, it’s fun.
Human Design is a part science, part spiritual system that tells you who you came here to be. You have your own blueprint, your own way of becoming successful, your own way your dreams are going to come true. It’s the way you’re going to experience the most joy and fulfillment. Your instruction manual for how to move through the world is custom to you. When you act according to that manual, when you act as the real you, everything in life comes to you with more ease and less resistance. We all know we’re different yet we’re acting like there is one way to do life. Let’s talk about out.
We all yearn to live a great life, but what does that actually look like and how can we all lead one? In A Life of Greatness, host Sarah Grynberg interviews some of the world’s chief thought-leaders, sports legends, entertainers, best selling authors and inspiring spiritual minds as they explain how they have overcome challenges, conquered self-limiting beliefs and connected with a deeper sense of self to achieve greatness in their lives, and provide practical tips and advice for how you can too.
Lewis Howes is a New York Times best-selling author, 2x All-American athlete, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur. The School of Greatness shares inspiring interviews from the most successful people on the planet—world-renowned leaders in business, entertainment, sports, science, health, and literature—to inspire YOU to unlock your inner greatness and live your best life.
Inner Work: A Spiritual Growth Podcast is committed to walking with you on your journey of awakening and self-development. Host Josephine Hardman, PhD is a second-generation intuitive healer who transitioned into full-time spiritual work after teaching college English for 9 years. Inner Work features illuminating discussions and interviews on spirituality, self-development, inner healing, and manifesting the truly abundant life you deserve.
"Podcasts are music for the mind." - Unknown
Each week, in the award-winning radio show and podcast Unbelievable?, Justin Brierley asks questions like: Is there evidence for God? Can we trust the Bible? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Justin tackles these and other issues, on a show that gets Christians and sceptics talking.
Crisp conversations with critical thinkers at the leading edge of science, technology, politics, and social systems.
Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we’ve just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org.
Did you know that Europeans used to believe that sheep grew from Mongolian trees? Have you heard about the misbegotten discovery of a new form of water in the 1960s that set off a cold war arms race? Ever seen the gleaming Las Vegas hotel that accidentally shoots heat rays at poolside guests? The Constant is an audio history of getting things wrong. From ancient science to contemporary blunders, we take you on journeys of misadventure and misapprehension, filling your brain with juicy nuggets of the sometimes comical, sometimes tragical and always fascinating ways people mess things up.
Life lessons from the smartest people on the planet. Including guests like Dr Jordan Peterson, Jocko Willink, Dr Andrew Huberman, Ryan Holiday, James Clear, Robert Greene, Balaji Srinivasan, Steven Pinker, Alex Hormozi, Douglas Murray, Michael Malice, James Smith, Dr David Sinclair, Mark Manson and more.
Interviews with the happiest, healthiest, and wisest people in the world (entrepreneurs, creators, and thinkers).
IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In the age of clickbait and superficial headlines, it’s for people who like to think.
The Partially Examined Life is a podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don’t have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we’re talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion.
The Walled Garden is the foundational podcast within the Walled Garden Philosophical Society, exploring a wide range of themes including philosophy, theology, mysticism, poetry, music, and creativity. The show is hosted by Simon J. E. Drew, an Australian poet, musician, philosopher, and CEO. Episodes vary between interviews with world-changing thought leaders and solo episodes exploring paths to a flourishing life.
James Altucher interviews the world’s leading peak performers in every area of life. But instead of giving you the typical success story, James digs deeper to find the “Choose Yourself” story—these are the moments we relate to… when someone rises up from personal struggle to reinvent themselves. The James Altucher Show brings you into the lives of peak-performers: billionaires, best-selling authors, rappers, astronauts, athletes, comedians, actors, and the world champions in every field, all who forged their own paths, found financial freedom and harnessed the power to create more meaningful and fulfilling lives
Longtime Atlantic tech, culture and political writer Derek Thompson cuts through all the noise surrounding the big questions and headlines that matter to you in his new podcast Plain English. Hear Derek and guests engage the news with clear viewpoints and memorable takeaways.
A leftist’s guide to the conservative movement, one podcast episode at a time, with co-hosts Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell.
Two psychologists endeavor to drink four beers while discussing news and controversies in science, academia, and beyond.
Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio’s most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today’s biggest luminaries.
Mikhaila Peterson speaks with thought leaders, influencers and industry changers – continually finding the best ways to improve the human experience. From stay at home moms to CEOs, fitness enthusiasts to spiritual guides, nutrition researchers to health professionals – Mikhaila has interview-style conversations aimed at provoking thought, addressing difficult subjects, and delving into topics that are generally shied away from.
If you made it to the end of this list, I appreciate you.
I hope you enjoyed these podcasts for self improvement. It included some popular podcasts, some not-so-popular podcasts, and some truly rare gems.
And if you’re interested in them, I’m grateful to you for being open-minded enough to seek out new ideas and fresh perspectives on life.
The world could use more open-minded people exploring new ideas and consuming eye-opening content.
People like that are the future. They’re how we evolve. They’re leaders blazing a trail for us to a better society.
I count you among them.
If you’d like to hear me and my co-host Cyn discuss fresh views on taboos, you can check out our own self-proclaimed mind blowing podcast, Eyes Wide Open.
If you’d like to read more of my writings you can check out the links below or use the navigation bar at the top of the page.
Are you a generous person?
Do you want happier friends?
Then share the wealth!