Because I live and work in Los Angeles, I spend a decent amount of time in my car. Whether I'm driving to the gym to train clients, to Hollywood or downtown for a casting, or the 50 miles to Orange County to see Mimi, I log some hours in my ride.
That means music or podcasts.
Today I'll focus on the latter. You can read about the former here.
Podcasts have been hugely beneficial to me as a way to consume a treasure trove of ideas from people across a variety of disciplines. Beyond the typical audiobook or language-learning software, the input from multiple voices and points of view forces me to think far more analytically than I would with a constant stream of information.
And in the case of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, he synthesizes many voices and texts prior to cobbling together his unique interpretations of historical events and characters. While I love to absorb information via the written word, I can now make my driving time far more productive by stretching my mind with new ideas, analyses, and opinions.
Late to the Speed Listening Game
In classic Thomas form, I late-adopted speed listening. If you already know how to do it, skip this part and go straight to the podcasts.
About 2 months ago I found the function on the podcast icon that allows me to listen to content at various speeds. "Look at that," I thought. "Wonder how long that's been there." Only, you know, since 2004. I have listened to many, many podcasts in the last couple of years, so it was a bit of a wish-I-knew-about-this-before-all-five-parts-of-Carlin's-Wrath-of-the-Khans moment.
Anyway, since I discovered this hack I'd gotten very comfortable listening at 1.5X, which sounds like the speakers are incredibly eloquent even after 6 cups of coffee. But then a couple of weeks ago I started experimenting with 2X speed, and when I found out that my new friend, Matthew, does that exclusively, I had to make the switch.
Otherwise he wins.
Okay, yes, it will sound like people on amphetamines speaking very demonstratively at first. But your brain will quickly adapt, I promise. Consider how many more books you could read if you 2Xed your reading speed. Now you don't have to.
Following are four essential podcasts and episodes that I would recommend to everyone, with superlative episodes. I have included buttons that link to their download pages, but you can find all of them in Itunes for free, too.
1. The Tim Ferriss Show - Dom D’Agostino on Fasting, Ketosis, and the End of Cancer
Tim Ferriss has an incredible ability of speaking with a broad variety of people in their vernacular. This was the episode that jump started my own explorations into fasting.
2. Hardcore History - Blueprint for Armageddon I
Dan Carlin researches the hell out of a subject and then tells the story in a wholly unique way. I recommend that you listen to all five parts of "The Wrath of the Khans," the story of the Mongol empire, but you can check out the Armageddon series--the who, what, where, when, why, and how of WWI--for free.
3. The Joe Rogan Experience - JRE#804 - Sam Harris
I'm a Rogan fan for sure--his breadth of interests and skills is very impressive. Like Ferriss, he is able to talk to his guests with the curiosity of a neophyte but the wisdom of a much older man. In this episode Joe talks with one of my favorite thinkers about everything from the ethics of eating meat to the logical conclusion of A.I. and the peculiarities of the current presidential candidates, among many other things. Essential Rogan and Harris.
4. Seth Godin's Startup School
Seth Godin has been writing an excellent blog for many years, but here his ideas are synthesized into 15 chunks of wisdom for the prospective creative or entrepreneur. If you have an idea or are planning a project, I promise you will find something worthwhile in this series.
What do you think is an absolutely extraordinary podcast that everyone should know? Please give us some ideas in the comments field below.