Surround Yourself with Great Podcasts

Over the last few months, I’ve grown and learned a lot by getting back into podcasts. I switched to audiobooks a few years back after giving podcasts a brief and probably unfair try, but a lot has recently changed for the better in the world of podcasting. With the high quality content and delivery of today's shows, it makes sense that podcasts are on the rise again, with no signs of slowing. 

Three advantages of podcasts: 1) with the back-and-forth of the hosts and guests on most of these shows, it’s full of more energy than listening to audiobooks, 2) by hearing what works and doesn’t work in the interviews, it’s helping me to learn how to ask better questions and follow-ups and 3) get more brain wrinkles while doing any number of things...walking the dog, doing the dishes, etc.

Here are five podcasts that have made an impact on how I think and behave. All the episodes of each of these are worth your time and attention. I've also picked out 1-2 highlight episodes to start with for each, as a quick flavor test. 

1) The James Altucher Show 

James is a compelling, honest host. This show is consistently rated one of the best podcasts on iTunes.

Episode 237: Scot Cohen. The Best Networker on the Planet

"Surround yourself with great people. I don’t care if it’s a plumber. I don’t care if he’s a construction worker. I don’t care if it’s a teacher, a police officer, a guy in the gym, somebody that you met at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter, but just make sure they’re kind. Make sure they’re aligned with where you want to go…"

2) Hurry Slowly 

A fairly new podcast with lots of potential. The topic is perfectly timed for our culture.

Episode 001: Whose Schedule Are You On? 

"If you don’t have your own time, then you have no control of your day. And if you have no control of your day then you end up working longer than you should."

3) Building a Story Brand 

Host Donald Miller launched this well before his book of the same title was released. The episodes are dripping with variety and honesty.

Episode 66: Nancy Duarte. How to Crush that Upcoming Presentation. 

“A story has a three-act structure with a likable character who encounters roadblocks and is changed by them.” 

4) Mixed Methods 

This podcast also spawned a vibrant Slack group.

Episode: Interviewing Workshop — Don’t Leave Data on the Table 

“My philosophy is, this is a human being. I’m going to talk to them… I want to understand their context...I’m profoundly curious about them and their point of view [rather] than the [product/service/stimulus] itself.” 

Episode: Building Rapport 

“[I'd recommend] taking some improv classes…teaching you this combination of things that were excellent preparation for interviewing...Very quickly if you have to be in a scene, you have to create a relationship of some sort with this other person. You have to figure that out with the other person. It forces you to listen really hard and really carefully to what the other person is doing…what their ‘offers’ are to you. Whatever they give you, you’re building on that and creating something more out of it together." 

5) Seth Godin Startup School 

This series was recorded in Fall 2012—early 2013. It's stood the test of time. And Seth is effortless in delivery yet its so powerful and motivating.

Episode 01: Are You a Freelancer or an Entrepreneur? 

"We’re going to spend our time talking about what you’re going to do now that you got a duck. That is what attracts me to entrepreneurship. If you want to be a neurosurgeon, you spend 15 years of your life getting your ducks in a row and then one day someone says, 'Now you’re a neurosurgeon.' But if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re an entrepreneur. Immediately. There’s no permitting process. There are no certificates. You just start. Along the way you can collect more ducks and get them in a row, but the real art of what we are trying to do here is understand that you have to do something with the duck." 

Josh Carlton is the Founder of 500THz, a boutique market research firm that delights in using creativity to solve marketing problems. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This post also appears on LinkedIn

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