We’ll say it, and we’re not embarrassed: We’re podcast people. We’re absolutely enthralled by them. We listen to them when we’re working out, when we’re plugging away at the office, when we’re in the car or on the subway… We can’t get enough of them. The best part about them is no two podcasts are the same. We listen to ones about wild crime stories, interesting movie details, life’s magical wonders and mysteries, stock market insights and literally everything in between.
If you’re looking to enrich your daily life one episode at a time, podcasts are an excellent way to do it. Hell, it beats having our faces glued to a TV screen all day, that’s for sure.
If you haven’t hopped on the podcast bandwagon yet (Seriously, what are you waiting for?), now is definitely the time to find one (or 20) that you like. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Serial has quickly become one of our absolute favorite podcasts because its real-life and completely excellent brand of story telling is simply unparalleled. Serial comes from the same beautiful brains who brought us This American Life (which is also featured on this list a few sections down!) and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Essentially, the podcast covers one incredible true story over the course of a season. We’ve heard stories about deserting soldiers in Afghanistan, a high-profile high school murder trial and now in its third season, we’re hearing close examinations of all the day-to-day cases that come through the Cleveland Justice Center. Serial is an absolutely fascinating podcast that goes to hell and back to get the story right.
In The Dark is another exceptional true crime podcast that focuses on one story every season. The first season looked into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, whose abduction and murder remained a complete mystery for nearly 27 years. It delves into the mishandling of the investigation by local law enforcement, and what kind of issues occurred as a result. Season two looks into a man named Curtis Flowers, who has been tried six times for the same crime, and has won appeal after appeal—yet remains in prison. It’s an unbelievable (and often tough) look at the nature of crime and the American justice system.
If you’re a horror fanatic like we are, Last Podcast on the Left is essential listening. Period. Hosted by Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebowski, Last Podcast on the Left dives headfirst into all things horror—from famous murderers, to strange historical occurrences, to legendary hauntings and everything in between. We think they say it best on their website: “Whether it’s cults, killers or cryptic encounters, Last Podcast on the Left laughs into the abyss that is the dark side of humanity.” This one is addicting.
This podcast by Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall is really all about seeing things from a different perspective. Every week, these two go through past events, people or phenomenons and approach them from new and interesting perspectives in order to shed new light on them. You’ll find new perspectives on things like the Enron insider trading scandal, Roe v. Wade, the obesity epidemic, the D.A.R.E. program, the concept of Alpha Males and the role animal behavior plays in our daily lives and literally everything in between. It’s just a generally fun, informative and interesting podcast that anyone can get into.
This is one of our absolute favorite podcasts. The Moth celebrated it’s 20-year anniversary in 2017, which obviously means it was around before the podcast age. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make for the perfect podcast. The Moth focuses on people from all walks of life, allowing them to come from all over to tell incredible stories about their lives. From sibling rivalries to near-death experiences, loving people with terminal illnesses, creating art, the American way of life and everything else you can think of, The Moth (and its storytellers) is truly something special. The podcast is even better because it features curated re-airs of all the best stories from the past—of which there are literally hundreds. It’s an excellent and beautiful thing.
Marc Maron is one of our favorite living comedians, and his podcast, WTF With Marc Maron, is actually one of the most popular in the world. Maron has an incredible way of seeing this fascinating thing we call life, and some of his guests have included the likes of Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams, Keith Richards and even Barack Obama. What we love about it is how Maron doesn’t hinge the entire podcast on his ability to be funny. He discusses some pretty tough issues from a perspective only a comedian could conceive. It’s absolutely brilliant stuff, and there’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular podcasts out there.
If you’re going to listen to one podcast on this list, please, please, please make it This American Life. This unbelievable and legendary podcast settles on a weekly theme, and then centers the content they discuss—stories, journalism, blah blah blah—around that particular theme. There are literally hundreds of episodes to dig into at this point, each one seemingly better and more interesting than the last. If you’re looking for a place to get started, this list, selected by host Ira Glass, is an excellent place to start.
Finally, we have Stuff You Should Know. Hosted by Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark, Stuff You Should Know literally covers new topics every week about the weirdest and most ridiculous stuff imaginable—but stuff that's interesting and worthwhile. The most current episode is titled “SYSK: How Lobotomies Work,” but there are also episodes on the July 20th plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the Rockettes, how igloos work, the effectiveness of good samaritan laws, Navajo code talkers, pizza and so many others. It’s an incredible place to learn fun and interesting facts about possibly everything going on in the world around us—whether we wanted to know about them or not.