Podcast Picks of 2017: Productivity, Language, and Culture

Podcasts have been experiencing phenomenal growth and it’s certainly justified as they’re extremely versatile and there’s an immense selection available. This means that there’s always something for everyone, whether you’re into self-improvement, comedy, politics, interviews, learning languages and educational shows, just to name a few.

I can honestly say that podcasts are one of my favourite resources as they are a great passive activity; they’re highly entertaining and you can absorb and practically download information while doing mindless, tedious tasks.

For instance, I’ve been listening to my favourite podcasts while doing the laundry, catching the bus, waiting in a queue, cooking, doing the dishes, etc. They breathe new life into these mind-numbing chores and I find myself looking forward to doing them as I no longer feel like I’m wasting precious time. Instead, I now view this “dead-time”, as I like to call it, as valuable breaks in which I am able to learn new things.

Here are my personal favourites that I would definitely recommend. I have to admit, some of the following recommendations are quite niche-focused, but you may find it interesting enough to add to your library.

I’ve ordered this list from the most general and wide-ranging to the most focused.

  • Joe Rogan Experience


In this podcast, Joe Rogan, comedian and UFC commentator, interviews a diverse range of guests to discuss that range far beyond the imagination.

You might tune in to a discussion on ideology and religion one day, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the next, the current political landscape or the discovery of long-lost civilizations.

The podcast is a brilliant resource of interesting discussions and ideas thanks to Rogan and his intense curiosity to learn about everything around him. He has a brilliant style of interviewing guests that keep things interesting and one thing I especially appreciate is the fact that he questions everything and never holds back.

The show is conducted as a long-form podcast, meaning that it often goes beyond two hours, but the variety of interesting topics keeps you engaged throughout. All the episodes are available on audio, but you can also watch the podcast on YouTube, on the PowerfulJRE channel.

  • The Tim Ferriss Show


Hands down my favourite podcast at the moment, it’s the top ranked business podcast on iTunes, and it’s also been ranked #1 on multiple other occasions. The bestselling author and human guinea pig (with all the self-experimentation he does) conducts an interview style podcast with a fascinating line-up of guests, who are at the top of their game.

In the podcasts, Tim deconstructs world-class performers, authors, athletes, scientists and other individuals from various fields to figure out their methods, tools, tricks, and routines that they use in order for us, the listeners, to implement.

Some of my favourite episodes so far have included Derek Sivers (possibly my personal favourite episode so far), Jamie Foxx, Matt Mullenweg and a host of other extraordinary individuals. The show is insightful and entertaining, with Tim and his guests dropping valuable, actionable advice in every episode.

The podcast has genuinely had a profound impact on my day-to-day experiences, and I always find it very invigorating and inspiring in terms of always improving a certain aspect in my life.

  • Side Hustle Schoolside-hustle-school-chris-guillebeau

If you’ve ever considered starting a business or even something smaller that generates a little extra income every month, this podcast is an absolute must-have in your podcast library. I’ve been listening to this podcast since it’s first day on air, and boy, I have not been disappointed.

The interesting thing about Side Hustle School is that it’s made for people who don’t necessarily want to drop everything and become entrepreneurs. Rather, it’s for those who prefer to keep their jobs or continue studying while running a business. I think it’s a brilliant idea especially for students and working individuals who aren’t quite as thrilled at the prospect of heading out on their own.

Chris Guillebeau, author of the $100 Startup brings you quick 7-10 minute episodes packed with examples of real-world businesses that have achieved success in their own right. He dissects every case study and explains what makes each one successful.

I find them to be very inspiring and motivational, and I genuinely enjoy listening to the stories that come in from people around the world. I also find Chris’ advice to listeners to be highly beneficial and helpful to newcomers and veterans in the field.

The great thing about the show is that all the ideas are workable and even though not all of them will be applicable to you, there’s always a lesson you can learn from each case. Episodes are aired every single day and are available on Spotify, iTunes and most other podcast apps.

Also, if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. It’s insightful and once again looks at real world businesses and what makes them work.

  • Coffee Break French


If you’re looking to pick up a language, this is literally one of the best ways to do it. The podcast is free and available on Spotify, and there is a premium version available. In addition to this, you can also access the podcast from the website.

Radio Lingua offers a number of other languages, including Spanish, German and Italian. They’re a small company so they don’t have a large selection of languages but if you’re after any one of these languages I’ve listed here, definitely give it a try.

The Coffee Break French podcast I’ve been listening to is hosted by Mark, a Scotsman who is an excellent and experienced French teacher. He is joined by Anna, a student who goes on the journey of learning French with you.

The lessons are entertaining and last less than 20 minutes, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. By the end of the first season, you’ll be able to speak basic French and get by in most situations.

To wrap up, I’d like to mention that I’ve learned more from these podcasts then I’ve learned from any other resource and I really enjoy the fact that I can listen to them while doing other activities, so I don’t have to focus my full attention on only one thing for a few hours.

Feel free to leave a comment with your favourite podcasts and recommendations! I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting shows. As always, drop me a line and let me know what you think.

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