Staying in the know

Some people collect things --  I collect podcasts.

OK, I don’t really “collect” them, but since I have a long morning (and afternoon) commute (about an hour each way) I have plenty of time to listen to podcasts in the car.

I don’t know if you’re a podcast listener or not, but I’m always on the hunt for good ones, so here’s my go-to list. I hope you’ll share some of your favorites, as well!

Without further ado, here’s my top 10 list broken into the categories I listen to the most:


Planet Money: I started listening to this podcast years ago, when I was a breaking news content producer and realized I needed to better understand how the economy worked. I knew the basics, sure, but I really didn’t understand the nuances. Planet Money drives into topics in a way that makes it accessible and easy to understand. And it’s not all dry and stuffy, just so we are clear. The guy who has been CRUSHING at Jeopardy lately, James Holzhauer? Well, Planet Money looks at how his knowledge of data, probability and tons of practice with a fake buzzer led to his success. How’s that for interesting!?

The Daily: All the news you should know for the day in about 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, ready for you by 6 am each day. This podcast by the NY Times gives me a quick debrief of what I should pay attention to for news stories the rest of the day or week. Its my version of skimming the newspaper headlines like I used to at my kitchen table, only in podcast form since I can’t read the paper AND drive a car at the same time.

Global News Podcast by BBC World Service: Same idea as the daily -- only this is the major news stories around the world from the BBC’s World Service team. Learn about things going on halfway across the world and how they could impact our lives. This twice a day podcast during the week is my version of keeping the news on in the background of my day. Since it’s twice a day, I usually listen to this one on my way home and The Daily on the way in to work in the morning.


Ali on the Run: My friend Ali, whom I met when I was an editor at Runner’s World, has a fun podcast about running, motherhood, and generally interesting people who happen to also be runners and successful people with interesting stories. What I love about Ali’s podcast is that she isn’t afraid to dig into something most people may not want to chat about -- and you can tell she actually cares about the people she speaks with.

Mind Pump: Never in a million years did I think I would enjoy listening to 3 dudes -- some of whom were bodybuilding competitors and personal trainers but I love these guys. First: They are funny and actually friends, and second, they don’t sugarcoat fitness advice and tell you flat out there is NOT an easy way to do the work. You have to do the work and it will be hard and sometimes ugly. They answer listener questions, so the information they share is stuff I’ve wondered myself.

C Tolle Run: Olympian Carrie Tollefson is a down-to-earth podcaster when you listen to her. Except she’s actually SUPER accomplished and interviews many elite runners and others in the running or fitness space. I love when Carrie gives us a behind-the-scenes glance at what being an elite is like and how she shares that it is hard to set new goals for herself as a mom now. She’s also got an easy voice to listen to!

General fun

Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend: I mean, Conan was raised in Brookline, Mass. And went to Harvard. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. This podcast features interviews with people he’s known either via his show or stand-up and the premise is that he gets to know the guests better chatting about if they want to be his friend. Some of the best episodes have been the ones where he has had people on that you may not know their name, but you definitely know their work as writers in the comedy space. Plus, he’s very open about his drive for perfection.

Armchair Expert: I never watched Punk’d back in the day (On MTV that Ashton Kutcher created), but that’s where Dax Shepard really became a breakout star. I found Dax through my love of the show Parenthood, and first listening when he had some of his co-stars on. Since then I’ve listened to every podcast he’s aired. Dax is interested in why people are the way they are, and working with people in recovery, I am VERY grateful to listen to his own road to sobriety. Dax’s journey to stardom is also interesting to hear, as I didn’t realize he struggled for something like 10 years before he “made it” as a working actor.

Why Won’t you Date me with Nicole Byer: Please tell me you’ve watch the show “Nailed It.” If you have, then you’ve seen Nicole Byer in action. She’s loud and funny and is also a super talented stand-up comic. In her podcast, she primarily talks about relationships (her stories about some of the people she has dated are hilarious). But she’s also brutally honest about other relationships in her life. If I had a penny for every time she made me laugh so hard I had tears streaming down my face, I would have a bank account full of pennies.


Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis: Rachel has taken over social media and the publishing industry lately. Her two latest books are “Girl, Wash Your Face,” And “Girl, Stop Apologizing.” What I love about Hollis is that she really gets into the business of building a business and the messy, totally non-linear journey most people take to get there. She may be poised for world-domination now, but she has been legit grinding for 15 years, building her business into so many things.

Elizabeth is always in the know.

Elizabeth is always in the know.

Elizabeth Carr