Where would we be without podcasts? Podcasts have steadily become a vital part of our everyday routines. Whether you need something thought-provoking to keep your mind busy on a long commute, a quick way to keep up with what’s happening in the news, a bit of indulgence to take your mind off your worries, or intriguing facts to make you think about how your world works, these productions cover an almost inconceivable range of topics and styles to suit every taste.
Here, we’ve rounded up seven of the best ones to dive into right away.
Thanks to the wellness boom, there are more health podcasts out there today than you could possibly count. Author and activist Aubrey Gordon, and journalist Michael Hobbes have found a smart and refreshingly skeptical viewpoint on the head-spinning world of fad diets and weight loss. Whether they’re putting the Weight Watchers phenomenon under a microscope or taking a deep dive into a celebrity diet book, the pair’s ability to expose deeper truths about the way we talk about health and fitness while retaining a sense of levity and humor make Maintenance Phase an unexpected delight.
Created by Brian Reed and British journalism student Hamza Syed for the New York Times, The Trojan Horse Affair was met with swift backlash by certain sectors of British media, whose complicity in the events described in the podcast had been heavily critiqued by its hosts. The podcast tells the tale of a scandal in mid-2010s Birmingham, where an anonymous, and now widely discredited, letter suggested that a number of Muslim-majority schools in Birmingham were being infiltrated by Islamic extremists, with many senior politicians and journalists joining the frenzy. The Trojan Horse Affair may focus on only one community, but it exposes many of the wider hypocrisies within Britain’s government and media that have contributed to its current political turmoil. Essential listening.
2018 was referred to as the “summer of scam”, with Anna Delvey, the Fyre Festival, and Elizabeth Holmes all in swift occurrence. If you are after a regular deep dive into outrageous scams, ranging from the infamous ‘fake Saudi prince’ Anthony Gignac to the Hollywood Ponzi Scheme, and The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’s Jen Shah, Scamfluencers is the place to go. Hosted by culture writer Scaachi Koul and Gawker’s Sarah Hagi, it provides detailed accounts of some of the craziest examples of deceit in recent society.
Hosted by Malcolm Gladwell, misunderstood events and rarely discussed ideas are tackled in this eclectic mix of quirky stories. With subjects ranging from Toyota’s car recall to underhand-throwing basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, and the firebombing of Tokyo at the end of World War II, research and opinion are freely mixed. Conventional views are often challenged, but every episode serves up facts and stories you have likely never heard before.
Which night creams will make you look well-rested, is quitting coffee really worth the headache, can emptying your closet actually bring you joy, and what is a gratitude practice, anyway? Forever35 started as a physical self-care podcast but expanded to discuss mental health, relationships, and any other topic that appeals to LA-based wellness enthusiasts and writers Doree Shafrir and Kate Spencer. They go from chatting about serums and creams to seasonal affective disorder and how to deal with a new stepmother as an adult, but always in a fun, inclusive, and down-to-earth way. Along with a special guest each week, they explore what it means to be getting older, and hopefully wiser.
If you’re a wildlife and environment nerd like me, then this podcast is one you can’t miss. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs, they invite the listener to dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, following explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Including fascinating stories and tales about Stonehenge, Yellowstone National Park’s supervolcano, and the tree at the end of the world, this is one podcast series perfect for binge-listening!
Dan Harris is a fidgety, skeptical journalist who had a panic attack on live national television, which led him to try something he otherwise never would have considered: meditation. He went on to write the bestselling book, 10% Happier. On his podcast, Dan talks with meditation teachers, top scientists, and the occasional celebrity. Guests include everyone from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Brené Brown to Karamo from Queer Eye. Covering subjects such as enlightenment and psychedelics, along with science-based techniques for issues such as anxiety, productivity, and relationships. Dan’s approach is seemingly modest but secretly radical: happiness is a skill you can train, just like working your bicep in the gym. Your progress may be incremental at first, but like any good investment, it compounds over time.
To read more about some of the top women-led podcasts to tune into, head here.