Headphones and earbuds ever’where. You see people wearing them while shopping at the grocery store, driving their cars, walking down the street, exercising at the gym or even while they’re at work.
It wasn’t this way when the Walkman came out. Why now, when pop music is worse than ever, must everyone be listening to tunes 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
Actually they’re not. Although plenty of people are streaming iTunes, Spotify or Pandora from their smartphones as they go about their days, more and more are plugging into an easier-listening genre once reserved for ultraconservatives and sports junkies: talk radio. Except the on-demand revolution has led to a renaissance in broadcast conversation.
Podcasts are nothing new. They’ve been around since the early years of the iPod. But slowly over the last decade, the medium has grown, expanded and improved. By late last year, some 40 million people were listening to at least one podcast each month. If you know how to find it, there’s certainly a podcast for whatever your niche interest might be, from subjects as broad as literature or international politics to as narrow as remote-controlled airplanes or Star Wars: Episode VII spoilers.
But since you’re here reading SUCCESS articles, it’s a fair bet that one of your primary passions is to reach your greatest potential in all aspects of life—like business, relationships or health—while adding clarity of purpose and motivation to continue chasing your goals. So we decided to highlight some of the best podcasts for SUCCESS readers. Now instead of reading your dentist’s 10-year-old copy of Redbook while you’re sitting in his waiting room, you can expand your horizons.
So join the earbud-cool-kids club. You’ll be amazed by how many life-changing lessons you can squeeze into each week while walking the dog, cooking dinner or at countless other unexpected times. Give these great listens a chance:
iTunes Rating: 5 stars; 25–45 minutes
Each week host Michael Hyatt records his easily digestible show with the goal of helping you “live with more passion, work with greater focus and lead with extraordinary influence.” The podcast includes suggestions on everything from finding a mentor to establishing a personal brand.
In one recent episode, Hyatt offered his top 10 productivity hacks, including “get better at saying no,” and “use templates for everything.” The idea behind the latter was inspired by Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth.
“The e-myth is the entrepreneurial myth, which basically talks about why entrepreneurs fail,” Hyatt says. “One of the reasons they fail is they don’t construct repeatable processes or workflows or templates.
“So if you’re doing some task and you envision yourself doing it repeatedly, template it. In other words, create it as if it were a prototype that is going to be repeated over and over again. For example, when I write a blog post, I don’t just begin from scratch; I have a template for that…. There are hundreds of templates I use in my business to do tasks I want to be able to repeat and improve upon and optimize. I have a template for my podcast as well, as you can probably imagine.”
iTunes Rating: 4 stars; 50–55 minutes
Each episode of this illuminating weekly listen is based on the theme inspired by talks from TED conclaves, large and small. Predictably, that means the topics are wide-ranging, unexpected and always thought-provoking. Every week host Guy Raz ties together several lectures that attempt to shed light on things like the future of the millennials, each individual’s search for happiness and how to channel greater creativity.
iTunes Rating: 4.5 stars; 30–90 minutes
Business coach Jaime Tardy has interviewed more than 100 millionaires for her book The Eventual Millionaire and this podcast. To her, it’s obvious what’s keeping the regular working stiff from reaching the seven-figure milestone.
“They let their excuses and fear stop them,” Tardy says. “Millionaires have fear and excuses, too, but they don’t let it stop them. They continue to move forward anyway, even if it’s uncomfortable and even if they don’t know exactly the right steps to take. They are masters at jumping in and figuring things out. And yes, they fail a lot doing things that way, too, but they keep moving forward.”
iTunes Rating: 4.5 stars; 40–80 minutes
This podcast shares inspiring stories through interviews with entrepreneurs, athletes and celebs. The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes is an expression of the host’s passions, including mental well-being and health, along with productivity and breaking down fears.
“It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves at all times and embracing where we are and where we want to go—then the action steps on how to get there,” Howes says. In addition to interviews, Howes shares his perspective on regular “solo round” episodes.
During a recent podcast, for example, he unveiled steps for gaining clarity about what you want in life. One crucial tactic that Howes explains: On a blank sheet of paper, write down a paragraph or two of what the perfect day in your life would be like. How does it feel? What does it look like? Be descriptive. Even if it’s unrealistic, write it down. Next, create the itinerary for that day. Account for every hour.
“Ask yourself, Am I living in the spirit of this perfect day? Why not? Maybe it’s not going to happen right away. Maybe it’s going to take a couple years. But at least we can work toward it.”
Entrepreneur On Fire
John Lee Dumas
iTunes Rating: 5 stars; 25–60 minutes
We let two iTunes reviewers vouch for this one.
“I’ve now listened to at least 100 episodes of EOF, and the content is really awesome. John is focused, professional and does this really well, having his guests tell their stories of success, failure and inspiration. That is what makes EOFire great and why I’m ON FIRE about EOFire!” —Shawn Manaher
“Entrepreneur on Fire never fails to inspire me. I love John’s no-nonsense but friendly interview style. Plus his guests are not the usual crop of entrepreneurs, which always makes for some new and much-needed perspectives in the online business space.” —Annie DaRussky
iTunes Rating: 4.5 stars; 35–70 minutes
A podcast born of host Dave Asprey’s “15-year, single-minded crusade to upgrade the human being using every available technology,” this show features multiple downloads per week. An investor and tech entrepreneur, Asprey draws on lessons from biochemists, Olympic nutritionists, meditation experts and his own experience to share the tips that will help listeners reach their own peak performance. One of the most important factors in reaching our daily potential, Asprey emphasizes, is sleep.
“As a young entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, the pizza and beer fueled things for me,” he recalled on a recent episode while interviewing Arianna Huffington. “I finally had to reject that…. I just shudder when I see people who are making the same mistakes I did when I was in my early 20s because, I mean, your startup will succeed or it won’t. But there’s a certain badge of courage, especially among young men, where it’s like, I beat the crap out of myself, and that’s part of how I improved myself.”
As Asprey repeatedly underlines, it doesn’t work that way.
iTunes Rating: 4.5 stars; 10–120 minutes
The “human guinea pig” host of this podcast, which includes multiple episodes most weeks, is one of the giants of modern productivity instruction. The best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, as well as its best-selling follow-ups, Ferriss uses his show to pry useful tips from big-name guests. Among those who have opened up to him in recent months are Tony Robbins and Peter Thiel.
iTunes Rating: 4.5 stars; 25–45 minutes
This podcast, which includes discussions with business and leadership thinkers such as Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, Jim Collins and Simon Sinek, is a Dave Ramsey production hosted by Ken Coleman, the interviewer behind One Question: Life-Changing Answers from Today’s Leading Voices. Episode to episode, the interviews unveil nuggets of wisdom for leaders of all ages, such as the following tidbit that Cuban aimed at new college graduates.
“You’re not supposed to know [your passion] yet…. You’re not going to know what you’re going to be when you grow up. You’re only 22 years old. That’s the time to go out and get paid to learn as much as you can about as many different things as you can until you find something you can be great at.”
iTunes Rating: 5 stars; 15–25 minutes
Brit-born Columbia journalism professor, writer and radio reporter Ashley Milne-Tyte hosts this unique semiweekly look at women, the workplace and how they can achieve greater success.
Says one iTunes reviewer: “The repeated takeaway is that the workforce needs to capitalize on what women have to offer; in fact, doing so may save our economy. My only complaints are that the podcast isn’t longer, [that] Ashley doesn’t have a regular segment on a nationally broadcast show and President Obama hasn’t nominated her to head the Department of Labor.”