Here at SPI Media we love podcasts and apparently we are not alone. There are currently 1,750,000 podcasts, and by 2020 more than 100 million Americans listened to at least one podcast every month. But with so many options, how do you know which podcasts to listen to?

To help you out, here are ten of our favorite podcasts to listen to at the start of the New Year, covering history, creativity, leadership, crafts, and more. Whether you're an avid podcast connoisseur, hosting your own podcast, or thinking of starting one, these podcasts could be the inspiration you need as you start 2021!

Revisionist history

Logo of the podcast on revisionist history

Malcolm Gladwell combines skillful storytelling with an insatiable desire to be at the center of the matter no matter the size of the matter at hand. In revisionist history, he uses this inclination to keep the story under a very entertaining microscope. In one episode (Season 2, Episode 9), Gladwell gives us the story of the McDonald & # 39; s fries and contrasts his lawsuit for the now-extinct OG fries with American obsessions. In another (Season 1, Episode 7) he explains the story of Leonard Cohen's widely covered song "Hallelujah" and uses its origins to juxtapose different styles of creative genius. With five seasons and count, you have hours of enlightenment at your disposal.

Bill Gates & Rashida Jones ask big questions

Logo of Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Post the podcast

The best of documentary storytelling leaves the audience with more questions than answers – and that is exactly what this show does. With playful jokes and concise, detailed contributions from experts, Gates and Jones unpack topics like climate change, why we believe what we are doing, and what a post-COVID-19 world might look like. What's especially impressive (given the weighty subject matter) is how the show manages to deliver a punch while also providing lingering takeaways for the audience. These are the questions most of us are asking ourselves right now, and we must study them carefully if we are to ensure that humanity is advancing positively. This show is a great place to start.

Dare to lead with Brené Brown

Dare to Lead Podcast logo

This podcast was released last September and is based on Brené Brown's bestselling Dare to Lead. In the podcast, she tackles big, difficult topics and treats them all with grace and ease. She asks her guests questions in such an outspoken but personable way (which every podcast host should aim for!) That leads to her guests offering vulnerable answers. Many of the guests are people who directly influenced or shaped Brené as a person, including Barack Obama, Guy Raz, and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham. So it doesn't just attract well-known guests just to download.

Creative elements

Creative Elements podcast logo

In this podcast, host Jay Clouse (SPI Media's new Community Experience Director!) Does an incredible job of meeting the listener in a place where many want to be – at the intersection of creative passion and business. He talks to well-known guests about how they got to where they are and about the work that goes into it, and somehow makes it achievable. We love how honest the conversations are and how relaxed Jay is both guest and listener. Episodes with Seth Godin and Matt D & # 39; Avella are some of our favorites.

Reply All

Logo of Gimlet & # 39; s Reply All Podcast

This podcast is a gem! The show is moderated by PJ Vogt, Alex Goldman and Emmanuel Dzotsi and shows stories about how people shape the internet and how the internet shapes people. Called a "Podcast on the Internet," it covers a wide range of topics, including stories about Bitcoin, the perfect crime, and the science of happiness. One of our favorite 2020 episodes is called “The Case of the Missing Hit,” and it's about a man who tries to track down a song from his youth that's stuck in his head but can't find a trace of it anywhere online. A wild goose hunt ensues and it's an interesting and fun ride!

The Anthropocene reviewed

Logo of the Anthropocene. Reviewed podcast

If you're interested in taking a fresh approach to the format of your podcast, this is a must do. It's partly a history podcast, partly an autobiographical essay. The novelist John Green takes a well-known format, five-star reviews, and applies it to "elements of the human-centered planet". This means almost everything is on the table, from hot dog eating contests to playing Monopoly to staph infections. Be ready to cry no matter how hard you think you are. The early episode "Googling Strangers and Kentucky Bluegrass" is a heartbreaking must-see. This podcast makes us think deeply about the format and wonder how we can take something simple – a history podcast – and create a whole new setting.

The good place: the podcast

The Good Place logo: The Podcast

This is the companion podcast to NBC's The Good Place show and packed with surprisingly relevant lessons for business owners. One caveat: this is a TV show where spoilers totally ruin the fun, so be sure to watch the show first. In each episode, host Marc Evan Jackson interviews a cast member and a crew member on an episode of the show. There's a great behind-the-scenes look at show production, which in turn gives great insight into managing creative teams of people. Creator and showrunner Michael Schur creates a dramatic workplace where people who are good at their jobs can do what they're good at. The best idea wins, no matter who proposes it. In the interviews from four seasons, you will learn how his leadership style affects the workplace and the product of his team.

How is the work?

Logo of Gimlets How & # 39; s Work? Podcast

Esther Perel is a renowned psychotherapist known for her work providing advice to couples through infidelity. In this podcast, however, she advises business partners through one-time sessions. These partnerships are diverse: once close friends who co-founded a communications company but become estranged, a mother and son who work together in their mother's real estate business, and a former boss and employee who form an equal partnership. Listening to Esther always triggers deep self-reflection. On a note, this podcast is about adult topics and some episodes may not be suitable for the youngest entrepreneurs in our audience.

About being

On Being Podcast logo

In this podcast, presenter Krista Tippet asks the deep questions in life. What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? The podcast explores the "intersection between spiritual research, science, social healing, community, poetry and art". Tippet is one of the best interviewers, and podcasters can learn from her how to get compelling responses from guests. And when we speak of their guests, they are a collection of interesting and intelligent people, including poets, monks, scientists, activists, politicians, writers and more. Some of our favorite episodes are her recent interview with Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and one with poet Gregory Orr about how language shapes our grief.

Through line

NPR's Throughline podcast logo

This NPR-produced podcast goes back in time to connect the past with the present. For example, a recent episode, "The Dark Side of the Moon," covers the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing and then goes back in time to tell the story of how several of NASA's original engineers and scientists were former Nazis who came from NASA were recruited after WW2. Another episode, Bananas, is about how the banana – an exotic tropical fruit – became commonplace and a staple of the American diet thanks to a Brooklyn-born entrepreneur.

Be sure to check out the blog for future podcasting summaries to keep up with our recommendations! And if these podcasts inspire you to start your own podcast, be sure to check out our free webinar below.

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Podcasting the smart way

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