I’ve recently become quite a big fan of podcasts, and I think they more or less represent a better take on audiobooks. They are convenient and, if well-curated, expose listeners to a wide range of intelligent people who get together and discuss issues both pressing and esoteric. Given that each podcast features different personalities and content, picking one is largely a matter of personal taste. Nevertheless, I felt it might be interesting to list the podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis.
1. Conversations with Tyler (by Tyler Cowen) – Tyler Cowen is perhaps the thinker I follow most closely online. His blog, Marginal Revolution, is consistently fantastic, and his podcast series is no different. Tyler is an economist by training, and this somewhat informs the kind of people he invites on. Yet, Conversations is far more than an economics podcast, as it has featured guests ranging from philosophers to public intellectuals to even tennis players. What really sets Tyler apart is how wide-read and thorough he is. He makes a concerted effort to dive deep into someone’s work and career, and the result is a set of conversations that are more novel and penetrating than just about anything else you can find online.
2. Trade Talks (by Chad Bown and Soumaya Keynes) – This is an exclusively economics-focused podcast that, unsurprisingly, focuses on international trade. Both Chad and Soumaya are pretty much in the policy mainstream regarding trade, so if you are a big protectionist, you should expect to be challenged. Despite their economic centrism, Chad and Soumaya always find interesting topics that make their shows informative and usually quite topical. For example, a recent show discussed the policy minutiae involved in Trump’s tariffs. Trade Talks are also relatively short in length, which makes them ideal to listen to while working out.
3. Macro Musings (by David Beckworth) – Another interesting podcast primarily focused on monetary economics. I’ll admit that sometimes Musings gets a tad too far into the economic weeds for a non-economist like myself. Nevertheless, there is a huge diversity of topics covered, ranging from traditional monetary economics to economic history to immigration and labor economics. Moreover, the conversations are nice and meaty, making this podcast ideal for a long drive.
4. CER Podcast (by many people, but primarily Sophia Besch) – CER is one of my all-time favorite think tanks, and Sophia Besch is one of my all-time favorite thinkers and writers on EU defense. Thus, a podcast that combines both is immediately appealing to me. As you may have already guessed, the podcasts tend to broadly cover EU politics with an emphasis on defense and security issues. However, the topics discussed tend to vary quite a bit, and there is a massive number of contributing voices, making each podcast consistently novel and enlightening.
5. Rationally Speaking (by Julia Galef) – I just discovered this podcast series, so I cannot yet comment too authoritatively on it. Just skimming the archives, though, I have already found many interesting episodes worth exploring, including ones with Bryan Caplan, Michael Webb, and Hans Noel. I’m already a fan of Julia, as she is a great thinker who tackles interesting issues like Bayesian updating, rationality, and the philosophy of science. I’m therefore more than comfortable recommending her podcast series despite having only recently become a listener.
I hope you check out some of these podcasts, and please feel free to comment your favorite podcast series below. I’m always looking for new things to listen to during my downtime!