I listened to over 70 hours of podcasts in 2017 from about a dozen different podcasts (many of which I only listened to once). I spent far more time reading books than any other medium for entertainment or enlightenment, but I also found that not having a great (read: simple and effective) app after switching to Android made me far less likely to listen to a podcast. My favorite listens from the year tread some familiar territory with a few new people and concepts coming on my radar. Many of these I could (and did) listen to more than once.
People I'd most like to sit down for a pot of pu erh with:
I first heard Jimmy Chin on Tim Ferriss's podcast when Meru was coming out and he has since become one of my favorite people to follow out in the world. This interview on the MindBodyGreen podcast pushes Jimmy toward "yoda-like" status with incredibly thoughtful and thought provoking material.
I have also heard Naval Ravikant speak on several occasions, but this podcast on the Knowledge Project is one for all time—I have listened to it several times already, as I went through surgery and then months of complications and trips to Stanford.
My favorite stories
Naveen Jain is making the rounds talking about his latest company Viome, but this talk on the Bulletproof Podcast really allows his philosophy in business and solving big problems to come out, which reminded me of Elon Musk and Richard Branson, two people who's biographies I enjoyed this year.
File Phil Keoghan under one of the most interesting people you may never had noticed if you just saw him on The Amazing Race. I am still obsessed with the idea of his project, Le Ride, wherein he rode (and filmed) a Tour de France route from 1928 on a single speed bike (right up my alley). I somehow missed a screening of the film here in Santa Cruz and wish it were just available to buy already.
It should surprise no one that Tim Ferriss continues to put out some of the best content in the world on discovering how people tick. With Stewart Copeland we were treated to a fantastic dive into one of the world's most interesting musicians and one of the most powerful rock bands of all time, The Police. Incidentally, listening to this led me to discover that the original Police albums are some of the best music to ride your bike up Highway 1 to.
Podcasts that upgraded my brain:
Neurohacker Collective is doing some of the most interesting work in biohacking and human perfomance right now with their product, Qualia, and their recently developed podcast is pound for pound the most satisfying intellectually of any podcast I listen to. If they could figure out how to do better audio (no breathing and mouth noises), this would be my favorite podcast. This talk about creativity with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman is so mind blowing I had to pull over, listen, re-listen and then re-listen and then take notes to take it all in.
The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency with Nick Szabo, Naval Ravikant and Tim Ferriss could be the most informative podcast of all time. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are some of the most misunderstood and complex topics out there and despite being nearly three hours long, this trio manage to make an utterly fascinating discussion for all levels of listeners.
Podcasts that could change your life
Ketogenic talk took over the world of health and biohacking in 2017. Despite having been largely ketogenic for a couple of years, my own application and understanding got a big upgrade this year, in no small part due to a book called The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. On this podcast with the IHMC in Florida, Jeff Volek goes into all things ketogenic and touches on a bold goal to really impact type 2 diabetes.
One of my other favorite books for health this year was The Telomere Effect by Dr. Elissa Epel and Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn. On this podcast with Dave Asprey of Bulletproof, Epel gets into telomeres and what she and her partner (a Nobel Prize winner for her work in discovering telemerase) have learned about resiliency at a cellular level.
Wherein Ben Greenfield tries to hang on to his core audience by trying not to be too "woo woo" with QiGong master Robert Peng. The most incredible part of this story, however, is my own:
A couple of days after listening to this podcast I was sitting at my most frequented haunt, Hidden Peak Tea House in Santa Cruz, with some friends and there was a table across from us where I heard a Chinese man speaking with his table companions, facing away from me. I instantly recognized Robert's voice from Ben's podcast and tried to convince my friends that I knew who he was. When his group got up to leave, I approached him and asked if he was, in fact, Master Peng, which he confirmed! He was amazed that I had recognized him solely from hearing him speak a single time and he was in the area from his home in New York teaching at a facility near by. I have since read his book, Master Key, and have integrated some qigong into my daily practice.