s a medium, podcasts have grown rapidly in recent years and seen massive success. These days, everyone has a podcast, including all of your favorite celebrities and social media influencers. However, podcasting also gives regular people a platform to discuss topics of interest to them -- and probably (definitely) of interest to many others out there -- without any prior name recognition.
Podcasting began emerging around 2003, and the term itself came to be in 2004. The technology evolved (and is still evolving) over time, and podcasts really became popular around 2005. This is when Apple added a podcast section to the iTunes store, and not long after that radio shows like This American Life began streaming as podcasts. Since then, podcasting has become a prime medium for education, entertainment, and building communities of like-minded people.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about history, different career paths, finances, how to adult, or your favorite reality stars, there’s a podcast for you on this list -- and you’re guaranteed to learn something new!
99% Invisible has made its way onto quite a few 2021 educational podcast roundups. The show focuses on all of the thought and work that goes into the things we never even think about. Design and architecture are at the forefront of this podcast, so if you want to learn more about that, this one’s for you.
Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know covers, well, just about everything you could dream of knowing about, from what you need to know about champagne to all things true crime. They already have 1,400 episodes to choose from, so whatever you want to learn more about, they probably already know about it -- and now you can too!
Ologies with Alie Ward
Calling all science lovers! Ologies with Alie Ward is the place to be. The host Alie Ward is a humorist and science correspondent -- humor and education are basically everything you could ever want in a podcast. As the host she asks “smart people stupid questions,” so if you’ve ever thought a science question was too silly to ask a professional, you’re totally wrong. Someone else has probably asked the same question.
Philosophize This! makes philosophy fun and easy to understand, even if you are a beginner. They cover the philosophers you probably already know like Plato and Aristotle, along with many that you probably don’t know yet -- but you will by the end of just one episode!
They also dive into theories and philosophies about living in a simulation (are we?) or how to win an argument (they take listener questions on this one!). The episodes are typically between 20 and 40 minutes, so they are perfect for bite-sized philosophizing, even if you are a true beginner the first time you tune in.
Have you ever wondered who is in charge of making decisions about the board game Monopoly? Or how someone can turn scrapbooking into a full-time job? Maybe you haven’t, but let’s face it -- there are so many jobs out there that people are doing every single day that we never even think about. We don’t think about all the work that goes into keeping Monopoly relevant after so many years, we just keep playing it without a second thought.
Working is a podcast that interviews people in these roles and highlights unique occupations that we never even think about as potential careers.
1619 is a six-part podcast series that tells the story of when 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. The year was 1619, though the topic is still extremely relevant today, and host Nikole Hannah-Jones examines everything that happened through this podcast.
Every Little Thing
Every Little Thing is another podcast that is determined to answer all of your questions, even the craziest ones. Their motto is “You Ask, We Answer,” whether your question is about Winnie-the-Pooh -- there’s a whole 22-minute episode dedicated to his age -- or if you’re wondering why humans cry. They’re covering, well, every little thing, except nothing is too little to have its very own episode!
You’ll hear from experts in subjects you’ve probably never imagined people actually studying, but also from regular people who have burning questions they need answered. And Every Little Thing answers them, doing all the research for you!
The History Chicks
Interested in expanding your history knowledge? There are tons of history podcasts out there that you can learn a lot from, but The History Chicks is a unique show in that they dive into both real and fictional female figures in history.
Their episodes are only released every two weeks, but there’s already over 100 episodes to choose from, so you won’t be short on fun historical facts for quite some time. If you find yourself wanting to learn even more, the hosts link all of the books, websites, and other resources that they found particularly interesting in regards to each historical figure.
The History Chicks are the real deal and they know what they’re talking about. They have even been finalists in the Education Podcast Category at the People’s Choice Awards seven times!
Lore is a historical podcast that’s a little darker than your average history lesson. Their slogan is “Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction,” and they are committed to delivering the spookiest retelling of history around. The show is award winning, and it’s also a TV show and a book series.
Cabinet of Curiosities
If Lore sparks your interest, then so will the Cabinet of Curiosities podcast. It’s actually hosted by Aaron Mahnke, who also hosts Lore. Twice a week he offers a guided tour of the “cabinet,” with much more snackable episodes that are only around ten minutes long.
If you weren’t able to hold your own in a recent conversation about GameStop and stocks, you are not alone. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to learn and plenty of resources to teach you, including Planet Money.
Planet Money is a podcast about all things economics, but they make it fun. They covered the GameStop stock saga in a fairly digestible way, even for those who don’t know much about stocks or the economy. If you have any finance-related questions, tune in to Planet Money.
Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV
Ironically, some of the biggest pop culture mysteries revolve around shows that supposedly give us an inside look into celebrities’ “real lives” -- reality television.
How did reality television come to be what it is today? It’s an integral part of pop culture and our everyday lives in general -- the Kardashians and contestants from The Bachelor are in the news daily. The host of the show, Mariah Smith, dives into everything you need to know about reality shows of past and present. So far, the podcast has covered Survivor, The Real Housewives franchise, and a few other shows, with more to come.
The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
Dr. Laurie Santos teaches the most popular class at Yale ever -- yes, ever -- so listeners are guaranteed to learn a lot from the professor, psychologist, and podcaster. The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos is fully research-based and features some inspiring stories about finding happiness woven throughout the series.
The point of the podcast -- and of Dr. Santos’ class at Yale, “Psychology and the Good Life” -- is to use scientific research to learn how to live a happier, more fulfilling life. You’ll learn a lot about the choices you make, and the impact they have on your life.
The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week
The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week is about to teach you the weirdest thing you’ll learn this week. The podcast was actually born out of scrapped fun facts from Popular Science articles. This is your new go-to for weird dinner party fun facts!
We Study Billionaires
Ready to learn everything there is to know about becoming a billionaire? This podcast interviews famous billionaires including Howard Marks and Warren Buffet. The finance expert hosts offer their best tips for investing and handling your own finances!
Almost every subject that you could be curious about falls somewhere on this list. You can listen to all of these podcasts on whatever audio streaming platform you use or on their designated websites. One thing is for sure, though -- you are about to have more fun facts than you know what to do with!