Year 2020, in Podcasts


Last year podcasts opened doors to me. I got deeper into meditation, spirituality, and language. They gave me new tools to live life, and then, to cope with 2020.

The takeaway from all the top podcasts in 2020 was “inevitability.” History is repeating itself. This saying is glib, but it is true, and very sad. The horror stories of the Second World War, or the diplomatic nightmares from Samantha Power, or the corruption of the police in Chicago, and how we coped with politics and COVID-19, were repeats of the past, and would be repeated again in the future. The world was fundamentally chaotic and messed up.

There was one thing that the top podcasts in 2020 culminated. No, it was not hope. If anything, I have wandered further away from hope. The podcasters who told these stories were humans that decided to do something about these situations.

Perhaps they were driven by some lofty goals. To me, they reminded me that regardless of what might happen, what had happened, the only thing that would make the situation less useless, is to do something about it. Write a post, do some research, learn something, tell some stories.

Every time I struggled, when I managed to pull myself to do something about it, it always seemed to move on sooner, or at least my perception of time changed, or maybe because of the busyness, maybe because my brain had less time to ruminate, maybe doing something was my essential oil, maybe inevitably, life goes on, we all move forward.

Tools, Patterns, โœš, โˆ’:

  • This year I started using the Breaker app because of its social features, which helped me discover episodes.
  • Because of all the things that happened in 2020, I spent more time keeping up with current news, from COVID-19 to the US presidential elections, by listening to shows such as The Daily and the FiveThirtyEight Politics.
  • I subscribed to shows from both sides of the aisle, trying to get a sense of how the US looked at the world. E.g. Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Andrew Sullivan, Rachel Maddow.
  • I spent less time on video games, meditation/buddism, and tech podcasts. These podcasts fell out of the rotation: Nintendo Voice Chat, Tesla Daily/Techmeme ride home, Daring Fireball, 10% Happier, On Beingโ€ฆ
  • I put more time into psychology, added crypto, and went on a binge on coaching.
  • I struggled to stick to podcasts hosted by female. I tried. I won’t stop, but I wonder why. Was it because of the way they talked? Was it because of the topics? Podcasts pulled me into my own bubble. They were powerful and difficult to fend off. I need to approach this differently. I don’t know how yet.

Stats at a Glance:

21: podcasts I listen to regularly

4: Hosted/co-hosted by a Female

5: Outside of USA

Top topics: Psychology, Culture

Meaningless stat: 168- # of shows I subscribe toโ€ฆ

Podcasts I listened to Regularly:

North Star Podcast by David Perell
Tim Ferriss Show
Exponet by Ben Thompson
Distributed with Matt Mullenweg
The Critical Path
Conversation with Tyler
The Pomp Podcast by Anthony Pompliano
The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman
Rebel Wisdom
Reveal by Gong
Sway by a Kara Swisher
Modern Wisdom by Chris Williamson
Making Sense with Sam Harris
The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish
The Jim Rutt Show
Hidden Brain
Happy Place by Fearne Cotton
Fresh Air
Freakanomics Radio

Top Episodes in 2020:

๐Ÿš“ Reparations For Police Brutality

@ Planet Money
It was so brutal. It was about torture. I am warning you.

๐Ÿ’ฃ Bombs-Away LeMay

@ Revisionist History
Malcolm Gladwell dove into World War 2 and created a 4 parts series on bombing. It was terrifying, incomprehensible, and brilliant. It’s sad that this actually happened. It’s even more sad that inevitably this will likely happen again.

๐Ÿงจ The ‘Hiroshima Cover-Up’ & The Journalist Who Exposed The Truth

@ Fresh Air
They tried to cover up the nuclear bombings of Japan. It wasn’t impossible to imagine it happening, but it was still difficult to know that the cover-up actually happened, at such scale, for such reasons.

๐ŸŒ Peter Zeihan Explains The Geopolitical Landscape

@ The Pomp Podcast
Zeihan painted all the possible end of world scenarios out there. We are fucked.

โ‡ Why QAnon Is Important

@ Fresh Air
Two things- One, Humans are fucked. Two, I cannot assume that I will never be one of them.
(Another podcast on the same topic: The World According to Q-

๐Ÿ˜ฑThe Horrors Of Auschwitz

@ Fresh Air
Interviews with Auschwitz survivors. I thought “we must have learned from this horrible part of our history,” then QAnon and the CCP brought me back to reality.

๐ŸงฒEzra Klein and Krista Tippett

@ On Being
One explanation on why we are so polarised, how things are so much harder to change, how technology is escalating everything, how we are more individual and nationalistic at the same time.
Oh, have I already said we are fucked?

๐Ÿ’ŠKatherine Eban and the prevalence of fraud in generic drug manufacturing

@ The Peter Attia Drive
Yep. We are fucked. The scale of this scam was depressing.

Ok, let’s try to bring some hope back

๐Ÿ”จAll of Cool Tools Podcast

They got me through home workouts. I got so much from them- books, super glues, my virtual assistant. I love the hosts, Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder. They love life, and have so much fun geeking out on tools. I think they are the happiest people on Earth.

๐Ÿง™๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธEsther Perel

@ Design Matter with Debbie Millman
I stole from Esther Perel often, because she had this amazing ability to put words into complex human dynamics. This interview was a classic example of that.

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธAnthony Fauci: From Aristotle to AIDS

@ What it takes
Even though he rejected the effectiveness of masks in the beginning, you couldn’t not feel hopeful when Dr. Fauci was in the house:

๐Ÿฅ‘220: The Anti-Diet | Evelyn Tribole

@ Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
I struggled with food for the longest time. She liberated me โ€ฆ for a second.

๐Ÿ“‹Season 2 of “Against The Rule” by Michael Lewis

He looked into all sorts of coaching, from finance coaches to voice coaches. Be sure to listen to the last episode, and you will remember why Lewis is one of the best story tellers on Earth.

๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸณNick Kokonas on Resurrecting Restaurants, Skin in the Game, and Investing

@ The Tim Ferriss Show
As a restauranteur, Nick got ahead of the pandemic, saved his businesses, created new tools to save many other restaurants, and told a tremendous story of composure, grit, and clear thinking.

โœ๐ŸปAll about Matt Mullenweg

I fell in love with him, the CEO of Automattic (WordPress). He is thoughtful, calm, and approachable. He is big on distributed work. If I ever become famous, I want to be like him.

โšพ๏ธSamantha Power on Learning How to Make a Difference

@ Conversation with Tyler
A former war correspondent and UN ambassador, Samantha Power has had her share of tough assignments. She was a beacon of hope, tact, and resolve, and the way she conveyed these was unique, because of her background.

๐Ÿ„๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธEdge Effect

@ Hidden Brain
The concept was simple – How Diversity Affects Our Creativity. This has become a new fad of mine, and the foundation of how I approached coaching and growth – “edge riding.”

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽจMilton Glaser

@ Good Life Project
I have tried to listen to more artists. Milton Glaser’s chat with Jonathan Fields was the best example of why I should keep listening to them. This was a perfect example of something that “left me changed.”

๐Ÿ•ŽRabbi David Sacks

@ North Star Podcast with David Perell
I knew nothing about Judaism, and David Perell opened my mind to it. Subsequently, I found Sacks’ book on leadership, and it offered a very different take on the idea of leading. I saved way too many quotes from that book.

๐Ÿ˜ŽAndrew Sullivan

@ Making Sense with Sam Harris
Sullivan was the best at describing the Trump issue. He was from the right, which added to the allure. I learned a lot from him, and this interview was particularly good because the two of them bounced off of each other organically and lovingly.

๐Ÿ”ญKevin Kelly: Seeing the Future

@ North Star Podcast with David Perell
Kevin Kelly was a pro-tech optimist for the future. David probed him very well and I felt more hopeful afterwards.

๐Ÿง˜๐ŸปA Good Life – Scott Barry Kaufman

@ Making Sense with Sam Harris
I listen to Scott’s “The Psychology Podcast” so it was especially sweet when he talked to Harris. He geeked out on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and put a scientific spin on the most woo woo topic of all – Transcendence.



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