At Tulane, whenever I’m walking to class, doing homework, or just getting ready for the day, I’m always listening to music. This semester I’m studying abroad in Amsterdam and have starting biking to class every day. But I realized that I had been listening to the same songs over and over, and was looking for something new.
One of my friends mentioned to a group of people that he had been listening to a really fascinating podcast and encouraged us to check it out. He inspired me to find a podcast that piqued my interest, and after a little research, I found a podcast called “Revisionist History,” which is produced by one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell. The episodes are each about 30-45 minutes, which is the perfect length of time to listen to half of an episode on each part of my commute to class. In the podcast, Gladwell tells really unique and specific stories that are in some way overlooked or misunderstood and tries to approach them from a new perspective.
After listening to the first few podcasts, it became a part of my new daily routine. A few days later, I ran into Matthew, a friend and fellow Tulane student outside the building where we both live, and he told me that he was just listening to a new podcast called “Hardcore History” by Dan Carlin. Matthew says he was introduced to this podcast by a friend because of Carlin’s ability to transform historical events into engaging and informative episodes. He told me that “he takes a historical event, like the beginning of World War One, and paints a picture more vividly than any textbook,” and he’s been listening to and learning from it “whenever it’s socially acceptable to be wearing headphones.”
While that podcast is longer than the one I’m listening to, I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends have been finding ones suited to their interests. Another friend of mine told me she had been listening to “Hidden Brain,” which is an NPR production that explores questions regarding patterns and tendencies that guide human behavior and the latent forces that shape our behavior and choices. “Hidden Brain” is an interdisciplinary podcast, hosted by Shankar Vedantam, that blends research in psychology with economics, anthropology, and many other fields to help answer questions about the society we live in.
Despite covering a wide variety of topics, each of these podcasts leaves the listener with new knowledge through their captivating storytelling. Because the host of the podcast can’t rely on visuals and graphics to grasp your attention, they must do so through interesting topics, anecdotes, and interviews that leave you fascinated with something you may not have even known about or considered before. If you want to learn about something new in an accessible and interesting way, you should give one or all of these podcasts a listen!
COVER PHOTO: Miranda Kramer