As a busy professional and mom, I find it nearly impossible to carve out
time to read for pleasure, let alone for personal growth.
Thankfully, I’ve discovered that there are other ways to continue learning
that don’t require me to magically invent the 30-hour day.
USA Today, podcasts have quietly become mainstream, and thanks to smartphones they
are easy to listen in the car, on a train, on a plane, while folding
laundry or when working out.
Apple alone boasts more than a billion podcast subscribers on iTunes.
Taking advantage of the significant amount of time I spend alone in the car
and on airplanes, I’ve become addicted to podcasts. Reluctant at first to
give up listening to music on my commute, podcasts have become the norm and
fill the information void, both personally and professionally, that I
experienced for a long time.
The wide variety of podcasts available is like a buffet at which you can
expand your mind and laugh a little too. These snackable bites of
information often run under an hour, and because they’re free, you can
abandon one without guilt if it doesn’t taste good after the first few
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Five podcasts on my plate regularly include:
Accidental Creative. Author and motivational speaker Todd Henry covers a range of topics
including leadership, fostering creative work and enhancing
productivity. His thought-provoking questions are combined with helpful
guidance to be a better leader and collaborator. You get this advice in
short, digestible episodes, which for me is much better than trying to
read it in a book.
Awesome Office. This podcast started by social entrepreneur Sean Kelly also focuses on
leadership, with an emphasis on building a positive and desirable
company culture. Interviews with leaders at companies with positive
reputations, such as The Honest Company, offer strategies and tactics
for creating a more gratifying corporate culture.
NPR’s TED Radio Hour. Host Guy Raz pulls from TED talks given by a variety of interesting
speakers and focuses each show on themes such as “astonishing
inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and
create.” He has expanded conversations with each speaker, taking their
ideas a step further and bringing them to life. My recommended menu
starts out with the Hero’s Journey, followed by the Seven Deadly Sins,
and finishes with a thought-provoking analysis of Maslow’s Human Needs.
NPR’s How I Built This. Guy Raz also hosts this fantastic podcast about “innovators,
entrepreneurs and idealists and the stories behind the movements they
built.” If you’re an entrepreneur, it is hard not to be inspired by the
triumphs, failures, insight and tales of chance shared by the founders
of companies like Warby Parker, Patagonia and Samuel Adams.
The History Chicks. Bad-ass women throughout history motivate me. Beckett Graham and Susan
Vollenweider introduce listeners to historical and fictional female
characters, discussing the challenges, failures, successes, context and
all the juicy bits that they find interesting about the life of the
subject. I prefer the episodes on female rulers, and my favorite piece
of each episode is the media recommendations at the end. Whether
discussing books and movies, historical fiction or biographical
nonfiction, they push you to explore and learn more on your own.
Edison Research, which has continuously studied podcasts since 2005, the “highly targeted
nature of podcasts, combined with the trust that listeners have in their
favorite hosts, provides the ability to gain access to an engaged and
Why? Podcasts are picked by the listener, and thus more relevant to
personal interests than what is heard or seen via channels with a broader,
Interested, but not sure where to start? Type a keyword into the search
function on your podcast player and see what your personal buffet is
Kristin Calandro Tyll is a senior vice president and partner in
Detroit office and leads the firm’s
automotive business. A version of this originally appeared
on the firm’s blog.