Connection And Conversation: 7 Podcasts To Better Your Life
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Connection And Conversation: 7 Podcasts To Better Your Life

It's free. It's accessible. It's life-changing.

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Connection And Conversation: 7 Podcasts To Better Your Life
Tate Museum

"Radio is how we touch from afar."

- Krista Tippett

Some say that digitization breeds disconnection, but I disagree. Case in point: podcasts. They are like the itunes university of radio and the best news is: you can access hundreds of podcasts right through your smartphone or laptop! I love podcasts. I've listed the top three reasons podcasts are awesome plus seven of my favorites.

1. Strengthens conversation skills, questions and public speaking. Listening to a podcast is a like conversational tutor that talks about substantial things in easily accessible language.

2. Learning! You can learn anything from a podcast. Join in the conversation, be curious and learn something new everyday!

3. Renew Spirit of Humanity. Podcasts will restore your faith in people's ability to create, comfort and connect.The beauty is: it's all SO ACCESSIBLE.

Below, are seven podcasts I have personally listened to that I would recommend to anyone. If you have podcasts you love that you'd suggest, leave a comment!

The Moth. Started in 1997 and now operating in over cities, the Moth is dedicated to bringing people and stories together. All over the US and sometimes the world,they host StorySLAMS where people who attend drop their name in a hat to be randomly chosen to get on up stage and tell a pre-prepared story on a given theme. Themes range from concepts like 'firsts' to 'Motherhood' to 'Almost risky.' These are real people talking about escapades, break-ups, miracles, adventures and so much more with humor, grace and sincerity. I've laughed and cried listening. Check out themoth.org for a full list of their StorySLAM locations, their pitch line and archived episodes. I listen via itunes podcast app and NPR1 app.

TED Radio Hour. Technology, Entertainment, Design is the motto of TED. TED radio hour is a little different from straight TED talks, since they partner with NPR who parse the talk between summary and analysis with Guy Raz. He also interviews the TED speaker of that hour so you get some behind the scenes talk insights too. I've learned things from movie producers, concepts about hierarchy of needs and even the power of confidence. Tune in via the NPR1 app.

Invisibilia. This is another offshoot of NPR. Think of it as TED talks only about the invisible forces and social constructs that undergird our lives. Recently I listened to an episode that focused on one town's view of mental illness and how people with mental illness were treated not as a problem to be fixed, but a fellow human to be cared for. Thought provoking and perspective shifting, Invisibilia might just give you second sight about society and yourself.

Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! This news quiz game show broadcast from the WBEZ in downtown Chicago. Peter Seigel is remarkably funny host who sources local journalists, telephone contestants and one special guest for a hilarious hour of news trivia, witty political commentary and good laughs. It is one of the few shows I've heard that is able to parse the events of the world without cruelty and with sarcasm and hilarity. It is a great way to catch up on the news and makes for some great conversation starters. Laugh along via the NPR1 app.

Desert Island Disks. This is a UK radio show. The premise of the show is simple: you are stranded on a desert island. You get eight discs, each with one song: what would your eight songs be? A special guest each episode is interviewed by Kirsty Young in between playings of the guest's eight songs. It is a fun way to hear different music and a little bit about a special guest. Young has interviewed all kinds of people, British and American from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Sir Michael Caine and Bill Gates. There is also a bonus question at the end of each interview which will be a delight for bibliophiles. I listen via itunes podcast and online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnmr.

New Sounds. Hosted by the WNYC, this podcast curates music from around the world. Whether it is the latest hits from Irish Pop Bands or world orchestras collaborating on symphonies centered on grief, New Sounds is truly an international mix of talent and sound. One thing I really love is that the host, John Schaefer, tells you up front a little bit about each artist and then the music just plays one right after the other without interruption. It makes great background study music. I listen on my laptop via http://www.wnyc.org/shows/newsounds and itunes podcast app.

On Being/ Becoming Wise. Best for last. This is the podcast that made me fall in love with podcasts. Hosted by Peabody award winner Krista Tippett, On Being is all about the conversation on what it means to be human: imagination, beauty, connection, morality and fallibility included. I've listened to talks from Irish Poets, Digital Ethnographers and Brain Surgeons. Krista Tippett is a brilliant interviewer, the show has a splendid blog and is definitely a must if you're looking for something like Socrates in a digital age. Listen via their app, itunes podcast or onbeing.org. Becoming Wise is a shorter version of the podcast with 8-14min excerpts from some of her longer interviews. This podcast has really helped me engage with the world in a more inquisitive, gentler way. I LOVE this show.

Whether you're folding laundry, stuck in traffic or on your own for a meal, tune into a podcast to learn, converse and think. That's all folks! Again, comment with your favorite podcasts: I'd love to hear them!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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