We all know where to find leadership lingo and self-help jargon touting success stories and DIY entrepreneurship. But in this age, we need a little more. We need perspectives, diversity, and texture. We need inspiration, conversation, and curiosity. We need hope, humanity, and so much more hearing and listening to revolutionize our entrepreneurial hustles.
Here’s a rather unconventional guide to the best podcasts for entrepreneurs.
Some of these podcasts you may already know. Others may be completely new to you. But give them a chance. Expand your range, and you may find something you needed, or just something that makes you smile.
Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on humanity
Something Short and Sweet
The Podcast: Kind World
Kind World is a quick, intimate look at the ways human kindness can change the life of another. Typically running from six to eight minutes per episode, each story will leave you smiling, ready to take on any challenge in your day.
The Effect: Believe in humanity. Believe that even the smallest act of generosity can change a person’s life.
- Ep. 36, When the Sun Came Out—It’s like Up in real life, but better, sans flying house.
- Ep. 28 The Judge and The Jail—PTSD, perspective and twelve hours that drastically changed a soldier’s life.
The Big Questions of Meaning
The Podcast: On Being with Krista Tippett
On Being with Krista Tippett centers around the questions, “What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?” Inviting world leaders, renown authors and poets, scientists and beyond, Krista Tippett asks about spirituality, experience, and the human condition.
On Being is also the home of The Civil Conversations Project, that strives to bridge the generational, socioeconomic, political, and religious boundaries that may divide communities.
The Effect: Ponder the nature of language and humanity as you listen to some of the most respected leaders in the world vulnerably share their hopes, fears, and lessons learned.
- Anil Dash and Tech’s Moral Reckoning
- Naomi Shihab Nye and Your Life is a Poem
- Alain De Botton and The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships
- Maria Popova, Cartographer of the Mind in a Digital Age
Behind the Lens
The Podcast: Off Camera with Sam Jones
Celebrity photographer Sam Jones sits down with some of Hollywood’s most famous actors, writers, artists, and more to have candid conversations around their background, craft, and what’s really happening behind the scenes.
Off Camera is also a magazine and tv show, where listeners can watch the interviews or take an editorial look at the very artists they’re listening to.
The Effect: Gain intimate insight into the lives of talent in the spotlight as Jones casually and intimately talks with guests as they are, human.
- Ep. 41 Olivia Wilde—Wilde talks underappreciation and working toward more authentic and human work.
- Ep. 31 Zach Braff—Braff digs into the ways he experimented and pursued his dreams, despite setbacks.
Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on work
Success Never Just Was, But Built
The Podcast: How I Built This
Simply put, Guy Raz, the host of The Ted Radio Hour, talks with the founders of major companies that we all know, about their not-so-simple journeys.
The Effect: Success and growth is a magical mixture of grit, endurance, and yes, luck.
- Spanx and Sara Blakely—An unrelenting belief in a solution resulted in an empire.
- Airbnb: Joe Gebbia—How Airbnb went from a project to pay rent to making sleeping in a stranger’s home normal.
- Southwest Airlines: Herb Kelleher—Southwest took on an industry and filled in the gaps with the motto of acting small, no matter how large the company grew.
Startups Like You’ve Never Heard Them
The Podcast: Startup
Startup gives listeners a look at what happens behind the scenes of companies you know and love, and some you don’t. With earlier episodes focusing on their own startup, Gimlet Media, this podcast candidly looks at subjects ranging from why startups can fail to what everyone thinks of the boss.
The Effect: Take note of cautionary tales. Engage in first-person accounts of news you may have heard. Remember that by nature, startups are made to fail or succeed, multiple times.
- Part I: Labels—A seven-part journey following former CEO of American Apparel, Dov Charney, a leader of many scandals. Discover what happened from the man himself to what comes for him and his new company.
- Shadowed Qualities—As Gimlet Media grows, co-founder Alex Blumberg asks employees for feedback on his performance. The result reveals an unexpected effect he has on his team.
Slack’s Got Your Back
The Podcast: The Slack Variety Pack
Slack is with you everyday, on your phone, tablet, and computer. The Slack Variety Pack is in the mix of it all, covering stories surrounding, well, work. In half-hour “packs,” listen to stories relatable and ridiculous on your next coffee break. Also, check out their new podcast on the meaning of work, Work in Progress.
The Effect: The workplace is suddenly a playground of ideas, stories, and amazing people. Look around, and let your curiosity guide you.
- Ep. 23 Meet Pack—Know everyone at work? Ever apply principles of design to the way you live your life? Just work or co-work?
- Ep. 24 The Little Things Pack—Ponder the power of commas, texts, and numbers, and how they can change everything.
The Oprah of Audio
The Podcast: The Tim Ferris Show
Tim Ferris interviews top performers and pros in a myriad of fields ranging from business to sports and even the arts. Gain insight into morning routines, exercise habits, favorite tools and more within intimate long-form interviews.
The Effect: Be inspired. Meet your match to every excuse. Listen to an episode, then go get things done.
- Ep. 124 Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories
- Ep. 60 Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare
Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on curiosity
Cracking the Craziness of the Internet
The Podcast: Reply All
Reply All is a podcast that delves into the nooks and crannies of the internet. From finding the stories behind viral memes to digging into hackers and phishing schemes. This podcast explores the questions that you didn’t even knew you had about this weird thing called the web.
The Effect: Understand what actually happens when you click on certain links or what that cryptic tweet means. Basically get to know a whole bunch of essential non-essential internet happenings and the stories around them. Plus, PJ’s laugh is one of the best things you’ll ever hear.
- Ep. 91 The Russian Passenger What’s going on when a person in Russia is using your Uber account.
- Ep. 79 Boy in Photo Who’s Wayne, and why is the internet obsessed with this unknown guy? Reply All finds out, and trust us, you’ll be surprised.
I was wondering about that…
The Podcast: Hidden Brain
Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain looks into the patterns that shape and surround human behavior. If you’ve ever thought, why do we do that? Hidden Brain might have the answer.
The Effect: Take a second look at things you do over and over. Or even, the habits that other people perform over and over. You may start to understand yourself a little bit better.
- What Our Google Searches Reveal About Who We Really Are
- When It Comes To Our Lives On Social Media, ‘There’s Always Another Story’
Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on design
The Faces Behind the Curtain
The Podcast: Design Matters with Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman, one of the most well-known and influential designers of our time (with a laundry list of credits as teacher, author, and more), sat down with at first, other designers, but now she also talks with authors, activists, graphic novelists and other artists to discuss personal journeys and the creative culture at large.
The Effect: Inspiration is everyone, and so are the great leaders and makers of tomorrow. Keep going. And keep listening. We can only get better learning from our heroes.
- Eric Zimmer Lessons and tech entrepreneurship.
- Simon Sinek Leadership and sacrifices.
- Sarah Jones Identity and cultivating compassion.
- Seth Godin Disconnecting from fear and making something that matters.
The Unseen Mind
The Podcast: 99% Invisible
99% Invisible is all about what goes into the thought of something, the design of the design.
The Effect: Look at the buildings, products, and systems around you, thinking, that took thought. That was made. That was first an idea. Does it work, and what does it mean?
- Ep. 110 Structural Integrity A 59-story building almost took out the entire Manhattan skyline. An oversight and a phone call to save the building from fall.
- Ep. 251 Negative Space: Logo Design with Michael Bierut Iconic logos and the age of social media with public scrutiny over design.
Open your ears
The beauty of a podcast is in it’s humanity. Just like how diversity and variety challenge us, expand our perspectives and make things a whole lot more interesting, so does changing up your listening routine.
Like art? Listen to a science program. Like cooking? Listen to a mystery show. Struggling with this, that, and those people over there? Listen to entrepreneurs, actors, physicists, theologians, children, and more. You may find that you have more in common than you thought.
And if you don’t, well, let the difference add layers of understanding to your entrepreneurial day-to-day. Listen on, folks!
What’s your favorite podcast and why? Let us know in the comments!
This article was written by Gina Yu. Gina is a freelance storyteller, moonlighting as a Creative Director for a local agency, and a consultant to small businesses and dreamy individuals. Find her waxing poetic about coffee or obsessing over patterns (textural, cultural, social, delectable or otherwise).