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A definitive list of the 35 most interesting podcasts ever made

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THE only reason I’m even half-interesting as a human being is because I listen to an abusive number of interesting podcasts. There’s no way I’d be able to hold down the conversations I do if it weren’t for someone in a home recording studio feeding me lines.

To share the love, we’ve put together the beginnings of a continuously updated list of 35 of the most interesting podcasts of all time.

Are you following us on social media yet? We live here on Twitter and here on Facebook.

35. Say Why To Drugs

Top Interesting Podcasts - Say Why To Drugs

Out of the UK, Say Why To Drugs is a podcast that explores drugs from a deeper, more scientific perspective than what you might get from your stoner friend, Jake. In each episode, host Suzi Gaze profiles a new drug, explaining what it is, why people take it, what the potential positive and negative side-effects of it are, and what myths have surfaced in connection with it over the years.

Say Why To Drugs comes in at number 35 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

34. Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Top Interesting Podcasts — Stuff To Blow Your Mind

From HowStuffWorks.com — the folks who bring us the famed Stuff You Should Know podcast — comes Stuff To Blow Your MindHosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick get together weekly on the show to “examine neurological quandaries, cosmic mysteries, evolutionary marvels and our transhuman future”.

Stuff To Blow Your Mind comes in at number 34 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

33. The New York Public Library Podcast

Top Interesting Podcasts — The New York Public Library Podcast

The New York Public Library Podcast brings together some of America and the world’s most interesting thinkers, artists and educators. From the very witty Nikki Giovani to the dark and broody Nick Cave, in each episode you’re invited to eavesdrop in on a discussion or lecture that will bend your mind and expand your thinking. While not all education podcasts are entertaining, this one certainly is and you’re guaranteed to find a long list of winners in its episode back catalogue.

The New York Public Library Podcast comes in at number 33 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

32. Footnoting History

Top Interesting Podcasts — Footnoting History

From the near assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte on Christmas Eve in 1800 to the Black Widow who killed 11 of her male suitors, Footnoting History is an intriguing collection of non-fiction stories and tidbits told by several investigative hosts. If you’re a storybook enthusiast, you’ll enjoy this diverse  grouping of audible tales, which span dozens of episodes dating back to 2013.

Footnoting History comes in at number 32 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

31. Sodajerker On Songwriting

Top Interesting Podcasts — Sodajerker On Songwriting

If you love music, you’ll dig Sodajerker On Songwriting. Its hosts, Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor, are a songwriting team from Liverpool in the UK who started a podcast to talk to some of the most successful musicians around the world about how they write songs. From Alicia Keys to Cat Stevens to The Lumineers, the pair invite you to listen in on some pretty inspiring chinwags.

Sodajerker On Songwriting comes in at number 31 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

30. Spycast

Top Interesting Podcasts — Spycast

If you have a fascination for all things espionage, Spycast is for you. If you don’t have a fascination for all things espionage, but love a good story, Spycast is for you. Brought to us by the historians at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, host Dr. Houghton gives his listeners a compelling insight into the international spy world, dating back decades. With special guest interviewees from the CIA and other top spy organizations from around the world, each episode is more intriguing than the last, even though for us common folk they often trigger more questions than they answer.

Spycast comes in at number 30 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

29. Radio Diaries

Top Interesting Podcasts — Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary life. The show is a patchwork of genuine human stories, covering all areas of American life and beyond. Incorporating interviews from those at the centre of the events covered, the show often pays homage to the quietest voices with the most resounding accounts of life, unique events that have occurred, and the human relationships that have formed through society’s history.

Radio Diaries comes in at number 29 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

28. Bizarre States

Top Interesting Podcasts — Bizarre States

Bizarre States is where interesting meets funny. Two American hosts — Jessica Chobot and Andrew Bowser  — chat and joke their way through some pretty weird and wonderful topics. From the Legend of The Winchester Mystery House to spontaneous human combustion, no gross and grisly topic is spared from the pair’s dry and relentless wit.

Bizarre States comes in at number 28 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

27. Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

Top Interesting Podcasts — Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen is for the artists reading, the creatives, the culture junkies, and the rogues. Listen with big, gaudy headphones and really play the part. The Peabody award-winning show will feed you your pop culture news and updates and will inevitably have you self-reflecting on how creative you really are.

Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen comes in at number 27 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

26. To the Best of Our Knowledge

Top Interesting Podcasts — To the Best of Our Knowledge

Produced and distributed by the Wisconsin Public Radio, To the Best of Our Knowledge is a riveting podcast that delves into all things science, culture, society, art, personal development and everything in between. From Yosemite rock climbers to the history of psychedelic drugs, each episode delves into a new subject area, with expert guests and interviewees along for the ride.

To the Best of Our Knowledge comes in at number 26 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

25. Witness

Top Interesting Podcasts — Witness

Witness presents “the story of our times told by the people who were there”. Brought to the world by the BBC, a prolific podcasting network, what I loved most about the show is that the episodes are short and punchy. Some BBC podcasts can bore you into desertion, but Witness does a great job of finding genuinely interesting stories to tell, and they don’t beat around the bush. To get a sense for whether you’ll like the show, listen to the episode, Hypnotising Saddam’s Son.

Witness comes in at number 25 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

24. Between the Liner Notes

Top Interesting Podcasts — Between the Liner Notes

In each new episode of his show, Between the Liner Notes host Matthew Billy takes his listeners on a new journey through the history of musicInterviewing guests who played a role in how the music industry and its stars and hits came to be, the show will be all-consuming for anyone with an ear and a heart for music and its nostalgic origin stories.

Between the Liner Notes comes in at number 24 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

23. Smithsonian Sidedoor

Top Interesting Podcasts — Smithsonian Sidedoor

The more I listen to the Smithsonian Sidedoor podcast, the more it grows on me. Produced and released by the Smithsonian Institution, host Tony Cohn delves into the museum’s vast catalogue of over 154 million historical treasures. Interviewing guests who were witness to the events and times he features, he shares the stories of how they came to be.

Smithsonian Sidedoor comes in at number 23 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

22. The Infinite Monkey Cage

Top Interesting Podcasts — The Infinite Monkey Cage

The Infinite Monkey Cage is a radio show that’s been broadcast by the BBC since 2009. Each episode across the 16 seasons has been released as a podcast for the world beyond the UK to enjoy. And enjoy they have. The uniqueness of the show comes from its perfect blend of humor and science, which combine to give you “lol” and “aha!” moments throughout each new instalment.

The Infinite Monkey Cage comes in at number 22 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

21. The Forward with Lance Armstrong

Top Interesting Podcasts — The Forward with Lance Armstrong

If Lance Armstrong as the yellow-jersey-winner isn’t the most divisive figure in sporting history, he’s at least on the podium. In what seems like a concerted effort to re-introduce his personal brand back into the public psyche, he’s entered the podcasting arena with The Forwarda show that sees him interview interesting guests from all walks of public life. This will likely be a polarising inclusion in this list, but if you think you can let Armstrong back into your world, there are quite a few good episodes in the back catalogue.

The Forward with Lance Armstrong comes in at number 21 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

20. The Axe Files with David Axelrod

Top Interesting Podcasts — The Axe Files with David Axelrod

Hosted by David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, The Axe Files is a show dedicated to politics. Interviewing political luminaries and key players in every episode, Axelrod’s goal is to go beyond the “soundbites” of everyday political reporting and become the conduit between the public and the people in charge of the farm.

The Axe Files with David Axelrod comes in at number 20 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

19. Science Vs

Top Interesting Podcasts — Science Vs

From the biggest myths about birth control to the scientific truths and impacts of climate change, Science Vs is a regular science variety show hosted by Wendy Zukerman, in partnership with Gimlet Media. If you want to learn about real-world science that probably affects you, from a millennial host who knows how to unpack and deliver her complex subject matter to a Gen Y/Z audience, give Science Vs a good listening over.

Science Vs comes in at number 19 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

18. 99% Invisible

Top Interesting Podcasts — 99% Invisible

In 99% Invisiblehost Roman Mars takes an interesting topic you’ve probably never thought much about and crams as much information about it as he can into a podcast episode that runs for less than 30 minutes. Focussing on how design is enmeshed with virtually every aspect of our lives, generally without us even noticing it, you’re guaranteed to learn something new in every episode.

99% Invisible comes in at number 18 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

17. Slow Burn

Top Interesting Podcasts — Slow Burn

Produced by Slate and hosted by Leon Neyfakh, Slow Burn goes deep into the story of the Watergate Scandal. Over eight episodes, Neyfakh reports, with 45 years of retrospection, on the unprecedented controversy that brought Richard Nixon, the 37th US President, to his knees. Telling the story in full, with all the key figures in the investigative firing line, Slow Burn is a must-listen for anyone with an interest in the history of US politics.

Slow Burn comes in at number 17 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

16. How to Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black

Top Interesting Podcasts — How to Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black

How to Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black is a show that will teach you how to be amazing. Well, probably not. But if it fails to achieve that, at the very least it will inspire you to try. Billed as a performing arts show, Ian Black interviews a swag of frustratingly successful and inspiring people, from Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, to comedian Amy Schumer with the hopes of unlocking their secrets to being amazing.

How to Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black comes in at number 16 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

15. Invisibilia

Top Interesting Podcasts — Invisibilia

If you’ve listened to a few shows on the NPR network you know they get the podcasting medium more than most, and their top-rated science show, Invisibilia, is no exception. With a mandate to inform and entertain their listeners with hour-long explorations into topics that can equally enlighten and baffle, hosts Hanna Rosin, Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller have much to be proud of. For a taste test, listen to the How to Become Batman episode from 2015.

Invisibilia comes in at number 15 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

14. The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Top Interesting Podcasts — The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe is “the only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span”. From the greatest American athlete of all time to the rebellious origin story of Saint Francis, each vignette runs for about ten minutes and showcases Mike Rowe’s skill for concise, compelling storytelling.

The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe comes in at number 14 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

13. Snap Judgment

Top Interesting Podcasts — Snap Judgment

Snap Judgment is cinematic radio bliss. From WNYC, the makers of the podcasts Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, Note To Self, Here’s The Thing With Alec Baldwin, and more, Snap Judgment combines funky beats and pace-setting backing tracks with real world stories. Each episode invites you into a new world, absorbs you into it, and spits you out at the end. The unique format can become tiresome, but not before you revel in a long list of its episodes.

Snap Judgment comes in at number 13 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

12. The Tim Ferriss Show

Top Interesting Podcasts — The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss is the ultimate independent purveyor of knowledge. With a rolodex of celebrities and influencers thicker than the Oxford English Dictionary, Ferriss brings them all together on the The Tim Ferriss ShowCategorised as an investment show, it’s more an encyclopaedic audio catalogue of real-world advice on how to succeed at life, the Tim Ferriss way.

The Tim Ferriss Show comes in at number 12 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

11. TED Radio Hour

Top Interesting Podcasts — TED Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour is backed by and based on the inspirational video juggernaut, TED. Organising thousands of original TED talks into an amalgamation of common ideas, themes and topics, the podcast is a thrill-ride of education and inspiration. If you love that feeling of your mind being bent, prodded and expanded, you’ll love tuning in here.

TED Radio Hour comes in at number 11 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

10. Freakonomics Radio

Top Interesting Podcasts — Freakonomics Radio

The podcast that explores the hidden side of everything — that’s the tagline for Freakonomics Radiothe podcast spinoff of the much-famed 2005 book, Freakonomics, by rogue economists Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. As podcast hosts, the two authors apply their same unique approach of bringing economic theory to a range of different subject matter, which makes for as compelling listening as it did reading.

Freakonomics Radio comes in at number 10 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

9. On the Media

Top Interesting Podcasts — On the Media

In On the Media, hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield deep-dive into the entanglement that often occurs between the American media, politics and society. Exploring the collision against a backdrop of current affair issues, like Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact on Puerto Rico, each episode lifts the veil on the depth and breadth of the media’s influence.

On the Media comes in at number 9 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

8. Stuff You Should Know

Top Interesting Podcasts — Stuff You Should Know

If Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant don’t each have the best jobs on the planet, they must be in the running for a podium finishHaving pumped out episode upon episode of content for the Stuff You Should Know podcast, they now travel the world entertaining and educating their loyal listeners. SYSK is a never ending catalogue of interesting yarns spun by two regular dudes who read a lot, talk a lot, and teach a lot. There’s not a topic left that they haven’t mulled and bantered over, and your best bet is to trawl through the library and pick out those that interest you most.

Stuff You Should Know comes in at number 8 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

7. The Memory Palace

Top Interesting Podcasts — The Memory Palace

Please, do your mind a favor and treat it to the listening delights of The Memory PalaceEach episode is a short vignette told by Nate DiMeo, an undeniable podcasting talent. With a sound composition that elevates the drama of the stories he tells, DiMeo takes his listeners on a journey into the human stories that shape the past, present and future world we inhabit. The Memory Palace is a deserved place-getter on this list and should be one of the next podcasts you devour.

The Memory Palace comes in at number 7 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

6. Philosophize This!

Top Interesting Podcasts — Philosophize This!

If you’re a philosophy noob who has steered clear of the subject matter for fear of being bored to death, Philosophize This! may just be the podcast to win you over. Told in chronological order through history, host Stephen West does a brilliant job of unpacking some seriously dense topics — from Plato and Aristotle through to Marxism — into short, accessible episodes. With an episode catalogue dating back to 2013, the show is highly rated and has clearly built a strong reputation in the education genre.

Philosophize This! comes in at number 6 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

5. How I Built This

Top Interesting Podcasts — How I Built This

From how Jann Wenner founded and built Rolling Stone into the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll magazine of all time to Sara Blakely’s ingenious invention of Spanx, How I Built This  — another product of the expansive NPR network — hosts some of the most ambitious and successful entrepreneurs of the past half-century and brings us their inspiring stories of empire-building. This is a must-listen show for anyone with an enduring entrepreneurial spirit.

How I Built This comes in at number 5 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

4. Reply All

Top Interesting Podcasts — Reply All

Reply Alla hit podcast released by Gimlet Media, is a pod about the Internet. The show is premised upon seeking to better understand how the Internet impacts people’s lives and vice versa. With such fertile subject matter to tap, the variety of each episode is unique, unexpected and always entertaining.

Reply All comes in at number 4 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

3. Radiolab

Top Interesting Podcasts — Radiolab

Wow. Radiolab is freaking good. The highly rated, two-time Peabody Award-winning radio show, brought to you on all good podcast apps by WNYC Studios, is “designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder”. With that bold tagline for their own show, hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich live up to their reputation as dynamic storytellers and have condensed the practice of captivating an audience down to a fine art.

Radiolab comes in at number 3 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

2. Lore

Top Interesting Podcasts — Lore

“Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction”  — that’s the tagline for Lorea show about the world’s weird and wonderful folklore. Focusing on the mysterious and darker side of our human history, in each new bi-weekly episode host Aaron Mahnke draws his listeners into new and uncharted worlds where, as is promised, the truth turns out to be more frightening than fiction.

Lore comes in at number 2 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

1. Pod Save America

Top Interesting Podcasts — Pod Save America

If you are even remotely interested in American politics, you need to subscribe to this podcast.  Pod Save America is the flagship pod of Crooked Media, a media company created by four ex-Obama White House staffers. Since its release in January 2017, it has already cemented itself as a formidable force in progressive American politics. While certainly left leaning, it’s a reliable source of up-to-date information on American politics and policy that cuts through the constraints of traditional media reporting.

Pod Save America comes in at number 1 as one of our countdown of top interesting podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.

Think we overlooked a super duper interesting podcast?

Hey, we’re not the amalgamation of Mother Theresa and Ghandi. We may, from time to time, accidentally, without really meaning to, miss a podcast or two that really should be included here.

Of course, this is an opinion game and often we’ve listened to every podcast that could make the list, but we’ve just chosen not to include it for reasons that we’ll always defend but never explain.

But if you reckon we’ve missed a doozy here, the simplest way to let us know is search for the podcast in the search field below and hit submit. That’ll shoot off an email, which will hit our inbox in 0.025 seconds from the time you hit the button. We’ll check the email within 86,400 seconds from it hitting our inbox and, if we agree with your opinion, we’ll update the list within 604800 seconds from the time we agree with you.

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