Open Thread: The Best Podcasts for Professionals

the best podcasts for professionalsReaders, which are your favorite podcasts? What do you think are the best podcasts for professionals — the ones you recommend to friends, bosses, and colleagues? Do you think there are any particularly great podcasts for professional women?

It’s been a while since we discussed podcasts for working women (it was the year after Serial‘s first season, in fact!), and because new ones are being created all the time, we thought it was time to post an open thread! And here’s a side topic for our general discussion: Have you noticed that it can be hard to find women-hosted and/or women-centered podcasts? Do you actively seek them out? Do you have some to recommend to other readers? Here’s an interesting (but not surprising) statistic from The Economist: “In America, men host 63 of the top 100 podcasts on their own, while only 13 are hosted by women and the rest by mixed teams. In Britain, 58 of the top 100 podcasts were hosted by men, compared to 12 hosted by women.” By the way, are there any readers out there who make their own podcasts?

Last time we talked about this, these were some of the readers’ favorites:

So, tell us: What are your favorite podcasts lately? Which do you think are the best podcasts for professionals? Do you prefer to listen to podcasts for fun and entertainment, to learn something, to hear political or social commentary or keep up with the news, to get career advice/inspiration, or something else? Which podcasts do you think are underrated or overrated? Do you tend to listen to podcasts while exercising, commuting, cleaning the house, or (if you’re an expert multitasker) while working?

Picture via Stencil.the best podcasts for professionals - picture of a woman with pink headphones


  1. Cornellian :

    Two Dope Queens is great!

    • jumpingjack :

      I came here to say this. Love Two Dope Queens.
      Phoebe has her own podcast – So Many White Guys – that I like even better than Two Dope Queens. She is an exceptionally good interviewer and has great guests.

  2. AnonLondon :

    Fav podcasts:
    Planet Money
    You Must Remember This
    99 Percent Invisible
    Reply All
    Coffee Break French

  3. I listen to podcasts all the time (commuting, working out, cleaning, etc.). None of these are really “for professionals,” but here are a few of my favorites:
    Pod Save America
    Lovett or Leave It
    Planet Money
    How I Built This
    The Sporkful
    Pop Culture Happy Hour
    The Baby-Sitters Club Club
    Revisionist History

  4. I’ve really loved Heather Hubbard’s Hustle and Flow.

    It’s mostly focused on lawyers but I think there are broad applications for all professionals.

    • Me too. And I live in Nashville and know Heather from her practicing law days; she’s the real deal. She’s a very impressive person, and her podcasts are very authentic and valuable.

    • Thanks for this rec! I listened to it and it’s just what I was looking for at this moment.

  5. IP Associate :

    There aren’t really for professionals, but as a professional, there are a few of my favs:
    Freakonomics Radio
    My Favorite Murder
    This American Life
    99% Invisible
    Ted Radio Hour

    • More Perfect (stories behind important Supreme Court cases)
      West Wing Weekly
      How I Built This
      The Daily from the NYT

  6. My Favorite Female-Hosted Podcasts:
    The Mixxed Zone
    2 Dope Queens
    Fresh Air
    Diane Rehm
    Afford Anything
    Hold That Thought

  7. I am an avid fan of podcasts. My tops:

    Modern Love
    What Should I Read Next
    Terrible Thanks for Asking

    And my favorite NPR programs, of course: Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and Fresh Air.

    Could not handle the daily slog through traffic, or walk, without these.

    • I concur with the Modern Love Podcast. If I have learned ONE thing from it, it is that I am NOT the onley one that is NOT totally a sucess in the world of Love. Even though I am a professional lawyer, licensed and in GOOD standing under the lass of the State of New York, it has NOT been smooth sailing for me in the world of love and finding a mate. I want to get a GOOD man to love and marry me in NY City. Men today here in NYC (and I think elsewhere) do “talk the talk”, but as soon as I give them what they want (in bed), they turn out to be losers and “walk away”, rather then “walk the walk”. Dad told me that this is what men do, but I do NOT want to think all men do this. So far, tho, sadly, no man who has gotten what they want has gone on to become my husband. But I remain hopefull that I can find a man soon and have a child. If the HIVE has any specific ideas for me, as a resident ot NYC, please let me know. I need the power of the HIVE behind me now!!! YAY!!!

    • +1 What Should I Read Next. I get so many book recommendations from that show, and Anne has such a soothing voice.

      I feel like my podcast tastes don’t overlap with many people here… some others that I like:

      A Few Things with Claire and Erica (definitely a bit of a hipster, Brooklyn-y vibe)
      Sorta Awesome (girlfriend chat show)
      StartUp (interesting and random business profiles)
      Invisibilia (just recently got into this; interesting exploration of what makes humans tick)

  8. Anonymous :

    Hustle and Flow – Heather Hubbard
    The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes
    Better Off – Jill Schlesinger
    The Art of Charm
    Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

  9. Invisibilia
    Splendid Table
    Car Talk (they’re reruns, RIP, but I just love the Clacker Brothers and it always cracks me up)

  10. Podcasts are for everyone! :

    Podcasts should be for everyone. I listen to:

    On Drugs
    Modern Love
    The Moth
    Stuff You Missed in History Class
    Your Move with Andy Stanley
    Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope
    Death Sex and Money

  11. D. Meagle :

    Not necessarily for professionals, but:

    The History Chicks
    Women Rule
    You Must Remember This

    • Seventh Sister :

      I love You Must Remember This! I’m usually not all that interested in Old Hollywood stories, but she really makes it interesting.

      I also listen to (mostly movie-related/adjacent) – The Treatment, The Business, Indiewire: Screen Talk, and (controversial) the Bret Easton Ellis podcast. I fundamentally disagree with pretty much all of his opinions, but he gets some pretty interesting interviews.

      The Daily and the Breakthrough are good for short news bursts (all I can stand right now).

      • Seventh Sister :

        I’m a law-type person, but I don’t really listen to a lot of law-related podcasts.

  12. Diana Barry :

    I don’t get podcasts. I don’t know how to access them and I’d much rather be listening to music. I also hate talk radio (except maybe Car Talk bc it was funny) and books on tape, so there’s that.

    • If you ever do decide that you want to start listening to podcasts, Young House Love (weirdly) has a really great page on how to get started. I suspect because most of their readership is not the most tech-savvy. It obviously uses their podcast as an example, but the instructions would be the same for any other.

    • anonlawyer :

      you literally just go to the app that comes on all iphones called “podcasts” and then search for what you want. i just search top charts.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I am with you on the “I don’t get podcasts” point. It makes me feel not very intellectual, but they just don’t keep my attention at best or I find them annoying at worst.

      • Anonymous :

        I find that my friends who listen to a lot of NPR listen to the most podcasts. NPR has a ton of different types of shows, not all are news, and many are very good and great background listening. I don’t consider this the same as AM Talk Radio, which is a nightmare and what I think of when I see the phrase “talk radio”.

    • I’m the same way. Also *loathe* talk radio, so there’s that.
      Anyone on here who hates talk radio but likes podcasts?

      • Anonymous :

        What do you mean by “talk radio”. All radio where people are talking? Or those awful 2-4 hours of people ranting/call in/political shows full of commercials?

    • Anonymous :

      I’m with you. I hate listening to random people lecturing me. Listening to interviews is only marginally better. I would rather read the same articles or interviews than listen to them.

      I reserve podcasts for road trips where I am not driving and the driver and I have different musical taste. And then I usually fall asleep.

  13. Deckled Edges :

    The Broad Experience – a podcast about women in the workplace. Highly recommend.

    • AnonConsultant :

      Second this! I really enjoy the different perspectives she seeks to share, and it provides more realistic suggestions than the typical “inspirational” podcast

    • The Broad Experience is amazing!

  14. Anonymous :

    I asked my husband if he would mind if we rescheduled a dinner date we had planned for this Saturday to next Saturday if I decided to take a day trip with a few friends (something I never do). No plans had been made yet for the day trip – it was just being talked about – and I asked my husband if he would want to go, too. His response: “Just go on your day trip. I don’t want to go to dinner now,” and he won’t respond at all.

    I feel like he is constantly taking things I say the wrong way and then punishing me for it. I’ve told him this, but it continues. I feel like I’m always apologizing for something I said that I didn’t mean to upset him. Any advice on how to handle these type of reactions?

    • Well, you did tell him that you wanted to cancel plans with him because something better came up. If I were your husband I’d be miffed, too. That said, the silent treatment is a pretty immature response.

      • Eh, I feel like plans with spouses can be fluid, since you live with them and presumably already spend time them with them every day. However — if you as a couple really need a date night, or the dinner has been planned for a while, or it’s marking a special occasion, I agree with prioritizing your husband over your friends. But if it was a run of the mill “do you want to try that new place Saturday?” type of plan, there is flexibility.

        Was this discussion held in person, or over email (only asking because the way you positioned his response made it seem like a text or email)? Your husband seems like a sensitive guy and electronic messages lose the tone/context, so maybe these are better things to broach in person. I would say the way to handle is to have a broader conversation with him about what’s really going on, and trying to get to a place where you each can communicate what you really feel (eg, encouraging him to say “actually I do mind,” and you respecting that, rather than shutting down).

        • Anonymous :

          It was just a let’s try a new place type of plan that we had just made a few days ago. I also can’t remember the last time I ever rescheduled or canceled plans with him, and we spend almost every Friday and Saturday night together.

          It was over text, but I agree, I should have called or done it in person. I really didn’t think he would mind. Thank you for the advice.

        • Anonymous :

          I need more information before I decide how I come down on this.

          Is this a special occasion date? Have you been trying to plan a dinner date but it’s been hard due to scheduling? Have there been instances in the past where you have asked to reschedule date nights based on plans with your friends?

          I also would say that text was not really the appropriate method to ask this especially if he has gotten upset by things you’ve said in the past (rightly or wrongly).

    • Anonymous :

      That’s pretty immature of him. No idea how to handle it other than to basically tell him what you’ve said here – that he seems to view your actions negatively and then punishes you for it instead of talking about how he feels, which is not a healthy dynamic.

    • I think something you do upsets him, that there is a pattern in your marriage he is unhappy about, and he is responding to that inarticulately and at inopportune (and unproductive) times.

      Arguments are rarely about what they appear to be about. For example, if my husband tried to reschedule date night, it shouldn’t be a big deal, BUT he works so hard that date nights are carefully negotiated. I might (hey, I’m not perfect) huff and roll my eyes and passively aggressively say “Fine, if you want to spend time with your friends, fine.” And then stomp off. What I actually MEAN is “I was looking forward to spending time with you, and your time is in short supply. My feelings are hurt that you are choosing your friends over me. I think you do this all the time. Are you really going to reschedule date night with me? Why did it take you so long to agree to this one? Are you not attracted to me anymore? Why don’t we have s*x as often as we used to?” I am getting better at saying what I really mean, but that’s because I have a therapist who helps me do that. I bet your husband doesn’t.

      So … what is your husband actually trying to say? What is the common thread under the “things he’s taking the wrong way”?

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to this. I want and like to spend time with my bf, so when things come up that he agrees to because he is a people pleaser on nights we have made plans, even rough plans, I get upset. Now, it’s only happened twice, he agrees with my position,I try to handle it as maturely as possible and am always open about my feelings. He also has listened to my advice on how he can better handle these situations moving forward. It’s absolutely about me being super sad that I either don’t get my time with him or have to share my time with him because he works so much that it’s hard to find time to spend together and I feel like he has chosen my friends over me when in his head he is trying to make everyone happy and it’s not about whether he is choosing one over the other.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      As a spouse who you presumably live with, his response seems bizarre. Unless it was some special dinner, what is the BFD?

      “I feel like he is constantly taking things I say the wrong way and then punishing me for it.”

      This statement is was a giant red flag to me. Spouses really shouldn’t be “punishing” each other, particularly for not saying something in a less than optimal way. If this is a pattern of behavior, it could point to emotional abuse/manipulation. Picking at a partner’s words and chastising behavior are signs.

  15. I really like Econ Talk. The host Russ Roberts is pretty libertarian for my tastes, but he’s a great interviewer.

    • +1

      He’s a little libertarian for me too, but he also generally acknowledges his bias and respects and takes seriously other points of view, which I very much appreciate.

  16. The Presidential podcast on the Washington Post is great and hosted by a woman. She just started a spinoff called Constitutional.

  17. Some of these are repeats from above, but here’s my list of regular listens:

    With Friends Like These
    The Alton Browncast
    Pod Save America
    NYT The Daily
    Pod Save the World
    Lovett or Leave It
    Tara and Johnny

    Yes, half of those are Crooked Media. Fight me :)

  18. Lots to Learn :

    I love Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History series. So much so I’m getting ready to buy the entire archive of shows for $69.

  19. Moderation ate my full list, but I wanted to add that the podcast With Friends Like these (hosted by Ana Marie Cox) is especially great. The focus is on how to interact with people you disagree with politically while the country becoming increasingly polarized. She interviews people from a variety of areas of expertise and asks them to share perspectives on how to engage with those on the opposite end of the political spectrum.

  20. Anonymous :

    In addition to several listed above
    The Hillarious World of Depression (I have several “me too!” moments when I’m listening.
    Ask a clean person
    Watch what crappens (admittedly a very guilty pleasure)

  21. Shopaholic :

    I love podcasts. I listen to way too many but my favourites are:
    All of the Crooked Media podcasts
    It’s Been a Minute
    Out in the Open
    Sooo Many White Guys
    Two Dope Queens
    Still Processing
    Code Switch
    Slate Double X
    Dear Sugars
    Death Sex and Money

  22. Like others have said, these aren’t strictly podcasts for professionals but definitely some of my favorites: Being Boss, Invisible Office Hours, One Part Podcast, Pursuit with Purpose, and WANTCast.

  23. The Pitch
    Ear Hustle
    Start Up
    First Day Back
    This American Life
    Planet Money
    How I Built This
    Pod Save America
    Radio Lab
    Reply All
    More Perfect
    The Venutre
    On Being
    30 for 30
    The New Yorker Radio Hour
    The Longest Shortest Time

  24. Anonymous :

    Highly recommend Who Weekly, about d-list celebrites (“whos”). It’s hilarious.

  25. I Hate My Boss podcast is a really good job advice podcast.

  26. I don’t listen to a lot of them (process information presented visually far better) but the podcasts I do listen to are all about Dungeons and Dragons. I am not feeling very professional.

  27. NPR Politics
    It’s Been a Minute
    The West Wing Weekly

  28. Lovett or Leave It
    Pod Save America
    Pod Save the World
    Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
    Up First (daily news from NPR)
    Hidden Brain

    I actually would love even more funny political podcasts like the first four above– I can’t get enough. Let me know if you have suggestions!

  29. Anonymous :

    Candidate Confessional by huff post

  30. Oh No Ross & Carrie!: The show where we don’t just report on spirituality, fringe science and the paranormal (from a scientific, evidence-based standpoint), but dive right in by joining religions, attending spiritual events, undergoing “alternative” treatments, partaking in paranormal investigations, and more. At Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, we show up, so you don’t have to.

    Ask a Clean Person: Cleaning expert and advice columnist Jolie Kerr shares cleaning tips, answers reader questions and gets really real with a rotating cast of guests about the messes life throws our way.

  31. My favs are not professional. They are purely for getting me through the commute and the slow days at my desk!

    My Favorite Murder
    The Bugle
    Abe Lincoln’s Top Hat
    Stuff you Missed in History

  32. Anonymous :

    My favs are mostly true crime, and only two of the noncrime ones are professional.
    In Sight
    Already Gone
    Once Upon a Crime
    Unsolved Murders
    Hollywood and Crime

    Non crime
    West Wing Weekly
    You Must Remember This
    Make Me Smart

  33. AnonInfinity :

    Throwing Shade!! I listen to one million podcasts (most of them already mentioned), but Throwing Shade is probably my favorite.

  34. I’m a woman, I read Corporette, and I host a business-themed podcast. Do I win a prize? :-) (It’s called Career Tools by the way).

    You asked: “Have you noticed that it can be hard to find women-hosted and/or women-centered podcasts?”, and I think it’s not just hard to find women-hosted podcasts, it’s hard to find podcasts, period. I have about 50 podcasts on my list and there’s still podcasts that multiple people have mentioned here that I have never heard of. I wish there was a better way to find casts I’d like than recommendation threads like this one, but till now, I haven’t seen a better way.

    I’m glad you asked the question, Kat, and I’m glad everyone shared – I picked up a few more podcasts to listen to!

  35. Anonymous :

    Definitely not for professionals and generally NSFW, but if you commute in a car or ever do the dishes, you need to be listening to My Brother My Brother and Me.

    It’s a comedy “advice” podcast hosted by three brothers and it’s absolutely hilarious. If they’re low on listener questions, they’ll take questions from Yahoo Answers.

    If you listen to it while commuting on public transit, you WILL snort-laugh in public.

  36. Up and Vanished
    Sword and Scale
    My Dad Wrote a Porno
    Reply All
    Splendid Table

  37. I have recently enjoyed listening to Opening Arguments while Mr. B has them on. It’s helped me better understand the political cauldron that’s been boiling lately. Every now and again they do “Law’d-awful Movies” where they poke fun at a law movie like Double Jeopardy or Legally Blonde. (I love LB, but it has its flawed logic.)

  38. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
    This American Life
    Young House Love Has a Podcast
    The Dave Ramsey Show

  39. Death Sex & Money
    The Weeds
    Revisionist History
    Longest Shortest Time (i binged through this when I was on maternity leave with my first)

  40. Foggy bottom :


    The art of Charm
    Life Coach school
    Shauna Niequist
    Hidden brain
    Harvard business review
    Note to self
    Revisionist History

    Also I’m nuts, but my library uses the Hoopla app and I’m into some weird $hit (warrior goddess, Danielle Laporte)

  41. The Happy Lawyer Project (on which our very own Kat appeared recently)
    Pass The Mic
    The Calling
    Truth’s Table

  42. The Hilarious World of Depression is wonderful.
    Backstory – takes topics or themes from current events and looks at the ideas behind them at different times in American History

    PM Point of View to collect continuing ed credits for my PMP certification

    The Genealogy Guys

  43. Also a professional but rarely listen to podcasts “for professionals.” Here are my jams:

    My Favorite Murder (#ssdgm!)
    Last Podcast on the Left
    Ya Booze Ya News
    Guys We Fu*%ed
    Ana Faris is Unqualified
    My Dad Wrote a Porno

    And sometimes:
    The Splendid Table
    This Week in Health Law
    NPR All Songs Considered

  44. My favorite podcast, which happens to be hosted by women is: The History Chicks. They put on very well researched shows.
    I also love The Bowery Boys and The Memory Palace. Thanks for the topic!

  45. My favorite podcast as of late is S-Town!

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