As much as I love interacting with the written word, I found myself listening to more podcasts in 2015. In previous years, podcasts were relegated to family car trips, a way to keep ourselves entertained as we drove across the country. Nice, but limited to what was entertaining (and appropriate) for a family with children. We’ve always had a tendency to load up on audio books prior to vacation, and a few podcasts are always a welcome interruption from youth fiction and children’s stories.
For a variety of reasons, though, I began paying more attention to podcasts this year, and I found a few gems that I thought I’d share here.
Backstory – It’s not a secret that I’m no fan of the short-form news report that takes up most of the oxygen on television and radio these days. I much prefer a deep dive into larger issues, and the American History Guys – Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh – do a great job of looking at a topic from multiple angles to bring light and clarity to current news from an historical perspective. This podcast never fails to entertain and inform.
Freakonomics – If I could go back and do it all over again, I think I’d be an economist. OK, maybe not, but ever since I read the best-selling book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner I’ve been a fan, and I can’t stop listening. I love the sideways approach that this duo brings to topics, and while they may at times take a coldly mathematical view to situations where I’d prefer to bring a spiritual approach, their show is among the best, and I can’t help but listen all the way to the end of every episode..
Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church – When it comes to preaching and spiritual guidance, I rely first and primarily on the pastoral team and my fellow elders here in Maryland at Columbia Presbyterian Church. They are my first line of counselors and teachers, and as Trevin Wax has already noted, your pastor can’t be replaced by a podcast. However, I do
recommend having a good pulpit or two on your list, and LMPC is on mine. I met Pastor Joe Novensen years ago when he was the featured speaker at a youth conference, and I’ve been listening ever since. The entire LMPC team provides thoughtful, gospel-oriented preaching every week, and now that you can find them on iTunes, there’s no reason you shouldn’t listen, too.
This Is Your Life – As far as leadership podcasts go, Michael Hyatt’s is among the best. I’ve only started listening this year, but so far every topic he’s covered has been meaningful to me as a leader. There’s so much in here about productivity, personal development, leadership, and technology that I can’t help but recommend it. And I’m already working on an Annual Time Block spreadsheet to plan my year for 2016.
Coaching for Leaders – Another great leadership podcast. Dave Stachowiak focuses on building and leading teams, communication, and leadership skills. He has a knack for interviewing interesting and informative guests, and he and his wife, Bonnie, take the time each month for a Q&A podcast. Subscribing to Dave’s weekly Leadership Guide will also bring additional resources – articles, book recommendations, and videos – to your email inbox every Wednesday.
The Look and Sound of Leadership – Tom Henschel’s monthly Executive Coaching Tips are an invaluable resource for me. Pulled from real life executive coaching situations from the team at Essential Communications, this podcast touches on all the major issues that leaders and managers face, and is like receiving a monthly coaching session with a professional. Many of the scenarios Tom describes strongly echo situations I’ve experienced as a leader, and Tom’s advice is always spot on.
I hope that you find something here that you can take away for your own enjoyment in 2016. Each of these podcasts has been valuable to me in the past year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring in the coming year!