Podcasts are underappreciated gems, with thousands of topics ranging from politics to humor to Ted Talks. I follow quite a few, but one of my favorites is Stuff You Should Know.
Run by two charismatic gentlemen, Josh and Chuck, each episode explores interesting topics through an engaging and always funny conversation. I’ve learned about tea cultivation, the history of haunted house attractions, Alexander Hamilton, and the interesting origins of Grimm’s fairy tales, to name a few. I am working my way through the archives, and I haven’t been disappointed yet by the quality and levity of the shows. I’ve tried many times to dutifully listen to history or informative podcasts, but I always end up getting bored or lost in the monotonous facts. In Stuff You Should Know, Josh and Chuck always get a little off topic and explore unexpected corners of their subject; rather than reciting facts or dates, this podcast focuses on the interesting stories, histories, and people behind the things in our daily lives.
Despite this leniency, the episodes are carefully researched and peppered with information from sources and journalists all over the web. On a recent episode, concerning the collapse of the Easter Island civilization, the podcasts artfully melded information from a National Geographic study, a Jared Diamond book, and an NPR article—while of course making references to popular movies and perceptions that center around the mysterious moai statues. At under an hour each, the shows give you enough to feel satisfied, but there are always more resources and articles on the website. With over 300 episodes, pick a topic that piques your interest—or tune into the Halloween episodes for a spooky holiday treat. Happy listening!