9 Podcasts That Will Make You 10% Smarter

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The results are in! Thirty-one percent of podcast listeners earn upwards of $100,000 per year and monthly listeners have increased from 21% to 24% according to Edison Research. Listening to podcasts during my commute or while walking my dog has turned downtime into productive learning. Listening on iTunes on my iPhone has been my preference, but you can also find podcasts on apps like Stitcher and SoundCloud.

These are nine podcasts I subscribe to. They're non-fiction, interview formats where interesting people are sharing their experiences. Between these shows are thousands of episodes, I'm going to recommend my favorites to give you a road map:

The Learning Leader Show with Ryan Hawk

Ryan has interviewed over 200 of the most fascinating leaders ranging from athletes, business, academia, and the military. You'll find him comparing notes with leaders ranging from Seth Godin to Simon Sinek. His podcast has exploded on a global scale with listeners in 112 countries. Terrific podcast for aspiring leaders or current leaders who are looking to elevate their game.

Recommended episodes:

Episode 78: Kat Cole - From Hooters Waitress to President of Cinnabon

Episode 162 Adnan Virk - ESPN Broadcaster: Why You Should Always Say Yes

Episode 170: Simon Sinek - Why "Together is Better"

NPR's How I Built This with Guy Raz

Guy deconstructs how some of the most notable businesses were built. His guests are legendary and Guy's interview style is entertaining because he helps the guest tell a story and he's not afraid to ask tough questions. Often times, they were on the brink of disaster before reaching a tipping point.

Recommended episodes:

Virgin: Richard Branson

Southwest Airlines: Herb Kelleher

Atari & Chuck E. Cheese's: Nolan Bushnell

The Tim Ferriss Show

Jamie Foxx has coined Ferriss "The Oprah of the internet." His podcast, where he deconstructs world-class performers, has surpassed 100 million downloads and is often the #1 ranked business podcast on iTunes. He's a NY Times Bestselling author of multiple books including the The 4-Hour Work Week. He recently published Tools of Titans which organizes his podcast interviews into Cliff Notes.

Recommended episodes:

Episode 60: Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare (And Much More)

Episode 157: The Importance of Being Dirty: Lessons from Mike Rowe

Episode 167: Jamie Fox Part 2 - Bringing the Thunder

The Unmistakable Creative with Srini Rao

He's interviewed over 600 creatives. You've probably never heard of many of his guests and they turn out to be some of the most jaw-dropping interviews I've ever heard. Srini himself is also a master interviewer which makes for thought-provoking conversation. He's also the author of the WSJ Bestseller, The Art of Being Unmistakable and Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best.

Recommended episodes:

Become a Rockstar on Whatever Stage You Touch with Sekou Andrews

Confessions of a Bank Robber with Joy Loya

The Neuroscience of Goals with Srini Pillay

NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Terry Gross has had intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries. Her voice has been a staple in legendary interviews over the last several decades.

Recommended episodes:

Tom Hanks Says Self-Doubt Is 'A High-Wire Act We All Walk'

Johnny Cash: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

'Fresh Air' Remembers Author Maurice Sendak

Magic Lessons podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert

I've never seen or read Eat Pray Love, the book and movie that catapulted Elizabeth onto the moon. This podcast is an extension of her latest book, Big Magic. Elizabeth digs deep as she connects with her guests about traumatic experiences in their lives. She guides her guests to overcome their biggest fears. Each episode is well-crafted and is the result of months of work. This show is a masterpiece.

Recommended episodes:

Ep. 201: "You Have a Screaming, Not a Calling." featuring Sarah Jones

Ep. 206: "Dancing From the Heart" featuring Amy Purdy

Ep. 207: "Living the Dream and Facing the Nightmare" featuring Neil Gaiman

Recode Decode with Kara Swisher

Kara has interviewed just about everyone in Silicon Valley. She commands the respect of tech giants and influential business leaders with her insightful reporting and straight-shooter interview style. This should be required listening for any MBA candidate.

Recommended episodes:

LeBron James's manager, Maverick Carter: Athletes become kings when they control their own message

How to beat Amazon (Ron Johnson, CEO, Enjoy)

Keith Rabois says winter is coming for wasteful startups

Revisionist History with Malcom Gladwell

The acclaimed author and speaker launched Season 1 of his podcast last year. It's as intriguing as his work in The New Yorker. Although he hasn't released a large volume of episodes, they're worth a listen.

Recommended episodes:

My Little Hundred Million

The Big Man Can't Shoot

Blame Game

The James Altucher Show

James is an author and entrepreneur. His podcast is first-class with a lineup of guests that mirror a Hollywood guest list. His vulnerability and transparency is something you'll appreciate.

Ep. 151 - Daymond John: Do This When Success is Your Only Option

Ep. 159 - Derek Sivers: The Zen Master of Entrepreneurship

Ep. 195 - Joshua Foer: The Explorer's Code

This list isn't exhaustive and many of these podcasts have other great episodes not mentioned here. What are your favorite podcasts? List them in the comments section below.