13 Podcasts That Speak to Us

By Michelle Vartan

One of the cool things about CoolAgers is that the more we know, the more we want to know. And we realize that learning is a source of pure joy. Podcasts have become amazing tools for enlightenment, education, reinvention and, of course, entertainment.

Listening to a great podcast is like having a mentor or storyteller speak directly to you. Hearing is the first sense humans develop (it’s how we first learn as a baby), so the intimacy of audio can really make a mark on your psyche. When you shut off all your other senses, your sense of hearing becomes more acute; you can fully absorb information, sometimes leaving you changed.

We’ve curated this list with a few things in mind: Learn. Expand. Laugh. Enjoy.

1. Magic Lessons: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, paves the path to creativity by interviewing original thinkers such as vulnerability researcher Brené Brown. “The only unique contribution we will make in this world, will be born of creativity,” Brown tells Gilbert in episode 12. This is a motivating podcast if ever there was one.

2. StartUp: Hosted by Alex Blumberg of This American Life, StartUp will help you get your business idea off the ground and teach you that small failures can be the key to major wins. Learn from successful entrepreneurs’ stupid mistakes and hear about their unexpected triumphs.

3. Happier with Gretchen Rubin: With happiness as the tangible goal, this podcast will teach you little tricks to create big space for joy. Based on her book The Happiness Project, she interviews thought leaders like Bill Clinton to extract their paths to happiness.

4. TED Radio Hour: You have fascinating ideas waiting to be put into motion, so for full proof that your thoughts can translate into business empires, a new take on life or a happier existence, listen in on the stories of innovators, risk takers and idea originators and apply their insights to your own life.

5. The Art of Charm: The Art of Charm divulges the strategies and attitudes required to get yours, from a new career to true love. Learn the secrets from life and business-hacks like Tim Ferriss, Olivia Fox and more. We love this when we need a little confidence boost.

6. What I Wore When: Glamour’s hilarious podcast interviews style-first women on what they wore at pivotal times in their lives. From an editor who bought her wedding dress the day before her wedding, to what Bethenny Frankel wore when she lost her virginity, this podcast underscores the significance behind the wardrobe.

7. Invisibilia: The show is hosted by smart women who seriously do their homework. They interview scientists and psychologists and feature the stories of unsung heroes to explain our behavior. We love this as a way to (kind of) understand why people are the way they are.

8. Dishing up Nutrition: If you love your food as much as we do, you might as well have licensed nutritionists fill you in on what you’re eating. From how digestion affects your mood to healing your brain with food, this podcast will educate you on how you really are what you eat.

9. Death, Sex and Money: Everyone’s thinking it, but no one will say it. Welcome to putting it all out on the shameless table. Death, Sex and Money brings up and discusses all of life’s uncomfortable topics—giving your “inappropriate for dinner conversation” thoughts some validation and comic relief. What’s more, the unapologetic podcast is hosted by funny female Anna Sale.

10. Modern Love: Featuring stories from The New York Times column, this podcast tells true, relatable love stories and essays (read by a list of celebrities) that prove love appears in different ways at different times. You can be a voyeur as well as a learner.

11. Freakonomics: An oldie but goodie. From the authors of the wildly popular book Freakanomics, this podcast challenges the status quo on everything from the lottery to the presidency. It’s smart, engaging and will turn you into a great conversation starter.

12. 99% Invisible: For the architecture fanatic, 99% Invisible explores the structural details that you may otherwise ignore during your daily commute. Uncovering the heroes of art, architecture and history, this podcast reminds us to feel gratitude every day by learning the meaning behind all we see.

13. Lit Up: Here’s a podcast that unearths your inner bookworm. Lit Up interviews authors such as Arianna Huffington and Alec Ross on what they are reading, writing and thinking. We love this as a way to get a well-rounded recommended reading list, too. (No genre is off the table).