Podcasts are the Best Way to Learn on the Go and These are my Favorites

Jacob Varner
Aug 30, 2018 · 6 min read

In 2018, I started favoring a new way of transportation: walking. I made this switch for a weird reason involving my neighbors, but has since been one of my favorite changes for 2018. A big reason for this is that I now have plenty of time each day to listen to podcasts.

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Podcasts have become such a resource for me this year, that I even added an entire section on my new website to reflect on the ones that I enjoy and learn from the most.

I started with a small set of podcasts mostly focusing on technology and have since expanded to listening to podcasts covering business, mental health, culture, and just general knowledge.

The sixteen podcasts on my website will eventually be a fluid list, but at this moment, they represent my favorites and I’d encourage others to check each of them out. The rest of this post will be sharing a short reason as to why I enjoy each podcast, so I encourage you to pick a few to check out for yourself.

You don’t have to switch to walking as your main means of transportation, but I’m sure there is plenty of other time in your day to take a few moments to enjoy a podcast.

My Favorite Podcasts

This list is only in alphabetical order, mostly because it would be impossible for me to rank them as I have a new favorite almost every week.

CXMH by Robert Vore

CXMH is a podcast about the intersection of church and mental health. Robert has different guests on for most episodes and each brings a special expertise regarding mental health and often how the church should approach it.

I believe that mental health is a major issue in today’s society, and this podcasts offers so much knowledge about the subject and often has resources to check out to learn more.

Endless Thread by WBUR and Reddit

Endless Thread is a fascinating podcast that uses each episode to dive into a story or collection of stories posted on Reddit. Just like Reddit the website, this podcast covers just about anything and you never know what you’re going to listen to each week.

The freeCodeCamp Podcast by freeCodeCamp

If you’ve read my posts before, you probably know I learn a lot through freeCodeCamp’s website. The freeCodeCamp Podcast is just another great avenue for learning about various development and career topics while I’m on the move.

Each episode is either a reading of a post that’s been posted to the freeCodeCamp blog or a talk with a guest in the industry.

The Nod by Gimlet Media

The Nod is one of many podcasts by Gimlet media that I enjoy. This one takes a different dive into a new black culture subject each week. Some episodes are about more serious current topics, but most episodes cover a fun take on impactful black culture pieces.

My favorite episode goes over why White Chicks should be considered as an influential movie.

The Pitch by Gimlet Media

The first of my favorite business/entrepreneurship podcasts on this list is The Pitch, also by Gimlet Media. The Pitch covers a live pitch to investors in a studio with added insight from the investors during and after the pitch.

I enjoy hearing about the new ideas that are pitched in each episode and taking note of the questions and suggestions that the judges have for each presenter.

React Podcast by Michael Jackson and Michael Chan

The React Podcast goes over new and interesting things involving the React.js framework. While I still consider myself learning React.js, this podcast offers a nice view into what other technologies can and should be paired with React.

Recode Decode by Kara Swisher

Recode Decode is a simple interview based podcast with guests from all different areas of technology and business. Kara Swisher is a great interviewer and can often bring out tons of insight from some of the biggest names in the tech industry.

My favorite episode was a very tough interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Reply All by Gimlet Media

Reply All might be one of the most random podcasts I’ve found, but has also been the most interesting. Each week, the hosts try to solve a unique problem a listener sends in. The hosts are entertaining, but go to a lot of lengths to try to get answers.

The most recent episode tried to get to the bottom of a weird phone scam that was just calling and leaving random audio messages from all over the world.


ShopTalk is hosted by Chris Coyier from CodePen.io and Dave Rupert and the two are a perfsct match for each other. They go back and forth each week discussing various web design and web development related topics. This podcast has been around for a while, but each episode is still fresh.

StartUp by Gimlet Media

Gimlet media really does make some great podcasts, and StartUp might be my favorite of them all. Each season takes an inside look at a different start up, but the podcast is loose on that definition which makes it even better.

One season covers the actual creation of Gimlet Media, followed by an entire season on Arlan Hamilton and Backstage Capital, then the most recent season covered church planting.

Stuff You Should Know by HowStuffWorks

Stuff You Should Know is on almost everyone’s favorite podcasts list and deservedly so. Josh and Chuck dive into a different history related topic each week and provide a wealth of knowledge about specific things that people rarely learn about.

Syntax by Scott Tolinski and Wes Bos

Syntax — Tasty Web Development Treats offers fun tips and insight into the world of web development from two web developers and course developers that have full time jobs of teaching people web development online. Wes and Scott are a great team and offer plenty of useful information in a very entertaining style.

THEMOVE by Lance Armstrong

While THEMOVE is a seasonal podcast that used to only take place during the Tour de France, it’s starting to cover a handful of other big races, especially in the US. Lance offers a view into professional cycling that literally no body else could offer and the analysis is quite entertaining as well.

This Week in Startups by Jason Calacanis

This Week in Startups is a podcast focusing mostly on startups and venture capital from a prominent angel investor, Jason Calacanis. While Jason can be very matter-of-fact a lot of the time, he does offer plenty of valid insight into the world of venture capital that not many other people can match.

The Upgrade by Lifehacker

The Upgrade is a weekly look at topics that can upgrade your life. Melissa Kirsch and Alice Bradley of Lifehacker bring on guests each episode to talk about a topic that can improve you life. They also have an upgrade of the week which can often be a simple improvement to their life they’ve found recently.

The Vergecast by The Verge

The Vergecast is the flagship podcast of The Verge where prominent members of the Verge staff get together to talk about current topics and news in technology. I’ve always enjoyed The Verge YouTube channel and their articles, so getting to listen to opinions and news each week is another good avenue for tech news.

And that’s my list of sixteen of my favorite podcasts. Most of them are based around business and technology so if that’s not your thing, I won’t blame you for not finding mine interesting. However, there are still ones on here for everyone and even if you somehow don’t enjoy any from this list, I recommend everyone find at least a few that they enjoy to listen to from time to time.

I really do believe that podcasts are the best way to learn while on the go. To really maximize that experience, I suggest using the app Pocket Casts which lets you subscribe to podcasts from all kinds of resources and then conveniently download them and queue them up automatically.

Pocket Casts also supports listening at higher speeds which I highly recommend. It might take some time to get used to, but it’s amazing how quickly your brain adjusts. I’m currently up to 3x speed for most of my podcasts.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read another one of my posts. While this isn’t close to all the podcasts I regularly listen to, if you have a few favorites of your own, please leave them as a response or tweet them to me on Twitter. I’m always looking for more podcasts I can learn from.

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