Podcasts that will make you feel smarter are one of the few positives about not being able to go anywhere at the moment. Like a lot of people, I’m dodging cabin fever by going for a walk every day, and the only reason I haven’t lost my mind walking around the same park every damn day is that I always listen to podcasts while I’m walking.
Plenty of the podcasts I listen to are pop culture themed, but I also love a podcast that makes me feel like I’m learning something.
Six Podcasts That Will Make You Feel Smarter
You’re Wrong About
Hosted by two journalists, You’re Wrong About takes a different event, person or phenomenon that has been misunderstood by the general public, and explores what is the actual reality. Past episodes have covered Princess Diana, the Stanford Prison Experiment, the Godfather movies, Marie Antoinette, and all kinds of other topics in between.
The Allusionist, hosted by Helen Zaltzman, is a podcast about language. Zaltzman digs into linguistics in a funny way, covering everything from swearing and slang, to where words come from. A must-listen for language nerds.
No Such Thing As A Fish
No Such Thing As A Fish is made by some of the QI elves (the people who do the research for the questions on QI). Every week, each of the four hosts brings a new fact they have learned that week to present to the group. The episodes are always a perfect mix of funny and interesting and will give you lots of facts to annoy your friends with, just like when you watch QI.
99% Invisible is a podcast about design, and the thought that goes into the things that most of us don’t really think about, but that shape our world. The podcast has covered a huge range of subjects, from Obama’s famous ‘ten letters’ to hostile urban architecture. Like You’re Wrong About, this podcast is a great way to learn about all sorts of interesting subjects, and is great for people who like a bit of trivia.
LeVar Burton Reads
The former host of Reading Rainbow (and beloved Star Trek cast member) now hosts LeVar Burton Reads, a story podcast for adults. In each episode, Burton chooses a different piece of short fiction to read, from authors including Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and more.
Renegades: Born In The USA
Fancy a podcast hosted by a rock legend and a former President? Then you’re in luck. Renegades: Born In The USA is hosted by Bruce Springsteen and President Barack Obama. The two men discuss a range of topics about life in America, including music, race, class, and friendship.
The West Wing Weekly
Ok, the West Wing Weekly is a pop-culture podcast, but it will make you feel smarter too. The West Wing is now available on All 4, so now is the perfect time for a rewatch or a first watch. Accompany your viewing with this rewatch podcast hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway (of Song Exploder fame) and West Wing cast member, Josh Malina. Unlike most rewatch podcasts, The West Wing Weekly goes well beyond recapping the episodes, and gets into both how this huge show was made with interviews with cast, crew, writers, and directors, as well as covering the real politics behind the show. Past political guests have included diplomats, speechwriters, White House staffers, and even the Prime Minister of Canada. Learn about American politics at the same time as enjoying an amazing show.
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