I got into listening to podcasts a couple of years back when I was introduced to the infamous podcast series, Serial. Since then, I’ve been constantly on the hunt for new content for my ears to indulge in. Whether it was on the way to work, driving from point A to point B, at the gym, in the office… I would constantly have something playing.

After Serial, I continued on with my investigative journalism/true crime kick, and started to listen to Dirty John and S. Town. And as much as I absolutely loved both these series (I would literally sit in my car for a few extra minutes daily just to finish an episode), I realized that I needed to expand my podcast palette and start ingesting more than just these crime mystery stories.

From mind-bending episodes of Radiolab and Invisibilia, to more practical binges like Planet Money, to more spiritual listens like Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversations, I was absolutely hooked on finding more inspirational, funny, sad, emotional, and addictive content to consume.

So, after hours of research, listening to TONS of different podcasts from all different categories, I thought it was about time I shared some of my favourite podcasts that I’ve come across so far. Grab some tea, put on your reading glasses, this is a long one.

True Crime/Investigative Journalism

I’m basic when it comes to this category, because my favourites are some of the most popular shows in the podcast world.

Dirty John

Debra Newell, a successful and beautiful interior designer from California, falls in love with a charismatic and handsome doctor, John Meehan. She is swept off her feet and starts thinking that she has come across her own perfect fairytale. But as tales as old as time has taught us, no fairytale comes without some evil.

Her daughters, Terra and Veronica senses that there’s more to their mother’s new man than meets the eye, and begins to investigate him after they caught him in a lie. As they dig, Debra’s love story begins to unravel, and they discover a psychological manipulation that almost rips their family apart.

S. Town

S-Town (short for Shit Town), describes a story about a man (John) who hates his Alabama town and is desperate to do something about it. He reaches out to a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. As the investigation happens, someone else ends up dead, a nasty feud is triggered, a hunt for hidden treasure begins, and the Shit Town suddenly becomes a whole lot more interesting and mysterious.

Serial

Season 1 of Serial talks about a murder case that happened in 1999, where 17-year-old Adnan Syed was arrested and convicted for murdering his girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Host, Sarah Koenig, dives into hundreds of documents, testimonies, interrogations, and even interviews everyone she could reach, to find out more about this case and discovers that it is WAY more complicated than what meets the eye.

Season 2 and Season 3 addresses different crime mysteries, which I haven’t listened to yet, but I’ve hear amazing reviews of all 3 seasons and I have no doubt they killed both those seasons as well.

Inspirational/Self-Help

Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversations

You really can’t talk about Inspirational ANYTHING without mentioning Oprah. She dominates in this field in all content types and podcasts are no different. Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays has been a popular daytime television series for quite some time now, and her Super Soul Conversations podcasts are just as amazing. Hear her personal selection of interviews with thought-leaders, authors, spiritual luminaries, and health and wellness experts to discover, connect, and get more in-tune with your mind, body, and soul. These. Are. AMAZING. Even if you aren’t really a “spiritual” person per se, I would still definitely recommend that you give these a listen.

Oh Boy

By the creators of Man Repeller, Oh Boy is a fun listen that features witty, creative, weird, boss-b*tch ladies who push the boundaries and kill it in their industry. Such an inspirational listen for those who are in the creative industry. With the first episode featuring, none other but their very own, Leandra Medine.

“The first episode of Oh Boy bends the rules by foregoing the clause about cool women to feature one weird one, or the artist formerly known as me. Listen to it while you meditate, drive home from work, eat cereal, walk to the grocery shop to buy avocados, breast feed your baby or walk aimlessly through the streets near your home and then let us know what you think. We look forward to connecting with your ear lobes.”

#LipStories

In collaboration with Girl Boss Radio by Sophia Amoruso, #LipStories was created by Sephora, in celebration of their new line of lippies with the same name. They say that these lipsticks are “for real life—not just ring lights” and celebrate all the fun adventures, magical moments, and flashes of inspiration that comes with life. Each episode features a different influential female founder, creator, or thought leader, and shares some of their most inspiring and REAL moments.

Business Related

StartUp Podcast

StartUp by Gimlet Media is interesting because it’s a Start Up podcast about Gimlet Media themselves. The first season goes through the struggles and stories of starting up Gimlet Media, and the second season, a company called ‘Dating Ring’. If you want more short stories, season 3 talks about a different business per episode.

How I Built This

Another NPR special, Guy Raz goes through the success and hardship stories of some of the world’s most well known innovators, entrepreneurs, and companies. With a huge focus on how they got to where they are, and what they had to go through to get there.

Girl Boss Radio

The saying is “Empowered women empower women”, and that’s exactly what this podcast is about. Girl Boss radio is hosted by Author, CEO, and Founder of Girlboss and Neha Gandhi, editor in chief and COO. They have honest, real, and raw conversations with women who are killing it in their field, and share hilarious but useful tidbits from their lives.

Stories/Documentaries

Radiolab

Combining music, sound, and stories, Radiolab is a docu-series where they focus on one big idea per episode, and walks the audience through all their investigations around that topic in a mind-bending way. Music, science, and culture collide at Radiolab, and Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich host it all perfectly.

This American Life Podcast

This American Life

Similar to Radiolab, This American Life is a weekly, hour-long podcast that focuses on one idea per week, and goes through stories that revolve around that idea. They showcase “an entertaining kind of journalism that’s built around plot”. Each story is either about a compelling person, a funny moment, or even meant to evoke a deep emotion. They delve into interesting themes and twists and turns, and have created this super addictive series that you can’t help but tune in to every week.

Invisibilia

Another super addictive, mind-bending, thought provoking series, Invisibilia talks about “unseeable forces [that] control human behaviour and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions”. Latin for invisible things, this podcast is the perfect blend of storytelling, mysterious narratives, science, and culture, and will make you see your own life differently.

Other Fun Listens

'Til Good Game Do Us Part

Til Good Game Do Us Part

I have to mention Til GG Do Us Part because it’s created and co-hosted by a friend of mine that I met in the gaming industry. Troy and Henry deep dive into gaming, esports, streaming, and the business behind it. Also how hilariously clever is their name?

And that’s a wrap! These are all of the podcasts that I’ve been listening to as of late. Are there any that I’m missing? If you think you have recommendations that I would love please comment them below or tweet me! I love finding new ones to listen to.

Angel Zheng