Here are a few interesting podcasts I’ve listened to recently. Check 'em out:
The Tim Ferris Show. I’ll withhold my thoughts on Ferris’ life-hacking advice, diet practices and exercise preferences, but the man knows how to conduct a decent interview and he always has interesting guests on his show. One of my favorite ones I’ve listened to of late is actually an older episode, but I think most of you reading this will enjoy his tequila-fueled conversation with Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, CEO of Automattic and—as I learned in this podcast—runner. Mullenweg opens up about the path he took to where he is today, his productivity practices, how he runs a completely distributed company, and why he took up running. Note: I cringed once when Mullenweg admitted he started running in Vibram 5 Fingers (thankfully, he eventually came to his senses and switched into something a little more traditional) and cringed again when Ferris recommended he check out Romanov’s POSE method of running. My own nitpicking aside, however, it was great to hear his story about being inspired to go for a run in Italy, how one of his employees taught him how to run more efficiently and the evolution of his enjoyment for logging miles.
Stuff You Should Know. I love this podcast for three reasons: 1. I don’t think I’ve listened to an episode that’s longer than 45 minutes; 2. I always learn something interesting about a topic I didn’t think I’d ever find interesting; and 3. The casual, curious (and oftentimes comical) tone of Chuck and Josh’s conversations makes for easy listening. Case in point, I recently finished an episode from early December on reverse psychology, which I learned isn't even recognized as a “thing” in psychology, and had a good laugh at their “rules” for manipulation. “You shouldn’t manipulate other people into being in a relationship with you,” Josh says in his preamble. “That’s a pretty good run of thumb that applies to just about everybody. You also should not be such a desperate human being that you buy something you can’t afford to impress the salesman who’s selling it to you—another good rule of thumb.”
The TED Radio Hour. This podcast synthesizes chunks of various TEDTalks/speakers into a deeper discussion around a particular topic, and one of the more interesting ones of late was a replay of “Believers and Doubters," which I missed the first time around. Here’s the short of it: Some people believe in God (or some greater being), while others don’t or just aren’t sure. Why is this? And is it possible find middle ground? When asked what he believed in, philosopher Alain de Botton, who I wrote about in Issue 1, answered in a rather universal manner. “I believe that life is very short,” he explained. “Our responsibility is to be good to ourselves and those around us. I believe in civilization, wisdom, and [being] very susceptible to beauty.” Botton, who doesn’t believe in God, goes on to say that one of the most common ways of dividing the world is into believers and non-believers—but he stresses that the two sides have more in common than we think. Devdutt Pattanaik, an Indian author and mythologist, takes a different route, saying that our beliefs—and truths—are ultimately subjective, emotional and personal. “My truth is my truth, your truth is your truth and 6 billion people on this planet have 6 billion truths,” he says. “And you believe your truth is the truth and I believe my truth is the truth and that’s why we argue.”
What do you believe? Why? And what are the common threads of humanity that transcend, or even trump, religious beliefs? Do we need to knock down the walls that Botton says divide us or can we co-exist in Pattanaik’s world of subjective truths? Interesting fodder for continued discussion around the deep, difficult questions of life. The philosophy major in me loves this shit.