podcasts The Best Podcasts for Smart People  

Jacob Shelton
1.2k votes 481 voters 7.4k views 41 items

Thank goodness for whoever invented podcasts. Not only do they help people pass the time at work, but the best ones help us learn something. This list covers the best podcasts for smart people, no matter what subject you might be interested in. Thanks to the democratization of recording equipment, all someone needs to do to make a podcast is buy a microphone and start talking. While it's great to get all those different perspectives out in the world, if you want to learn something, you've got to choose the listen to the right voices. Whether you want to learn Chinese or bone up on economic policy, there’s a podcast for you.

Whether it's linguistics to philosophy, just about everyone has their favorite field of study. On this list of smart podcasts, you'll find plenty of ways to get through your next morning in traffic or boring road trip. From politics and science to book reviews and intellectual takes on pop culture, this list has you covered for whatever you want to listen to. Get your earbuds ready and check out this list of podcasts that smart people listen to.

Vote up your favorite podcasts that feed your brain, and if your favorite smart podcasts aren't on the list, then add them yourself, you smarty-pants.

list ordered by

1
160 21
Stuff You Should Know is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People

2
96 28
This American Life is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
This American Life

3
86 24
Hardcore History is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Hardcore History

4
79 27
RadioLab is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People

5
60 19
Freakonomics is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Freakonomics

6
45 15
Ted Radio Hour is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Ted Radio Hour

7
29 7
Invisibilia is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Ninjaneer added Invisibilia Invisibilia (from NPR) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. 

8
26 8
Revisionist History is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Ninjaneer added Revisionist History A podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media. Revisionist History goes back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.

9
24 11
Fresh Air is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Fresh Air

10
26 13
Planet Money: NPR is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Planet Money: NPR

11
20 9
More Perfect is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Ninjaneer added More Perfect More Perfect, dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench.

12
18 10
Quirks and Quarks is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Quirks and Quarks

13
20 13
Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

14
11 5
Science Vs is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Ninjaneer added Science Vs The show that pits facts against everything else, hosted by Wendy Zukerman.

15
8 6
Good Job, Brain! is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Good Job, Brain!

16
7 5
Abe Lincoln's Top Hat is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Abe Lincoln's Top Hat

17
3 1
Show Me The Meaning! is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added Show Me The Meaning!

18
10 9
Note to Self is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
MeganJoy added Note to Self

19
7 6
The Writer's Almanac is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Writer's Almanac

20
4 3
No Such Thing as a Fish is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
UnrightKhan added No Such Thing as a Fish

21
2 1
The Writer's Panel is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added The Writer's Panel

22
13 13
The Dork Forest is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Dork Forest

23
11 11
The Dinner Party Download is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Dinner Party Download

24
8 8
Between The Covers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Between The Covers

25
8 8
Coffee Break French is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Coffee Break French

26
3 3
Science... Sort Of is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Science... Sort Of

27
1 1
The Big Ones is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added The Big Ones

28
9 10
Meditate This is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Meditate This

29
5 6
Books on the Nightstand is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Books on the Nightstand

30
5 6
The Ranker Podcast is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Ranker Podcast

31
6 8
Caustic Soda is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Caustic Soda

32
3 5
The Road Podcast With Jt Haber... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Marc Premselaar added The Road Podcast With Jt Habersaat

33
8 11
NYTimes Book Review is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
NYTimes Book Review

34
3 6
Important Chinese Things with ... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Important Chinese Things with Jenny Zhu

35
0 3
Radiotonic is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Radiotonic

36
0 3
KCRW's The Treatment is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
KCRW's The Treatment

37
4 8
Curious City is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Curious City

38
2 6
The Majority Report is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Majority Report

39
1 5
More Or Less: Behind the Stats is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
More Or Less: Behind the Stats

40
1 8
Slate's Audio Book Club is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Slate's Audio Book Club

41
0 6
Slacking Ambition is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Slacking Ambition