podcasts The Best Podcasts for Smart People  

Jacob Shelton
1.5k votes 578 voters 11.2k views 42 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
187 30
Stuff You Should Know is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People

2
114 29
Hardcore History is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Hardcore History

3
109 33
This American Life is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
This American Life

4
84 23
Freakonomics is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Freakonomics

5
92 31
RadioLab is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People

6
60 24
Ted Radio Hour is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Ted Radio Hour

7
36 12
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
35 14
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
38 17
Planet Money: NPR is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Planet Money: NPR

10
33 15
Fresh Air is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Fresh Air

11
24 12
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
14 7
Science Vs is listed (or ranked) 12 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.

13
23 18
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
18 14
Quirks and Quarks is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Quirks and Quarks

15
13 9
Abe Lincoln's Top Hat is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Abe Lincoln's Top Hat

16
6 5
Show Me The Meaning! is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added Show Me The Meaning!

17
3 2
The Waking Up Podcast - Sam Ha... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
jimmiles added The Waking Up Podcast - Sam Harris

18
10 10
Good Job, Brain! is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Good Job, Brain!

19
13 14
The Dinner Party Download is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Dinner Party Download

20
4 4
The Writer's Panel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added The Writer's Panel

21
10 11
Between The Covers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Between The Covers

22
10 11
The Writer's Almanac is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Writer's Almanac

23
7 8
Books on the Nightstand is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Books on the Nightstand

24
11 13
Note to Self is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
MeganJoy added Note to Self

25
8 10
Caustic Soda is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Caustic Soda

26
14 17
The Dork Forest is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Dork Forest

27
6 8
No Such Thing as a Fish is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
UnrightKhan added No Such Thing as a Fish

28
10 13
Meditate This is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Meditate This

29
8 11
Coffee Break French is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Coffee Break French

30
7 10
Curious City is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Curious City

31
6 9
The Ranker Podcast is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Ranker Podcast

32
4 7
Science... Sort Of is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Science... Sort Of

33
1 4
The Big Ones is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added The Big Ones

34
10 15
NYTimes Book Review is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
NYTimes Book Review

35
5 10
The Majority Report is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Majority Report

36
4 9
Important Chinese Things with ... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Important Chinese Things with Jenny Zhu

37
3 8
The Road Podcast With Jt Haber... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Marc Premselaar added The Road Podcast With Jt Habersaat

38
2 7
More Or Less: Behind the Stats is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
More Or Less: Behind the Stats

39
1 6
Radiotonic is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Radiotonic

40
2 9
Slacking Ambition is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Slacking Ambition

41
4 12
Slate's Audio Book Club is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Slate's Audio Book Club

42
1 8
KCRW's The Treatment is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
KCRW's The Treatment