podcasts The Best Podcasts for Smart People  

Jacob Shelton
1.4k votes 534 voters 9.6k 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
178 23
Stuff You Should Know is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People

2
98 27
Hardcore History is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Hardcore History

3
103 31
This American Life is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
This American Life

4
87 28
RadioLab is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People

5
73 21
Freakonomics is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Freakonomics

6
53 19
Ted Radio Hour is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Ted Radio Hour

7
32 9
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
31 11
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
31 12
Fresh Air is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Fresh Air

10
30 15
Planet Money: NPR is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Planet Money: NPR

11
20 10
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
12 6
Abe Lincoln's Top Hat is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Abe Lincoln's Top Hat

13
12 6
Science Vs is listed (or ranked) 13 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.

14
21 15
Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

15
18 13
Quirks and Quarks is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Quirks and Quarks

16
10 8
Good Job, Brain! is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Good Job, Brain!

17
5 3
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
Between The Covers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Between The Covers

19
3 2
The Writer's Panel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added The Writer's Panel

20
6 6
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
14 15
The Dork Forest is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Dork Forest

22
12 13
The Dinner Party Download is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Dinner Party Download

23
10 11
Meditate This is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Meditate This

24
10 11
Note to Self is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
MeganJoy added Note to Self

25
8 9
The Writer's Almanac is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Writer's Almanac

26
8 10
Coffee Break French is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Coffee Break French

27
7 9
Caustic Soda is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Caustic Soda

28
5 7
Books on the Nightstand is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Books on the Nightstand

29
5 7
The Ranker Podcast is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Ranker Podcast

30
3 5
Science... Sort Of is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Science... Sort Of

31
1 3
The Big Ones is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Daniel Carin added The Big Ones

32
4 7
Important Chinese Things with ... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Important Chinese Things with Jenny Zhu

33
1 4
Radiotonic is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Radiotonic

34
5 9
Curious City is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Curious City

35
4 8
The Majority Report is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
The Majority Report

36
9 14
NYTimes Book Review is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
NYTimes Book Review

37
3 7
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 6
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
2 7
Slacking Ambition is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
Slacking Ambition

40
3 10
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
KCRW's The Treatment is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Podcasts for Smart People
KCRW's The Treatment