There is something unique about knowledge that we absorb through listening. Whether it’s more easily understood, accepted, remembered, or felt, what’s clear is that it’s different from other forms of media. Malcolm Gladwell once cited this as the reason that he started his podcast (Revisionist History, now in its 3rd season). In an interview with Recode Media, he said “Because it’s audio, you can do this magnificent thing that you can’t do on the page: You can move people emotionally,” Gladwell said. “You feel with your ears and you think with your eyes.”

If you’re not actively listening to and seeking out new podcasts all the time, you really should. Because 1) they’re free and 2) super accessible and convenient. Plus, they’re not (yet) controlled or influenced by a single organization or institution. Not to mention listening to new podcasts is the perfect way to enlighten your daily commute.

Here’s a list of our current favorite podcasts, handpicked for the woke intellectual’s quest to always expand their knowledge pool and keep their perspectives balanced.  We specifically picked ones that are not on iTunes’ top 10 most popular podcasts, although a few are close to top 10 and sometimes move in and out of the top 10 list.

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8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

This Won’t Hurt A Bit

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

Category: Medical/Comedy

This is a light-hearted yet informative and engaging podcast featuring two physicians and a layman person. They focus on one topic (like parasites, burps and farts, or concussions) each episode and discuss the crazy cases they have personally handled or debunk common myths that plague the public (pun intended). The podcast is a perfect blend of humorous and educational content that’s bound to make you drop your jaw, cringe, and laugh hysterically all at the same time.

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The Ezra Klein Show

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

Category: Political Discussion

If the idea of listening to politics on your commute doesn’t strike you as enlightening or enriching, feel free to skip this one. We get that political discussion is not everyone’s cup of tea, but The Ezra Klein show is a breath of fresh air. You may not agree with 100% of his perspectives, but you can be sure he will present a cogent, well-research, and highly articulate argument. The kind of topics he covers is quite wide-ranging, half the time non-politics related. He also interviews a lot of interesting authors with new books, so it’s a great way to find out about new and worthy books.

Revisionist History

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

Category: General

This podcast and the author need no introduction. Malcolm Gladwell and his books have changed an entire generation’s way of thinking about social phenomena and things that we think is one way, but is really another way.  This is probably the most popular podcast on this entire list so we won’t spend too much time talking about it. Check out the podcast, you won’t regret it.

Optimal Living Daily

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

This podcast is pretty simple yet genius. The host reads you a blog post (sometimes a book excerpt) every day, 7 days a week. If your commute is shorter than 30 minutes, you may even be able to fit 2 episodes in each way. This podcast features topics such as minimalism, personal finance, self-development, and other things that are inspiring and uplifting. If you love reading blogs and never have the time to sit down and read, this podcast is perfect for you. A few frequent favorites on the show include Steve Pavlina, Leo Babauta from Zen Habits, Rowdy Kittens, Financial Samurai, and more.

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Hidden Brain

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

Category: Social Science

This podcast is one of the major NPR productions that is a frequent top 10 list visitor. It’s a podcast that examines the unconscious pattern of our behavior using studies from psychology, neuroscience, social sciences, economics, and anthropology. The storytelling style of this podcast is one of its biggest appeals, and the host Shankar Vedantam’s soothing voice gives the podcast a certain lullaby kind of vibe. If you simply tune in for sake of the interest stories covered, that alone is enough of a treat. But they’re never just stories… they are educational stories that will broaden your understanding of human behavior.

Philosophize This

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

Category: Philosophy

If you break the word philosophy down, it means the love (philo in Greek) of wisdom (sophia in Greek).  So, this podcast is designed for you knowledge geeks out there. Philosophy is a subject that is a super underrated subject in modern society. Many of our modern day issues are not novel, which scholars and philosophers from different era have seriously contemplated. On the one hand, Steven West from this podcast explains the concepts and core beliefs of each philosopher in simple and totally relatable ways. On the other hand, he brings examples to which these ancient (as well as more modern) philosophies are more relevant than ever.

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Happier Podcast Gretchen Rubin

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

Category: Psychology /Mental Health

On days when you’re anticipating more stress at work, you may just want to tune into the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin. Heck, after a long day of work, you might need the same. Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, through conversations about their everyday lives, share very practical advice on how to live a happier life. Their episodes alternate between short, 5-10 minutes “mini-episodes” and longer, fuller episodes that are closer to an hour. What this podcast is known for is very hands-on, ready to implement, readily available tactics that are meant to make you happier. It’s a great pick-me-up when you are feeling in need of some uplifting.

That Classical Podcast

8 Podcasts For a Woke Intellectual’s Daily Commute

Category: Music

The last podcast is reserved for classical music fans. If you love classical music and want to become more well-versed in it, this is the podcast for you. With lots of humor infused, the two hosts focus on one or two musicians/composers each episode and using the storytelling format, provide a more intimate, detailed, and personal view of the how, why, when, and what behind each classical master and masterpiece. It’s a delightful listen and will help make classical music pieces more recognizable when you’re tuning into your local classical radio station next time.

If you are current listeners of any of these podcasts, let us know what your thoughts are. If you tried out some of our suggestions today, also let us know! We hope to be updating this post with more podcasts in the future. Happy podcasting!