Listening Chronicles # 1
Listening Chronicles is a series where I document thoughts on podcasts I'm listening to and those I would recommend
Some of my friends call me a podcast geek. And I tend to agree with them.
I have often been asked for recommendations for podcasts to listen to, and I suggest a few things fleetingly. This time, however, I want to document all the listening and podcasts I've been suggesting.
There is a selfish reason for doing this (obviously). My podcast consumption has been reducing since the pandemic hit us. And I thought making a public commitment might help me listen to a lot more episodes.
So, welcome to the Listening Chronicles #1!
Here's how this will work -
Every week, I'll inform you about the episodes I have been listening to and, recommend the ones I liked. At the end of each post I'll also suggest a podcast episode from the Past (stuff I haven't heard in the week, but, I often think about and recommend others).
This Week in Podcasts
Planet Money | Summer School 1 - Choices and Dating & Summer School 2 - Markets and Pickles
Planet Money is an NPR production which explains the economy in a fun and entertaining manner (I am not kidding). They use narratives and stories to explain many of the economic decisions we see around us.
I studied economics in college and I paid very little attention to what was being taught. In hindsight, maybe that wasn't the best decision to make. Luckily, Planet Money has recently started a weekly series called Summer School.
With the help of two economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, they revisit some of their older episodes and extract the economic lessons from those stories. In episode 1 - you get to learn about opportunity cost, the sunk cost fallacy by looking at online dating.
In episode 2 - you learn about the concepts of demand and supply, by trying to understand how an NGO works in the USA.
Of course, you won't get an official degree while listening to these episodes. But, I do think it's worth remembering how economic decisions are taken and maybe I can feel less guilty about not paying attention in my econ classes.
These podcasts are available on all platforms. You can find the list of all Summer School episodes here.
This American Life | How to be Alone
This American Life is a staple for many in the US. It's essentially ordinary stories of people stitched together into a common theme. This episode was particularly great. All of us are stuck in a pandemic and the notion that you're alone is a common one. The episode has multiple stories about how Astronauts stay for months in space, what is the loneliest creature on earth, who are the people who actively choose to stay alone, and my favourite - is a letter about the pandemic, loss and grief.
Late in the evening, a group of us headed to the conference's dance party. But when we all went upstairs, the dance floor was hilariously, heartbreakingly empty. It already felt like a metaphor. Downstairs, people began to peel off. We were tired. Flights were early. It was starting to be unavoidably clear that we were in the before of something terrible and on the wrong side of caution.
I remember who was there. I remember that some people were already conscientiously not hugging or touching, that some people were there who I didn't know well enough to hug. Who was the last person who leaned into me to say goodbye? Who was the last person, besides me, to realize the party was over?
It's an hour-long, and worth every single minute. Find it here
Hank Green | Servant of Pod
As some of you know, I also make a podcast (albeit irregularly). I generally follow all podcast related news too.
The host Nick Quah writes about the podcast industry in his newsletter Hot Pod and recently started his own show - Servant of Pod. Servant of Pod is a podcast about podcasts (not meta enough?).
This particular episode is with Hank Green. They discuss the YouTubification of the podcast industry. Basically, whether the entry of big money (aka Spotify) is going to change anything about this industry?
You can listen to the podcast in any other place too. It's extremely interesting.
An Oral History of The Office | Ok, Here's the Pitch
I started watching The Office a few years back. Bingeing is the right word actually. I couldn't get enough of it. So much so that, even now, I spend a lot of time on YouTube just watching funny clips from the show.
This one's a podcast by Kevin Malone aka Brian Baumgartner. Well, he's doing something different from what the Office Ladies do (another Office podcast). He'll be doing a deep dive into the reasons why The Office became such a big cultural phenomenon after the show ended shooting. What were the reasons why this obscure show even got picked up, how did they proceed etc. I have only listened to the first one, and I am already hooked.
Maybe you're not convinced. That's okay.
The first episode is literally a pitch to convince you to listen to the podcast series (which now has 5 episodes). It's worth a shot.
Cast from The Past
I've been thinking about friendships a lot these days. Of whether after graduation, I will be able to stay in touch with the people I know, whether my entry into the real world will also be an exit from many of the friendships I've been part of across the years.
I often revisit this episode of Poetry Unbound - A Poem for How Friendship Endures
That's it for the first edition of Listening Chronicles. Let me know what kind of episodes have you been listening to. What do you want me to hear?
[All of these podcasts are available on multiple platforms]