The Best Podcasts for Business & Pleasure

List of Podcast 2019

Update, this best podcasts blog post has been recently revised (Jan. 2020). Since publishing, I’ve added several marketing, product, and business related podcast to the list. @mention me on Twitter and tell me what podcasts have been your favorites

Today is International Podcast Day. Hhhhm, who knew?

The obsession with podcast continues as 12 million people listened to a podcast for the first time in the last year. One of those listeners was me, and now I cannot stop. 

If you have spent any time with me, you know that I will, without fail, ask you what you’re reading and what’s your favorite podcast. Most of my recommendations have come from my friends, colleagues, and even strangers. 

Best Podcasts Recommendations

Skimm This | Every day at 5 pm-ish, The Skimm provides an overview of today’s news headlines. Short and sweet update – most episodes are around 12 minutes. At times the content is a bit “girly” (women are their target audience). Even though they try to be unbiased, I think they lean more to a liberal angle, so keep that in mind.

Start Here | Every morning, get a recap on the breaking news from the day before. All in roughly 20 minutes. It’s put out by ABC news, and they do a reasonably good job telling both sides of the story. 

The Daily | The New York Times highlights one news story a day, each around 30 minutes long. The host, political journalist Michael Barbaro, breaks down a popular news story in a way that will help you understand the world. It’s a quick way to stay informed on everything you want to know about. The New York City taxi cab story has been the best so far — highly recommend.

Cold | Cold is a true-crime story about a woman who goes missing in Utah. The podcast is somewhat lengthy; however, it’s easy listening. It’s one of those stories where you can be doing something else and still follow along. 

Dr. Death | It’s just like the title — a neurosurgeon who has a crazy lifestyle and then goes into surgeries and botches people up. Even his friends. The podcast takes some twist and turns as it discusses the insurance and healthcare system.

Up & Vanished | There is a theme here — true crime stories. The story is about a missing woman from Georgia; it was a cold case for something like 11 years. Because of the podcast and the new media attention, new leads surfaced, and eventually an arrest. This is a long podcast, feel free to skip through the bonus and QA episodes.

Dirty John | Maybe you saw the Bravo TV series starring Connie Britton? It’s a “love story” about a relationship built on lies, deception, insecurities, and evil. It’s this series that got me hooked on podcasts.

To Live and Die in LA | Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss investigates how and why a woman goes missing. He goes out on the streets interviewing friends and family members. 

The Drop Out | Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos are all over the news lately. This podcast takes you through the very early days of Theranos to the current day. I was amazed at the number of lies and how investors and Walgreens never really pushed hard for details and research. Elizabeth fooled so many smart people. I could not stop listening.

Confronting | I LOVED the Netflix series, The People vs. OJ Simpson, so I eagerly binged listened to Confronting. At the mark of the 25th anniversary of one of the most infamous criminal cases in history, Kim Goldman, sister of murder victim Ron Goldman, speaks with an array of guests. The lineup includes prosecutors, investigators, and witnesses (Kato Kaelin!), jurors who voted not guilty, and significant people who never got to testify.

Gangster Capital | I’m not going to lie — I love a good scandal. Documentary filmmaker Andrew Jenks, tells the story of the folks behind Operation Varsity Blues. He conducts eye-opening interviews with admissions personal, journalists, and students who admitted to cheating on the SATs.

Slow Burn: The Clinton Impeachment | There is way more to the Clinton story than just Monica Lewinsky. And so much I did not know! Slow Burn dives into the details regarding the Whitewater real estate dispute, the Paula Jone harassment charges, and the backstory on Vince Foster.

Ear Hustle | Learn about life inside the San Quintine prison — told by the inmates. Each story is about 25 minutes long, and you do not need to listen to them in order. I am fascinated by these stories because San Quintine is almost in my backyard. While taking the ferry to San Francisco, I can see the inmates in the yard, which for some reason, I find fascinating. 

Gastropod | Get the backstory about food. Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley share the history and scientific analysis about the commons foods we regularly consume to the rare and mysterial cultural delicacies. 

Y Combinator | This podcast has a healthy mix of every. I tend to seek out the episodes around business, marketing, and the startup world. What I love about this podcast is that you don’t have to listen in order — just select the topic that seems the most appealing. 

Inside Intercom Podcast | Intercom has a few series of podcasts. I like this one because of the diversity of topics and guests. Inside Intercom engages with product managers, designers, marketers, and startups leaders and executes.

The Animalz Content Marketing Podcast | I’ve worked with Animalz before on content projects, so I was thrilled to see they started a podcast dedicated to content marketing. I have only listened to 1.5 episodes, so I cannot entirely give a thumbs up or down. So far, I love the content and guests. PS Animals is a great agency, and they produce great work (not a paid promotion).

Seeking Wisdom | I’ve been a fan of Drift for a long time. I think they are killing it in terms of marketing. And their Podcast content is no different. Recently Drift has created a series of podcasts called HYPERGROWTH Podcast Network that highlights several parts of the business. Seeking Wisdom gives you the info that makes you better at your job.

Building a Brand Story | Donald Miller’s guest list is always impressive. If you’re involved with brand building, positioning, messaging, or copywriting, you’ll glean a great deal of insight from the examples, and practical advice Donald shares.


Send me a @mention to tell me your best podcasts, or leave me a message here.

Categorized as Side Note

By Michelle Urban

Michelle Urban is the founder of Marketing 261, a digital agency for startups. With a hands-on, get-it-done attitude, she and her team focus on executing measurable plans to get real results. For over 15 years, she’s built scalable marketing programs for demand creation, lead generation, customer advocacy, and engagement. She’s also a wanna-be writer and weekend windsurfer who occasionally binge-watches Netflix. Ask her about the time she danced with Oprah and Beyoncé on live television.