Posts in: podcasts

📚 Finished reading: Toxic Exposure by Chadi Nabhan, in record time. The prose may have been clunky but the drama of the Monsanto Rondup trials was real and the book was a page-turner, so it took me less than 48 hours to zip through cover to cover.

The court transcripts make the story, especially when Chadi was cross-examined about the nuances of probability, causality and informed risk. If those topics sounds appealing, I recommend you listen to Chadi’s one-hour conversation with Nassim Taleb about the book. If only Taleb could have been there as an expert witness…

Nassim Taleb doesn’t often do podcasts unless they are with Russ Roberts, so him being a guest on The Tim Ferris Show was a surprise. The episode begins with a protracted introduction and a lot of reminiscing, but things take off in the second half which is an excellent introduction to Taleb’s concepts on probability.

Great for forwarding to friends and family who may have heard of Ferris but don’t know anything about Taleb except for his Twitter escapades (or are they now called X-scapades)? .

🍿 The Incomparable podcast recently had a series of episodes dedicated to the Back to the Future triology so of course I had to see them all again. My favorite is still Part 1, but with time Part 3 rose up to the number 2 spot and the accompanying episode of The Incomparables has nicely outlined all of the reasons why.

Good podcast alert: the VPZD show

The VPZD Show is back after a year-long hiatus and last week’s episode checks a lot of boxes from the Things-I’m-Interested-In list:

The last topic I listed here was what the episode starts with, and is the most poignant part. Recommended.

Jonathan Haidt’s interview with Tyler Cowen was excruciating and my opinion of Tyler deteriorated significantly, but it was the push I needed to order Haidt’s new book. I thought I’d skip it because we were already in perfect agreement but I’ll make sure to turn on my confirmation bias shields.

I’ve never heard of “Movers and Shakers” before and I am unlikely to give it a try, but its producer just gave the best description of the value of podcasting I’ve read in a while. (ᔥDave Winer, who also knows a few things about podcasting)

The latest ATP members' special is their best one yet. It is called John’s Windows, it is about John Siracusa’s window management system, and it is one of those rare podcast episodes that are best viewed on YouTube. Easily worth the price of membership.

Late last year I mentioned several podcasts I would be trying out. The first one — Who Killed JFK — did not work for me. The production values were too high for the slight content it presented, and I like my podcasts on the raw side. Fortunately, a friend recommended the seven-part span of The Rest is History that covers much more than just the assassination, and I can absolutely recommend it. Even better: those were episodes 392–398, so I am now looking forward to hundreds of hours of two historians spitballing about various people and events, from Anthony and Cleopatra to the Hundred Years' War.

After a drought of good podcast episodes, both Tyler Cowen and Russ Roberts had great interviews this week:

Voices in my head, 2023

My podcast diet has become stale. I work from home more, commute less, and have decided not to wear AirPods when others are around, With a family of five this means no more than 30–45 minutes in the early morning before anyone else is up. And those minutes are filled with the usual suspects, which continue to be fine, but they are also two elderly economists with similar views. Where’s the variety?

So, here is an aspirational list of things I will try out in 2024. Be warned: a few years ago I put Lex Friedman’s podcast on a similar list, and apologized profusely after realizing it was a good cure for insomnia and not much else. As always, caveat lector.

  • Who Killed JFK looks like someone was playing podcast Mad Libs. (Seasoned journalist) Soledad O’Brien and (B-list celebrity) Rob Reiner discuss (a controversial topic) the JFK assassination. I vaguely remember O’Brien from The Site, back when MSNBC was trying to live up to its first two initials and went all tech all the time. What strange turn of events got her to host a conspiracy theory podcast?
  • The Vergecast got on the Maybe list after the POSSE episode. I bumped it up to the Regulars after their In Memoriam to Twitter. I foresee many skipped episodes — 1–2 hours twice per week feels exhausting — but I also skip plenty of ATP and still get enough out of it to be a member.
  • Life and Art from FT Weekend is the audio version of the second-best part of FT (the best being the daily Big Read), so how couldn’t it be good? I’m about to find out!
  • Conversations with Coleman is what I imagine Tyler Cowen’s podcast would be if he weren’t an old white economist. I also think it’s time I finally started listening to a podcast by someone significantly younger.
  • Greatest of All Talk is already on my list, so this is a bit of a downgrade. While I enjoy listening to basketball talk, three hours each week is just too much. This is the year I’ll decide whether to cut it off completely.

If the links above were not explicit enough, here are my actual regulars: ATP, EconTalk, Conversations with Tyler, with a sprinkling of The Talk Show and Dithering. They all feature prominently in years past: 20222021202020192018The one where I took a break from podcastsThe very first one.