My Favorite Podcasts of 2017

Posted on December 19, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Mobile, iOS, Android, Music + Videos with 19 Comments

My Favorite Podcasts of 2017

I split my listening time between audiobooks and podcasts. And while I routinely list my favorite audiobooks from each year, I don’t believe I’ve ever done so for podcasts.

I listen to podcasts with Pocket Casts, which I highly recommend. There are versions for Android,iOS, and the web, and while you have to pay for each separately, I just love the app and it’s cloud-based sync capabilities. Highly recommended.

Best podcasts

These are the podcasts I listen to reguarly, if not religiously.

2 Keto Dudes. Carl Franklin and Richard Morris explain the keto lifestyle and demand only one thing from doubters: “Show me the science.” Easily my favorite podcast from 2017, and highly recommended to anyone who sits in front of a computer all day and just gains weight. This is a solvable problem. And these guys can help.

How Did This Get Made? Probably my all-time favorite podcast, though it has gone off the rails with terrible fan-submitted music in recent years. Basically an audio version of Mystery Science Theater, How Did This Get Made? lampoons terrible movies in every other episode. In the other episodes, one of the hosts, Paul Scheer provides more information about the movies they’ve seen. Hilarious stuff. Just skip over the dumb and self-congratulatory music stuff.

The Tim Ferris Show. Kind of a classic in the podcast world, The Tim Ferris Show, like its creator, is far more intelligent and interesting than would be suggested by the title of his first book, The 4-Hour Work Week. This, to me, is the right kind of self-help guidance, and is spans a range of topics—health, fitness, learning, investing/money, and more—and does so with the world’s leading experts. I always make sure to have 10 episodes of this locked and loaded.

Best of the rest

These are podcasts that I listen to semi-regularly, but as with The Tim Ferris Show, above, I like having many episodes of each at the ready for when I’m in the mood.

The Minimalists. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are The Minimalists, and their podcast neatly highlights the Minimalist movement. Millburn can be a bit much, and Nicodemus can be a bit too little, if that makes sense. But they are clearly great guys who have figured out something that I feel is very important.

Internet History Podcast. Despite—or maybe because—I appear in three tech podcasts every week, I do not listen to tech podcasts regularly. This is the one exception, though I cherry-pick from the episodes to find interesting topics. The interviews of Mike Slade are among my favorites and are a good place to start.

Rolling Stone Music Now. If you like music at all, you need to check this one out. As with the previous podcast, I cherry-pick for my favorite artists and bands.

Revisionist History. There are suddenly a lot of “secret history”-type podcasts (and TV shows), but this is pretty much the classic. The thing about history is that it requires perspective. And the narrative you were taught may not be the complete story.

A few curiosities

I keep a number of other podcasts on hand, and while I won’t highlight them all here, a few are notable.

Highlander Rewatched is a fun example of something I’m seeing a lot of these days: One or more podcasters go back and rewatch the entire run of an old TV series—in this case, Highlander—and cover them as if they were new. Look around, I bet you can find a podcast about a favorite show from the past too.

The Skift Podcast is a curious take on travel in that it usually highlights people in the travel industry rather than destinations or whatever. But I really enjoy it, and more so than any other travel podcast I’ve tried. (I love the whole Rick Steves thing, but I find his weekly podcast to be uninteresting.)

OK, Note to Self to technically about tech, but I only listen to the occasional episode. There are some gems in there.


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Comments (19)

19 responses to “My Favorite Podcasts of 2017”

  1. wolters

    I will check these out as I'm always looking for new and alternative podcasts. A few podcasts that I used to enjoy listening to have taken their first hour just to discuss political issues in the tech world. That's not why I subscribe and listen for sure.

  2. Ndragonawa

    I concur with KingPCGeek in the Premium Comments: highly recommend the No Agenda Show.

  3. toshdellapenna

    I've been following The Minimalists guys for about a year now. I was in the throws of a what I call "digital decluttering" and stumbled upon their blog. A couple of weeks ago while browsing Netflix their documentary came up, so I watched that. I haven't checked out the podcast yet, but this article just reminded me that I need to get to it.

    I've also been dividing my digital reorganizing with the purging of physical items. I'm not so hardcore that I'm either all in with either digital or analog "possessions", but rather I prefer to split the difference. Outside of my music equipment, of which I prefer to have a lot of, everything else I own really needs to have a purpose. And with a major move coming up in less than a year, this has been ever more imperative as I typically dislike moving with regards to the physical stuff.

    Thanks Paul for sharing this list!

  4. millerkl61

    Paul, I'm enjoying your "favorite" and "life hack" posts! Expanding's content, partly brought about by Mehedi's addition to the team, I'm guessing, is a welcome evolution of the site! Thanks.

    P.S. It would be fun to see Mehedi on a podcast sometime.

  5. jonzey

    How do you deal with Tim Ferris' "fingernails on chalkboard" unlistenable voice that rambles on? I've tried to listen to Tim a number of times, and I have never made it through an entire episode, because of his voice.

    If it were available by some fan, I'd probably be okay reading a professionally edited transcript of his shows to get to the content without all the "I guess"es and the "kinda"s and the "uhhh"s that he subjects us all to.

  6. robincapper

    If you want something with a mix of information and a bit of humor covering a wide range of topics try Stephen J Dubner's "Tell me something I don't know"

    Second the vote for Dan Carlin, his WW1 series is stunning

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

  7. stevek

    I'd recommend HardCore History with Dan Carlin. He has several series...I'd start with:

    If you like history; its really quite fun to listen to.

  8. PincasX

    After reading the health hacking article I thought about jumping in and commenting but held off since people seem to treat this shit like religion or computer platforms and just stick their fingers in their ears and say "la la la I can't hear you" when confronted with something that challenges what they want to believe. So with that said I'll skip anything diet specific and just make the following points:

    1. Body weight doesn't equal health. It is a single data point that can help give a picture of an individuals health but even then body composition is a better as someone that is 200 lbs and 15% body fat is likely far healthier than someone that is 200 lbs and 30% body fat.
    2. In both that article and this "science" was name dropped but for some reason no actual science or scientists were referenced. Dietitians are scientists that specialize in diet. Why not consult with one of them rather than listen to two guys that lack any sort of education or background on the subject they are talking about? Yes a consulting with a dietitian costs more than listening to a podcast but what is health worth?
    3. If for whatever reason someone decided weight loss is the only health indicator they care about, they can do better than taking guidance from two obese men with no health education.

  9. gvan

    No Agenda is great!

  10. adamcorbally

    The greatest generation is an excellent comedy podcast that covers star trek the next generation and more recently DS9 in a way similar to Highlander rewatched except its funnier in my opinion

    also for Liverpool FC fans i can strongly recommend the anfield wrap, its a brilliant source for LFC news and debate and has won numerous awards - i think sport/fan culture has a natural home on podcasts

  11. Buzzmodo


    I would highly recommend that you also consider:

    Reid Hoffman, "Masters of Scale"

    Kara Swisher "Recode/Decode"

    Geekwire (Seattle Geekwire guys)

    Radio Atlantic

    Office Hours with Spencer Rascoff

    Here's the Thing, Alec Baldwin

    All quite excellent, and worthy of your and your reader's consideration

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

    Buzz Bruggeman

  12. KingPCGeek

    Just to piss Leo off you should have included The No Agenda Show.

  13. rmlounsbury

    Agree with the thoughts about "The Minimalists" and each half of that equation going a little far one way or the other. I used to listen to this podcast regularly but found that they are little too far off the edge with Minimalism for my tastes. It does do a good job challenging my opinions and thoughts on various topics and will still catch an episode on occasion. Though one can discuss only so many things about minimalism and it feels they loop topics a lot.

    A couple podcasts I'll throw out there primarily in the lifestyle category is "Fat Burning Man" by Abel James which follows a somewhat similar concept to paleo/low carb lifestyle. Also, "The School of Greatness" by Lewis Howes which is a great motivational and inspirational show.

    As we get close to the end of the year I sit down and dig through lots of different things such as who I follow on Twitter and review my list of podcasts and determine if they are bringing any value. I do have a solid 1.5-3 commute each day but so many podcasts I listen to are in the 2 hour ballpark so it can be hard to keep up with everything. At least when it comes to tech I like to listen to the current weeks episodes and will ignore episodes that are more than a week or two old. My lifestyle podcasts I can let pile up and binge on when I have a rare gap in the stuff I want to keep on top of weekly.

  14. jbinaz

    Mike Rowe's "That's How I Heard It" is entertaining.

    "Junk Food Cinema" is great, too. They discuss movies, mostly from the 80's and 90's, that while not critically acclaimed have held up well. Language gets a bit strong, but it's a fun listen.

    In the "self improvement" vein, "Side Hustle School" is good. It's daily and < 10 minutes. Great stories of "side hustles" that people have come up with.

  15. Brandonlpierce

    Gonna check out the Rolling Stone pod (and send it to my dad, who is a bigger music fan) but for the show rewatching idea I immediately thought of Cordkillers w/ Tom Merritt and Brian Brushwood. They do a bonus show called Spoilerin' Time where they talk about everything they are watching. They've been doing it for years and there was talk of creating episodes/feeds based on individual shows. I'll ping them and see where that is.

  16. harmjr

    So I miss read the title and thought this was Paul's favorite podcast episodes of the year. I was expecting a list of WW, WTT and FRD stuff. Was hoping the Brad sideways on Skype would make the list. HA. Brad should edit a video of "Fun with Skype."

  17. Dryloch

    Believe it or not Gilbert Gottfried actually has a very good podcast that disects old movies. He has so many stories and an encyclopedic knowledge of Hollywood history. Give it a shot!