NPR‘s Invisibilia podcast is back with a third season and so far, it’s as clever and well researched as previous seasons. Invisibilia is about the invisible forces that shape human behaviour – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and emotions. The first two episodes in the new season challenge the way we think about how emotions are made. They haven’t given much more away about what the rest of the season will contain, except to say that all the episodes are connected to this central idea. The hosts are calling it a ‘concept album.’ If you haven’t listened to previous seasons, I urge you to do so. Be prepared to be engrossed from the start.
I don’t read as many books as I’d like. The intention is there but the leisure time is not and the ability to focus seems to have dwindled over the years. It takes longer to get through a book than it used to.
One way I’ve tried to overcome this is with Audible. It lets you listen to audiobooks wherever you are – running, in the car or doing mundane tasks. It has the world’s largest selection of audiobooks and many are narrated by the author, which can add to the experience.
Get a 30 day free trial then pay $14.95 per month. With that comes a free audiobook each month and Audible can be used across multiple devices so you can share your library. Tip: the children’s titles are a great tactic to get silence in the car.
In the latest episode of The Tim Ferris Show podcast, Tim talks about relationships with influential psychotherapist, Esther Perel, whose popular TED talks on desire and infidelity have had more than 17 million views. Esther and Tim cover provocative and important ground relating to sex, love, polyamory, marriage and more in the two-hour episode. Some of the most interesting parts are:
- What comes first: trust or vulnerability?
- In a relationship, is there such a thing as too much honesty?
- Does honesty — or one-hundred percent sharing — equal caring for the other person in a relationship?
- The value of innovation and flexibility over rigid ideology in a relationship.
- Every relationship is a power dynamic.
- Is there an argument for marriage these days?
Listen if: you are in a relationship.
Terrible, Thanks For Asking is raw and intimate podcast that explores hard things people go through that are difficult to talk about and typically shied away from when the topic arises. The host and author of It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too), Nora McInerny Purmort (who is a 30ish widow mother with her own grief), wants to explore what’s really going on when others ask ‘How are you?’ when clearly the answer is not ‘Fine’. She feels there is strength and value in being able to speak honestly about pain so each week she explores something heartbreaking and uncomfortable with her interviewees. There’s crying, laughing and awkwardness but you get the sense that Nora is a genuine comfort to the people she speaks with and that they benefit from being able to tell their stories to an empathetic listener. Listen to the podcast. Buy the book.
S-Town is a new podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, and the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life. I deliberately avoided reading or listening to anything about this podcast as it would have been easy to start comparing it to Serial even before it launched early this week. I’m glad I did as I’ve been captivated by the story, people and Brian Reed’s telling of the events and am equally annoyed and delighted that they released all seven chapters instead of stringing out the suspense over weeks. Five down, two to go. Addicted. Get into it.
Unexplained is a podcast about strange and mysterious real life events that continue to evade explanation. A show that explores the space between what we think of as real and what is not. Where the unknown and paranormal meets the most radical ideas in science today. It’s eery, atmospheric and mind-bending in parts. The host and creator, Richard MacLean Smith, has thoroughly researched each story and presents in a calm and almost hypnotic way. He doesn’t dictate a conclusion, rather poses possible scenarios to the listener which adds to the intensity. You don’t need to listen in order – start with ‘Do You See What I See (S1, Ep 3) and ‘The Last Flight’ (S2, Ep 3) both available here or on iTunes.
Clementine Ford‘s debut book Fight Like A Girl is personal, brave, honest and powerful. It’s described as “an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat. It will make you laugh, cry and scream… it will make you demand and fight for a world in which women have real equality and not merely the illusion of it.” I opted for the audio version (narrated by Ford) and found her voice so impactful in telling her story. A chapter in, I vowed to buy it for my daughter to gift to her when she’s old enough to read it but by the end, I felt it was an important read for everyone, regardless of gender. Watch her talk about it. Buy the book.
This was a fascinating episode (originally broadcast last year) of the Conversations with Richard Fidler podcast. Richard speaks with Josh Richards, a stand-up comedian and official astronaut candidate with the Mars One project, which is a privately backed consortium that plans to populate Mars with humans. He was chosen from 200,000 initial applicants and is now one of the remaining Mars 100 from which two women and two men will be chosen. The final four then embark on training for a decade. This differs from other space expeditions in that the astronauts won’t be coming back to earth. It’s eery, exciting and no longer science fiction. Listen or subscribe to the podcast with the ABC Radio app, via iTunes or RSS. Another memorable episode of this podcast was the interview with Richard Flanagan on Syria’s Great Exodus.
As a long time fan of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow (see previous post, albeit much has changed in the political landscape since then), I found the latest episode to be a great one. The Cheeto Watch segment was amusing/alarming (“you elect a reality TV personality, you’re going to get a reality TV presidency”) but it was the interview with Tiffany Dufu who’s life’s work is in advancing women and girls that I took the most from. She talks about her new book Drop The Ball, in which she “urges women to embrace imperfection, to expect less of themselves and more from others—only then can they focus on what they truly care about, devote the necessary energy to achieving their real goals, and create the type of rich, rewarding life we all desire.” Listen to the episode (interview starts at 20:20 in). Side note… Ann Friedman’s weekly newsletter is a worthwhile subscription.