I take a long walk nearly every day in the late afternoon. I used to walk with a doctor friend, and we could easily walk an hour to an hour and a half a day, puzzling over our problems, laughing and philosophizing about life. I miss her since she moved! Now I tend to walk with podcasts for company (though if you are available, let me know!).
The blend I’m enjoying right now:
The Daily. A New York Times podcast with correspondent Michael Barbaro, featuring a brief but in-depth look into a single timely topic plus a few salient news bites each day. Guests tend to be veteran journalists specializing in the topics, making for unusually substantive content, and Michael’s calm voice is very welcome in this chaotic news climate. A great way to quickly and thoughtfully keep up-to-date. Listen here.
The Ezra Klein Show. A brilliant guy and superb interviewer, Klein talks with some of the most fascinating and thought-provoking people in media and politics. Some favorite guests to date include Demos president Heather McGhee, legendary journalist Elizabeth Drew, author and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, and authors Ta Nehisi Coates and J.D. Vance, but I’m very often captivated. Listen here.
Dear Sugars with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. Desperate people write in with the most intense problems, the ones that shape lives but that we don’t talk about — addictions, family schisms, infidelities, fears, grief, sexual identity, heartbreak, loneliness. Cheryl, Steve, and experts tenderly offer wise thoughts. Makes me wonder: why don’t we know more about being human, after all this time? Listen here.
Conscious Chatter. Subtitled, “Where what we wear matters.” A podcast with Kestrel Jenkins about conscious and sustainable clothing, the challenges, the supply chain, the creators, activists and innovators. I’m binge listening my way through the whole archives and am both entertained and enlightened by Kestrel’s interviews with the top newsmakers in this movement. Listen here.
On Being with Krista Tippett. A master interviewer, Krista tackles “big questions of meaning” with some of the most brilliant, creative and committed people on the planet. Favorite guests have included poet Mary Oliver, Representative John Lewis, and a recent conversation with progressive Heather McGee and libertarian Matt Kibbe, part of the Civil Conversations Project. Why can’t we all get along? Listen here.
Modern Love. Top contemporary actors read beautifully written columns from The New York Times about myriad aspects of love. Dan Jones, editor of the Modern Love column, comments and the authors provide updates on what’s happened in their lives since the columns were published (often years previous). Listen here.
10% Happier with Dan Harris. ABC newsman Dan Harris famously had an anxiety attack on air, which led him to… meditation. He refers to himself as “a sarcastic wise-ass,” so don’t expect warm and fuzzy. Favorite guests: George Mumford, meditation teacher to top athletes, and Chodo and Koshin, Zen Monks, founders of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care (i.e. hospice), who are surprisingly delightful! An especially fun podcast for us meditators. Listen here.