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@linhLinh Dao Smooke

Hacker Noon Mama-in-Chief. But also like a real mom (to Norah).

Everyday for the past few months, I wake up at around 5.30 am to prepare for my long glorious walk around this valley, as the sun rises and my brain, too, slowly wakes up. Most of my podcast consumption is concentrated in this 2-hour window. So today, I would like to share my top 10 favorite podcasts with you, ranging from contemporary culture to comedy to politics.

I read somewhere that one of the first items that got sold out on Amazon at the beginning of quarantine was podcast mic, as everyone and their mother are now producing podcasts. And what’s not to love? I believe listening to podcasts is the best “passive” activity to engage your mind meaningfully, whether you be driving, washing dishes, or working out.

Note: These recommendations are a little US-centric, as I’m based in America. But 84% of current traffic to my site is from the United States so I’ll stick with that for now.

Quarantine Must-Listens

These are the podcasts I came to love during covid time.

Up first: 15 minutes of solid news summary for the day. Available extremely early. Balanced perspectives from local & international correspondents. Better than scrolling through social media or newspaper headlines.

✨Episodes Highlights: pick any day really (except Sunday). Such as March 11, the day the NBA decided to suspend its season, unofficially paving way for covid19 to enter the American psyche.

The Daily: journalistic deep-dives of our collective lived moments, hosted by Michael Barbaro (oh hello there sexy voice). Most people got drawn to The Daily because of The New York Times. I came to like NYT because of the Daily.
Office Ladies: fun scene-to-scene analysis from the people who make the show, including star-studded guest lineups. A true Office fan won’t want to miss this. Great for people who love the art of film and/or comedy making, too.
It’s been a minute: keeping up with pop culture but like in a non-cheesy way. Host Sam Sanders is probably the most likable human to have ever made podcasts. Good-natured, informative, and fun!

Long-Time Favorites

I’ve been into podcasts since early 2012, and these oldies but goodies never dissapoint.

Radiolab: the podcast that started it all for me. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich (Robert now retired) ponders life’s most interesting questions via childlike curiosity. A treat for your ears and you feel 10000x times smarter every time.
How I built this: quality conversations with founders & entrepreneurs of iconic brands & companies. Must-listen if you are building a company or just entertaining the idea. Inspirational and aspirational.
Five Thirty Eight: nerd alert 🤓 A politic podcast that’s mostly about mathematical modelling, polling and statistical probabilities. Tip: Nate Silver might have started this, but listen to Clare Malone. She’s the smartest one.

Single-Issue Series

These are special podcasts that look into one particular issue and are most likely one-offs.

Dolly Parton’s America: Dolly is America’s favorite unifying and definition-dyfing goddess. Race, Gender, Politics, Nationalism, Heritage… everything that makes this country uniquely American as explored through Dollyverse.
Rabbit Hole: an 8-part series that follow the Far-right movement enabled by technology and social media. Disturbing, eye-opening, weirdly hopeful.
1619: t’was the year the first slaves got stolen to America from Africa. This series looks into the 400 years legacy of injustice.

That’s all for today, y’all. Thanks for following along and I likely will update this list every now and again.


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