Best of Podcasts 2020

9300 minutes - According to Spotify, I spent this much time listening to podcasts last year. It was the first year where I started to prefer it consistently over listening to music. In the beginning, it was mainly for practicing Chinese (Speak Chinese Naturally, GuShiFM, DaPeng Speak Chinese), and they helped me a lot! I still remember how I occasionally trapped myself evading from them because it was demanding, and the stories were not always very exciting. Now, this has gone away and I even listen to doze off.

But it was only until the second half of the year when I found them as a source of inspiration and realized how much I enjoy listening to philosophical and deeply personal conversations. I first shared the episodes of Derek Sivers and Naval Ravikant with my mentor. He was also excited by them and I really like how we now sometimes cite the episodes to explain our ideas or make a point. I would love to have more of this, so feel free to reach out if any of this also speaks to you :)

Without further ado, here are my Top 3 of this year in chronological order.

Derek Sivers: Innovation Versus Imitation [The Knowledge Project Ep. #88]

It’s a really long episode (almost 2h), but it was filled with so many interesting topics for me. I also highly recommend his book Hell Yeah or No (book notes will follow later) if you like his philosophy.

My highlights:

  • Hell yeah or No: Finding your deep passion and prioritizing your time for it.
  • Deep work: Focusing on one thing at a time and getting rid of distractions
  • The beauty of minimalism
  • Book selection based on how they could be helpful at this moment
  • It’s about the thoughts, not the book: extract condensed notes of interesting ideas
  • Decision making: choosing the plan with the most options
  • His biggest personal mistake

Naval’s Episode is maybe one of the most popular in this genre, and it also had the biggest impact on me. It was an eye-opener to see meditation as a practice to clear the mind and be more focused instead of bare spirituality. I regularly meditate since then, and it significantly increased my well-being. But there was so much more on this episode. Check it out for yourself if you didn’t already. There is also a transcript available!

My highlights:

  • Book reading: Deeply absorb what speaks to you and skim the rest
  • The maxim of being present: be absorbed in the moment
  • Priorities: not making time for something means it’s not a priority
  • Meditation: on getting a clear and focused mind
  • Foundational values: openness, long-term commitment
  • Navals Vision on Education
  • Life as a single-player game
  • Focus on the core strength: everybody has a specialty

Being Weird - Not Overthinking

No, I don’t only listen to the Knowledge project.😉 Besides his great youtube channel, Ali Abdaal and his brother Taimur also run a podcast with casual conversations on life, happiness, and productivity. It’s far less dense in content but entertaining and authentic. My highlight episode is about being weird; what else.. 🤪

My highlights:

  • Life is a Picture, but You Live in a Pixel
  • Be more weird
  • The misconception about books

These were my highlights, I’m sure there will be more in 2021. I recently started listening to audio books, let’s see..