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Our favourite podcasts for learning inspiration

Whether you’re committed to heading back into education to develop your skills or you just want to keep feeding your curiosity as you journey through your career, there’s a lot you can learn from podcasts.


You can hear direct from experts on the brain, delve deep into the history of human knowledge, and learn what it’s like to work in just about any career imaginable.


So, if you’re looking for inspiration about what to learn next, we’ve gathered some recommendations for podcasts that fire your interest, motivate you to find out something new and give you the tools to make a success of it.


Hidden Brain

All learning starts with that mysterious clump of grey matter between our ears, and Hidden Brain is devoted to exploring the mind’s unseen patterns and how they transform our world. Discover why we fall in – or out – of love, why even rich people always want to earn more, how our memories betray us or what the 1918 flu pandemic tells us about human nature. Mashable says that NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam “conducts excellent, well-researched interviews with experts on complex topics that are made simple to understand and will have you really getting in your own head”.


Philosophize This!

If you want to get stuck into some big ideas, but you’re not sure where to start or are worried that philosophy is a bit intimidating, Philosophize This! has the solution. Listen to it in order and it takes you on a journey with the great thinkers of the past and explains their key concepts on the way. The Guardian says it’s “like physio for the mind”. If you’re a bit overwhelmed by tackling all 150-plus episodes, they recommend picking a topic like love, power or failure. “Someone will have philosophised about it – and their thoughts might just comfort you,” the paper says.


Stuff You Should Know

No podcast demonstrates boundless curiosity quite like Stuff You Should Know, a show one of its hosts describes as “a never-ending quest to explain absolutely everything there is on planet earth and beyond”. So far, over more than 1,800 episodes, they’ve tackled Navajo code talkers, fish fraud, science, psychopaths, flu, true crime, ballpoint pens, Spam, conspiracy theories and a lot more. All this knowledge is easily digested as a conversation between friends with, as Cosmopolitan says, “hosts so lovely you may just fall in love with them”. Listen and “everyone will want you on their pub quiz team,” the magazine says.


Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips

Whether you’re heading back into the classroom to get new qualifications or you’re looking for the next promotion, brushing up your writing skills could be crucial. After all, good communication is one of the most often cited “soft skills”that employers look for.

Grammar Girl – AKA Mignon Fogarty – provides bite-sized tips on punctuation, grammar, style, idioms, the history of words and lots more, so you can polish up your presentations and essays, or just geek out on some interesting language facts. NPR calls her a “grammar guru” who offers a “gentle guide for those of us who can’t seem to remember the difference between disinterested and uninterested”.


Exam Study Expert podcast

If all this inspires you to head back into education to improve your qualifications and take the next step in your career, then there’s a podcast for that, too. There’s been huge advances in understanding how we learn best in recent years, and the host of the Exam Study Expert William Wadsworth has been keeping a close eye on it all. His podcast covers insights on training your memory, exam tactics, habits to cultivate and tips on motivation. It’s enough for Aled Walker, a fellow in mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, to call him a “masterful” guide to study techniques.


(You can find these podcasts on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and many more services)


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