Podcasting has been around for more than decade, but it was mostly a fringe attraction, with relatively few listeners. But now that Serial, a “This American Life” offshoot, became a huge hit (5 million downloads and counting), you might wonder: Is there anything worth listening to if you’re a serious businessperson?
The answer is yes. Quite a lot, in fact.
The podcast is a form of communication that has really come into its own. Like a special-interest radio show that you can download and play at your convenience, a good podcast has a number of winning characteristics: engaging presentation, interesting ideas, variety while maintaining a theme, and a length short enough to fit comfortably into your commute or travel plans.
If you're in the mood to learn more about management, leadership, and the vagaries of business, here are nine podcasts that will fit the bill. We picked ones that have ongoing production rather than a list of production dates from the past..
Each listing gives a brief description, the host's name, and the home URL, so you can find where to download it. Best of all, they're free for the downloading. Take a look and let us know your favorites that we missed.
Dose of Leadership
Host: Richard Rierson
Rierson learned his leadership lessons as a Marine, commercial pilot (whose first official day at work was on September 11, 2001), and corporate executive. He interviews leadership experts and icons "who pursue excellence, truth, & common sense."
Host: Sarah Green
Green is an editor at the Harvard Business Review and the host of the podcast. Because it's from Harvard, you know the name will pull in major names like Ronald Howard from Stanford, one of the founders of decision analysis, or Eric Schmidt of Google.
Host: Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman
Manager Tools and sibling Career Tools are the products of a consulting company, also called Manager Tools, owned by Auzenne and Horstman. The two cover practical advice in handling management issues and in advancing and running your career.
Get-It-Done Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More
Host: Stever Robbins
Robbins had early success in the software industry and experience in both startups and large companies. Instead of focusing on broad questions of business, though, his podcast covers the more mundane, but still important, parts of business with tips on productivity, time management, making technology work for you, and other practicalities. Save time and aggravation and make space for more strategic and important considerations.
Host: Kai Ryssdal, David Brancaccio, and Lizzie O'Leary
Public radio's business-specific programming is typically interesting even though sometimes the insights may be a bit shallow from the combination of limited space (even public radio has its limits) and the need to attract a general audience. Still, you can often catch something of use. There are multiple programs -- the eponymous title, Marketplace Morning Report, Marketplace Midday Update, and Marketplace Weekend.
Host: Daniel Pink
Pink is a business journalist and author of such books as Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. He's used his access to major business figures to feature interviews with the likes of Biz Stone, Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters, and Harvey Mackay. His is a periodic podcast, with a handful of episodes a year. But with guests like these, you can afford to wait a bit.
Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series
The Stanford series is different from the other podcasts on the list. It's actually a lecture series on entrepreneurship that occurs every Wednesday during the academic year. Recent speakers have included Ben Horowitz from VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, Nest co-founder Matt Rogers, and Liz Wiseman, president of leadership research and development firm Wiseman Group.
The Bottom Line
Host: Evan Davis
Like Marketplace, this is another radio show that is also distributed as a podcast. The Bottom Line is a BBC Radio 4 production that is a panel discussion with business leaders addressing such topics as how some companies survive for centuries, new concepts in management, and wearable technology and its impact on business.
The Broad Experience
Host: Ashley Milne-Tyte
British-born writer and public radio reporter Milne-Tyte had covered business for decades and was "fascinated by how different men and women behave at work and the experiences they have there." Milne-Tyte delves into aspects of the bigger picture, typically twice a month. Some recent topics include women working for free, starting a business, and authenticity versus conformity.