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Woman listening to podcasts to stretch her thinking

Tune In: 9 Podcasts to Stretch Your Thinking

The right podcast can turn an annoying commute or another trip around the treadmill into something you eagerly look forward to.

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than tuning out to a little mindless entertainment. But you can also find plenty of of practical, inspiring and thought-provoking content to stimulate your mind and broaden your horizons. And that got us thinking...why not choose a few podcasts that can help us stretch our thinking and develop new learning habits?

This can be a great way to go deeper into the areas you naturally gravitate towards and take a trip to the “other side” to build up some brainpower in those areas you struggle with or typically avoid.

To get you started, we’ve selected a few representative podcasts that appeal to each quadrant of the Whole Brain® Model. But of course, this is by no means a definitive list. If these don’t do it for you, there are plenty more to choose from. You don’t even have to limit yourself to prescriptive or educational podcasts. By listening with intention, you might discover some hidden opportunities to stretch your thinking right there in your favorite entertainment or “escape” series. The important thing is to go into it with intention, and commit to some new learning habits.

A Quadrant – Analytical, Technical, Data Oriented

  • The Payoff: Want to get a better handle on your finances? This series, hosted by Chris Duffy and Antonia Cereijido, teaches you “how to save money, get wealthy and hack your financial life.” The combination of financial news, industry insights and “simple explainers” can help you understand how the events of the day impact your wallet, making it practical and relevant for even the least number-crunching among us.
  • The Vergecast: What’s new and next in technology? This podcast, hosted by Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn, alongside “a cavalcade of tech luminaries,” provides an irreverent and informative look at the world of technology and gadgets. With its claim that it’s the only podcast you need to make sense of the week in tech news, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

B Quadrant – Detailed, Structured, Organized

  • Extreme Productivity with Kevin Kruse: Kevin Kruse, a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur, has a question for you: “Would you like to 10x your productivity while adding at least one extra hour of free time to your day?” Well, who could say no to that? In this podcast, Kevin shares time management tips, tools and advice from entrepreneurs, self-made millionaires, Olympic athletes, straight-A students and other “ultra-productive people.”
  • The Tim Ferriss Show: The bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss calls himself a self-experimenter. Newsweek calls him "the world's best human guinea pig." The New York Times calls him "a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk." No matter what you call him, his podcast will help you learn the tools, tactics and tricks used by world-class performers from a whole variety of areas, from investing to chess to pro sports.

C Quadrant – Interpersonal, Expressive, Relationship Oriented

  • The Moth: The Moth's mission is “to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.” Thousands of stories have been told live and without notes since the program was launched in 1997. The Moth currently produces more than 500 live shows a year, and The Moth Podcast features re-airs of The Moth Radio Hour, along with additional stories from their vast archive.
  • The School of Greatness: School of Greatness is hosted by Lewis Howes, a bestselling author, “lifestyle entrepreneur” and former pro athlete. The podcast’s goal is to “share inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet to help you find out what makes great people great.” Exercise your C-quadrant thinking with these two episodes in particular:How to Make Powerful Relationships with Influencers and The Keys to Successful Relationships (And Maintaining Them).

D – Imaginative, Conceptual, Visual

  • Creative Pep Talk: The Creative Pep Talk Podcast is “designed to help you make a good living making great art.” But it’s also for anyone who wants to explore new ways to tap into their creativity, and to stop making excuses and start making space for creative thinking. Not sure how to harness and direct your D-quadrant thinking? Check out the episode Unlock Your True Potential.
  • 99% Invisible: From award-winning producer Roman Mars and KALW in San Francisco, 99% Invisible is described as “a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture.” The premise: Design is everywhere in our lives, and especially in the places we’ve stopped noticing. This podcast about “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.”

Bonus – Tune in Your Whole Brain

  • The Minimalists: Hit all the bases. The Minimalists Podcast focuses on living a meaningful life with less. Within that context, hosts Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus tackle a range of topics, from finances to passion, organizing to impulses, gift-giving to the weather, and everything in between.

Think about how you might deliberately incorporate one or more new podcasts into your listening repertoire. There’s nothing wrong with listening to podcasts that are in your sweet spot, but try out a few that challenge you and see where it takes you.

What would you add to the list? Tweet us your favorites @herrmannintl.

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Tags: Thinking Agility

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