My friends will think this is a hilarious topic to post about since at least once per month I hit them with the text: “Pod recs?”
It has become my version of “U up?” and might come after days or more of not engaging in the group chat. But a girl has needs.
I spend a lot of time alone, and I am HOOKED on podcasts.
You all know I’m going to be asking you for your pod recommendations at the end. But first, I’m going to lay out the 10 Podcasts I am loving right now. I’ve been on a kick of getting into series-style podcasts that deep dive, over multiple episodes, into a topic. But unlike so many of my female counterparts, I just don’t feel like listening to murder. I might come around one day, but for now I’m out. The several series-style podcasts I’m recommending will capture your attention, are highly bingeable, and there is nary a murderer to be found. This is not to say it’s good, wholesome fun. But I won’t give any spoilers.
The other pods can be listened to one episode at a time, out of order, whenever you feel like it. And that is nice too.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Top 10 Podcasts To Listen To Now
(That Aren’t About Murder)
1. The Trojan Horse Affair
In 2013, an anonymous letter was sent to the City Council in Birmingham, England claiming that a plot to “Islamicize” Birmingham public schools was underway. The plot was called “Operation Trojan Horse” and became one of the biggest stories in England. National news outlets ran the story, teachers were fired and barred from speaking about the supposed scandal, and this letter played a major role in shaping British school and defense policy. Yet, to this day, the author and origin of the Trojan Horse Letter have never been uncovered. Who wrote the letter? What was their motive? And who knows what?
Podcasters Hamza Syed and Brian Reed take on these questions in The Trojan Horse Affair. It’s an eight-episode investigative series put on by Serial and The New York Times.
Expect: Maddening gaps in knowledge by those in positions of decision-making power, laughable attempts at “logic”, and a look at perceptions and how they shape outcomes.
2. Wild Boys
Vernon, British Colombia is described in the podcast as idyllic. Sun-soaked in the summer, surrounded by icy blue-green lakes, and the perfect place to enjoy fresh powder on the slopes in the winter. With a population of only 40,000, Vernon was small town charm wrapped in big-time natural beauty.
When two half-starved teenage boys showed up in 2003, seemingly out of nowhere, Vernon residents noticed. Who were the boys? Where had they come from? A story emerged of two “Bush Boys”, born and raised in the Canadian wilderness, far away and definitely off the grid. As in all good stories, everything is not as it seems. Something was off. Who were the boys really?
Hear the amazing tale of the “Bush Boys” (the real story), the people who cared, and the small town that got wrapped up in far more drama than it bargained for. This series feels like watching a good movie or miniseries.
**Trigger Warning: Discussions of Eating disorder
3. The Baron of Botox
What is beauty? How much can ‘givers’ give before they are spent? And can you ever really tell who’s okay from the outside?
Dr. Fredric Brant was one of the foremost cosmetic dermatologists in the world. Widely respected in his field, touting major celebrity clients, and a pioneer in the field of cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Brant was nicknamed the “Baron of Botox.” He had money, prestige, an art collection to rival an ICA, and by all accounts, a genuine, warm, and disarming personality.
This podcast was made after Dr. Brant’s tragic suicide in 2015. The host digs in to find what could have gone wrong for a man who seemingly had everything. The truth is there is never one simple answer, is there? But there is always insight in looking back at a person’s life. If nothing else, you get to feel like you know them a bit. Beyond the larger-than-life fashion sense and heavily altered, often criticized, face.
I binged this pod in a matter of three days.
-Interesting biographical information about a larger-than-life character, Dr. Brandt.
-An in-depth and nuanced thread running through the podcast about “beauty” and the beauty industry, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
-A humanizing of someone you may not have known of or had much regard for otherwise.
**Trigger Warning: Discussion of suicide.
4. Exit Scam
If you have any affiliations or inspirations to dabble in cryptocurrency, you MUST listen to this pod. If you don’t have anything to do with crypto but like a juicy investigative podcast to binge, you MUST listen to this pod.
You may remember the bizarre story from 2018, of the Crypto currency exchange CEO who suddenly died, leaving thousands of customers unable to access the funds in their accounts. Apparently, Gerald Cotton, dead CEO in question, was the only person with the passwords to access these funds, which totaled about $250 million dollars in crypto. Lol, oops.
The investigation into this story takes us on a wild ride through the world of charismatic startup leaders, BIG money, and scams—from the little fish to the history-making kind. Private jets, faked deaths, and a new way to bank…if you dare. Guys, seriously this is required listening if you’re into crypto, and so, SO good if you’re not.
5. The Dream
The Dream takes on Multi-Level Marketing schemes and the “Wellness” Industry. Goopers and Girl Bosses beware!
I listened to Season 2 of The Dream first, which was all about “Wellness,” that mythical, hard-to-put-your-finger-on notion that always seems just out of reach. Perhaps a new serum. A new supplement. Or a jade egg to stick up your hoo-ha. (Thanks Gwyneth.) Hearing about the lack of regulation on dietary supplements was hella alarming. (Though not surprising at all, because America.) And learning about the scamminess and conspiratorial ties in the industry was eye opening.
Season 1 of The Dream is what I am currently bingeing, and it is a full season of the wild world of MLMs. Multi-Level Marketing’s origin story, how these things work, and how they manage to evade the title of criminal enterprise…or…you know, that thing the Egyptians are so famous for. The pod also touches on some of the benefits women have received from working in MLMs (Definitely not money. But other things.) Buckle up. This shit is cray.
Trigger Warning: Your high school friends & acquaintances will be harder to “Hey Girl!” after listening to this.
Any Episode Listening
6. Sounds Like A Cult
Sounds Like a Cult takes on the modern-day “cults” we all follow. Topics like The Cult of Soul Cycle, The Cult of Trader Joes, or even The Cult of the NFL are discussed in this pod. Each episode begs the question: “This group sounds like a cult, but is it really?”
I have been loving this podcast for its quick, witty episodes that feel both informative and fun. Hosts Amanda Montel, linguist and author of the book ‘Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism’, and Issa Medina, a comedian and documentarian, have a great rapport that makes you feel like you’re hanging with your girlfriends. Some of the topics are silly, but each 30-minute episode gives some insight into cultural treasures with a cult following. Sororities & fraternities, MLMs, and even foot fetishes are discussed through the lens of tried-and-true cult criteria.
Check out Sounds Like a Cult:
7. The Financial Confessions
The Financial Diet is a platform for women, by women, to talk all things money. The Financial Confessions is the spinoff podcast/YouTube channel that covers a range of related topics. You can hear about the normal finance stuff—salary negotiations, investing, and hard truths about Cryptocurrency and NFTs, as well as lesser-talked about topics—the finances of adoption, the cost of being a reality TV star, and the invisible costs of poverty.
I like the Financial Diet, and The Financial Confessions pod, because it brings a different perspective to the world of financial literacy—so often steeped in white, conservative, male-ness. This women-led company also carries a millennial perspective, which is refreshing. No one scolds you for eating avocado toast or blames your iPhone for the $60,000 in student loan debt (the adults in your life all urged you to take on when you were a literal child). Instead, this pod offers both a nuanced look at the environment in which we—women, often millennials—find ourselves, and practical things that we can do to make our financial situations better and more comfortable. It is not a pod of extremes, and that makes it a nice place to absorb information about this traditionally taboo topic. Show us the money!
Click here to check out The Financial Diet site.
8. The Moth
The Moth Radio Hour is a compilation of people telling their stories. Some are well-known authors, celebrities, and frequent storytellers, and some are amateurs, first-timers. The stories range from earth shattering grief to stomach-in-stitches hilarious, and everything in between. Even the most ordinary life, day, or moment, can be the setting for a brilliant story.
The Moth is one of my all-time favorite podcasts. Listening to strangers’ stories while I unpack my suitcase, or brush my teeth, or make the long drive home from work gives me a cozy feeling. I find it super relaxing. It also makes me feel closer to humanity—or at least to the other humans telling the stories.
The Moth is a nonprofit group and hosts live events, too, in the form of Story Slams and Mainstage events. If you’re interested in taking part in a night of storytelling, check out their website for upcoming dates and cities.
On Apple Podcasts.
9. Hidden Brain
From them: “Using science and storytelling, host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.”
Hidden Brain is a tried-and-true podcast I’ve been listening to for years. It takes on human nature in all its wonders and contradictions by speaking with experts and researchers in different fields.
Why We Hold Onto Things, The Psychology of Self Doubt, Humor Us (Why do adults laugh so much less than children?), and Work 2.0: Game On—a discussion of how bringing game-like features into work makes it less dreary, are just a few examples of the plethora of human intricacies discussed in this pod.
The show site has 27 pages of past episodes to click through, so check one out today. This is an excellent “getting ready for bed” podcast, in my opinion, because you’re learning about subjects you might discuss with a therapist or psychologist, and the voices are calm and soothing. This is also one of the few pods on today’s list that can count as an educational podcast. And we productivity-obsessed in the room love a learning on the fly. Especially while multitasking.
Check out the Hidden Brain website,
Listen on Apple Podcasts,
Or find it on Spotify.
10. The Daily Pep!
As the title implies, the Daily Pep Podcast is a pep talk. Host Meg Kissack publishes a quippy little pep-talk each & every Monday-Friday morning. There are currently 527 episodes, so even if you decided to listen every day including weekends, you could go on for years without running out of content.
From their mouths:
“The Daily Pep! is the rebel-rousing, daily podcast for couragemakers, creative, multi-passionate and unconventional women.”
As someone trying hard to nurture my creative passions, actually get shit done, and not sink into a (distracting, unproductive) black hole of anxiety, imposter syndrome and self-loathing along the way, pep talks are pretty freaking clutch. I don’t know if these pep talks would only boost someone doing creative work, but the fact that they are made for people like me—creative, multi-passionate—helps. It makes me feel seen, and those little peps hit in just the right way. She also refers to something called “your inner dream-shitter,” and I think that has a nice ring to it.
The episodes range from 2-9 minutes, with most falling in the 4-5-minute category. So not a huge commitment. I can often find a pep talk from the archives about whatever thing I’m struggling with. ‘You Are Not Lazy’ (Episode 505), ‘In Praise of Slow Progress and Imperfect Action’ (Episode 503). Or how about Episode 463—’You Matter as Much as Your Work’. BRB, crying.
Plus, she’s got a great British accent, and we like that.
I can’t use my usual “That’s all folx” to close out today, because I have SO many more podcast recommendations up my sleeve. But the above are 10 podcasts I am loving right now. I hope you’ll give them a try and love them too.
I will have to do another pod roundup “episode” in the future to lay out some of my other favorites. As I continue bingeing the list will only grow longer. And speaking of growing longer…
This is the part where YOU help ME. Please, please, PLEASE give me all your best pod recommendations. Write them in the comments for all to see or DM me on Instagram. I don’t care how you send them, just give me the goods!
Thanks in advance for your suggestions, and thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate your presence.
Here’s wishing you a weekend full of pep, intrigue, and absolutely NO murder.
Hey you, yes you! Thanks for stopping by.
I’m Toni and I run the show here at AWheelintheSky.com. Here, we talk all things travel, flight attendant life, and random, vulnerable personal development bits. Not sure where this Podcast Roundup falls, but I hope you liked it anyway.
If it is your first time here, feel free to check out some of my other content. I’ve got more recommendations & tips, as well as some flight attendant and travel content below. and please consider subscribing to keep up with all the latest. If you like what I’m doing here and want to buy me a coffee, you can now do that at buymeacoffee.com/awheelinthesky. A gift is always appreciated, and never, ever expected.
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