While screens are a medium of entertainment that are consuming of all attention, audio based media provides opportunities for entertainment on the move. According to fortune magazine, the release of the widely successful Serial podcast in 2015 began a movement of advertisers towards this new form of information and entertainment. With this newfound opportunity, many new podcasts have been created, and some of these wonders have yet to be discovered by the majority of potential listeners. Here are reviews of three of these hidden treasures. We highly Recommend all three, with a special emphasis on Revisionist History.
“Revisionist History,” by critically acclaimed former writer for the New York Times and nonfiction writer Malcolm Gladwell, covers a wide range of topics from college admissions to basketball statistics to the failures of modern satire. Currently, only one season of 10 episodes, approximately 40 minutes apiece, Gladwell’s coverage of college admissions is particularly well-thought-out and lenthy, taking up three of the episodes. In first episode in the subseries, Carlos Doesn’t Remember, one can be moved close to tears hearing the struggles that Carlos has faced in the inner city of Los Angeles, and of a system that excels at keeping people like him down. But, despite most of his environment holding him back, Gladwell tells the story of a boy named Carlos who manages to escape the inner city and protects his younger sister against all the odds. But, what the podcast really covers are the cases where the odds do play out, and a majority of smart, hardworking, poor kids like Carlos never make it out of the inner cities to reach their full potential.
We do warn that Gladwell is a highly left wing, politically outspoken man, and his biases as such do show in his podcasts across the board. That having been said, the production, theory, and execution of the podcasts are masterful, and Gladwell’s style rings true to every episode, turning even some of the dullest topics into a fascinating listen.
My Brother, My Brother, and Me
“My Brother, My Brother, and Me” is a weekly comedy advice podcast featuring three brothers — Griffin, Travis and Justin McElroy — who have absolutely no business giving advice. In each hour-long episode, the brothers alternate between answering questions submitted by listeners, such as “How do I convince my wife to get a pet tarantula?” and absurd questions from Yahoo! Answers, such as “According to the Bible, is vanity over one’s potato salad a sin?” The answers to these questions usually prompt long, humorous discussion, which often stray from the original topic and involve one or all of them launching into a story about their childhood.
While the brothers would do well to spend less time laughing at their own jokes, this podcast is comedy gold and will always leave you with a smile on your face. Even in the most somber of times, you will not be able to resist laughing at their goofy advice and ridiculous banter.
The Tim Ferriss Show
“The Tim Ferriss Show” has it all, from advanced venture marketing to metaphysics. Ferriss brings in his guests for in depth interviews on topics that they are experts. In the featured episode, Ferriss brings in Phil Zimbardo, the Stanford emeritus and psychologist behind the Stanford Prison Experiment. For those unfamiliar, the experiment is notorious for showing psychologists just how quickly smart, mild-mannered people can turn into savages when they are put into a position of power. The podcast gets dark to match the material that is being discussed, and we would not recommend this podcast to someone who dislikes coverage of the unfavorable side of humanity.
All in all, the podcast is well-done, but sometimes the listener doesn’t fully know what to expect going in, as sometimes the coverage will be on a cheery or neutral topic, and other times it will dip into a deeper, darker topic as it does in the Zimbardo interview.