Great Conversations

True history of the world is the history of great conversations.

– Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones)

Great Conversations: A Pensive Tyrion, Picture from HBO

A Pensive Tyrion, Picture from HBO

If you have caught up with the last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, you’d have noticed Tyrion drop this line. It’s one of those moments when life connects with art.

I have forgotten the number of times I’ve imagined if I could be a fly on the wall & overhear some interesting conversations. Podcasting has taken that feeling to a whole new level. It now seems like the fly has taken centre stage and the conversation is being staged for it.

Podcasting has come a long way. I remember the clunky interface of iTunes which used to collect podcast episodes (It is still the same by the way). But there is hope now. There are several podcast aggregating apps & websites & as if there has been a renaissance of interviews happening all over the world, the content has also grown to support the existence of these apps.

After my previous blog post on productivity hacks for investors, some people asked me which podcasts I follow, here’s my current long list in no particular order, filtered by topic.

All these podcasts are searchable through the Overcast app on iOS or iTunes podcast player. I’m biased towards Overcast.

Tech

a16z
It’s a podcast hosted by the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). It discusses various topics related to technology, computing, startups, businesses along with current & future trends. They invite some partners / specialists from their existing portfolio companies or folks working with a16z. It’s a good mix of tech update & insight bundled into small (20min to 60min) episodes

Exponent
It’s an interesting podcast conversation with Ben Thompson of Stratechery & James Allworth. What might seem like two guys talking about tech & what really matters to them in tech, it is just that, but for the patient listeners it provides a good overview of some trends in technology & user adoption of technology.

Above Avalon
It’s a podcast hosted by Neil Cybart, it discusses Apple in incredible detail. Can’t imagine someone so dedicated to track one company, its technology & its trends.

Accidental Tech Podcast
It describes itself as “Three nerds discussing tech, programming & loosely related matters”. Enough said, I guess. It’s hosted by Marco Arment, Casey Liss & John Siracusa.

What’s Tech?
It’s a podcast hosted by the tech website Verge. It’s a mix of lot tech news along with some interpretation about implications of tech.

Reply All
This is an eclectic show about things on the internet. It’s not strictly about tech but it has covered various tech topics in the past with their cultural/social/political relevance.

Ctrl-Walt-Delete
It’s a podcast show with tech editor Walt Mossberg. It’s hosted by Verge. It covers various topics related to tech, e-commerce, social media, etc. Mostly stuff you’ll find in tech editorials.

Design

99% Invisible
I have found this podcast to be a profound opening to the world of design thinking. It discusses several historical examples where design was used to change the way people used something.

I haven’t come across many good podcasts on design, it would be great to get some recommendations.

Finance & Economics

Econtalk
A 10 year old podcast, which I’ve been listening for the past 7 years, never fails to amaze me. The conversations have great depth and breadth which cover the discussed topics very well. I have found this podcast as a very good introduction to the ideas of any book written by the person being interviewed. It is hosted by Russ Roberts of Stanford University.

London School of Economics: Public Lectures & Events
This is a good podcast to listen to the guest speakers who speak at the LSE campus.

Masters in Business
It’s hosted by Barry Ritholtz of Bloomberg. It has a lot of interviews with some legendary folks in finance and the discussions range from their experiences to personal lives and learnings to some topical discussions focused on some ideas in a book, etc.

Planet Money
NPR’s Planet Money is a fun podcast series which covers some odd ball topics in finance like, how to setup and offshore company and walks us through the process or how does the inside world of World Series of Poker work. Lots of great content.

Trend Following
A podcast hosted by Michael Covel, author of the book by the same name. It’s again a series of interviews with momentum traders and market practitioners who have been at their game for decades. Good glimpse into the process and practices of these professionals. Covel is a good interviewer and there are some very engaging conversations here.

The Investing Podcast
This is a podcast that discusses timeless investment concepts and sometimes hosts very good interviews with good value investors. It is hosted by Preston Psyh and Stig Brodersen

Chat with Traders
An interview series hosted by Aaron Fifield is exactly that, several chats with traders. It’s interesting to learn how many different methods of investing / trading can co-exist and create the market.

Tradestreaming Podcast
It’s an interesting podcast channel which has had some very good discussions with senior executives in the field of finance. It gives a good perspective about evolving technology, regulations, etc in the field of finance.

Zen Investing
Although discontinued, was a good resource for some very interesting interviews with good traders and investors. Most of these conversations might seem similar but the flavour of the conversations can be totally different across the podcasts. It’s humbling to know there are so many good and successful practitioners out there and how much ground I need to cover.

Stoic Investing
A recent addition to my podcast list. This is a very promising podcast hosted by Puneet Khurana and Manish Dhawan. I can see it evolve into a very good repository of interviews with market professionals.

Value Investing Podcast
From the guys who brought us Manual of Ideas, John Mihaljevic brings us the value investing podcast. They discuss some good investing concepts along with some very good interviews.

General

The Tim Ferris Show
No podcast list is complete without this. The Tim Ferris show has been simply outstanding. Maybe it’s because of the access that Tim Ferris enjoys to several of his interviewees but it’s evident from the interviews that he also has put in a lot of efforts in cultivating personal relationships and habits which has led to this amazing series. It’s perhaps the most eclectic podcast series I have ever heard, after Econtalk.

The James Altucher Show
I have been following James Altucher’s blog for a while now and this was a natural extension for me to move on to his podcasts. He covers some amazing topics over interviews with people from various fields like, arts, science, finance, you name it. Gives a good idea of the day to day grinds some people had to go through for a long time to become an overnight success.

Freakonomics Radio
Is hosted by WNYC radio and run by Stephen J Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, the book. They cover very random topics but each are as fun as the book itself. This is one of the best produced podcast shows I have heard after NPR’s podcasts, because of the sheer effort they put in making it more lively and entertaining to learn something.

The Accidental Creative
Hosted by Todd Henry, it’s an interesting podcast series about creativity, work, productivity, etc.

The Knowledge Project
Share Parrish runs this amazing blog everyone knows about, farnamstreet. He’s a very good interviewer and can probe with great depth.

Fitness

Mind Pump
It’s a very intense and completely in your face podcast about nutrition, fitness and overall mental and physical wellbeing. It’s a bunch of fitness geeks discussing what they’ve learnt. Its usefulness will be apparent over a period of time as I try and implement some of the fitness hacks they recommend (of course after consulting my doctor first)

Smart Drug Smarts: Brain Optimization
This is a very interesting podcast which I had almost ignored because of its name. It turned out to be quite useful. They have discussed the impact of fitness and nutrition on our cognitive well being, something investors can implement to keep churning good ideas for as long as possible.

Please recommend more interesting podcasts, if you’ve come across any.

About Raunak Onkar

Raunak Onkar heads the Research department at PPFAS Mutual Fund. He started his career at PPFAS as part of his internship during MBA. He holds an MMS (Finance) degree from the University of Mumbai.

5 thoughts on “Great Conversations

  1. Anil Kumar Tulsiram

    Thanks a lot for posting this Raunak

    There is a another problem which I am sure many people or alteast I am facing..There is tons of good podcasts, books, articles, magazines available. At the same time one needs to balance time with the research on new ideas and existing ideas.. Added to this, all this reading is useless if one if not able to connect and use ideas when required.. As you read so much, would love to hear your thoughts how you tackle this problem

    Reply
    1. Raunak Onkar Post author

      Thanks for writing in Anil. I face the same problem but I tackle it differently. The more I try to forcefully connect ideas, the more it frustrates me when I fail. I have learnt to trust my instincts & memory to connect ideas if they’ve really influenced me in a meaningful way. It is not a foolproof way to connect ideas, but I think it’s a memory problem & in my case I need to re-read stuff in order to remember it.

      For the past few years I have been actively saving my annotations and markings from Kindle / physical books in my Evernote notebooks and have managed to re-read a lot of relevant stuff. That has certainly helped me reinforce some ideas better than others which I have only read once and never picked up again.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply

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