We all know where to find leadership lingo and self-help jargon touting success stories and DIY entrepreneurship. But in this age, we need a little more. We need perspectives, diversity, and texture. We need inspiration, conversation, and curiosity. We need hope, humanity, and so much more hearing and listening to revolutionize our entrepreneurial hustles.

Coffee and podcasts are a great way to start your morning

Here’s a rather unconventional guide to the best podcasts for entrepreneurs.

Some of these podcasts you may already know. Others may be completely new to you. But give them a chance. Expand your range, and you may find something you needed, or just something that makes you smile.

Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on humanity

Something Short and Sweet

Kind World’s logo
Kind World is a collection of stories about the profound effect one act can have on our lives

The Podcast: Kind World

Kind World is a quick, intimate look at the ways human kindness can change the life of another. Typically running from six to eight minutes per episode, each story will leave you smiling, ready to take on any challenge in your day.

The Effect: Believe in humanity. Believe that even the smallest act of generosity can change a person’s life.

Listen to:

The Big Questions of Meaning

On Being’s banner image
“On Being is a social enterprise with a radio show at its heart.”

The Podcast: On Being with Krista Tippett

On Being with Krista Tippett centers around the questions, “What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?” Inviting world leaders, renown authors and poets, scientists and beyond, Krista Tippett asks about spirituality, experience, and the human condition.

On Being is also the home of The Civil Conversations Project, that strives to bridge the generational, socioeconomic, political, and religious boundaries that may divide communities.

The Effect: Ponder the nature of language and humanity as you listen to some of the most respected leaders in the world vulnerably share their hopes, fears, and lessons learned.

Listen to:

Behind the Lens

Off Camera with Sam Jones’ banner image
“Because the best conversations happen Off Camera.”

The Podcast: Off Camera with Sam Jones

Celebrity photographer Sam Jones sits down with some of Hollywood’s most famous actors, writers, artists, and more to have candid conversations around their background, craft, and what’s really happening behind the scenes.

Off Camera is also a magazine and tv show, where listeners can watch the interviews or take an editorial look at the very artists they’re listening to.

The Effect: Gain intimate insight into the lives of talent in the spotlight as Jones casually and intimately talks with guests as they are, human.

Listen to:

  • Ep. 41 Olivia Wilde—Wilde talks underappreciation and working toward more authentic and human work.
  • Ep. 31 Zach Braff—Braff digs into the ways he experimented and pursued his dreams, despite setbacks.

Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on work

Success Never Just Was, But Built

How I Built This’ banner image
“How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built.”

The Podcast: How I Built This

Simply put, Guy Raz, the host of The Ted Radio Hour, talks with the founders of major companies that we all know, about their not-so-simple journeys.

The Effect: Success and growth is a magical mixture of grit, endurance, and yes, luck.

Listen to:

Startups Like You’ve Never Heard Them

Startup’s banner image
StartUp is “a podcast about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground.”

The Podcast: Startup

Startup gives listeners a look at what happens behind the scenes of companies you know and love, and some you don’t. With earlier episodes focusing on their own startup, Gimlet Media, this podcast candidly looks at subjects ranging from why startups can fail to what everyone thinks of the boss.

The Effect: Take note of cautionary tales. Engage in first-person accounts of news you may have heard. Remember that by nature, startups are made to fail or succeed, multiple times.

Listen to:

  • Part I: Labels—A seven-part journey following former CEO of American Apparel, Dov Charney, a leader of many scandals. Discover what happened from the man himself to what comes for him and his new company.
  • Shadowed Qualities—As Gimlet Media grows, co-founder Alex Blumberg asks employees for feedback on his performance. The result reveals an unexpected effect he has on his team.

Slack’s Got Your Back

Slack Variety Pack’s banner image
The Slack Variety Pack is “a podcast about work, and the people and teams who do amazing work together.”

The Podcast: The Slack Variety Pack

Slack is with you everyday, on your phone, tablet, and computer. The Slack Variety Pack is in the mix of it all, covering stories surrounding, well, work. In half-hour “packs,” listen to stories relatable and ridiculous on your next coffee break. Also, check out their new podcast on the meaning of work, Work in Progress.

The Effect: The workplace is suddenly a playground of ideas, stories, and amazing people. Look around, and let your curiosity guide you.

Listen to:

  • Ep. 23 Meet Pack—Know everyone at work? Ever apply principles of design to the way you live your life? Just work or co-work?
  • Ep. 24 The Little Things Pack—Ponder the power of commas, texts, and numbers, and how they can change everything.

The Oprah of Audio

The Tim Ferris Show’s logo image
“The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on all of iTunes.”

The Podcast: The Tim Ferris Show

Tim Ferris interviews top performers and pros in a myriad of fields ranging from business to sports and even the arts. Gain insight into morning routines, exercise habits, favorite tools and more within intimate long-form interviews.

The Effect: Be inspired. Meet your match to every excuse. Listen to an episode, then go get things done.

Listen to:

Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on curiosity

Cracking the Craziness of the Internet

Reply All’s banner image
“Reply All is a show about the internet and trained rats, time travel, celebrity dogs, lovelorn phone scammers, angry flower children, workplace iguanas, and more.”

The Podcast: Reply All

Reply All is a podcast that delves into the nooks and crannies of the internet. From finding the stories behind viral memes to digging into hackers and phishing schemes. This podcast explores the questions that you didn’t even knew you had about this weird thing called the web.

The Effect: Understand what actually happens when you click on certain links or what that cryptic tweet means. Basically get to know a whole bunch of essential non-essential internet happenings and the stories around them. Plus, PJ’s laugh is one of the best things you’ll ever hear.

Listen to:

  • Ep. 91 The Russian Passenger What’s going on when a person in Russia is using your Uber account.
  • Ep. 79 Boy in Photo Who’s Wayne, and why is the internet obsessed with this unknown guy? Reply All finds out, and trust us, you’ll be surprised.

I was wondering about that…

Hidden Brain’s Episode One banner image
“The Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves.”

The Podcast: Hidden Brain

Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain looks into the patterns that shape and surround human behavior. If you’ve ever thought, why do we do that? Hidden Brain might have the answer.

The Effect: Take a second look at things you do over and over. Or even, the habits that other people perform over and over. You may start to understand yourself a little bit better.

Listen to:

Podcasts for entrepreneurs: on design

The Faces Behind the Curtain

Design Matters’ logo image
“The world’s first podcast about design and an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations.”

The Podcast: Design Matters with Debbie Millman

Debbie Millman, one of the most well-known and influential designers of our time (with a laundry list of credits as teacher, author, and more), sat down with at first, other designers, but now she also talks with authors, activists, graphic novelists and other artists to discuss personal journeys and the creative culture at large.

The Effect: Inspiration is everyone, and so are the great leaders and makers of tomorrow. Keep going. And keep listening. We can only get better learning from our heroes.

Listen to:

The Unseen Mind

99% Invisible’s logo image
“99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.”

The Podcast: 99% Invisible

99% Invisible is all about what goes into the thought of something, the design of the design.

The Effect: Look at the buildings, products, and systems around you, thinking, that took thought. That was made. That was first an idea. Does it work, and what does it mean?

Listen to:

Open your ears

The beauty of a podcast is in it’s humanity. Just like how diversity and variety challenge us, expand our perspectives and make things a whole lot more interesting, so does changing up your listening routine.

Like art? Listen to a science program. Like cooking? Listen to a mystery show. Struggling with this, that, and those people over there? Listen to entrepreneurs, actors, physicists, theologians, children, and more. You may find that you have more in common than you thought.

And if you don’t, well, let the difference add layers of understanding to your entrepreneurial day-to-day. Listen on, folks!

What’s your favorite podcast and why? Let us know in the comments!


Gina Yu

This article was written by Gina Yu. Gina is a freelance storyteller, moonlighting as a Creative Director for a local agency, and a consultant to small businesses and dreamy individuals. Find her waxing poetic about coffee or obsessing over patterns (textural, cultural, social, delectable or otherwise).