The Best Podcasts and Traffic

A list of the podcasts I love listening to and how they solved my traffic problem.

While working in Bangalore, I stayed near Silkboard for over 4 years. Silkboard is the Bangalore's capital of horrendous traffic. It's Bangalore's way of fighting crime by not letting criminals reach anywhere.

This infamous junction also has it's own twitter handle and a hashtag:

I would cross this urban-tropical-rainforest-junction twice every day and yet manage to feel energized at the end of it.

What made it possible was having an amazing selection of Podcasts. Wonderful accounts of founder journeys, humbling stories from places you never knew existed, about stuff you never thought could happen in this world.

Podcasts offer nuggets of insights you can sneak-in during commutes and chores. I love listening to Podcasts.

When I open my podcast app, I see thousands of Podcasts! And new ones are sprouting each month. How do you decide what to listen to? For some reason, all the podcast apps are still running in retro cassette mode - where they surface podcasts (an equivalent of Albums) not individual episodes (an equivalent of songs). There are no trending songs - only albums. I wish these apps did a good job of suggesting what to listen to.

So, here's my simple method of picking a podcast - it should fall into at least one of these buckets:

Although I'm biased towards technology and entrepreneurship, I like to listen to various topics. Here are my picks, along with my favorite episodes:

The Top 5

The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim's guests range from tech-entrepreneurs to musicians and Olympic gold medalists to the Standup comedians. His framework is to pick the best people in the field and deconstruct how they got there. He also does a brilliant job asking questions that unearth the guest's thinking during critical moments.

The Hidden Brain

We are all irrational, and yet quite predictable. As a first step to tame this lizard brain, I think it's important to understand how it works in the first place. Shankar Vedantam hosts this short podcast where they take new findings in behavioral science research and make them human-friendly.

TED Radio Hour

Why watch one TED talk when you can listen to many at once? Guy Raz is my favorite host of all time and in this show, he picks a topic and then combines perspectives from many Ted-talks. So you get to listen to the best of the best, from the best!

Planet Money

Before listening to this show, my view of economics was that of a fifth grader's view of mathematics. The hosts of the show take seemingly bland subject matter and make delicious stories of them - with suspense and ah-ha moments!

BBC Documentaries

I find this particularly useful, to break out of the startup bubble and look at how people's lives are affected by incidents like a Zika Virus outbreak, Chernobyl, Gay Marriages, Dictatorships and more. Listening to these documentaries humbles me.

How I Built This

It's Guy Raz again, this time interviewing founders, unfolding their intimate journey through the ups-and-downs of building a company from the ground up.

More great stuff


Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently

99% Invisible

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.


A Podcast About Crime. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.

This American Life

This American Life is a weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.


StartUp is a documentary series about entrepreneurial life. The show has been downloaded tens of millions of times since its launch in 2014. Its first season has been adapted into an ABC sitcom called Alex, Inc. starring Zach Braff. StartUp has won a Gracie Award and the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.


The a16z Podcast discusses tech and culture trends, news, and the future -- especially as ‘software eats the world’. It features industry experts, business leaders, and other interesting thinkers and voices from around the world. Multiple episodes are released every week.

Inside Intercom Podcast

Conversations with practitioners from the worlds of product management, design, startups, and marketing.


The Mixergy Mission is to introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you.

The Knowledge Project

The Knowledge Project takes you inside the heads of remarkable people to explore the frameworks and mental models you can use to make life more meaningful and productive


Product Hunt Radio (PHR) is for the product geeks. Each week Ryan Hoover and Erik Torenberg are joined by founders, investors, and product people in the startup community & beyond to chat about products, technology, and the people who make them.


Hidden stories, uncovered – that's what this show is about. It takes you deep inside stories that impact your world, revealing injustice and holding the powerful accountable. The first-of-its-kind investigative program on public radio, "Reveal" is hosted by Al Letson and updated regularly.

If you have any suggestions, do tweet to me at @manishrc