Monday 18 February 2013

I have been enjoying recently… Podcasts

Now that my technology has caught up with this decade, and I’m walking to work, I have been discovering the excellent world of podcasts. I thought I’d list some favourites on here - partly because I still haven’t finished Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and partly as something to keep me occupied on a slow Monday afternoon.

I’ve been enjoying the variety of the Weekend Woman’s Hour podcast. I find it’s nice to have the edited highlights of the daily shows together with feedback from the listeners. This is a good one for the walk to work in the mornings as it’s not always too taxing on the brain and yet they maintain a good range of guests and topics to keep it interesting. I particularly liked the interviews with the young girls that were in a flagship mentoring scheme 4 years ago and have all now gained so much self-confidence and “can-do” spirit. There was also a great discussion a few weeks ago with a proponent of “soft” feminism and one for “active” feminism which had me screaming at the podcast! At an hour in length, this generally keeps me busy for a few days in my travels around the city, and I’ve found it great for long train journeys too.

One of the best things about the internet/technology age is the ability to learn about any topic at the click of a button. I find this particularly true with the Freakonomics podcast, which introduces novices like me to some of the basic principles of economics. Each episode tackles a concept or a problem using modern day (or even medieval Chinese!) examples in an entertaining journalistic way. So far some of my favourite episodes have focussed on the problem of providing incentives (The Cobra Effect) and the strange nature of “consultants”. This last one made me even more glad I never intend to apply for a grad. scheme with a consultancy firm! 

I revelled in the wonderful Jane Austen feature on the BBC World Book Club last month. The discussion was just great, featuring writer P.D.James, who recently wrote a sequel to Pride and Prejudice called Death comes to Pemberley. The best thing, somewhat unsurprisingly, about World Book Club is that the questions come from all over the globe. I really got an amazing feeling of how universally these books are appreciated.

I’m not quite sure why I downloaded the first Philosophy Bites podcast, given that I recoiled quite strongly from most philosophy at uni; but I was pleasantly surprised, and felt very cultured walking to orchestra listening to a lecture on freedom. The high point though was a wonderful talk about Gandhi’s philosophy, which educated and informed me about a topic I have been meaning to look up for quite some time…

I hope some of you reading this, if you don’t already, will consider investigating the world of the podcast and exploring all the knowledge out there!

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