I don’t remember exactly when I started listening to podcasts, but I know that I am thoroughly hooked at this point. I just checked my podcast library and counted 31 podcasts that I listen to with some regularity (some more often than others). My ten-year-old daughter asked me recently, “Oh, is that one of your talks again?” It certainly was. I love to fill the day with interesting podcasts that are at turns intellectually-stimulating, entertaining, and formative.

Here is a quick list of a handful of podcasts that have formed me as a person and also influenced my thoughts and writing. I hope you will enjoy these as much as I have!

The Golden Hour

One of my favorite podcasts is The Golden Hour, hosted by Dr. Kevin Majeres and Sharif Younes, two of the co-founders of OptimalWork. Each week, Dr. Majeres and Sharif discuss a different aspect of how to work and live at your best, through reframing, mindfulness, and challenge (the pillars of the OptimalWork philosophy). I also completed the MasterClass through OptimalWork, which gave me a solid foundation in this revolutionary way of approaching work and life. Though the podcast is primarily about how to work better, it’s ultimately about how to become a better version of yourself. With recent episodes on how to sleep better, understanding ideals, and how to read better/more, one can see it’s not just about work. Highly recommended!

The Dad Project

Another excellent podcast, this one tailored to dads specifically, is The Dad Project. I’ve listened to just about every episode over the years and always found them very helpful. The podcast assists dads in generating ideas and practical ways to be a better husband and father (and person!). The episodes tend to be short, 10-15 minute talks by various experienced dads on topics ranging from financial stewardship to raising daughters to family culture, just to name a few. For any dad looking for some practical advice on how to improve, this podcast is a great place to start!

Ethics and Culture Cast

I’m a bit biased here because this podcast is sponsored by the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame (USA), my alma mater. Regardless, for a thought-provoking series of interviews which features professors, leading public intellectuals, and other interesting guests, I recommend this podcast. Recent guests have been a bioethicist on “what it means to be human,” a novelist and founder of a publishing company on writing and great literature, and a scholar talking about her recent book on the “hidden pleasures of an intellectual life.” Though the topics may seem heady at first, the jovial host (Ken Hallenius) keeps things lively and engaging. A great listen!

The Brothers F Bookcast

Simply put, this podcast is hilarious! A unique concept, the podcast is hosted by five brothers who discuss various books they are reading or have enjoyed. The literature they discuss ranges from David Copperfield to The Lord of the Rings to Calvin and Hobbes (and everything in between). The first episode sets the stage (I recommend listening to that one first), as the brothers debate about the merits of their choices for their favorite book. This podcast is fun, intellectually-stimulating, and formative all at the same time. Listen if you’re looking for a good laugh (and more)!

The Morningside Institute

I studied the liberal arts in college (with a major in philosophy) and still enjoy academically-oriented lectures. The Morningside Institute’s podcast delivers. The Institute, based in NYC near Columbia University, “brings scholars and students together to examine human life beyond the classroom and consider its deepest questions.” In essence it exists to help students and the interested public dive deeper in their intellectual formation, especially in the liberal arts, at a time when this sort of pursuit is all but forgotten at universities and in ordinary life. Recent episodes have tackled such topics as game theory and philosophy, morality and politics, the spread of Islam in late antiquity, and how history can help us understand our divided present (an episode I highly recommend!). If you’re looking for intellectual formation in the liberal arts, be sure to check out this podcast!


I hope you enjoy some (or all) of these podcasts. The intellectual and moral formation I’ve received by listening to them over the years has made me a better thinker and writer, which I hope manifests itself on the pages of In the Shadows of Freedom and the rest of the series.

If there are other podcasts you recommend, I’m all ears! Please list your favorite podcasts in the comments as I’m always looking for new ones.

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