Learning is something we collectively hold dear at Genie Goals. It’s one of our key values because by placing it at the heart of everything we do, we become better marketers, but also better, more rounded human beings.

One vital component of learning is what we do ourselves beyond our time in the 9-5, where learning opportunities are handed to us as a matter of good business practice. A great attitude to learning goes way beyond being the recipient of training; it means always being open to ideas and always looking to learn from others (even - perhaps especially - when we already feel like we’re doing just fine already.)

An amazing way to learn, in my experience, is listening to podcasts. 

Podcasts are a passive (in the best sense of the word) form of learning where you can listen for ideas rather than actively seeking a solution to a particular problem. It is also a form of learning which wraps itself around our busy lives: you can consume podcasts while travelling to work, doing housework and while running the cold damp streets to keep fit (or in the night with a crying baby…).

I emailed round the Genie team to find out what podcasts people at Genie listen to, with the list found below. 

Something to consider before reading the list… My mate Clive Woodward

I recently came across a self-development technique, courtesy of Clive Woodward in his DNA of a Champion presentation. The idea is so blindingly sensible that I can’t believe I never thought of it. The technique is simply to think through the top-level categories in your life and make sure your attention is balanced across these categories.  

Clive (we’re on first name terms) puts it ever so slightly more eloquently... He encourages people to imagine they’re writing a manual to being a successful version of themselves, and to think through what the chapter headings should be.

Everything should be able to fit into just a few chapters. So, for me, the chapters would be something like: Parenting, Leadership, Relationships, Productivity, Business, Fitness, and Leisure. These are are the chapters in the 'manual' to my life (available one good day in all good bookshops, just like this one). In theory, everything I want to do in my life would fit under one of these headings. These headings will be different for each of us (Learning languages? Coding? Table Football? PPC?), and will evolve over time.

Putting it into practice

Now these headings can be used in a variety of ways - a timely example being to set New Year Resolutions.

But an instant gratification for me was to rearrange my podcast learning. I found that nearly all the material I listened to related to the Productivity or Leisure headings. In effect I was learning lots about how to get the best out of myself, and I was being richly entertained.

But I was learning nothing new about parenting - the single most important thing in my life (seriously, how bonkers is that when you think about it?) Parenting is a teachable skill where you can learn all kinds of lessons and get all kind of inspiration by listening to others.

So I rearranged my podcasts! I rearranged my subscriptions so that I now get at least two podcasts per heading. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t life changing, but I take a lot from these podcasts.

The message is: if you’re thinking of experimenting with some of the podcasts below, or starting afresh, then I encourage you to spend just five minutes planning your chapter headings. 

In our opinion, the best podcasts to listen to for learning in 2017...

So to the list... These are the podcasts we thought were the most useful for learning. A few replies went a little off brief and provided podcasts for entertainment too, but I included them because who couldn’t do with a smile every so often?

Some Genies were feeling more chatty than others, so the descriptions with the quotes are why we love them, and without quotation marks are simply the official description. Please note this list isn’t exhaustive, and you listen in to them at your own risk! Enjoy.


  • Awesome Office - The award-winning podcast that will help you become a better leader and create an incredible company culture

  • Business of Software - “Interesting for anyone in the tech sector - all about running great businesses - don't be put off by the software focus.” 

  • Eat Sleep Work Repeat - A lively weekly podcast about happiness and work culture. Hosted by @brucedaisley. 


  • Cortex - CGP Grey and Myke Hurley are both independent content creators. Each episode, they discuss the methods and tools they employ to be productive and creative
  • Hello Internet - “Basically 2 guys having a conversation for an hour or 2 - “CGP Grey & Brady Haran talking about YouTube, life, work and whatever.” 
  • Reply All - “A show about the crazy things that happen on the internet and technology. From how scammers work (and ringing them up, Episode #76 Lost in a Cab) to an interview with the guy who invented the pop-up and regrets it (Episode #3 We Know What You Did). The On The Inside episodes are impressive as well.”

Money, personal finance, investing

  • BBC Money Box - The latest news from the world of personal finance.

  • FT Money Show - The FT Money Show brings you engaging and insightful coverage of the week’s major personal finance issues. 
  • Meaningful Money - Everything you need to know, and everything you need to do to secure your financial future
  • Motley Fool Money - The show features a team of Motley Fool analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar.
  • Rule Breaker Investing - Each week David shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive publicly traded companies -- and how to profit from them by following his signature “Rule Breaker Investing” principles.
  • We Study Billionaires“Economics/investment chat mainly focused on discovering the habits of those who have 'made it'” 


  • The Private Eye - A brand new podcast from the UK's number one best-selling current affairs magazine. With Ian Hislop.
  • FT Politics - With the FT's Philip Stephens, Robert Shrimsley, Jim Pickard and Kate Allen. Presented by Sebastian Payne.


  • Guardian's Science Weekly - Latest The Guardian's Science Weekly news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice.
  • Wired UKThe WIRED UK Podcast with Vicky, James, Matt and the rest of the team. Join us each week for the latest technology, science, business and culture news. And don't forget to check out WIRED Stories, our feature-length podcast about amazing people, companies and ideas.

Interest & inspiration

  • Distraction Pieces - “Hosted by Scrubious Pip, semi-famous rapper/spoken word artist/actor. It is often pure entertainment, but he also tackles a wide range of serious topics (abuse, depression etc) and manages to get some pretty famous people to talk about things they usually wouldn't.” 
  • Freakonomics - “Basically, lots of interesting life, political and economic problems viewed through data. Interesting and amusing”
  • In Our Time -  “From BBC Radio 4, with Melvyn Bragg. It's not related to business but I think outside of education we don't learn enough about stuff, purely for the sake of knowing it. So this is a weekly lecture on things people in the modern world should (and sometimes maybe shouldn't) know about.”
  • Nerdette - “Female nerds who talk about their passion. The episode with Caitlin Moran is awesome.”
  • Reconcilable Differences - “Two guys conversing, always very interesting. Not about any particular subject. Official description: John Siracusa and Merlin Mann try to figure out exactly how they got this way.)”
  • TED Radio Hour - “Ted talks but for on the radio, really interesting. Covers all kind of topics. The Case For Optimism from 5th of May is one of my favourites.”
  • The Tim Ferriss Show - “Interviews with successful people, with the aim of unlocking their routines and methods. Lots about productivity and health in particular.”
  • This American Life - “Probably the most well-known podcast, one of the oldest as well. About life in the USA, what goes well and not so well. An example: Samantha Broun talks to cops, politicians, inmates, and family closest to the crime that changed policy 20 years ago for inmates serving life sentences in Pennsylvania. It's a crime Samantha knows well, because it happened to her mom.”


Personal development

  • The Minimalists - Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus discuss living a meaningful life with less.

  • Headspace - The Headspace meditation podcasts


  • Coffee Break French“Kind of what it says on the tin - but it's long running and well paced. They also have courses in Polish, German, and a few others I think”


  • 99percentinvisible - “About all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about - the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. The guy who hosts it, Roman Mars, did a really cool TEDx talk as well. I find it really inspiring - he talks about really cool and unusual things and tells some of the stories behind them (e.g. story behind Freud's couch, fortune cookies, the colour of money, etc, etc). His style of presenting is also quite different from the usual podcasts... just try it :)”
  • The Game Design Roundtable“It has both tabletop and computer designers hosting it, comparing how they do things differently and what the two types of design can learn from each other. And the guys who do it are proven industry achievers - so it goes from design, to production, to Kickstarter etc”
  • Smart People - “I am a big fan of Daniel Amen and would say that the website is worth visiting just for this one interview about brain health”
  • Stuff to Blow Your Mind - Deep in the back of your mind, you’ve always had the feeling that there’s something strange about reality. There is. Join Robert, Joe and Christian as they examine neurological quandaries, cosmic mysteries, evolutionary marvels and our transhuman future on Stuff To Blow Your Mind, a podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

Bonus round

A couple of discovery sources:

We hope you enjoyed this list!