Career & Success

A Bundle of Podcasts to Brighten Your Holidays

Members of the Stanford GSB faculty recommend some of their favorite programs.

December 13, 2022

| by Stanford GSB Staff
Shot of a young man with headphones on, sitting at the airport waiting for departure. Credit: iStock/PeopleImages

Take a load off with these podcast suggestions. | iStock/PeopleImages

If you’re trying to get “Wonderful Christmastime” out of your head, what better way than to listen to a podcast? We asked some Stanford Graduate School of Business professors for their recommendations for shows and audiobooks to enlighten and distract you.

People I (Mostly) Admire; Capitalisn’t

A podcast I really enjoy is People I (Mostly) Admire, by Steve Levitt (economics professor at the University of Chicago and the author of the Freakonomics book series). He brings remarkable guests to the show and has a very unique style of asking questions. I learn a lot from him and the guests, and I love the quota of humor that he brings to the show. I also enjoy Capitalisn’t, a podcast by Luigi Zingales, also from UChicago. His perspectives are usually nuanced and thoughtful, and make me rethink some aspects of our society that I take for granted.” — Claudia Allende Santa Cruz, assistant professor of economics

Right vs. Wrong: The Psychology of Trust

“How do we decide to trust others? In Right vs. Wrong, David A. Pizarro at Cornell talks about the verbal and nonverbal cues that humans use to generate a trustworthy evaluation of social others and/or computers/AIs. In addition to the clear takeaways outlined by the author, this could be a good topic to revisit in our currently polarized society.” — Yu Ding, assistant professor of marketing


“I love SmartLess. It makes me laugh out loud. The hosts are professional entertainers, so that helps. But they are also great friends for whom mocking one another mercilessly just reinforces their bonds. In my book, there is nothing better than a small group of really smart, successful professionals acting like fools.” — Deborah H. Gruenfeld, the Joseph McDonald Professor and Professor of Organizational Behavior

The Idea Factory by Jon Gertner

“As we weigh the future of technology, innovation, and the role of the academy, it’s worth revisiting the astonishing success of Bell Labs. The Idea Factory is a great listen that offers a compelling history of Bell Labs, chronicling its extraordinary achievements and explaining how the lab was structured. For me, the lesson of the book is that academic research works best when we are plugged into practical problems in the real world, and when we’re able to try out our ideas and gain regular feedback from the real world on how effective they are.” — Andrew B. Hall, professor of political economy

The Bill Simmons Podcast

“I religiously watch football on Sundays, but I like to keep up with the news during the week. I listen to The Bill Simmons Podcast on my way to work. It keeps my mind off my day job for 30 minutes and keeps my mind fresh for the day.” — Ömer Karaduman, assistant professor of operations, information, and technology

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

“I enjoy listening to Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR news quiz show. It offers entertaining exchanges among the host, panelists, and guests, and playfully explores people’s knowledge as well as their ability to tell apart believable from unbelievable news.” — Nir Halevy, professor of organizational behavior

The Powers that Be

Puck is a new type of journalism venture that is kind of the equivalent of a bunch of exciting journalism personalities merging their Substacks. Each journalist owns their beat thoroughly, so you feel like you’re getting an inside scoop every day. The Powers That Be is their main podcast. You’re likely to hear a few insightful scoops each drop from the journalists themselves.” — Shoshana Vasserman, assistant professor of economics

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