Planet Money, a National Public Radio (NPR) twice-weekly production, certainly does not need my review to expand its subscriber base. But if you don’t think the title of the podcast sounds like your thing, I’d like to try to convince you to give it a shot.
The subtitle of the podcast according to the NPR Website is “The Economy Explained.” Even that is not particularly titillating, though it’s true – that is what the podcast is about. But it’s so much more than that. Planet Money explains world and U.S. applied economics in a fun way and gives you something to talk about with your friends, family and co-workers that will make you seem really smart. Rarely is any heavy theory discussed – this is about how economics is applied in real life, practical situations.
An excellent set of episodes to listen to that would introduce you to the series would be those about the making of a t-shirt. Planet Money decided to manufacture a t-shirt and followed it every step of the way. There are some great episodes on everything from sourcing the cotton to finding a manufacturer to following the actual shirt to the United States from where it was made to even where a t-shirt goes when it “dies.” I found it fascinating to follow one product from cradle to grave.
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value ★★★★★
You will learn something. Every time. 100% guarantee. Recently I’ve learned about the expiration of trademarks, the economic signals from China and what they mean (or don’t), the economics of why we work so many hours and if we need to, price tags and whether our economy needs them … Economics is NOT boring!
Pop Culture Value ★★☆☆☆
Host Listen-ability ★★★★☆
The show has a group of hosts, and most often I hear David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein. There is almost always a team of hosts, none of whom are particularly annoying. They talk fast and don’t always use a lot of inflection in their voices, but they’re not necessarily telling a story, it’s more of a fun lecture at college that you actually want to go to class to hear.
Flow (both planned podcast flow and advertisement-impacted) ★★★★★
The format can be comfortably formulaic and I guess if this was the only thing you listened to it might be annoying. But there are at least two hosts on this podcast and they interweave commentary very well; it’s obviously very well produced, planned, and practiced. The short episodes of about 15-20 minutes are never interrupted by ads.
At times you wonder where the episodes are going, but for me it’s not in a “I can’t wait to see what happens next!” kind of way, it makes me impatient. Having two hosts really helps it flow quickly though.
Makes Me a Better Person ★★★★★
It is phenomenally valuable to me that the lessons I’ve learned by listening to this podcast are free.
Overall Audible Feast Rating: ★★★★★
You May Also Like …
This American Life, Marketwatch, Freakonomics Radio