Must-listen-to podcasts in 2021

Looking for a new podcast? Here are a few recommendations from Team Naked.

With almost two years of COVID-19 under the belt, a lot of us have become digital content junkies. But many of us have also realised how important it is to keep our minds engaged and to not get lost in a myriad mindless Instagram reels or TikTok videos.

Podcasts can help us do just that. Whether you’re doing laundry, cleaning your home or going for a run or walk, you can always pop a podcast in your ears and learn a thing or two about anything you like really – the podcast-verse is your oyster! At Naked, we love sharing what we’re listening to with one another, so we thought we’d share our favourite podcasts with you too!

Red-handed, suggested by software developer Gerome

“Warning: This one is more than likely only for brave souls with solid stomachs. It's a true crime podcast. What makes it different, though, is that the hosts try to find cases where they have something new to say, so they don't cover the ones that have been covered to death (excuse the pun). It's run by two incredibly funny and witty ladies. They have anthropological backgrounds, so they are able to point out the humanness in even the most grisly cases, and the way they include just the right amount of banter makes it feel like you're checking in with old friends. A must-listen if you’re into true crime.”

Mashstartup Podcast, suggested by Yanga from the ops team

“This podcast takes you on the multifaceted journeys of some of the up and coming entrepreneurs and small business owners around Africa. As someone who’s interested in what makes people successful and how they get there, this podcast has given me insight into what kind of drive and tactics it takes. It makes me believe that I’ll eventually land up where I want to be in my career.”

Hardcore History, suggested by software developer Malcolm

“It's a podcast about some of the decisive moments in history. You can tell that Dan Carlin, the host, does a large amount of research and then builds a really interesting narrative around real historic events. I really enjoy this podcast because it’s history being told as if it were a story from a book, but at the same time you’re learning about the past and how and why those things happened. It also shows that we as a people all go through life in a very similar way, even when you go back a 100 years or so.”

Off Menu, suggested by scrum master Emily

“British comedians James Acaster and Ed Gamble host this food podcast where they invite special guests into their magical restaurant to choose their dream menu. The guests are pretty diverse: actor Kumail Nanjiani, singer Josh Groban, Slipknot lead man Corey Taylor, documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux and magician Dynamo have been just a few. The reason I like this podcast is because it’s a great escape from all the real and not so fun things going on around the world at the moment. I have yet to find an episode that hasn't made me laugh out loud, plus I'm pretty fanatical about food so I love listening to all kinds of people share their most memorable food experiences.”

People I (Mostly) Admire, suggested by actuary Naadir

“It’s a podcast hosted by Steven Levitt, who is one of the co-authors of the Freakonomics book series. It doesn’t have a set genre or subject – it’s basically the host picking the brain of each episode’s guest. One of the recent episodes that I really liked was about a neuroscientist and psychology professor at Columbia University, Carl Hart, who believes that all drugs — including heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine — should be legalised. I like it mostly for the breadth of weird subjects that the guests are experts in as well as the host’s “freakonomics” view on their research.”

Super Soul, suggested by ops team member Kwenzi

“There’s no doubt that everyone knows who Oprah is – she’s had a very illustrious career. She’s also gained a lot of wisdom and anecdotes to share from her life which she shares through Super Soul. One episode that grabbed me and led to a lot of introspection was What I Know For Sure: Authentic Power. It explains that no one can dictate your life – you need to take ownership of your happiness and your future. Nothing in the outside world can be known for sure, but what we can know is ourselves. If you’re on a journey of self-discovery, then I definitely suggest listening to this podcast.”

The Tim Ferriss Show, suggested by ops team member Tumi

“Tim Ferris is widely known for his bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek. But he is also a magician behind the mic (podcasting mic of course). In his show, he interviews influential people from around the world. Whether it be a pro-golfer, chess player or investor, he digs deep with his interviewing and finds tactics and tricks that his listeners can apply to their everyday life. One episode that I particularly enjoyed was an interview with Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix. You are taken on a journey of his career that spans over four decades, entailing founding or co-founding over a dozen start-ups, investing in start-ups all over the world, as well as mentoring early-stage companies and entrepreneurs. I generally find this topic interesting so this episode stood out for me.”

Heavyweight, suggested by creative director Shane

“The concept is that each episode the host Jonathan Goldstein helps someone right a wrong from their past. The show is so well made, and Jonathan brings his dry, self-deprecating sense of humour to every story. The stories range from very emotional to very lighthearted to laugh-out-loud funny. One of my personal favourites is one where the actor Rob Corddry vividly remembers breaking his arm as a child but no one in his family has any recollection of this broken arm. Rob and Jonathan go on a mission to prove that he did in fact break his leg. I really love these types of storytelling podcasts (shoutout to This American Life and The Moth, two of my other all time faves) but something about Heavyweight is different. They don't just tell a story – they go to great lengths to resolve it, often with unexpected results.”

The beauty of podcasts is that there are both an array of genres and millions of episodes at your fingertips. But that might be a bit intimidating when you don’t know where to start and are rather just looking for a recommendation. So here are a couple more recommendations from some reputable publications: