About two years ago, I, along with the rest of the country, caught the podcast bug. I couldn’t stop listening to long-form content in the car, washing dishes, walking my dog, any chance I could, I had ear buds in my ears.
I also consider myself to be in a constant state of non-stop learning – I’m always seeking out books that will improve my skills in a range of topics from, health, leadership, business acumen, filmmaking, parenting. So when I found that I could listen to these topics at a much faster rate than reading, I became obsessed. Much of this obsession coincided with the creation of FLOWSTATE Films. Which led me to seek out podcasts focused on my two passions: entrepreneurship and non-fiction storytelling. Anyone starting a business knows that you need a lot of advice and inspiration, so I decided to share some of my favorites.
#1. THE TIM FERRIS SHOW
Author of "The Four-Hour Work Week", "The Four-Hour Chef", and the "Four-Hour Body", Tim Ferris has long influenced my thinking around productivity, lifestyle design, and learning how to learn. His long-form interviews focus on people who are at the top of their field. My one critique is that 90% of the interviews are with white men in business/tech. And yet some of his best interviews are those that deviates from that norm -- such as the episode with Jamie Foxx who talks poignantly about breaking racial barriers through music as well as his incredible life story being raised by his grandmother, or, the episode with Whitney Cummings who gets extremely vulnerable and opens up about pain in her past, working through co-dependency issues and using all of it to make HBO-worthy stand up comedy.
Tim extensively prepares for each interview and delves deep into the process of becoming excellent, such as: dissecting how chess prodigy Josh Watkins improved his skills by playing multiple chess matches at the same time; how to become a great leader through the eyes of combat veteran and highly-decorated Navy SEAL Jocko Willink and how Jon Favreau excels as a Hollywood director by meditating when conceiving of his next film idea, but then improvises on a movie set as big as Iron Man. For freelancing artists, Chase Jarvis, CEO of Creative Live gives his advice on how to price and negotiate your work. Also check the interview with Neil Strauss on writing non-fiction, especially of the most personal kind. This is one of the few Tim Ferris episodes I listened to multiple times.
#2 JAMES ALTUCHER
James is another entrepreneur-focused podcast. But, as opposed to Tim Ferris’ examination of excellence, James is radically honest about his own failures as well as his guests. He’s made and lost millions. What you learn through his interviews and own story is that entrepreneurship is risk, loss, re-adjustment and eventually success. I’ve taken a lot of risks in my career, and made several pivots along the way, and James Altucher helped me to see these changes were not mistakes to feel embarrassed about, but experiments that keep leading me on the right path.
One of my favorite episodes is his interview with Dave Asprey former tech executive turned health entrepreneur and creator of the Bulletproof Diet. Through this one interview, I began thinking about food as feeding my brain rather than my stomach and I completely transformed my overall health and well-being; pushing me further into working towards a flow state I could talk about the positive impacts of healthy fats and the negative effects of bad lighting and neurotoxins for hours that I've since learned from Dave Asprey, but this one episode out of every single podcast episode I have ever heard had the most definitive impact on changing my behavior and life. I thank Jamest Altucher for that.
Also, check out his audio book, “The Power of No” about how and why to say no to the things you don’t want to do so that you can say yes to the things you really want. Also a game changer for me, since I had a chronic habit of saying yes to everything and feeling overwhelmed and resentful.
#3 GIRL BOSS RADIO
Founder of the NastyGal! retail empire, Sophia Amouruso combines a hilarious opening 5-10 minutes with comedian Liz Carey before interviewing some of the most successful women in business, media, non-profit leadership, advocacy, and government. Most recently she interviewed Barak Obama’s Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco who quickly realized she had a knack for operations and logistics and worked her tail off starting as an intern for Bernie Sanders, then as a staffer for John Kerry, before then quickly making her way to the staff of a junior senator for Illinois. She was 33 years old when she became Obama's Chief of Staff. While I believe young people must learn from working at the bottom, this interview shows how you tackle entry-level work and self-initiate in order to earn more and more responsibility. There’s a great anecdote about how her boss, then Presidential-candidate Barak Obama, treated her when she made a huge mistake, another great lesson on leadership. But check out all the episodes, especially if you are a #girlboss.
As a non-fiction storyteller, these podcasts below, for me, set the gold standard in how to tell a great true story.
Ok, admittedly this is another business-themed podcast. What can I say, I love stories of entrepreneurs. If you haven’t listened to it, Start-Up Season 1 is the behind-the-scenes account of the creation of a podcasting Network – Gimlet Media. Every single vignette in the creation of their startup is something I and probably every entrepreneur have experienced. From awkwardly negotiating ownership percentages with your partners, to taking your best advice secretly from your spouse, to the biggest decision of all – what to name the business, Startup boldly goes into all the awkward moments of realizing your dream. Since the whole program is produced by former “This American Life” producer Alex Blumberg the storytelling is deeply personal, honest, and funny. Season 2 and 3 are also good, but Season 1 is the truest representation I’ve heard of starting a business.
#5. MYSTERY SHOW
Complete story-telling perfection. Starlee Kline sets out to solve everyday mysteries like, “How Tall is Jake Gyllenhall” and along the way takes you on magical mystery rides where she charmingly interviews strangers, friends, and experts to discover philosophical insights on the human condition much deeper than the original mystery suggests. The best part is the enormous satisfaction she manages to gift to you when she solves the mystery. Also check out the episode, "Britney".
And then there was that one time that the Zach and Zack podcast invited me to be on their show!!! A huge dream come true for a podcast nerd. If you want to hear me talk about indie filmmaking, starting a business and crowdfunding tips, check it out!
I’m always looking for great new podcasts, and curious if you agree or disagree so hit me up on twitter @kileykraskouska and let me know what you are listening to and if you would listen to a Flowstate Films podcast?
Want to subscribe to the FlowState Stories Blog? Sign up here (we promise not to share your email with anyone)!