Everybody should enjoy podcasts. Or stročniks, if you are neologophile Slovenian. They bring learning and life to the dullest of tasks. Whether scrubbing burnt bits of rice from the bottom of a pot after a failed risotto aux pommes et poulet or walking from Oak Park to downtown Chicago because it seemed like a good idea at the time, podcasts set you free.

These are some of my favourites.


  1. Hardcore History – a meandering, but memorable take on history. Where I started.
  2. The History of Byzantium – what it says on the tin. At episode 137 and 950AD as of May the 4th 2017.
  3. The History of Rome – the inspiration for the History of Byzantium. Finished, but intense at 179 episodes.
  4. Fear & Loathing in the New Jerusalem – a hard, often painful look into the bedrock of the state of Israel. Six episodes that will utterly exhaust you.
  5. Our Fake History – not every one of these is my kind of history, but every one is interesting. Busting historical myths.
  6. The Lesser Bonapartes – if Hardcore History tends to ponderous, the Bonapartes tend to be lager. Like with beer, there is a time for the light stuff, too. Sometimes the production values ask you to skip, or at least chuckle and pass by.
  7. The China History Podcast – beyond 181 episodes, and no signs of stopping. This is one of my favourites. Including the eight or nine episodes devoted to tea.
  8. The Ancient World – a bit of an odd one, telling the story of ancient Mediterranean world through several interrelated families.


  1. In Our Time – Melvyn Bragg’s BBC series on the history of ideas. Intense, profound, and – on long flights – pleasantly soporific. At over 750 episodes, this is one amazing show.
  2. Revisionist History – not very history, and a bit pretentious at time, but some interesting episodes.
  3. Sinica – current affairs in China. At some point I realized there is a whole universe of meaning I don’t comprehend, and this is one of the ways I’m kicking holes in my sky.
  4. Romance of the Three Kingdoms – reading the RoTK for ignorant westerosi.
  5. 99% Invisible – radio show about the invisible activity that shapes our world. Sometimes a bit obnoxious going, but often interesting.
  6. Origin Stories – the Leakey foundation show, this is a good one for human evolution and origins.
  7. Seminars About Long-term Thinking – from the Long Now organization, which came up with the 10,000-year clock. Interesting mix, like a slower-paced, less sensationalist TED Talks.

Last update: 5 May 2017