How I Built This
The How I Built This podcast is a weekly, educational course in entrepreneurship. Each episode is an audio case study detailing the hardships and successes of founders you’ll recognize —Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines, and Kendra Scott, of her namesake jewelry company — and many you’ll hear of for the first time.
The more you listen, the more you’ll see common threads in the behaviors of their founders, first among them is audaciousness. Sara Blakely, of Spanx, had an unconventional entry into Neiman Marcus and Jennifer Hyman, of Rent the Runway, made her way (semi-uninvited) into a meeting with fashion legend Diane Von Furstenberg. These are the stories entrepreneurs need to hear.
Malcom Gladwell is a master at connecting dots that nobody else sees. In “The Tipping Point,” he examines how ideas and trends spread like epidemics. I read that book in one sitting and I will admit to binge-listening to the first season of the Revisionist History podcast on a road trip earlier this year.
In each episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell revisits a story that he believes history got wrong. He explores how NBA players should shoot free throws, how much money colleges should spend on food, why the 2009 Toyota recall shouldn’t have happened, among many other topics. Gladwell talks about reading dozens of books to prepare for the podcast, and it shows in the level of thoughtfulness, and the quality of research and interviews.
I was a little late to the party, but when I found Serial about six months ago, I listened to the first and second seasons back to back. They didn’t disappoint.
Though this is the most acclaimed podcast EVER — and while I listen to podcasts regularly — I had been wary of starting a series. Dedicating a dozen hours to just one story seemed like a commitment I just couldn’t make. (This American Life —with a new topic every week— is more my speed.) If you’re having the same doubts, rest assured that it’s well worth your time.
The first season of Serial follows the questionable conviction of a high school student for the murder of his girlfriend in Baltimore, Maryland. The story feels like it is unfolding in real time because it actually is. The second season follows another current story of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared from duty in Afghanistan. You can decide for yourself whether he is a hero, deserter, or traitor. Both stories unravel in directions that you, and seemingly the producers, can’t predict. A++ for authenticity and dynamic storytelling.