Author Topic: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study  (Read 841 times)

rcjordan

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ergophobe

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2021, 03:44:22 AM »
I'm curious - how many of you do/don't list to podcasts?

I would say that for me, my preferred media have always been books (both fiction and non-fiction) and long-form articles in terms of opening my mind, exposing me to new thought and so forth. TV, movies, etc are mostly for entertainment. Lately, I've come to think that podcasts are more like books and long-form journalism in terms of how well they expand my horizons.

buckworks

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2021, 05:45:59 AM »
This may be related to my fondness for audiobooks.

rcjordan

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2021, 02:47:19 PM »
Since childhood, I have been a compulsive reader.  I do not speed-read, but in the 6th grade I was clocked at 600+ wpm with >95% comprehension.  I moved away from physical print as the internet developed and now read online exclusively.  I find waiting for videos or vocalizations to be excruciatingly slooooow & annoying and keep my devices permanently muted.  I will scan images and gifs but if -say- a comic goes more than 6 panels I'm likely to bail.

Remember, I'm the guy who turns off the car radio on a 6 hr drive. So NO DAMN PODCASTS! 

ergophobe

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2021, 07:04:03 PM »
Buckworks and I have discussed this previously. She listens to audiobooks speeded up. So does my wife.

I'm a slow reader and, in general, I think a slow thinker. Audiobooks often unfold too quickly. I hit "pause" much, much more often when reading in print. When I read in print, I often find I've been sitting there for 10 minutes staring into space thinking about something the book brought to mind.

Assuming it's a good book that has food for thought, that is. If it's just a light read that I blaze through (for me, which is still a slower than average reading speed) the audio speed is about right.

Audiobooks can feel too slow, but usually that's because the subject matter doesn't interest me. If it does and it's really well-written, it more commonly feels too fast.

And just as a general aesthetic, my proper speed for storytelling is my Yankee grandfather slowly unspinning a story. It must be said, at the speed he spoke, it could take considerable patience. He was a brilliant man, by the way, with an exceptionally quick mind, a wide range of skills and a first-rate education. But his speaking rate when telling a story was maybe 75% as fast as most people you've ever met with pauses that your average New Yorker or anyone on a first date would consider an "uncomfortable silence." For him, it was just a comma. My own speed for storytelling is, by that measure, too fast... though more than one person has told me to get to the f###ing point.

Podcasts mostly feel conversational and many that I listen to are long-form interviews. That's a speed of thought that works for me. I'm more likely to stop and hit rewind on a podcast than to make it go at 1.2X speed. My wife will try to trick me sometimes while driving and set it to 1.1x. I don't always notice what she's done, but I very quickly notice it's just not a natural rhythm and I don't want to listen (sometimes I'll say, "I really dislike the way this person speaks").

For some reason, this does not extend to video. I get super, super impatient with anything that's on video. For those, I just think, "Isn't there a text version of this?"

Drastic

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2021, 03:30:36 PM »
>I get super, super impatient with anything that's on video. For those, I just think, "Isn't there a text version of this?"

So much this. I never want video unless I need to see something in action for some reason, and that is rare.

Any recommended podcasts? I've tried a couple and lost interest pretty quickly.

ergophobe

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2021, 02:14:02 AM »
I have a big list to post - I just sent a list to my nephew, but I'm adding a few more for you

ergophobe

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2021, 09:02:16 PM »
Sorry.... I haven't forgotten this. I located the list... but then I got lost in the vast universe of podcasts.

I'll post some specifics when I get a chance to locate some of the specific episodes that I think might grab you, but this is a general guide to finding things in the podcast univers.

I treat podcasts less like subscribing to periodicals and more like going to a huge newsstand and picking a few issues each week. In other words, I have a lot of subscriptions that on average do an episode a week and I listen to about 10% of the episodes of any given podcast.

For me, tone matters a lot. For example, I've found a few good shows on economics from a center left or center center (Planet Money, my go-to econ podcast) or center right (The Economist) or even a relatively far left perspective (Pitchfork Economics). That's all relative, of course. Pitchfork Economics is hosted by a billionaire early investor in Amazon who is a huge fan of capitalism and free markets, who wants higher wages and agrees with a small wealth tax but is against a UBI and very much against the 6% wealth tax some have thrown out. So, in fact, my "left" podcast would have been "center left" 40 years ago.

I asked around for an equivalent to Pitchfork Economics on the right and all the ones suggested involved a lot of yelling and self-congratulatory back-slapping. I can handle the self-congratulatory back-slapping (there's a lot of that on Pitchfork), but the yelling I just can't tolerate. I am not interested in participating in the anger machine on any side of any question.

In addition to tone and topic, format also matters.

- One person talking. There are a lot of these and they are almost universally impossible to listen to. I do sometimes listen to Seth Godin, but I think even there he comes off a lot better in an interview than in a soliloquy.

- Two regulars talking. Sort of like drive-time radio like the Bob and Tom show, if you know that one (not to be confused with the amazing Bob and Ray show from the 1950s and onward). A few people I know really like Reply All from Gimlet Media and it gets rave reviews from the likes Ira Glass and The Guardian. One friend, a physics grad from Cal Tech, said she felt like it was the sort of thing she and her friends would sit around talking about. To me, it's just a conversation I'm not part of, and therefore just too meandering. I found it really, really boring.

- Two people: interviewer and guest. This is probably my favorite. Since back in my pizza delivery days, I've loved Terry Gross Fresh Air interviews with authors and musicians. Interview shows are conversational, but more directed. There are thousands of these. Mark Maron is the most famous, but these are commonly 2-3 hours. He is the one who got Obama on, but I don't actually need to listen to a two-hour Obama interview. It's unlikely he'll have something to say that I haven't heard before. Tim Ferriss is super long, but has more interesting guests for me. Some people are put off by the Tim Ferriss schtick, but I'll post some links to specific episodes that are worthwhile (IMO).

 - Highly-produced, broadcast-quality: Most of these are actually broadcast on BBC, NPR, CBC and so forth and just available as podcasts. These are things like More or Less (BBC), Radiolab, Planet Money, This American Life (NPR), Revisionist History (Malcolm Gladwell, podcast only), The Economist Climate Podcast (podcast only). Almost every science publication has one too: Scientific American, Nature, as does NPR (Science Friday). These are probably the easiest to get hooked on. There are some history podcasts that fall into this category that I really like, but they are in French. These are hit or miss, mostly depending on whether you like the topic. In other words, the production values and editing are usually top-notch, but if you don't care about, say, economics, probably won't like Planet Money.

 - Panel discussions: Also hit or miss. The BBC Book Club is hands down my favorite author interview podcast because it focuses on the writing and on a single work. I find it more interesting than general author interviews like Fresh Air. I also listen to Writing Excuses, a panel of professional writers, mostly from sci-fi and fantasy, who discuss writing topics in 15 minutes each week, "because you're busy and we're not that smart." The Economist weekly podcast on US news is in this vein too. They have guests, but the core of it is the three hosts, at least one of whom is not American.

All that to say that in order to like a podcast, I think you need to find one that has a topic, tone and format that appeals to you. Subscribe to a whole bunch of them. Be brutal and vicious about which episodes you listen to, throwing 90% in the garbage, and try a bunch of podcasts.

Again... I'll post some specific episodes and podcasts I like, but if you like a different tone, format or topic than me, it's not going to help to tell you what I like :-)

Drastic

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2021, 01:10:07 PM »
Wow, thanks for this! I will definitely dig in.

Brad

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2021, 01:43:08 PM »
Great list ergo.  I listen to the Planet Money radio show in the car when I can and it's always one of my favorites.

ergophobe

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2021, 11:38:45 PM »
I'm trying to put together a big master list because actually several people have asked this question lately. This is the list I made for my nephew with some additions for this installment. When I have time, I'll add to it.

Ha ha... that wasn't the LIST, that was just my philosophy of picking podcasts.

Here's the list, or at least the first installment.

*** Books and Writing ***
BBC Bookclub. Really a book club, not an interview. Much more interesting than, say, Fresh Air. The host and audience question authors about indvidual books. Search back a couple years, because they celebrated 25 years on the air by replaying famous interviews with famous authors. That said, the non-famous authors are often more interesting.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006s5sf

*** Economics (not finance or investing), statistics, psychology. ****

 - More or Less, from the BBC. Each week they take a number in the news and dive into it to find out whether it's utter BS or not. About half the time it is.
  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd
 
 - Planet Money and the Indicator. Both from NPR. PM takes on topics from the original Luddites to the Wisdom of the Crowds, to why college textbooks cost so much to why you keep getting all those robocalls to extend your vehicle warranty. The Indicator takes a single economic indicator related to the news of the day, often things you've never thought of (cheese futures) and tells you why it's interesting right now.
 https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510325/the-indicator-from-planet-money
 https://www.npr.org/sections/money/
 
 - Freakonomics. From the co-author of the best-selling book. Less about economics than you might expect and more general social science.
 https://freakonomics.com/
 
****** History ******
I spent most of my career as a historian and I've found most history podcasts in English horrible. There are some great ones in French, but alas that probably doesn't help you.

Throughline - a strong left/progressive slant, but well-done and good history. The recent episode recounting in more detail than usual the story of Cortez and the conquest of the Aztec empire. Sort of like the very brief podcast equivalent of Nathaniel Philbrick's great book on the Plymouth Colony, Mayflower shortened and condensed for audio.
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510333/throughline

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. This is the most popular history podcast in the world last I checked. People love it. There is at least one person on The Core that is a fan. It just isn't to my taste at all. To me, it's a very textbook-style, old-school history. I like the really obscure, undiscovered parts of history. The "small window into a big world" history (commonly known as "microhistory" in the profession). This is the other end of the spectrum. But as I say, hundreds of thousands of people are diehard fans.
https://www.dancarlin.com/

The Memory Palace by Nate Dimeo. Nate is a writer and storyteller, more than a historian. A lot of the stories are in the Paul Harvey style, where there's a reveal at the end (i.e. the obscure person toiling away turns out to be the famous scientist we all know). Because Nate likes to do the reveal at the end, the show notes often give you no idea what the episode is really about... and for me that's a negative and why I quit listening. But his best episodes are beautiful and poetic.
https://thememorypalace.us/

I assume you do not listen in French, but while I'm doing this... my actual favorite history podcast is Xavier Mauduit, Le Cours de l'Histoire from France Culture - interviews with top experts. It's like Fresh Air, but only for history. Great multi-part series on the peopling of the Americas. The Radio Suisse Romande show Histoire Vivante can be excellent too. This is sort of the successor to Jean Le Brun, La Marche de l'Histoire, a long-runnning show on France Culture. Among other differences, Xavier Mauduit actually has a doctorate in history.

**** Storytelling ****

In addition to The Memory Palace mentioned under history...

The Moth. It's pretty hit or miss, but when it's a hit, it's a home run. Try these specific episodes.

Alan Rabinowitz overcomes stuttering and lives up to his promise to speak for the animals
https://themoth.org/stories/man-and-beast

Wanda Bullard's father jails a hippy... and takes a chance.
https://themoth.org/stories/small-town-prisoner

Jeff Simmermon explains his signature move: The Sad King Arthur... and gets a little grace.
https://themoth.org/stories/empathetic-subway-screaming

Sala Udin almost dies as a Freedom Rider and commits his life to social justice
https://themoth.org/stories/i-want-to-be-a-freedom-rider

Aryana Rose falls in love with a younger man and becomes a fairy
https://themoth.org/stories/i-can-die-now

Anthony Griffith knocks it out of the park on the Tonight Show while facing tragedy at home
https://themoth.org/stories/the-best-of-times-the-worst-of-times

This American Life - podcast version of the NPR show. I haven't listened to this in a while. Don't know why. It can be great.

-------------

Tim Ferriss interviews are long, so each one is an investment so there
are many that I have not listened to. I often skip the "business"
interviews, but then sometimes I listen to one and am surprised. Also,
I'm often surprised the other way. I thought I would really like the
interview with Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, but actually
quit halfway through.

There are so many I have not listened to - Neil DeGrasse Tyson,
Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Marie Kondo, etc -
because I'm just not that interested or I missed them and I don't
usually go back.

These come to mind right away though.

Ricardo Semler - businessman who threw away the rule book and built the largest corporation in Brazil
https://tim.blog/2017/03/19/ricardo-semler/

Terry Crews. I had vaguely heard of him as a football player. Turns
out, he went to college on an *art* scholarship, has won design
awards, and wasn't even originally invited to try out for his college
football team. He was a walk-on. Amazing life story.
https://tim.blog/2017/12/20/terry-crews-how-to-have-do-and-be-all-you-want/

Jane Goodall... needs no introduction.
https://tim.blog/2020/04/16/jane-goodall/

Richard Turner. A magician. I can't say more without partly ruining the surprise. This guy is amazing though. It will blow your mind.
https://tim.blog/2020/02/20/richard-turner/

Penn Jillette - also surprising.
https://tim.blog/2020/01/09/penn-jillette/

Jack Kornfield, author of "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry" and many other books on Buddhism
https://tim.blog/2020/03/12/jack-kornfield-covid19/
https://tim.blog/2018/03/05/jack-kornfield/ (I have not listened to
this one yet)

Seth Godin - always a fun interview
https://tim.blog/2016/02/10/seth-godin/
https://tim.blog/2016/08/03/seth-godin-on-how-to-think-small-to-go-big/
https://tim.blog/2018/11/01/seth-godin-this-is-marketing/

Stewart Brand (but I'm a big fan of his)
https://tim.blog/2017/11/21/stewart-brand/

Hugh Jackman. I generally skip the celebrity interviews, but this one is good
https://tim.blog/2020/06/26/hugh-jackman/

Michael Lewis, Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman. Good insights into the mind of some influential writers (The Big Short, Moneyball, Fight Club, Sandman). I love the Sandman series, but would definitely prioritze the other two interviews first.
https://tim.blog/2020/05/01/michael-lewis/
https://tim.blog/2020/09/02/chuck-palahniuk/
https://tim.blog/2019/03/28/neil-gaiman/


Dorian Yates (bodybuilder). A surprise. My wife and I both liked this
https://tim.blog/2017/04/22/dorian-yates/

buckworks

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2021, 06:43:08 AM »
Thank you for this, Ergo.  8)

ergophobe

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Re: Half of Americans burned out by screens, turn to podcasts: study
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2021, 08:27:30 PM »
I have a lot of others to add, but the post about retail theft
http://th3core.com/talk/economics-investing/there-are-1-2-million-missing-retail-workers-because/msg75909/#msg75909

put me in mind of the longest podcast I've heard of, let alone heard. If you have a podcast app, you can dip in and out since it jumps around like crazy, bit it also throws out a huge number of challenging ideas. It is, however, almost FIVE hours. Still... it's the sort of thing that you can get from podcasts that is hard to get even from a book and impossible to get in broadcast media.

Balaji gets on his thing and you can tell sometimes Tim is a bit frustrated trying to get him to go in a different direction, but Balaji is like an intellectual tornado. Background: a bachelor's, two master's and a PhD in engineering from Stanford where he sometimes teaches, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, former CTO of Coinbase and, above all, widely read in technology, of course, but also history, pop culture, international politics and so forth.

https://tim.blog/2021/11/15/balaji-srinivasan-2/

If you are a fast reader who cannot abide by the slow pace of conversation (ahem), you can read the transcript, but it will still likely take over an hour. I opt for the audio version while cleaning the house or digging a ditch..
https://tim.blog/2021/11/17/balaji-srinivasan-2-trancript/

This guy blows my mind. A fair bit strikes me as wrong or overly one-dimensional, but a unique and different perspective.

He had an earlier appearance in March that was only three and a half hours long, but start with the second one. The first one covers a lot of different topics, but the style is similar (i.e. jumping all over the place).
https://tim.blog/2021/03/24/balaji-srinivasan/

ergophobe

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I forgot to mention the Long Now Foundation seminars, all of which are now available in audio to non-members and audio and video to members

I really enjoyed the presentation by Stephen Pyne, the country's and probably the world's foremost historian of fire (and a former Hotshot crew member for the Grand Canyon region).

Perhaps more in line with the interests of most people here, is Eric Ries (author of The Lean Startup) presentation on the LTSE - Long Term Stock Exchange. It's a bit rambling (it's Q&A rather than a presentation), but interesting for things he has to say about the disconnect between companies and stocks, the problems caused by quarterly reporting, and some really interesting comments on the long-term risks of index investing**


https://longnow.org/seminars/02020/feb/24/long-term-stock-exchange/
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/eric-ries-long-term-stock-exchange/id186908455?i=1000467346602

**risks of index investing... Ries said that though he holds a lot in index funds, the risk is basically this... as more and more people are just tracking an index, you end up with a small set of institutional, active investors who are the only decision makers in the whole market. A large percentage of those institutional investors trade algorithmically, not based on any sort of company fundamentals. So you end up with a small number of computers controlling a relatively small portion of assets who can quickly and without real notice drive a major market crash for a huge number of assets held by passive investors.

Little fact from Ries - what's the average time an trader holds a stock? Take a guess.