2017 Review of Podcasts

2017 was the year that I started listening to podcasts. It’s a new form of media and I am psyched to have taken to it. Podcasts seem to be getting more and more popular by the day, and I am really excited to see what happens to this format!

Vikrant Varma recently published his 2017 Review Of Books and this post is inspired by his post. I have been reading books and I started cataloguing what I read on Goodreads only a couple years ago. On the other hand, this is my first year of listening to podcasts, so I am aiming to build a much bigger collection of what I listen to as the years go by! (This list is pretty small!)

Everything in this list is great (podcasts are easy to drop if you aren’t quite interested in how the story goes!) Everything in bold is INCREDIBLE! Aaron Swartz puts it rather eloquently: (quote changed for podcasts)

Podcasts in bold are those that were so great my heart leaps at the chance to tell you about them even now. If you only have time to listen to some of this, listen to them!


  1. Criminal

    This is one podcast that I absolutely LOVE. It’s not a crime podcast. It’s a podcast about the people who get caught up in the world of crime. Many of the episodes are still lodged in my memory because of how unique the story was. These stories are not the ones that will come up in movies like Taken. These are the stories that are too insignificant for movies. Phoebe Judge’s narration is totally on point. It’s hard not to love her voice!

  2. Serial Season 1

    Thousands of words have been written about why Serial is the best podcast from last year. In 12 episodes, Sarah Koenig went through the whole story of a 1999 murder and tried to “play detective”. She explains everything and has put up everything she has on the website. We get an intimate look at the whole crime, the people around it, why did he lie, why did she change her story, and so on. I have spent hours obsessing over this podcast, until I realised that the answer is unknowable.

  3. Why’d you Push That Button?

    A light hearted podcast about why we use technology the way we do. The narration and topics are all upbeat. The experts that they bring in in the second half of each episode are worth listening to because they give a window into the thought processes that go behind the design of the most popular products we use today!

  4. Fear and Loathing in the New Jerusalem

    Part of the MartyrMade podcasts series

    Over 22 hours, Darryl Cooper goes deep into the Israel-Palestine conflict. The story doesn’t start at 1967, or at 1948, or in 1929, or before WW1. The story starts in the 1880s. I still have 10 hours (2 episodes) to go, but till now, I have already learnt so much about the conflict. It’s not a biased version of events. Cooper works overtime to ensure that the statements he makes don’t appear biased even under the strictes scrutiny. He spends an hour on a single riot, to ensure that he paints the complete picture, to ensure that he doesn’t miss a crucial detail which ends up as the reason for our bias towards one side or the other. Who’s wrong? Who’s right? These decisions are complicated and Cooper lets you make them. He simply delivers the story.

    This is certainly not for the hobbyist interested in learning about the conflict. This is for anyone who finds the conflict fascinating. To go from a persecuted community in the early 1900s, to asking for a state from the Arabs during WW1, Israel is now in a position to give a state to the Arabs. I couldn’t quite comprehend how exactly something so spectacular can even happen, that’s the reason I started listening to this podcast. This paragraph sums it up:

    This is so like a Hollywood movie. There’s the peasants. There’s the Jews who come to displace them. The Jews are successful in displacing them. But then, it’s time for the peasant hero to come in and either reclaim the land or come to a settlement with the Jews, depending on what sort of a movie you are watching. In real life though, there are no heroes. How far is this conflict going to go? Is there some solution to it? Who will find that solution? This is not a case of good vs. evil. Things are not that simple.

    (Not an exact quote. This is the gist of what he said.)


  1. The American Dream - Criminal

    Absolutely mind-boggling. What if you walk up to a teller and hand them a note saying “Hand over all the money in the register right now, or I will shoot up this place”? I had to read several news articles to make sure that this mode of theft wasn’t just fictional!

  2. Ex Libris - Criminal

    About The Man who Loved Books Too Much

  3. Bloodlines - Criminal

    How hard is it to change the way people think about you? Turning a new leaf is never as easy as it is portrayed to be. This is the story of living with expectations you don’t want to meet anymore, because you are a different person.

  4. Jolly Jane - Criminal

    Chilling. Jane was a not-so-jolly-at-all private nurse. Will make your skin crawl.

  5. Eight Years - Criminal

    Cyber stalking isn’t just a joke. It’s a traumatic part of life for some people. It’s shocking that there aren’t laws around this. It isn’t even treated like real-life stalking.

  6. Melinda and Judy - Criminal

    Identity Theft in the 90s

  7. In Plain Sight - Criminal

    An escape from slavery that is no less exciting than a Homeland episode

  8. I’m about to Save Your Life - Criminal

    Our instincts tell us to be polite as much as we can: Don’t ruffle feathers, don’t raise your voice, don’t get into a fight. If you are mild mannered and someone starts exploiting you, what do you do? This is the story of a mild-mannered engineer in the 70s who went through it all and did so rather nonchalantly. I was restless as I heard more and more of this episode, I wanted something to happen, I wanted it to be a movie basically. I wanted someone to come along and help him and punch the bad guy in the face. That doesn’t happen. A rude reminder of our docileness, even in the face of evil.

  9. He’s Neutral - Criminal

    The hilarious story of a statue of Buddha put up to stop garbage dumping becoming a landmark in Oakland. Lesson: Don’t look for help with your problems. Just go out there and solve them!

  10. Baby Talk - Allusionist

    Why do we all sound like idiots when we talk to babies? Don’t be embarrassed, we’re helping them acquire language.

    Also, pronouns are a messy part of language and it’s better to save babies from that atleast when they are really young!

  11. Half Measures - 99% Invisible

    The metric system vs. US Customary units. Satellites have been lost because of the unit systems; millions of dollars worth of problems; and still the US hangs on. It’s not like the US ain’t trying:

    What’s the deal?

  12. Interview with Ryan Dahl - Creator of Node.js

    Ryan Dahl: “I think Node is not the best system to build a massive web server. I would use Go for that. And honestly, that’s the reason why I left Node. It was the realization that: oh, actually, this is not the best server-side system ever.”

  13. Casey Neistat and Matt Hackett on Live Video’s Struggle for Interestingness


  14. Mystery House - 99% Invisible

    The story behind the Winchester mansion: the house where construction went on for years non-stop, where staircases lead to walls, and doors open to reveal 30 foot drops. It’s very interesting! There’s a song about it and a movie is coming soon.