My 10 Favorite Podcasts of 2020

This time of year, I typically share the books I’ve read over the past year, highlighting the best. Frankly, I didn’t read many books this year. This has been the year of podcasts for me. This could be because of my short pandemic attention span, podcasts ability to be more timely and relevant, or because we were launching our own podcast – Student Affairs Now.

Earlier this week, I release a special “Best of” edition of my newsletter, Sharing Fire, including my 10ish favorite podcasts, articles, contributions, documentaries, shows, music, and fun. You can see all seven lists by subscribing here. Here are the best podcasts I enjoyed and learned from in 2020.


Decorative image of many different objects.

This whole episode of This American Life is needed and wonderful. But if you are short on time, DO NOT MISS listening to a 5 year old kid’s pure unfiltered delight at getting to ride a school bus for the first time. It is the medicine for what ails you.


Image of Tim Ferriss as a young child.

Tim Ferriss and Debbie Milman discuss openly, deeply, and powerful about their very different healing journeys from childhood sexual abuse. This episode is full of useful resources, references, and recommendations.


Dax Shepard

Dax Shepard shares his relapse after 16 years of sobriety, openly discussing his use, inner experience, and the impact on people closest to him.

Racial Justice and Healing

Resmaa Menakem in front of a bookcase

These are two great episodes with Resmaa Menakem on On Being:
1. In this first episode Resmaa discusses cultural and neurobiological aspect to healing from racism. I had multiple moments listening where I stopped in my tracks and rewound it to listen to a snippet again. 

Painting of Resmaa Menakem and Robin DiAngelo

2. Resmaa requested a follow-up conversation with Robin DiAngelo. What follows is a hard, in-depth, and clear exploration of what is needed of white people and how we get in our own way. 

On Whiteness: Lessons From an Aspiring Ally

Erin Simpson

My friend, Erin Simpson does an amazing job talking about being an aspiring ally for racial justice. I excitedly listened and immediately called her ranting about what a great job she did. Erin brilliantly talks about these issues and does so with incredible wisdom and heart. I love what Erin says and how she says it.

Creativity with Rick Rubin and Andre 3000

Andre 3000 and Rick Rubin

There is a beautiful place right between hard work and effortlessness, between focus and letting go, where we get out of our own way and insight, creativity, and innovation happen. This Broken Record podcast is about exactly that. It’s also about anxiety, celebrity, music, and more.

Conscious Leadership

Jim Dethmer

This podcast interview of Conscious Leadership author Jim Dethmer is outstanding. I had a full page of notes about leadership, life choices, relationships, and more. A good friend shared Dethmer’s above the line/below the line video (below) with me months ago and I’ve thought of it often since.

Reply All: The Case of the Missing Hit

Reply All Logo

The is a terrific story told in a masterful way. I literally stopped in my tracks and yelled a curse word in the midst of my walk through the neighborhood at the climax of the story.

Harriet Lerner and Brené Brown: I’m Sorry: How To Apologize & Why It Matters

Harriet Lerner & Brené Brown hugging

A 2-part masterclass on apologies and navigating conflict in any relationship.

Sharon Salzberg: Shelter for the Heart and Mind

Sharon Salzberg

Salzberg joins On Being to talk specifically about this moment of complexity and uncertainty in our individual and collective lives and her new book. It feels like a free and brilliant therapy session that you get to sit in on. 

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