On this day 16 years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPod, a small device that would save Apple and revolutionize the music industry.

I still remember the thrill I felt after buying my first iPod and suddenly having a treasure trove of music at my fingertips. As my iPod quickly became a constant companion, I discovered an even more powerful (and free) resource: podcasts.

Podcasts offer a huge wealth of knowledge for all listeners. Not only are they entertaining and informative, but they offer an opportunity to continuously learn and strengthen your skills. They’re ideal listening for otherwise unused time, like your daily commute, or even when exercising.

There are podcasts on nearly any subject you can think of – the fall of the Roman Empire, the lives of ghost investigators, and the New York State Fair are just a few. Some offer advice on sales and negotiating, others offer tips for entrepreneurs, and many are inspiring stories of how businesses were built and challenges overcome. In honor of National iPod Day, these are seven recommendations to get you started:

1. TED Talks Daily

Every week this podcast features audio from a TED conference speaker. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design but these days, these short but powerful talks cover topics from almost every area of life. This one is a great way to get exposure to new ideas and inspiration from other industries.


2. WTF with Marc Maron

Marc Maron is a standup comedian who conducts long-form, often emotionally intense interviews with a wide range of friends and celebrity guests. Episodes are often taped in his garage. He’s famous for bringing a certain level of anger and bitterness to his show, but he gets his guests to open up and talk with a level of candor that you won’t find anywhere else. This show gives you a glimpse into the minds of some of the most interesting people in the country.


3. Jeb Blount’s Sales Gravy

Every job has a sales element, and Jeb is great at taking complex ideas and techniques and simplifying them so that anyone can understand and use them. Jeb gets to the heart of the matter and doesn’t sugar coat anything.


4. The Brian Buffini Show

An Irishman who emigrated to America with nothing, became a successful realtor, and built a sales training company, Brian Buffini is a motivational speaker whose podcast covers all topics related to the “mindset, motivation and methodologies behind true success.” He talks about everything from time management to healthy eating to sales techniques. The show is just generally inspiring, and it’s great to hear the perspective of someone who’s been in the trenches building a successful business from scratch.


5. How I Built This with Guy Rax

Each episode Guy interviews a different entrepreneur, from Starbucks’ Howard Schultz to Spanx’s Sara Blakely. Guests talk about their inspirations, successes and failures. This one is a fascinating window into the minds of some of the world’s most interesting visionaries.


6. Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast examines a variety of topics, everything from Wilt Chamberlain’s career to the US educational system. He analyzes each subject in typical Gladwell fashion, challenging assumptions and traditional interpretations to look at topics in a new light and uncover previously unconsidered points of view. For me, this podcast helps me to sharpen my critical thinking skills.


7. The History of Rome

An award-winning podcast by Mike Duncan covering the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. You might wonder how a history podcast can help with your professional development, but I actually found this show to be surprisingly relevant to my career. There are plenty of lessons to be learned about effective leadership, organization, team motivation, and project management here.


What podcasts do you listen to regularly? I’d love to see your recommendations in the comments below.

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