Thursday, December 31, 2020

Favorite Podcasts of 2020

Earlier this week, I listed some of my favorite books from 2020.  Today, I turn my attention to podcasts.  Like many of you, I listen to some very popular ones about which most readers will be familiar (e.g., Freakonomics, How I Built This, Hidden Brain).  However, I thought that I would feature three original podcasts that truly proved thought-provoking this year, and perhaps may be unfamiliar to some of you.   

Cautionary Tales: One of my favorite authors, Tim Harford, has created this unique podcast. As he says, the series features stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, daring heists and hilarious fiascos. Sounds morbid, right? Well, as a student of failure, I find the episodes to be full of important lessons that we should all learn. Harford writes for the Financial Times, and he has authored several terrific books, including Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure.

WeCrashed: Here we learn about the incredible story of WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann. The podcast traces the remarkable rise and rather sudden collapse of WeWork.  The podcast doesn't simply identify the flaws in the firm's business model.  It examines the problematic characterisics of culture at the firm and explores the deficiencies in Neumann's leadership.  Some of the stories seem like pure fiction, except they are indeed true.  

Land of the Giants:  This podcast features two terrific seasons.   In the first season, the creators trace teh story of Amazon's rise and explore the key dimensions of the business model and culture.  In the second, even more entertaining and insightful season, the podcast dives into the strategy and culture at Netflix.  You hear directly from key players, and you learn about the key decisions that were made that shaped the evolution of both firms. 

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