If you've tried and failed to jump on the podcast bandwagon, we feel you. What with Netflix thrillers, must-read novels and trending news all vying for our attention, it can be hard to keep pace with the endless stream of culture coming from our screens.
While they've flown under the radar for some time, podcasts are back, and they're finally getting their due. Whether you're cooking, commuting, running errands or simply enjoying some downtime, there's nothing better than plugging in your headphones in and jumping headfirst into a juicy conversation.
When it comes to deciding upon a podcast however, it can take time to scroll through and find a gem, especially given the slew of self-development shows out there telling us to see more, do more, and live our best lives.
Which is why we're here with some word-of-mouth endorsements of the best storytelling podcasts hitting the airwaves. Forget resolutions, advice and self-help, because these stories will lift you out of the everyday and inspire a new state of mind.
So press pause on the personal development and soothe your ears with our pick of the best storytelling podcasts around.
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People
Not all of us fancy a motivational talk on our Monday morning commute, which is when Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People comes in handy. Quite simply, it’s a conversation between comedian Chris Gethard and an anonymous caller who has a story to tell - think Humans of New York, audio style. From sobering confessions to rib-cracking family anecdotes, you can be certain the hour will fly.
Saints of Somewhere
If your Sunday mornings consist of nothing but a bubble bath and Desert Island Discs, then you’ll love Saints of Somewhere. The podcast interviews a pick ‘n’ mix of cultural figures like Shaun Leane, Maria Semple and Henry Holland, who name the people, places and things that have most inspired them. The perfect antidote for when you’ve been perma-scrolling Instagram for an hour.
Made of Human
The Made of Human podcast is a chat between host Sofie Hagen and some incredibly cool personalities about life as they know it. No five-year plans, no ‘making it’ spiel, and definitely no #girlboss speak - just a stripped-back chat that explores the range of human complexity. Because, let’s face it, sometimes we need tips on how to cope with being an adult.
Ever eavesdropped on a conversation on the bus that was so juicy you missed your stop? Well, The Moth, a live storytelling organisation that hosts events all over the world, curates a back catalogue of their best entries that will replicate that very same feeling. Highlights include a story of what it’s like to decorate the White House at Christmas, and dating dispatches from a devout Mormon.
You’ve taken a snap of your latest read for Instagram, but in reality, it takes 700 positions and a sacrifice to the gods to get settled with a novel. That’s when you turn to Great Lives, where a celebrity guest and biographical expert sit down to chat about someone inspiring, eased along by presenter Matthew Paris. Start off with Sara Pascoe on Virginia Woolf.
This American Life
This American Life basically crafted the storytelling genre as we know it, uncovering fascinating human stories from around the world. Hosted by Ira Glass, the award-winning podcast focuses on one theme every week, in which tales from across the USA are interconnected by an array of storytellers. From a celebration of the cliché of heartbreak to a group of inmates at a high-security prison rehearsing Hamlet, there's over twenty years of unforgettable stories at your fingertips.
Hey, Cool Job!
There are some people in life who have jobs so outrageously cool that we find ourselves wishing we could trade places just for a day. If that's you, then Hey, Cool Job! is the podcast to satisfy your curiosity. Hosted by American writer Mary H.K. Choi, the show uncovers the lives of a Japanese porn publisher and a war reporter, a horror film festival programmer and a celebrity paparazzo, and plenty more besides. Fly-on-the-wall stories for your entertainment.