I am by no means an expert on any particular subject, nor do I pretend to understand most of the stuff I hear on podcasts and documentaries I regularly consume. But I have this irresistible urge to dose myself with information in subjects I’m attracted to, and I do so with a hope that every single time I listen to something, at least one tiny fraction of it will rub off on me.
I don’t know if I should brag about this or state it with a sense of shame, but I will admit it: most of the books I listened to – and I listened to many in the past few months – are too complicated for my full understanding, and I should probably revisit them more than once. This goes for many podcast episodes, too.
You will probably guess some of the books that are in my Audible library by the names I’m about to mention, and if you do, you will also probably know why I struggle with the content. Nevertheless, I want to mention these people, as they are a part of my healthy brain diet. They are my “Omegas” of the podcast and YouTube worlds, and with them, I balance out the unhealthy “sugars” and “carbs” that are readily available and very tempting to weak minds.
I will not go into depths here, as I just want to tell the world about authors and podcasters whose content I’m in love with. This is a shout-out to the late and great American Carl Sagan, who was made of elements forged in stars that specifically wanted to create a poet who will speak about their creation in the most amazing and infatuating ways. If you wish to discover or deepen your love for the universe, just read some of his books, or look at some of his presentations and interviews on YouTube. That will light the spark and do the trick.
One other science communicator I love to listen to is Neil deGrasse Tyson, who, in many ways but in his own style, continued where Carl left off. He has a presence on all channels, so whether you want to learn more about our cosmos through books, or on the podcast StarTalk, he is your man. StarTalk is a show I would recommend to everybody, as its brilliant merge with comedy – brought to you largely by Chuck Nice – makes learning extra fun.
Who else do I enjoy listening to? British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, whose atheism versus religion debates can be extra spicy and fun, and Sam Harris, a neuroscientist with ideas about free will that will make you think hard about it – whether you can help it or not. And if these geniuses happen to be on the same panel, it’s an early Christmas for me!
It seems like I place a new name on my list on a weekly basis, like theoretical physicist Brian Greene with his World Science Festival six months ago, or computer scientist and AI researcher Lex Fridman even more recently. You can see the pattern now more or less, for sure, as many of them crossed each others paths on at least one occasion.
Internet brings intellectuals of our time together and makes them available to us, and not many individuals these days do a better job at introducing them to a larger audience than Joe, former Fear Factor star with a polarizing presence in UFC, stand-up comedy, and podcasting.
The JRE podcast is more than that, it’s the top stop for all kinds of characters, with pretty much any kind of back story and profession you can imagine.
I can go on and on, but this is the time to stop, as I think I painted a good picture of what sources tickle and scratch my curiosity. The fact that Joe Rogan Experience podcast episodes helped me greatly just days after my mother’s death is “enough said”. I’m so fortunate I was clear-minded enough to press play every time I was alone in the months following this chain of events. I found my therapy when I needed it the most and I’m sure even Joe would say that the source, in this case, was very unlikely.
So I say to all these people – I am thankful for your unlikely existence!
Main image credit: Getty Images (Joe Rogan), Christopher Patey (Sam Harris), Lithub.com (Carl Sagan)
Note: This is a section from my book, available on Amazon and soon to be exclusive on Pegasus Publishers.