Most Inspiring Podcasts to Listen to in 2021
Here at Little’s, we have been inspired by those who continue to spread hope and optimism during what has undoubtedly been a challenging time. With this in mind, each week our team will be sharing experiences we have been enjoying or are looking forward to, whether that be a binge-worthy boxset, a must-follow Instagram account, or the best dine at home experiences.
This week, our company directors – Heather Matthews and Kenneth Good – share five uplifting podcasts that have been keeping them going throughout lockdown. With subjects ranging from music, history, and the beautiful UK countryside, to conversations on topics such as optimism, leadership, and human connection, there is something here for everyone. Brighter days are on the horizon, and we hope that these podcasts help to raise your spirits like they’ve continued to raise ours.
Kenneth has been enjoying Great Lives – a biographical series from BBC Radio 4 where guests are invited to discuss a person of significance who has inspired their own life. With over 450 episodes to choose from, the featured individuals are from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds, such as: singer and podcaster Jessie Ware talking about the Queen of Disco Donna Summers, comedian and recent Strictly champion Bill Bailey talking about Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, and economist and academic Nicholas Stern on the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. With each episode less than 30 minutes, Great Lives makes for the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee helping you start your day with an extra pep in your step.
Heather has been finding solace in the A Bit of Optimism podcast, hosted by author, speaker, and self-proclaimed optimist, Simon Sinek. Sinek began the podcast in June 2020 as a direct response to the challenges we are all facing during the global pandemic, and his interviews with guests – on topics such as hope, courage, listening, and joy – are a much-needed balm right now. Heather found the conversation on gratitude with dancer, Carolyn Adams, ‘particularly lovely’, so this might be a good place to start.
For fellow music lovers, Kenneth recommends BBC Radio 4’s Soul Music – a series about music with a powerful emotional impact, with each episode featuring a deep dive into one specific track. The music covered is a wonderfully eclectic mix. Some recent songs discussed on the show, for instance, have been: ‘Sunshine on Leith’ by the Proclaimers, ‘We Are Family’ by Sister Sledge, Schubert’s B-Flat Piano Sonata, ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E King, and ‘Back to Black’ by Amy Winehouse. As Kenneth says, ‘there is literally something for everyone.’
If heart-open, perspective-changing conversations are what you are looking for, Heather has been listening to Unlocking Us, the podcast from researcher and author Brené Brown, perhaps most widely known for her hugely impactful TED talk ‘The Power of Vulnerability’. Varying from entertaining, to challenging, to deeply moving, Unlocking Us features conversations with guests such as filmmaker brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, anti-racism activist and author Prof Ibram X. Kendi, and activist and founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, not to mention a conversation with the legendary Dolly Parton. While the podcast often deals with challenging themes, Brown holds the conversations with both grace and her signature sense of humour and the ‘journey’ each episode takes is ultimately uplifting.
Last but not least comes a nature and travel related recommendation from Kenneth and his trusty BBC Radio 4: Open Country. The series looks at the people and nature that shapes the landscape of the UK and, as we at Little’s are something of aficionados when it comes to the landscapes of this country we call home, this podcast is right up our street. A recent episode Kenneth enjoyed was about the Scottish Island Eilean Shona, owned by Vanessa Branson and currently a tranquil holiday destination and artist retreat for those wanting to get away from the buzz of mainland life. Again, there is so much here to listen to and enjoy, so it’s worth checking Open Country out for yourself.
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