The Power of Vulnerability

“No one reaches out to you for compassion or empathy so you can teach them how to behave better. They reach out to us because they believe in our capacity to know our darkness well enough to sit in the dark with them.” This quote comes from Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability. Her talk and teachings on authenticity, connection, and courage, based on 12 years of research, inspired me to be a better friend to those in my life — to show up and be present and hold a space of empathy for those in need. Available as a 6-hour audible download or audio CD, listening to her is like listening to your funniest friend, who’s also a doctor. — CD

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Life changing questions

A really great podcast episode well worth listening to is 17 Great Questions That Can Change Your Life, by Tim Ferriss. This is an audible extract from his book Tools of Titans. In this session he lists the 17 questions that he asks himself on a regular basis in order to get the most from his life. They are very effective probes. This podcast is a good introduction to his book, which is also very useful. — KK

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A cappella choir

I’m late to the party, but I’ve been enjoying the sweet sounds of the now popular group Pentatonix. It’s a five-voice a cappella choir. One voice is a great beat-box artist who supplies the instrumentation. Somehow their arrangements get everything right. They do originals and covers and I can listen to them for hours. They found their audience on YouTube. — KK

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Revisionist History

A new podcast I am enjoying is Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. You get typical Gladwellian reporting, voiced by Gladwell himself. His theme is the re-telling of things everyone knows, so that these “official” stories are inverted, reversed, undermined, or in some way seen new. It’s contrarian by design. If you like his books, you’ll like his podcast and vice versa. — KK

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The Man of the People

An awesome podcast episode that I loved is “The Man of the People” on Reply All. In only 42 minutes it tells the nearly incredible true story about a charlatan who made millions by surgically implanting goat testicals in men, almost became governor of Kansas to escape censure, moved to the Mexico side of the border to broadcast in the US without US oversight, made country and western music a national thing, by his quackery provoked the creation of the AMA (American Medical Association), and invented commercial radio. This podcast has the distinction of being the first podcast to be turned into a Hollywood movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. If you want to know what podcasts are about, try this one. — KK

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Russian mystery

A fantastic two-part podcast episode from Reply All (Russian Passenger, Part 1 + Beware All, Part 2) delves very deep into the mystery of how producer Alex Blumberg had his Uber account hacked by Russians. Could it be malware, phishing, man-in-the-middle exploits, or what? Arriving at a solution required the participation of the full technical teams of Google, Uber, and independent security experts over several weeks, and still the final aha was surprising. Along the way, it’s an entertaining detective story, dishing out a serious but still understandable education in global cyber security. The bottom line: You need a password manager right now. My family and I use 1Password, which has been great. — KK

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Reply All

My favorite podcast these days is Reply All. It’s sort of Wired in audible format. Smart, surprising stories about the culture around digital technology. They are especially good in chasing down internet “mysteries.” Just for example, listen to episode #76 which is about the Google ad scam around lost phones; it goes way deep. Each episode never fails to enlighten and entertain me. — KK

Listen to thisClaudia Dawson