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Get sparking, with our podcast picks for 2021!

We at Sparks are kicking off the new year with our best knowledge foot forward – and sharing our favourite podcast recommendations. Here, you’ll find 16 inspirational listens across 8 categories. Choose the area you’re interested to skip to the section that’s of interest – or just browse our selection. It’s never been simpler to start building your knowledge curve. Happy listening!

Sports

The Bill Simmons Podcast
We love the most downloaded sports podcast of all time. Bill Simmons hooks his audience with his laid-back conversational style, exciting sports topics and celebrity guests.

Sports wars
This podcast offers an immersive look at some of the greatest athletic rivalries and epic battles of all time. What really happened? Who was right? Choose your side. It’s entertaining to listen to and feels like a podcast equivalent of Friends or Modern Family.

Politics

Payne's politics – Financial Times
Highly informative UK politics podcast. New weekly episodes presented by a lineup of expert FT correspondents and informed commentators. A podcast alternative to reading FT articles, and with no FT subscription needed.

FiveThirtyEight Politics
High quality journalism that provides an easy-to-digest breakdown of US politics and game-changing issues. Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight team have an animated and uncensored conversational approach.

The Reith Lectures – BBC Radio 4
The BBC’s flagship annual lecture series, delivered by significant international thinkers. Don’t miss the episode with Lord Sumption’s argument that the law is gradually taking over the space once occupied by politics. He is a former justice of the UK’s Supreme Court.

Business Stories

Foundering – The WeWork Story
A serialized podcast bringing you high-stakes drama from Silicon Valley. Impeccably researched with a number of behind the scenes contributors from Bloomberg Technology. Provides detailed insight into heard-about stories.

Boom / Bust: HQ Trivia – Selling for Parts
This podcast reveals the chaos within startups, and the egos that drive it. A fascinating story about the rise and fall of the previously immensely popular HQ Trivia app. How did it all go wrong?

This Week in Startups – with Jason Calacanis
The best, worst, most outrageous and most interesting stories from the world of Web companies. Need-to-know strategies and best practices for developing your startups.

World Designs

99% Invisible
What is the process and power of design and architecture? This show discovers seemingly invisible designs that affect our lives profoundly, without us even noticing them. Eye-opening, fun, and unscripted interviews.

Monocle 24: The Urbanist
Mayors, urban planners and architects discuss how inspirational trends in urban design, better our cities. Do you find city life overwhelming? Are you interested in discovering the hidden fabrics of urban spaces, that come together to make them more welcoming? If so, then this is your podcast.

Media

The Media Show – BBC Radio 4
Social media, anti-social media, breaking news, faking news. A Weekly review of the media revolution, in the UK and abroad. With influential guests who reveal the story behind the story.

The Press Box
These two old friends provide context and insight on US sports and politics, as if they were sitting at a bar, catching up on the news. We like their journalistic approach, as they dig into the back stories of what’s hot in the US media.

Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review – BBC Radio 5 live
We’re loving Mark’s and Simon’s objective film reviews, and their insightful interviews with well-known actors and directors. Listen to the Best of 2020. How has the pandemic shaped your own experience of the film industry?

History

13 Minutes to the Moon – BBC World Service
The story behind the climax of Apollo’s first descent to the moon. With gripping narration from some of the astronauts, scientists and engineers who made it happen. Don’t miss the countdown.

Balanced Living

The Doctor’s Kitchen Podcast: Eat to Beat Illness
A great source for expert advice on eating healthily and holistically. Dr. Rupy Aujla is a General Practitioner with the NHS. He is convinced that what you choose to put on your plate, is the most important health intervention.

Know the World

The Intelligence -The Economist
Daily briefings providing fresh perspectives on the events shaping our world. We found this podcast to be clearly narrated, and greatly informative. Civilians at the epicenter of events are frequently interviewed, providing local angles.

So, what are you waiting for? Get listening and start sparking. Together, we’ll grow your personal knowledge – and upgrade your learning.

And don’t forget to let us know what you think of our podcast recommendations. Which ones did you find most amusing, enlightening, or informative? Any others you would add to the list?