Sunday, June 7, 2020

Against The Rules and a Dozen More of My Favorite Podcasts

I've been listening to a half dozen podcasts for a very long time, but in the past three months I've found myself adding more and more of them to my Overcast app. Now that I'm not at tennis tournaments or watching televised or streamed matches, I have a lot more time to devote to listening, and it's hard to beat a really good podcast for stretching your mind.

Although I will occasionally listen to a specific tennis-related podcast, I regularly listen to just two: No Challenges Remaining with Courtney Nguyen and Ben Rothenberg and Mike Cation's and Noah Rubin's Behind the Racquet. That's not because there aren't many great tennis podcasts out there, but rather that I prefer to take a break from tennis for a few hours each day.

That's not to say I don't find intersections between some of these podcasts and tennis, and a case in point is Michael Lewis's podcast Against The Rules, which is now in its second season. Lewis, who wrote Moneyball (which I posted about on here 14(!) years ago), looked at the role of referees and authority figures in the first season. In the current second season, Lewis is talking about coaching, what it is, who benefits, why it has become so important. I found the May 12 episode "Don't Be Good, Be Great" about his high school baseball coach to be exceptionally compelling and a must-listen for any coach who deals with parents on a regular basis, while the May 19 episode is based primarily on the coaching revolution kicked off by Timothy Gallwey and his book The Inner Game of Tennis. As he demonstrated in Moneyball, Lewis is inclined to look beyond the conventional wisdom on any topic, always asking why and why not, and a host of other questions that may not be definitively answered, but always explored.

Here is a list of a dozen other podcasts I listen to regularly. Most are weekly, others are a set number of episodes, some come out once or twice a month. If you listen to podcasts, I hope one or two of them might appeal to you too, and I would welcome hearing any of your recommendations.

99 Percent Invisible (design)

Criminal (crime)

What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law (law)

All The Presidents Lawyers (law)

Freakonomics (behavioral economics)

FiveThirtyEight Politics (politics, current events)

Shortwave (science)

Planet Money (economics)

Hidden Brain (social science)

Revisionist History (history)

Cautionary Tales (history)

Decoder Ring (pop culture)