Reviewed by Nancy Wolthuis, Client Services Director, Calder Richards Structural Engineers
It’s no surprise to hear Nancy Wolthuis listens to a podcast every morning as she gets ready for work. The client services director has an insatiable curiosity for the world she lives in and finds podcasts are a great source of inspiration.
Several years ago, Nancy read Stephen Dubner’s Freakanomics: A Rogue Economic Explores the Hidden Side of Everything and was impressed with how the author could make economics fun to read and easy to understand.
The book spinoff, Freakanomics Radio, is a public radio program that is also distributed as a weekly podcast. Created in 2010, it’s one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes. It’s hosted by the author, with economist Steven Levitt as a frequent guest. Dubner and Levitt worked for The New York Times Magazine and their rapport, intelligence, and humor are quickly evident.
Podcasts range from 30 minutes to just over an hour and are entertaining and interesting. “It is snappy, fast-paced, and is packed with useful information,” affirms Nancy. In an era of podcast overload, this one holds her attention. “It provides great ideas for professional and personal development that can be implemented immediately.”
A 35-year AEC industry veteran, she has regularly used podcast discussions of macroeconomic issues for market forecasting and planning. “It provides real-time analysis of current economic affairs as well as insight into future economic trends,” she explains. And if you don’t like the study of economics before listening, she promises you will after.
Nancy enjoys how the podcast explores everyday life and human nature using the tools of economics to explore and explain real-world behavior. When asked to name her favorite Freakanomics Radio podcast, the quick-witted marketer replies, “It’s always the last one I’ve listened to.” That happens to be Episode 389, "How to Make Meetings Less Terrible." From the podcast Nancy implemented changes to meetings she chairs or hosts.
With more than 300 podcasts to choose from, there’s bound to be a topic you can learn from too.