- The Accad and Koka Report: This is straight up the best new podcast to hit the healthcare space. Physicians Michel Accad and Anish Koka are smart, independent, opinionated and open-minded. In a podcast world replete with NPR knockoffs, this somewhat contrarian show is a both refreshing and required. You may not agree with all, or most, of what they say (I certainly don’t), but you’ll find yourself constantly intrigued by, engaged with, the conversation. Recommended 2018 episode to sample: interview with historian and Tyranny of Metrics author Jerry Muller, here.
- The Long Run: I’m a established fan of Luke Timmerman, the savvy biotech journalist and editor of the highly recommended Timmerman Report, who this year climbed Everest for charity in his spare time, and is a planning a follow-up fundraising trip to Kilimanjaro next year. Timmerman is a sophisticated, unpretentious reporter who knows his stuff, and has the deep industry context required to ask the relevant questions of his A-list biotech guests. Recommended 2018 episode to sample: biotech veteran Michael Gilman interview, here.
- A Healthy Dose: Featuring Steven Kraus from Bessemer Ventures and Trevor Price of Oxeon Partners, Healthy Dose offers interviews with leading figures on the digital health scene. Kraus and Price not only bring deep domain expertise, but they also have great chemistry, both with each other and, consistently, with their outstanding guests. Recommended 2018 episodes to sample: interviews with former AthenaHealth CEO Jonathan Bush, President of BC/BS of North Carolina and alum of Obama Administration Patrick Conway, and Vida Health CEO and former Google and eBay executive Stephanie Tilenius.
- Mendelspod: A genetics podcast MC’d by Theral Timpson, Mendelspod remains one of my quirky favorites, featuring monthly check-ins with resident experts, and additional episodes with a range of luminaries. There’s a bit of inside baseball, but Timpson excels at drawing out his guests, and making the information as accessible as possible. I especially appreciate the fact that he invites guests who are experts in some of the ultra-relevant minutia of genetics, like sample handling and preparation, topics that seem tedious but are clearly relevant, and explained in a fashion listeners can readily understand. Recommended 2018 episode to sample: interview with Stanford ethicist Hank Greely.
- Pulse Check: Politico reporter Dan Diamond has a voice for podcasts, and the experience and insight required to conduct thoughtful interviews with leaders at the intersection of politics and healthcare. Recommended 2018 episodes include this interview, with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, and this interview, with JUUL’s VP of Public Policy, Tevi Troy, a right-leaning health policy expert.
- How I Built This: An engaging and widely-admired NPR podcast hosted by Guy Raz, this show features interviews with leading entrepreneurs, who discuss the businesses they built — the motivations and the challenges. Recommended 2018 episode to sample: this interview with media entrepreneur Haim Saban, and this interview with Rent The Runway founder Jenn Hyman.
- Tech Tonics: Featuring Lisa Suennen and me (disclosure alert…), Tech Tonics, now wrapping up it’s fourth year, remains focused on “the people and passion at the intersection of technology and health.” This year, we’ve interviewed a range of exceptional guests, from Broad Institute geneticist Sek Kathiresan and Google’s Katherine Chou to Stanford surgeon Carla Pugh and Microsoft CMO Simon Kos. Our most recent episode, featuring OptumLabs CMO Darhshak Sanghavi, offers as good an introduction as any to our show.
While not healthcare focused, I also continue to enjoy the weekly culture podcast hosted by Victorino Matus, Sonny Bunch, and J.V. Last, originally under the “Weekly Sub-Standard” banner, and now (following the unfortunate demise of the Weekly Standard, as I discussed here), reborn as The Sub-Beacon, available here.
In addition to podcasts, I found myself absorbing a lot of audiobook content this year. My favorite listens (all from Audible.com) include:
- Emperor of All Maladies, by Sid Mukherjee – captivating history of cancer.
- The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis – origin story of behavioral economics pioneers Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.
- Tyranny of Metrics, by Jerry Muller – our fixation on metrics (as I recently discussed, see here).
- Lab Rats, by Dan Lyons – how the nature of work may be changing for the worse, by author of Disrupted (who also wrote for several seasons of HBO’s Silicon Valley).
- Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari – a “Brief History” of our species.
- The Wizard of Menlo Park, by Randall Stross – biography of Thomas Edison, by New York Times writer and author of eBoys.
Two other audiobooks of note:
- The Rise and Fall of American Growth, by Northwestern economist Robert Gordon. This epic description of America from 1870-1970 translates imperfectly to audiobook, in part because of it’s length (the text is over seven hundred pages, the audiobook more than 30 hours), and in part because listening to detailed economic history can sound at times like someone reading entries from an almanac. For many, the juice might not be worth the squeeze; but those who embark on this lengthy journey, and stick with it, will find themselves rewarded and enlightened.
- The Corrosion of Conservatism, by former Wall Street Journal op-ed editor Max Boot. This title is not healthcare related, but a fascinating and timely story nonetheless, written (and read) by an articulate conservative who feels abandoned by his ideological compatriots in the age of Trump.