LV's Podcast Pick: Harvard Business Review IdeaCast

LV's Podcast Pick: Harvard Business Review IdeaCast

In our series, “LV’s Podcast Pick of the Month,” we’re highlighting an audio program that we’re crushing on.

Our criteria: It needs to be smart, sharp and help make some aspect of your money or work life easier.

This month’s featured listen focuses on inspiring, outside-the-box advice on all things career-related from well-known and highly regarded executives, thinkers and industry leaders.


So you want to rise to the top of your company or be a better manager, or are simply interested in the insights of leading thinkers in a variety of creative and business fields. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) has the podcast for you.

The weekly “HBR IdeaCast,” hosted by HBR editor Sarah Green Carmichael and other members of the publication’s staff, features lively interviews with industry professionals, scientists and journalists—some famous, others more behind the scenes—covering one general topic or issue per episode. It’s categorized as a management and marketing podcast, but it covers much more.

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Whether you’re fresh out of college, a mid-level manager or a CEO, you’ll be inspired by the thoughts and advice on climbing the career ladder, navigating office politics and other in-the-air topics pertaining to the world of work.

In episode 512, Esquire writer Cal Fussman offers insights on conducting interviews. The “What I’ve Learned” columnist, who has interviewed achievers such as Jeff Bezos, George Clooney, Robert De Niro and Richard Branson, shares tips on gaining an interviewee’s trust, getting answers that aren’t rehearsed and asking smart follow-up questions. The parallel between his techniques and conducting a job interview offers benefits to managers and potential employees alike.

In episode 501, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about how life balance can be overrated, ways to effectively manage time and what fueled his desire to pursue a career in science.

Episode 509, “Be a Superboss,” taps Sydney Finkelstein, a professor of strategy and leadership at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and author of “Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent.” The episode focuses on leadership techniques from “mentors on steroids” such as television producer Lorne Michaels, San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh and chef Alice Waters. The ideas on finding talent, interacting with team members, customizing relationships with employees, unleashing creativity and “failing big” are inspiring.

The Gist: Weekly talks have experts touching on such topics as pay transparency, race in the workplace, marketing lessons and how to manage conflict. In addition, a 10- to 20-minute podcast each month summarizes the major features in the current issue of HBR. Under Carmichael’s leadership, “HBR IdeaCast” has been nominated for a National Magazine Award twice.

Diverse subjects plus interesting authorities add up to practical advice on behavior and smart, in-depth discussions on navigating business situations or life in general.

How to listen: Subscribe weekly via the HBR website or iTunes. Episodes range from 6 minutes to 26 minutes.

Recent hot topics:

  • How to be happier at work
  • Whether and why co-workers should know your salary
  • Making peace with your inner critic
  • Marketing lessons for companies big and small
  • How to be an “authentic” leader
  • Types of conflict and how to manage them

Good episodes for new listeners: Anyone who hates saying no (I confess) or doesn’t know how to do so in a diplomatic and firm way can benefit from episode 517, “How to Say No to More Work” (March 24, 2016). Karen Dillon, author of “HBR Guide to Office Politics,” explains how to gracefully decline excessive projects and thankless tasks.

New to management and employee reviews? Have a listen to episode 508, “How to Give Constructive Feedback” (February 5, 2016). Consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman offer tips on how to assess people, who benefits from criticism and how to deliver it effectively. We could all learn from that.

RELATED: LV's Podcast Pick of the Month: NPR's Hidden Brain

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