Background (for those unfamiliar with Joe Rogan)
If you have no idea who Joe Rogan is, then you won’t be surprised that, a bit over 8 months ago – I had no idea either. Never heard of the guy. Never even listened to a podcast honestly (like, ANY podcast) … and then, a colleague brought up a topic of Elon Musk and Joe Rogan and after hearing that I had no idea who the guy is – he said, “Dude, you MUST HAVE watched the episode where Elon Musk smoked weed!? Haven’t you?!”. I had no clue, honestly! Fast-forward to today and I’ve watched at least 50+ podcasts, start to end.
Now, I’ll assume that you’ve seen at least one meme like the one below:
If not, it doesn’t really matter; you’ll eventually get to watch it anyway. So, who the heck is Joe Rogan?
Joe Rogan is a guy who, out of pure fun, started bullshitting with his friends and recording those sessions. They would basically smoke weed, drink whiskey and just bullshit about whatever came to their mind. Well, fast forward 10+ years ago and he’s pretty much doing the same thing, except that his podcast is one of the most popular podcasts in the world; and he’s a millionaire now.
So what’s so cool about his podcasts? Well, it’s just that they are raw and honest. Joe would literally invite some cool guest and would just stream 2.5 – 3 hours of talk without any editing. Sometimes guests have to go to bathroom and Joe would just bullshit random crap until they are back 🙂
Those who know me these days are pretty much aware of how addicted I am to Joe’s podcasts. There was even a period when I was looking forward to commutes or any other kind of travel so that I could listen to some more of him. I can’t even explain it; I tried listening to bunch of different podcasts in general, but this is (currently) the only one that I can literally listen with the “back of my mind”.
What I usually do is I’d just play some episode on my external speaker and I’d just go and do some chore (e.g. wash dishes, vacuum, prepare lunch, take a shower, etc.). I rarely WATCH them. I primarily listen while doing anything that doesn’t require concentration.
Now, since I had couple of friends ask me which episodes would I suggest, and after struggling to think which ones would be the “best” intro to this crazy guy, I decided to compile a list of the ones that I re-listened for at least 3 times.
Here’s a quick overview and I’ll jump into the details of each one afterwards:
- JRE #1309 – Naval Ravikant
- JRE #1417 – Kevin Ross
- JRE #1080 – David Goggins
- JRE #1159 – Neil deGrasse Tyson
JRE #1309 – Naval Ravikant
I’ll be straight honest and admit that, up until I googled for “Best Joe Rogan Podcasts” and came around Top 25 JRE Podcasts page, I actually had no idea who Naval was. Well, that’s actually not 100% true. I did actually come around a Twitter profile called @Naval who seemed to tweet some smart stuff that I liked. But still, I had no idea who Naval Ravikant was.
Now, as stupid as it sounds, I can pretty confidently say that, this probably is one of THE BEST JRE podcasts that I’ve listened to. As such, I’d definitely recommend you to start with that one, if you haven’t already.
So, who is Naval? Well, aside from being a co-founder and CEO of AngelList, he is literally one of the most calming and inspiring guys I ever had a pleasure of listening to. I’ve gotta digress a bit now and mention that I recently started noting down cool and inspiring things that I hear on Joe’s podcasts. It’s like I’d play a podcast and wash some dishes and when I hear something that hits me, I’d run down to computer and write it down. Well, as stupid as it might sound, but when it comes to this podcast, literally every single sentence this guy says is worth noting down. So I just gave up and decided to re-listen as many times as needed. It’s that worth it.
So, again, who the heck is Naval? Well, this is a guy who grew in heck of a poverty and who had to spend most of his childhood in library because the neighborhood he lived in was that dangerous. Hence, his mother instructed him that, every day after school he has to go to library and to wait for her there. Well, he does so and, considering the fact that he was in a, you know, a library, he started reading everything he could get his hand on; and he read a lot.
I don’t really want to spoil this podcast by going into any more details. I’d just advise you to go and play it and … well, enjoy. I listen to this every single time that I need either inspiration or recalibration. Hell, I even decided to write this first blog post after listening to Naval for n-th time …
JRE #1417 – Kevin Ross
It is my understanding that those who follow MMA pretty much know who Kevin Ross is. Me? I had no idea. I’m not even sure how I came around this podcast to be honest. I think I was just browsing the Artists category on JRE Library and came around this fella. Holy, am I glad I did!
Let me pause now for a second and mention that I’ve been journaling on a daily basis for a while now, and while doing so, I started noting the specific actions that help me feel better when I’m feeling down or drained. The list, currently, has two entries only – listen to some zen music and listen to Joe Rogan’s podcast with Kevin Ross; and the second one works WAY better!
For those not familiar with who this guy is – well, as you could have guessed – he is an MMA fighter. But, and this is the amazing part – the story that this guy tells just literally blows my mind every single time I listen to it. I’ll try not to spoil you the enjoyment you’ll have while listening to this podcast, but what this guy talks about is how he grew up in abusive household, how he got into fighting, his ups & downs and generally he tells his life story which is just astonishing.
This, as raw as it gets no bullshit story from a guy who has seen both far ends of both luxury and poverty and sorrow and happiness. It’s unfiltered, 100% honest and I actually think at one point this dude even started crying a bit. It’s just an emotional drive that will move you. And once you are done watching, YOU WILL FEEL BETTER! Take my word for it!
JRE #1080 – David Goggins
If you thought that Kevin Ross’ life was messed up, now imagine him being a black guy in a school with predominantly white children, with super-abusive father (who was also a pimp and had one of the biggest whorehouses at the time) and step-father who he grew to love who ended up being murdered in his mother’s garage. Meet David Goggins.
I personally never ever heard of the guy. So the story how I heard of him is even more interesting. I was actually watching another podcast with Jesse Itzler, who is basically a billionaire who just had a luck on his side. Now, this guy starts talking how he likes running and how he attended some ultra marathon (100 miles / 160 km) where you basically come with 3-4 friends and each one of you runs for some distance. And you repeat that until you finish the race. Well apparently, Jesse saw a 120 kgs heavy guy who was there. ALONE. Yeah, this was David Goggins. Jesse decides to invite Goggins to live with him for 30 days and he eventually gets to publish a book about it (Living with a SEAL – great book and highly recommended!). Well, I searched for this guy afterwards and, hence this recommendation.
This is a guy who went through two hell weeks (most recruits can’t even finish it once), ran number of ultra-marathons, managed to break almost every single bone in his body and was, justifiably, named The Toughest Man Alive.
Saying anything else on the topic of Mr Goggins would surely spoil you the experience, so – go and give it a shot 😉
NOTE: There’s another podcast with David Goggins as well (JRE #1212). I recommend watching the one above first because it’s just more honest and straight, while the newer one was recorder after he published his book and became a media personality. Nonetheless, both are well worth watching!
JRE #1159 – Neil deGrasse Tyson
If you are part of the majority that knows who this guy is, then – just go and enjoy this podcast. If, however, you are in the minority (if there even IS a minority) that has (had?) no clue who Neil deGrasse Tyson is, well, let me give you a quick intro.
So, who is he? Well, he is a guy who contacted James Cameron to tell him that the sky portrayed in closing scene of Titanic movie is NOT EVEN CLOSE to the sky that would have been seen at the time. He is also a guy who made sure that Ted (movie) actually has a correct sky! And on the thumbnail above, he exclaimed “Let me tell you why Columbus was a DICK!”.
For those with cheap tickets, Neil deGrasse Tyson is, to quote Wikipedia, an astrophysicist, cosmologist, planetary scientist, author, and science communicator. Did I also mention that he’s amazingly charismatic and fun?
This podcast is definitely something different than the previous ones. Neil talks about bunch of sciency things and does so in amazingly humorous way. Highly recommended if you want to learn some new things and listen to a podcast where the guest talks more than Joe does 😀
NOTE: There are two other podcasts with Neil Tyson – JRE #919 and JRE #1347. The former one is pretty entertaining as well, while the latter one I honestly disliked as Neil was all over Joe and generally seemed not to be in his positive mood. I can highly recommend one of his books as well!
I strongly believe that it usually takes at least 3-4 episodes of ANYTHING to get you hooked. Be it a TV show or a podcast, at least in my case, I usually either get hooked or I give up. If you enjoyed the podcasts above, you will be happy to know that I’m working on a “part 2” curated list of podcasts that are worth watching!
In the meantime, I found it useful to explore the JRE Library, which has all the podcasts arranged by category. You can also follow Joe Rogan on Instagram (@joerogan) where he publishes all the new podcasts he does.