11 Podcast Episodes That Will Change Your Life

I admit to overusing the phrase “it will change your life.” Whether it’s Italian water ice , coffee , movies, books, or even pens , when I find something amazing, I love to share it with people.  Some people don’t agree that these kinds of things can be life changing, but if your obsession is like mine, to get one percent better each day,  you can see how immersing yourself in inspirational things that you love can change your life.

For the last seven years, one of the ways I have sought to change my life is to turn my commute into an opportunity to learn.  Frequently, colleagues comment on how my 45-minute commute to work is too far for them.  I can certainly understand their point, but soon after I began commuting, I had the realization that even while I drive, I can continue to grow.  Instead of listening to the radio, I tried podcasts, and they changed my life.  I cannot remember the first episode I listened to, but I also have not been able to forget countless others. They have inspired me, taught me, and made me think.  In the spirit of this blog and its mission of sharing ideas, I feel compelled to share them with you. Here is a list of podcasts episodes that have erased my commute, and changed my life. 

11 Life-Changing Podcast Episodes

For living a creative life.  “The Tim Ferriss Show” with director Robert Rodriguez. This episode offers an insider’s perspective on how to cultivate a life of creativity. His section on journaling makes you wish you could go back in time and write more things down. Episode here.

For building a winning culture. “ABCA Calls from the Clubhouse.”  Jeremy Sheetinger interviews Gary Gilmore, Head Coach of the 2016 National Champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.  His insight on building a winning culture transcends sports. This is a rare interview where the leader gives specific after specific on how he has created a juggernaut in South Carolina. Episode here.

For thinking about an issue you have never considered. Malcolm Gladwell’s  “Revisionist History” Episode 5.  After listening I had two immediate thoughts: I would sue Malcolm Gladwell if I were Vassar College, and I should have gone to Bowdoin . Both of these miss Gladwell’s larger point, but after you listen, tell me if you think I’m wrong. Episode here.

For the difference between goals and systems. Scott Adams on “The Tim Ferriss Show.” Scott is quickly becoming famous for something other than creating Dilbert –  his bold prediction that Donald Trump will win the election in a landslide.  But this episode has nothing to do with politics. Instead, Adams reveals the persuasion techniques that the best in the world use. He tells great stories that he details in his book  that I also highly recommend.  Episode here.

For learning the science of persuasion. Speaking of persuasion . . . here is the master of it, Robert Cialdini , on Jordan Harbinger’s “The Art of Charm.” Most people have never heard of Cialdini’s work, and it’s so good that I considered keeping this episode to myself. His science-backed strategies are so effective that they seem impossible to believe at times. Episode here.

For the value of relationships. “The Top Coach Baseball Podcast” with Jack Warren. My bias leans towards baseball, but every once in awhile you hear about a leader who has built such deep relationships that you wonder if you can ever measure up.  For instance, Head Coach Brian Shoop has attended 82 weddings of his former players. I’m speechless. Episode here.

For the power of simplicity in leadership.  The “The EntreLeadership Podcast” with former Notre Dame Head Coach Lou Holtz. Lou’s message almost seems too simple to work, except it has, time and time again.  Sure I was in my athletic prime at age 11 as a raving Notre Dame fan imagining I was Tony Rice, but that aside, the clarity of his message cuts through the clutter that can bog down today’s culture. Episode here.

For learning to make your own small dent in the universe. “The Moment with Brian Koppelman.”  Seth Godin episode. Brian is the most underrated interviewer in the world right now, which actually made it a difficult selection on which episode to choose. This is an artful conversation about what it means to create and give with generosity. If this is your first experience with two of my favorite creative people, prepare to take a deep dive into their work. Episode here.

For masterful storytelling.  “Mystery Show.” The Belt Buckle. I don’t know if Season Two will ever arrive, but this episode is incredible. No one I know goes looking for a podcast like this, but every one who listens to this story is amazed at its craft. Episode here.

For learning how to clarify your mission.  Ryan Hawk ‘s “The Learning Leader” with guest Donald Miller . Ryan is a marvel in the podcast game.  He recently released episode 159 and shows no signs of slowing down.  This episode with branding expert Miller has actionable takeaway after actionable takeaway. Episode here.

For learning how to give feedback. “Where there’s Smoke.” Stop, Look, Listen (Criticism) episode. This is a sneaky good episode from a podcast that is under the radar of many listeners. The exercise host Brett Gajda uses to demonstrate the difference between feedback and criticism is as useful an idea as I’ve heard this year. Episode here.

I created this blog as a place to share ideas.  Email me with the episodes that I have overlooked.

Happy listening.

Joe Ferraro  co-hosts a podcast that his immediate family thinks is life-changing.


The Timing of Communication: Show Notes

This post is a listener guide to KWBRadio Episode 36: The Timing of Communication 

Links mentioned on the podcast:

The coffee shop mentioned  

The benefits of drinking coffee  

My coffee maker

Kevin ordering Wonton Soup

Kev’s Summer Reading List Shoe Dog  The Arm      Relentless  

Joe on The Top Coach Podcast

Rick Eckstein Episode

Criticism vs. feedback


26: 37 Understanding our students. “Doing the blog this month has forced me out of my comfort zone and has forced me into the mind of my students. When they have to write their essays, I can look at them eye to eye . . .”–JF

27:20: “We try to relate material.  . . not try to treat everyone the same.  If we are teaching something to somebody, we have to have done it in the past.” –KW

30:20 “Kids need to take a break from hitting.”–KW

38:30 @cotuck  

41:15 “I like kids failing.” –KW

Where to find us:

Follow the show on Twitter! @KWBRadio

Twitter @FerraroOnAir  @KWBaseball

 The Website      Kevin Wilson Baseball, LLC

Not on iTunes? No worries! Head on over to KWBaseball.com to listen now!




Help Wanted: A Winning Cell Phone Policy in the Classroom

Teachers: What is your classroom cell phone policy?

I ask as someone who has come to know the squared shoulders, elbows out signature pose of someone secretly texting under his desk.

I ask as someone who knows teens well enough to know that confrontational administration of any policy erodes a classroom culture. “Because I said so” does not fly with 21st century teens.

I ask as someone who knows that cell phone addiction is a real thing. 

I ask as someone who just finished a personal, self-imposed one-week no cell phone stint.

I ask as someone who literally dreamed of texts and emails during that week.

I ask as someone who knows that the cell phone’s capabilities are as amazing as any invention in our lifetime.

I ask as someone who knows that the cell phone also destroys our ability to have deep conversations with the people that we are actually with.

I ask as someone who is fortunate to have a supportive administration that will back up my classroom policy.

There’s the right policy, and the right way to deliver the policy to our students.

I am looking for both.




I Got Ejected Last Night

I got ejected last night for the first time in 13 years.

What I should have said to the umpire was:

I’m sorry Jack, can I have time please?  Hey thanks.  What did you see there?  From where I was in the dugout I had the batter crossing the plate landing in the left-handed batter’s box as he bunted through the ball. My catcher couldn’t make the throw to second as the runner was stealing second.  You didn’t have the same?  I gotcha, maybe you were screened on the play, would you mind asking your partner if he saw something different?  He might have had a better angle on the play.  Thank you, Jack.  

What I did say doesn’t matter.

In life it is very rare that we get the chance to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, but we should prepare in advance for various scenarios.

The best technique I have come across comes from best selling author Dan Pink.  In just over two minutes, he details a powerful technique for preparing for the worst case scenario, even as we hope for the best.

Pink’s technique might not have saved me last night, but over time it’s a valuable asset to add to the tool box.


Ruin a Moment: Kirk Gibson

We live in the age of information, but that does not always make life better. Sometimes less is still more. We as coaches are trying to help kids improve, and with that mission comes the pressure to provide to our players the latest and most accurate information available. Where does it stop though?  I love the teaching tools available on the internet, but I am afraid that if we aren’t careful, we risk far more than paralysis by analysis; we siphon the joy out of the game.

Let’s pause when we work with young players to make sure the language we choose makes the game simpler, not more complex.

If we don’t, we risk turning a moment as pure as this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U157X0jy5iw

into this:  written transcript below (my apologies to Mr. Scully)

The tying run is at second base with two out.

With a proper two-out lead and an aggressive secondary, Mike Davis should be able to score on a base hit to left field.  Stan Javier after all, who came on to pinch run because of his 6.6 speed only has a 40 arm in left field. Remember, he defied Sabermetricians everywhere by stealing second base with a left handed hitter at the plate, that he used a drop step and not a crossover not to be overlooked.  He needs to be mindful of dirtball reads.

The count 3-2. Just a note, this does not mean Gibson should shorten his swing, gone are the days of choke and poke.  He is paid to hit home runs and this is time he must stay in his lane and hope to ambush Eckersley’s slider.

Gibson steps in trusting the process staying true to his routine.

Calls time, remembers to breathe and make sure his mind is right.

Gibson steps waaaaay out of the box, surprised the homeplate umpire Doug Harvey doesn’t make him keep one foot in, kids on their iPhones are leaving the game of baseball in droves after all.

Sax taking a mental at bat on deck, but the game right now is at the plate.

The 3-2 Pitch . . . Gibson shifts his eyes from the bill of Eckersley’s cap to a square somewhere over his right shoulder . . . gets his foot down early . . . Thank God he’s trying to swing up and hit the ball in the air, achieves the proper launch angle of 26 degrees and whammo . . .

She is gone!  Exit velocity an impressive 94.3 mph!

(crowd goes wild)

In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.  Gibson has wasted the ultimate opportunity to flip his bat!

To Win: Take it Seriously

There are countless explanations for winning. Here’s one that often goes unspoken: taking the game seriously.

I was reminded of this truism last night after a family dinner out.

A torrential rain storm held us inside a little longer before our dash to the car, when my two kids spotted that classic toy claw/grabber/crane game. The prizes, I later learned, were called knobby balls, different-colored squishy orbs dotted with “spikes.” Amazon describes them as having a cool, bumpy, and tacky texture so as you can imagine, a lot was at stake.

My son Joey took his shot first, $.50 cents seeming like just the right price for good clean fun between rain swells.  In a blur of zeal and premature celebration, his mission failed when the crane’s grip gave way on its journey from the back right corner to the front left prize shoot.

Next up was my three-year-old daughter Charlee. It’s safe to say that she did not have a plan, and although her forage turned up empty, it was a pure joy to watch.

It was my turn.  My son cheered me on.  My daughter clapped and yelled.  They urged me to attack the game.  Instead I held the coins in my left hand while I surveyed the landscape. Only now do I realize the scope of my uncoolness in retelling this story.  I have always wanted to be the impulsive guy.  The leap before you look guy.  The fire the quarters into the slot and figure it out along the way guy. I have always wanted to be cool.  Being cool from a distance, appears to be a mysterious mixture of not caring and looking like you don’t care. In other words, someone other than me.  Before I inserted the money, I examined the topography, assessing which ball’s bumpy tacky texture was most exposed, identifying which ball would allow its circumference to be engulfed completely by the claw.  I looked head on and from the side.  This didn’t do wonders for my children’s momentum, but this wasn’t enjoy the process, this was seek and conquer.

The game clock allowed a generous 30 seconds to select your coordinates (perhaps its creator was uncool as well).  In that time I was able to locate the yellow target I had scouted before, and adjust the claw ever so slightly to get its plunge angle just right.  By the time I hit the dive button, the results were a forgone conclusion.  The ball was coming home with us.

The claw’s journey back was mostly uneventful, save for the aggressive last upward surge that has crushed the dreams of many a child.  But the crane arrived with ball in tow above the slot and dropped its bounty home.  Joey leaped and fist pumped.

If you are a parent reading this, you see the problem. Two kids, one ball.  While my son was fist pumping, my daughter was lower-lip pouting.  My wife started to explain that one ball could be shared between the two of them, a practical solution that pleased most of me, but tonight I had to erase that notion. This game had become more serious than sensibility.

“Take the kids and run to the car,” I said, handing her the keys. She eyed me and nodded, knowing what was coming. “I’ll be back with another ball.”

I knew what winning looked like, and I knew what winning required. I plotted and planned just as before, and with a determination fueled by a vision of my daughter’s smile, I apprehended the green ball.

In the midst of an amazing summer, it’s difficult for me to remember a moment I enjoyed more than what my wife would later call “an exaggerated look of fake dejection” before surprising my daughter with the ball.

If you are thinking this is a hero’s story, I don’t blame you.  But it’s easy to lose sight of the how in the glow of my two kids.  The why was obvious.  But it’s often the how that tells the story.   I took the game more seriously than the dad who failed before me.  He had the cool. I had the plan.  He had more fun during, I had more fun after.

It’s often uncool to take things more seriously than others.  It’s a game after all, the world will tell us.

A game for certain. I am just not sure that I can convince my kids that I was uncool last night.



Day Two

Day two is more difficult than day one.

Day one has the better agent.  It’s celebrated as glamorous, as starting something special. It’s New Year’s Day.  It’s the start of a workout.  It’s putting ourselves out there.  It’s going public.  It’s becoming vulnerable.

Day one is an audition.  We have reached the threshold.  We can no longer hold back. Something has to be done.  We vow to change, and we do.

Then the world kicks our ass.  The results are not what we imagined. Six-pack abs do not appear.  No one throws us a parade for our brilliance.

But some people show up for day two anyway.

Day two is soreness.  It’s silence.  But it’s how we let ourselves and the world know that we are serious.  If we ever hope to get to consistency, day two is the vital day.

Everyone is excited to begin on January 1st. What does January 2nd look like?

We have collected countless day ones in our lives; many sit dusty on our shelves. It’s time to pick one up, dust it off, and turn it into a day two.