‘Best of’ Reading and Podcasts: Inspiration Edition

Watchword inspiration

One of the many things that unite the members of the Watchword team is that we are consummate students, lifelong learners who seek inspiration in great content and who seek to inspire through great content. 

Writing for many different types of people, businesses, and industries requires that we spend much of every day ingesting a wide variety of content and learning it well. We use books, newsletters, blogs, and podcasts to stay on top of the latest trends for a host of industries. We also stay well-informed about how content, branding, and marketing work in our changing, modern context so we can keep our skills fresh. And quite often, we read and listen for fun. 

Inspired by Bill Gates’ annual epic summer reading list, we thought we’d share these favorite resources, inspiration-makers, and generally great sources of all things good and useful.

(So as not to bombard you with an overwhelming list, we are going to share these suggestions over the course of the next few posts. Subscribe and you’ll have something to do all summer long and a whole bunch of new brain wrinkles.)

Great sources of inspiration

Books: Reading to grow

  • Educated
    Loved by Former President Obama, Bill Gates, and our content ninja Kait, Tara Westover’s memoir tells her incredible story of escaping a survivalist culture that shunned education to earning a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, igniting in all of us a passion for education along the way.    
  • Everything Is Figureoutable
    With her trademark humor, directness and poise, Marie Forleo encourages you to stop letting things hold you back and relentlessly pursue your dreams. Oh, and did we mention there are some invaluable copywriting insights? Yeah, you want to check this one out.  
  • Focus
    From marketing expert and the creator of permission-based marketing, Seth Godin’s interactive Focus journal walks you through launching a project start to finish. This step-by-step guide helps you move from thinking about a project to doing it.
  • Strong as a Mother
    Many of us are working moms, so it’s no wonder that Kate Rope’s modern classic Strong as a Mother comes highly recommended by our team. Motherhood is an exciting and rewarding journey that often leaves us, well, exhausted. Rope is here to help moms learn to take care of themselves, keep their sanity, and be a rockstar parent.  
  • The Gifts of Imperfection
    Dr. Brené Brown encourages us to stop dwelling on perceived “imperfections” and embrace living authentically. In The Gifts of Imperfection, she provides a guide, along with inspiring stories, to help people start living “a life of honest beauty.” And, honestly, that’s something we can all use.   

Podcasts: Listening for inspiration

  • Freakonomics Radio
    Freakonomics focuses on behavioral science that drives our economy. From the foods we eat to parenting, project management and more, the economic implications of our everyday lives are explored. We fell in love with this podcast at first listen. 
  • Fresh Air
    Hosted by Terry Gross (need we say more?) this Peabody Award-winning podcast keeps you in-the-know on contemporary art, culture, and issues.   
  • Good People / Good Marketing
    Useful and inspiring tips and insights from some of the most successful nonprofit leaders in our city and country, this podcast covers all things digital marketing. While it may have been started for nonprofits, we think you’ll agree that the information is useful regardless of sector or industry.
  • Hidden Brain
    Meet your new favorite podcast. Shankar Vedantam blends science and incredible storytelling to explore the psychology behind how we speak, behave, make decisions, and learn. We’re not saying you should subscribe right now, we’re just saying you should probably subscribe right now.
  • How I Built This
    Great storytelling + entrepreneurs and innovators = one of our favorite podcasts. How I Built This delves into the processes, wins, failures, and learnings of some of the most formative entrepreneurs in our modern era.
  • Imagine More
    The lovely Atlanta-based Imagine Media team of smarties are great interviewers and open the door to learning from entrepreneurs of all walks in this weekly podcast.
  • Peak Performers Podcast
    Another Atlanta-based source of great information, Thor Conklin helps listeners tap into their ability to be a Peak Performer with useful strategies, tips, tools, and science. You’ll enjoy his interviews with some of the most go-getter folks of our day.
  • Revisionist History
    Malcolm Gladwell, the author of many interesting books including 
    The Tipping Point and Blink, brings his trademark journalistic style to this podcast that focuses on investigating and reinterpreting often misunderstood events, people, and ideas throughout history. (Also, he’s a runner, so we like him for that.)
  • Science Vs
    Like the title indicates, this podcast is all about science exploring, debunking (or proving!) common beliefs, fads, and trends. It’s an entertaining way to learn random things and a case study in market research.
  • Storycorps
    Stories that touch our hearts and humanity… Storycorps catalogs the candid, unscripted conversations between people about life, love and everything in between. We’re not crying, you’re crying. (Actually, we’re crying, too.)
  • TED Radio Hour
    In true TED fashion, the TED Radio Hour is filled with inspiring stories that focus on the human journey. Bonus: It’s a fun, educational way to torture kids while making dinner. We’re pretty sure they’ll thank us later.
  • The Tim Ferriss Show
    A top-ranked business podcast on by Apple and
    Fortune magazine, master interviewer Tim Ferriss sits down with “world-class performers” to find out their favorite books, routines, exercise habits, time management skills and more, distilling those into useful tips and advice. Long-form podcasting at its finest, The Tim Ferriss Show is the perfect companion for long car rides.

Digital Newsletters: Reading for to be more interesting

  • Aeon
    Never doubt that there are people in the world smarter than you. (Well, we never doubt there are people smarter than us.) Aeon will open up worlds of interesting concepts, written by some of our most thoughtful academics.
  • Begin the Begin
    The inspiring and intelligent Jeff Hilimire shares thoughts on leadership, resources, productivity, empathy, giving back, family, and many more topics in a short, quick format that will leave you smarter and refreshed.
  • HBR
    We may not have diplomas with Haaaaavahd on them but that doesn’t mean we can’t still learn like a super smartie. We particularly like their leadership and culture articles. Good stuff. You might even decide to subscribe – to the actual magazine. (Gasp.)
  • Medium
    Find your topic, any topic. Follow, upvote, learn, engage. These longer-form articles are perfect for a quick coffee break, mid-afternoon brain break, and tidbits to make you more interesting across the table.
  • Nautilus
    Who 
    doesn’t love a great literary magazine? We’re pretty sure at some point, every member of our team was on the lit mag staff at their high school or college. You’ve been warned. This is not a place to start your day if you need to get work done.

When you read and write for a living, sitting down at the end of the day to kick back with a book can feel a bit more like…well…the workday. So don’t take these suggestions lightly. We’re a really picky, really well-read crew. We hope you enjoy! Please let us know what’s inspiring you.


Watchword produces intelligence-driven branding and content that works efficiently across many channels to help businesses articulate who they are and what they do to the people who matter most. We listen carefully, communicate thoughtfully, respond consistently, and deliver absolutely – that is our rally cry – our watchword. What’s yours? We’d love to hear your story.

Rachelle Kuramoto

Author Rachelle Kuramoto

Rachelle is Watchword Brand principal. She has worked as a brand and content strategist, writer, and market intelligence director for 20 years. She is an experienced and award-winning professional who balances creative and business acumen to support projects, primarily in the B2B sector. Her objective in every engagement is to articulate what makes the client distinctive and sustainable in their market and with the stakeholders who matter most. She'd love to hear your story. Grab some time and a listening ear at rachelle@watchwordbrand.com.

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