8 Podcasts That Go Inside the Minds of History’s Great Innovators

Trailblazers podcast host and best-selling author, Walter Isaacson, is an authority on innovators, having literally written the book—books, in fact—on the topic. He’s explored the lives and minds of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and now in his latest book, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaacson gives us a glimpse into how a man who lived five centuries ago viewed the world around him – with intense curiosity, an eye for the smallest detail, and perhaps a bit of a rebellious side.

We can all draw inspiration from history’s great innovators – what made them tick? What were the turning points in their lives? How did they think differently? And, most of all, how can we aspire to be more like them? In the list of podcasts below, Isaacson shares his favorite stories of pioneers who were way ahead of the curve.

Start with the special episode of Trailblazers, “Da Vinci: Il Grande Apripista // The Great Trailblazer,” where Isaacson and several Leonardo da Vinci  scholars explore the inside stories of Leonardo’s genius, yet frame that genius in worldview lessons that are accessible to us all.

And keep the inspiration flowing with the following:

“The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of Thomas Alva Edison” from The Kitchen Sisters

The Kitchen Sisters have created a gorgeous sound-rich journey through the life of one of history’s greatest inventors, Thomas Edison.

“Ada Lovelace” from In Our Time: Science

Ada Lovelace understood the incredible potential of computers long (over a century!) before they became a part of everyday life.

“Episode 74: Marie Curie Part One” from The History Chicks

Marie Curie was a true scientific pioneer, Nobel prize winner, and a trailblazer for women in science.

“Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius” from Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

Studio 360 calls Nikola Tesla – pioneer of radio, radar, and wireless communication – “the original mad scientist.”

“Benjamin Franklin” from In Our Time

Like Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant polymath who understood the connection between technology and democracy.

“Spotlight on Alan Turing” from TechStuff

A look at the brilliant and tragic life of Alan Turing: codebreaker, mathematician, and father of artificial intelligence.

“Hallelujah” from Revisionist History

Using an Elvis Costello song to make the case, Malcolm Gladwell highlights the importance of iteration, a key ingredient for innovation.