Binge Bytes: ‘Stuff You Should Know’


Ashlyn Cary

“Cereal is no longer an unhealthy bowl of sugar and milk, but a delicious reward that I have earned by being alive.” (Design by Ashlyn Cary | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Kate Button, Arts Writer, Copy Editor


As classes have shifted to online formats, many of us may feel like we’re missing out on parts of our education. But, whether I’m bored from being stuck at home or simply curious about some subject, “Stuff You Should Know” has consistently been one of my go-to podcasts as a way to easily learn about random topics. 

While it is hard to find me not wearing headphones, I don’t tend to listen to many podcasts. “Stuff You Should Know,” however, remains one of the few exceptions. I first discovered this podcast during my freshman year of college, and ever since then, I have loved seeing the new and wildly different subjects that are covered. When trying to develop or fulfill a passion for learning and gaining new knowledge, this podcast is — at times — the only source I have to learn something new. “Stuff You Should Know” is presented by the How Stuff Works network, and the podcast explores everything from conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries to important historical figures and random inventions. The podcast blends research and data with a lively and comedic presentation so beautifully that you almost forget that you are learning while you’re listening.


To Binge or Not to Binge?

“Stuff You Should Know” is hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, both of whom regularly write articles at How Stuff Works. Each podcast is centered on a different topic, yet Clark and Bryant approach each issue with a background of research and information that leaves the listener feeling more knowledgeable and informed about the world. They do so without any air of preaching — in fact, they are transparent about the areas where they are lacking information, but one of the two hosts is usually able to step in for the other in such cases. The information they provide is incredibly thorough, but the presentation of the facts or narrative is done in such an engaging and interesting manner that it’s almost impossible to draw your attention away from Clark and Bryant’s narration.

Yet, the main aspect of the podcast that is so addictive is the comedic tone that the pair uses throughout their conversations. Clark and Bryant have such a great conversational chemistry that the podcast feels as though you’re listening in on a dialogue between two lifelong friends. While they may get sidetracked at times, their ramblings offer a break from some of the more content and information-heavy portions of their episodes. Even when discussing seemingly dry and dense topics, Clark and Bryant have a way of speaking and imparting knowledge that make subjects like nuclear fusion and student loans come to life. 

“Stuff You Should Know” releases new episodes twice a week with a third “throwback” episode on Saturdays for a “SYSK Selects.” Clark and Bryant have been recording episodes of “Stuff You Should Know” since 2008, so there are plenty of episodes to binge — and with a vast array of subjects covered, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest.  


Best Episode

Since I have listened to “Stuff You Should Know” for so long, it is hard for me to pick one single “best” episode. Yet, some of my favorites include, “SYSK’s 2017 Super Spooktacular” — a Halloween episode that features a dynamic reading of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” one of my favorite short stories. Another favorite is “How Internships Work” — a look into the rise of the internship and a take on why unpaid internships should not exist. Lastly, one of their newest episodes, “How COVID-19 Works,” offers a simple presentation of the virus and the pandemic that we are all now experiencing. 


Similar Shows

“Stuff You Missed in History Class,” “Freakonomics Radio,” “Revisionist History” and “Stuff Mom Never Told You.”


Trigger Warnings

There are no trigger warnings for this podcast — there may occasionally be some adult language, but the hosts will always disclose whether there is a content warning at the start of the episode if it contains potentially triggering material.  


5 out of 5 stars

Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio and other streaming platforms

Clark and Byrant have recorded over 1,400 episodes, each with a length ranging from 20 to 60 minutes.


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