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The 20 Smartest Joe Rogan Podcast Guests

In case you missed these episodes

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Ask any modern intellectual what podcasts they’re listening to, and The Joe Rogan Experience might be in their top five. The audio and video show, launched by the multi-hyphenate comedian and media personality in 2009, is lauded by listeners (around 16 million a month) for providing a thought-provoking forum for all sorts of ideas and conversations you definitely won’t find on any local TV stations. 

 

With over 1,300 episodes recorded to date, Joe Rogan has proven himself a particularly insightful and prolific interviewer. But it’s his wide range of guests, from the worlds of science, sports, politics, technology and more, that really drives each podcast. And whoa, has this guy had some major players on his show, including some of the smartest minds of today. Being funny and entertaining is one thing, but when it comes to The Joe Rogan Experience, the best episodes combine the two with some serious scholarly discussions. 

 

If you’re looking for a cheat sheet of where to start, scroll down for eight of the podcast’s smartest guests.

1. Elon Musk

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Elon Musk needs no introduction. The entrepreneur, engineer and founder and CEO of innovative companies like SpaceX and Tesla is surely one of the smartest people to ever grace Rogan’s recording studio, but his appearance on the podcast has gone down in history, thanks to his puff-puff pass of a particular plant. That viral moment aside, Musk talks everything from electric cars to the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence on this must-listen episode.

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2. Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Legendary astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and science personality Neil deGrasse Tyson, who can usually blow our minds in a single sentence about the universe, has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience multiple times, where conversations usually focus on space travel, sci-fi films and cosmic phenomena.

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3. Sam Harris

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Another recurring guest on the podcast is Sam Harris, a neuroscientist, philosopher and bestselling author who explores subject matter like ethics, free will, politics and religion. He’s also a huge proponent of mindful meditation and even has his own meditation app.

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4. Dr. Rhonda Patrick

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If you’re interested in health, nutrition and the metabolic processes of the human body, episodes featuring Dr. Rhonda Patrick should be on your to-listen list. The biomedical expert shares some incredible knowledge on the links between diet and health on JRE. If you think you’ve been doing the whole healthy-eating thing right, you might be surprised after hearing what she has to say.

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5. Brian Cox

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English physicist Brian Cox is known for bringing science to the masses by hosting multiple programs in the U.K. and writing popular science books, including Why Does E=mc²? and The Quantum Universe. He’s pretty much the real-life version of a character on The Big Bang Theory (sans the social awkwardness). Cox has been a guest a few times, during which he expertly explains, in layman’s terms, everything from the shape of the universe to the—brace yourself—meaning of life. Whew.

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6. Tim Ferriss

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Looking for some serious life hacks? You’ll want to know Tim Ferriss. The entrepreneur rose to prominence after publishing the self-improvement book The 4-Hour Workweek, which focuses on the philosophy of lifestyle design and highlights some of the secrets of his success. On one of the earlier episodes of JRE, he talks about personal development, his morning routine and the importance of meditation in his life.

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7. Eric Weinstein

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Mathematical physicist, economist and investment pro Eric Weinstein is a big name among the business-minded. We mean, Peter Thiel hired him as the director of Thiel Capital, so you know this guy knows what he’s talking about. One of the coolest things he explains on JRE is Gauge Theory, the major link between physics and economics. Who knew?

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8. Naval Ravikant

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A ton of Silicon Valley startups can thank Naval Ravikant for their capital. The serial entrepreneur and ingenious business thinker co-founded AngelList, a platform that easily matches angel investors and startups, as well as job seekers looking for positions and openings. In his appearance on the podcast, Ravikant explores the philosophy of entrepreneurship and says that anyone in the world can be wealthy. Inspiring, to say the least.

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9. Jon Stewart

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The long-standing former host of The Daily Show needs no introduction. Stewart is ultimately one of the most widely-adored, widely-consumed political minds of our era, and entirely shifted the avenues through which pundits may dispense political commentary. In their interview, Joe and John cover a ton of topics, everything from the comedian’s plant-based diet to his latest film, Irresistible, which released in June of 2020. 

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10. Andrew Yang

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Although Yang’s race for president ended months ago, his impact on the political arena will reverberate for decades to come. Rogan and the presidential hopeful/entrepreneur spoke back in February of 2019, as Yang was first building his campaign. Yang brought many socially-progressive platforms to the debate stage, espousing the important of a Universal Basic Income in the face of a rapidly expanding technocracy. Rogan and Yang discuss the Venture for America founder’s campaign strategy, his goals for the US and much more in their 2-hour sit-down.

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11. Michael Osterholm

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Back in March, as the concerns around the Coronavirus Pandemic became increasingly urgent, Rogan sat down with Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. The interview is essential both as a deep dive into the confusing and nuanced world of disease epidemiology, but also a time capsule of how we perceived the disease in the week’s immediately before its most catastrophic rise.

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12. Anthony Bourdain

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Years before his untimely passing in 2018, acclaimed chef and personality Anthony Bourdain sat down with Rogan for a lengthy conversation about his career, writing and marijuana legalization (among many other things). Known for being one of the most likable people in, well, the world, Bourdain espouses a slew of helpful nuggets of advice and insights into the inner machinations of one of the 21st century’s greatest minds.

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13. Dan Savage

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The Joe Rogan Experience is at its best when Rogan brings on guests he disagrees with. This concept is on full display in his interview with Dan Savage, gay American author, media pundit, and journalist known for his sex advice column, “Savage Love.” It’s an amazing debate, demonstrating the importance of disagreement in cultivating healthy discussion. 

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14. Duncan Trussell and Christopher Ryan, Ph.D.

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Both Trussell and Ryan are frequent guests on the JRE, and their lengthy discussions of psychedelics and their benefits have become a mainstay of the podcast’s tenure. It’s a four hour interview, featuring hot takes from both stand-up comedian Duncan Trussell and psychologist Christopher Ryan. The episode linked above is a great one, but both Russell and Ryan have been on the podcast many times over the years (both as a duo and individually), illustrating how people and their opinions evolve over time. 

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15. Gary Vee

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I mean how could we make this list and not include the one and only Gary Vee? The serial entrepreneur, investor and author needs to ONE37pm introduction, but he would be included on this list regardless of his affiliation with the brand. When Gary Vee speaks, the people listen. And this interview is no exception. Rogan’s laid back style juxtaposed against Gary’s fast-paced dissemination of countless insights makes for one of the most dynamic episodes of JRE in its entire catalogue. 

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16. David Goggins

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It’s hard to characterize David Goggins with only one word. The retired Navy SEAL turned ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete and world record holder for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours is a living representation of the way people can unlock their potential. It’s one of the most motivational episodes of the pod; We’d be surprised if you can listen and not end up wanting to go for a run. 

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17. Graham Hancock

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Graham Hancock is best known for his work on ancient civilizations, catalogued in his many books, including The Sign and the Seal and Fingerprints of the Gods. Hancock’s pseudoscientific research is an incredible example of alternative archaeology, and is so deeply different from a lot of what we learn in traditional education systems. As is the case with many unorthodox thinkers, the person best suited to explain Graham Hancock is the man himself. Luckily for us, Rogan and Hancock spend 3 hours doing that very thing.

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18. Malcolm Gladwell

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When people think of the biggest names in podcasting, many first think of Joe Rogan, but a lot of podcast fans would think of Malcolm Gladwell. Known for hosting the immensely popular Revisionist History in addition to his 20+ years as a staff writer for The New Yorker (and six books), Gladwell has long been one of the most read and discussed writers in contemporary journalism. Gladwell’s signature sing-song voice paired with Rogan’s mellow conversational style makes for an incredible interview, both with regard to content and mere auditory pleasure.

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19. Edward Snowden

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Snowden’s appearance on the podcast in late 2019 was monumental. Since his watershed leak of classified info from the NSA in 2013 (and subsequent relocation to Russia), any and all interviews with the whistleblower are mandatory viewing. Aside from his groundbreaking choice to leak the information, Snowden is also an immensely intelligent computer security consultant, and his appearance on the JRE makes for one of his longest form appearances to date. If you want to learn more about Snowden’s 2013 leak (or whistleblowing and cybersecurity in general), this episode is a must-listen. 

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20. Michael Pollan

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Journalist Michael Pollan is perhaps best known for his 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A professor at both Harvard University and UC Berkeley, Pollan has written prolifically about a wide range of topics surrounding the socio-cultural impacts of food. In this interview, they discuss Pollan’s 2018 book, How to Change Your Mind, and—in typical Joe Rogan fashion—spend a considerable amount of time addressing their psychedelic experiences. 

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