Are you one of the 57 million Americans who listen to podcasts each month? I am. Indeed, I've become a voracious consumer of podcasts in recent years. They seem almost perfectly engineered for the way we live now, teaching and entertaining us in our spare moments riding the train, working out, making dinner, driving, gardening, or simply relaxing at home.

As you've probably noticed, most podcasts are awfully similar: two to four people sitting around discussing something for a wandering hour, or the brand of long-form storytelling perfected by This American Life. Many of these long podcasts are very good! (I particularly love the podcasts from the crew at Grantland The Ringer, Ira Glass and Co., NPR, and, yes, the NFL.) But many of us don't always have the time long podcasts demand. We need podcasts that interest and enrich us quickly; that don't just help us occupy our idle time, but make the best use of it.

And so: I'm delighted to announce three new masterfully concise podcasts from The Week's stellar multimedia team — led by the inestimable Lauren Hansen — that aim to help you get smart, fast.

  • Seven-minute explainers. This weekly podcast series offers everything you need to know about a compelling and often complex topic, swiftly explained with concision and wit. Our audio explainers encompass politics and U.S. news, foreign affairs, business, the arts, language, popular culture, technology, and more. Subscribe for free here.
  • Seven-minute opinions. This weekly podcast series features a variety of sophisticated thinkers making arguments in mini-podcast form. Our seven-minute opinions are intellectually rigorous and ideologically diverse, sharing with our listeners the smartest arguments on politics and U.S. news, foreign affairs, business, the arts, language, popular culture, technology, and more. Subscribe for free here.
  • This week I learned. This weekly podcast series, hosted by Lauren Hansen, curates and condenses the most fascinating and fun revelations and reports from the internet each week. Lauren is infectiously enthusiastic, and these podcasts are simply brimming with the joy of learning fascinating new things. Lauren quite literally makes learning fun. Subscribe for free here.

It is a knowledge-accumulating joy to rip through five of our podcasts in a half hour. We hope that with very little time and effort, you are suddenly armed with all sorts of interesting things to talk about. Give our podcasts a listen — and let us know what you think by leaving a rating or review on iTunes. Happy listening!