30 minutes a day.
That is all you need to pivot from the cycle of outrage politics (as I call it) and media hyperbole. When every piece of news talks about impending doom, danger, death or dying from the latest flavor of the month; it helps to know there are spaces on the internet where common sense prevails. And where ideas are anchored in well written essays to inform and inspire.
So, we got you covered! We curated a list of 10 free to read, intellectually stimulating websites that will ignite your inner genius. A lot of them, if not all, are our absolute favorites, in no particular order.
Give yourself half an hour at any one of the 10 free-to-read sites (did I say FREE?) listed below. And then come back here to drop a comment to add your favorite.
Maria Popova comes in first, simply because it’s my personal favorite. It’s a labor of love, run entirely by one person (Maria) who writes about people, ideas, events and lives. I dare say you will end up spending a lot more than 30 minutes at this site and all of that time will be worth it and more.
A favorite because I enjoy reading about economics. 1843 is more than just numbers and markets though. The topics are distinctive and although the viewfinder through which they are written is that of an economist, it’s still entertaining and informative.
As the name suggests, this is the site to go to when you’re feeling especially cocky and pompous. As the tagline says, it’s a celebration of self delusion. This site is also a one-man operation. The man namely being David McRaney, who writes on topics through a philosophers lens of critical thinking and skepticism.
4. Open culture
Despite the debatable tagline of ‘The Best free cultural and educational media on the web’, open culture touches on a wide variety of topics- almost everything- like no one else. Check out their ebooks, audiobooks and great lectures.
That humans repeat history because we don’t share collective wisdom is evident from an old article “How to prevent a pandemic”, first published in NY times in 2009 on the then swine flu outbreak. And here we are again, 10 years later, with another alleged pandemic. This website possibly hosts the most interesting talks and conversations on a huge variety of topics; enough to satisfy anyone. Their series “What is the last Question” is legendary for its sheer scope in time (20 years) and reach.
6. Big think
Their “Is social media killing intellectual humility” is a must read and a gentle reminder to avoid the pitfalls of knowledge sourced only from social media usage. Again, big think has a huge variety of well written essays to satisfy even a casual reader.
7. Mental Floss
If you’re a trivia hoarder like me, visit this site for the “Amazing fact generator” on the homepage is entertaining and amusing. Like the one today “The annual number of worldwide shark bites is 10 times less than the number of people bitten by other people in New York”. Apart from random facts, stick around for the massive repository of random pop culture references. Light hearted and entertaining.
3QD is unique within its genre because its a curator and aggregator of interesting articles, essays etc rather than a producer of original content. It calls itself a ‘One stop intellectual surfing experience’. Useful for those days when you have only so much time and lots to do.
Need I even say more?
For as unbiased, thoughtful, nuanced coverage of all events in India as one can get. Try their free reads here.