5 Inspiring Websites That Will Make You Smarter


If you’re one of those people who’s on an endless quest for knowledge, you look for reliable sources where you can learn something new every day. Today, we bring you five websites about learning and curiosity. These websites aren’t known for their beautiful photography or their amazing art. Rather, they’re places you go to figure out how to make life easier or just more fun. Like the website you’re reading right now, these five sites were created to show people ideas that they may not have thought of or inspire people to try things that are outside of their comfort zones. More than anything, these inspiring websites aim to make your life more fulfilling, giving you a new perspective.

1. Lifehacker

For tricks and tips on how to make your life easier, there’s no better website than Lifehacker. Since 2005, the blog has been sharing advice and providing software downloads that all aim to help you “get things done.” While you’ll find your fair share of tech-related tips including a recently launched App Directory that shows the best applications and tools for various platforms, you’ll also find more general, life-related advice like, “How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits.” The best part of this website is that you never know what “hack” they’ll provide you with next, and with an archive that runs eight years deep, you can easily spend hours learning things you never knew you wanted to know. One of their most fun series is called This is How I Work, where modern-day influencers share their shortcuts, workspaces, and routines. Published every Wednesday, it features a new guest and the gadgets and apps that keep them going.

2. HowStuffWorks

Owned by Discovery Communications, the company behind Animal Planet, Discovery Channel and the Oprah Winfrey Network, is HowStuffWorks, an award-winning site where you can find out how things in the world actually work. No subject is too small for this website that covers topics like Adventure, Entertainment, Science and Technology. You’ll find list after list including “Top 10 Training Tips for a 5k and “Top 10 Retail Markups.” In addition, with quizzes and games, you can find ways to constantly challenge your brain to learn more. Of course, if you learn better by watching than reading, HowStuffWorks has shows like “Stuff to Blow Your Mind,” which are short, entertaining videos that explore the fascinating science of the world around us.

3. TED

If you want to be inspired by some of today’s leading minds, and you have a few minutes to spare, head on over to TED. The nonprofit, with the mission of spreading ideas, started out as a conference in 1984 that focuses on Technology, Entertainment and Design. On Ted.com, you’ll find the best talks and performances from TED, over 1,500 of them, all available for free. A global audience in the millions have now watched these TED Talks and in November 2012, they’ve cumulatively been viewed more than one billion times. Explore the full catalog of talks in subjects ranging from art, technology and entertainment to design, business, science and global issues. If you’re short on time, you can even sort by length of show. You can also find the talks by such interesting adjectives as jaw-dropping, courageous and inspiring.

4. Brain Pickings

Maria Papova is the woman behind Brain Pickings, a daily blog that brings together all that’s interesting in this world. You can find a little of everything at Brain Pickings. Though started as a newsletter, as a way for the UPenn graduate to quench her “restless curiosity,” it later became a blog that found its own “thirsty” audience. Funded entirely through donations, the well-curated site takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write. If you’re looking for a good book, Papova has Book Pickings, a visual way to explore all the books she’s written about over the years. The books are divided up into six topics: Creativity, Design, Science, History, Psychology and Art. It’s like entering a virtual library with someone handing you a beautifully written review of each book.

5. Instructables

Launched in August 2005, instructables is a place that lets the community share their DIY creations with the rest of the world. The idea for instructables came about at the MIT Media Lab. Fast forward to present day and you’ll now find over 100,000 real life tips on everything from cooking to 3D printing. Learn how to make delicious dishes like chicken pot pie and red velvet whoopie pie, or find out what it takes to assemble the ultimate wilderness survival kit. There’s even such useful tips like “how to time your cat’s claws” to “how to power nearly anything off a USB port.” It’s easy, just follow the step-by-step instructions in each post. Which of these websites do you visit? Let us know in the comments section, below!

Header Credit: Digital Art by Archan Nair, Photography by Parris Whittingham

Alice Yoo / My Modern Met
Alice Yoo
Alice Yoo is the founder and editor in chief of My Modern Metropolis, a place where trendspotters and art enthusiasts come to connect over creative ideas. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor's in Economics, Alice received her MBA, worked in advertising for MTV and Outdoor Channel and then started My Modern Met in 2008. With over 9.2 million page views per month, My Modern Met has become an art, culture and lifestyle destination for the modern man and woman.
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  • Ariel

    Great article! I’m familiar with most of these sites, but it reminded me to bookmark them. Especially Instructables.

    I hate to be “that person,” but I believe the article cited in the Instructables segment should read “how to TRIM your cat’s nails.” Minor typographical error.

  • Leslie Tamayo

    Brain Pickings is a site that was already on my radar. It has so many well done essays on a very wide range of subjects. I check it out regularly. Thanks for the recommendations for the other sites!

  • Bech

    Really nice list and article! I would like to recommend two more sites. Quora and Cracked. They may not bebe “isnpiring” as TedX but I strongly recommend both!

  • Black Dove

    Can someone point me to a database of wholesale companies? Lead me to manufacturers of products like hula hoops and corsets. Thanks Alice, I’ll bookmark your site as well.

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