Top thought-provoking websites to visit

Back when they were more selective in terms of topics and writing style, Thought Catalog might’ve been something I’d recommend, or even Buzzfeed. But now, it’s hard to wade through the volume in order to find really good (i.e. mentally engaging) pieces. So here are my top website recommendations for people who want something more than listicles and cat GIFs from their online browsing:

Brain Pickings

I love it has literary writing style and interdisciplinary content. The writer, Maria Popova, describes it as “a record of [her] own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — and an inquiry into how to live…” Sounds like Eat, Pray, Love type of inspirational material, but actually its reference list includes “art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology, and more.” Personally, just reading the titles excites me:

“The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease”
“Julian Fellowes on the Paradox of Infatuation and How the Delicious Delusion of Lust Hijacks Our Experience of Love”

All easily relatable topics written with eloquence and much insightfulness.

The Atlantic

This magazine “covers news and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, national, international and life.” I like it because there’s the news aspect, which gives you a sense of being up-to-date to some extent (which is good for someone like me who doesn’t like reading the news at all), and the analysis, which makes the pieces more intriguing – it’s not just the who, what, when, where, but the why and how of events that make them more interesting.


I was introduced to this site through the RSA Animate section, which contains videos of illustrated lectures. It’s especially entertaining for people who find traditional lectures boring and who are visual learners. The first one I watched was on Drive, which talks about employees’ need for autonomy in order to motivate them to work (in other words, it’s not just all about the money). The videos on Choice and on capitalism are also informative. Apart from the videos, the site has blog articles and reports, if you’d prefer a “more serious” medium.

Big Think

This site has a group of “top thinkers and doers” worldwide contributing ideas and insights based on their expertise. Their concern is to show the significance, relevance, and application of whatever information they receive. Content wise, it’s seems to be more geared toward the sciences and social sciences, and the language used is pretty straightforward. The audio and video recordings are nice options, if you would rather listen or watch instead of read.

There are more sites out there you can explore, such as High Existence, TED, Khan Academy, etc. What’s common about these sites is their aim to help us filter information and transform them to knowledge that we can put to use in our daily life.