A Field Guide for Online Reading Material
“The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.”
~ B.F. Skinner
Everyone these days wonders if they’re draining their life on the internet. This happens all too often. We check social media, look through photos of our favorite vacation spots, do some online shopping on Amazon, look at sports scores, and text with our friends. But often times as we do it we become self conscious, even anxious. We think we are rotting our brains or not using our time wisely. To take it a step further we keep reading these exhausted news websites which are undoubtedly beginning to grow stale. They’ve had a good 20-year run. We need to start looking forward. I want to start opening people’s minds to newer websites that could expand our thinking and push us forward. It’s been said if you get up and get a workout in as your first activity of the day, you feel good because you got your workout out of the way early. So I decided to develop a web starters guide of sorts for your online reading. 30 minutes a day. This is especially for those that feel they are draining their brain shopping, reading boring repetitive news sites, or on social media and want to feel at day’s end like they did something productive online.
Start by picking one of these websites each weekday as your go-to. Spend 30 minutes reading it, then cut it off, and pick up again the next day. It’s been proven productivity is most effective when done in short bursts. If during the day you’re suddenly tired of Facebook, texting aimlessly with a friend, or CNN refer to your daily reading site. When you can learn something about the past, present or future and end your day feeling like even though you did do a little “web surfing” you were still productive with the internet, you can rest-assured that the internet was not just another mind drain. Finally, while I absolutely love books, I can’t help but notice there’s a shift taking place. Knowledge is gaining momentum online. By all means keep reading books! But know that the web is expanding and growing vertically every day. The websites below are current websites that make you think, grow, and learn as a human. This is a more recent cultural shift. So if you feel like you are not getting enough “book reading” in, start here. Get your 30 minutes per day of productive reading in. Since many of us are in front of the computer all day anyway and there is a definite shift taking place in “how” we read things the time to do it is now. If you’re going to use the internet, use it effectively. This is your starter’s field guide.
- Monday: MEDIUM (30 minutes)
You’re here now! Hopefully most of you have been here before, but if this happens to be your first article, please expand. Medium in my opinion is the future of internet web information and knowledge. It’s an online database updated constantly with politics, sports, health, wellness, education, entertainment, pop culture, finance, self-help, and pretty much any other topic you can think of. I find most of the columns to be more interesting and less structural than traditional news. There’s subscription daily emails available fit to your tastes. It also gives people the opportunity start their own writing platform and have a voice. It’s my go-to everyday.
2. Tuesday: PRODUCT HUNT (30 minutes)
There is no better website for seeing what is on the current and future market than Product Hunt. I almost feel like I’m walking into a live online technology lab that has new products being used and tested and placed at my disposal to try out. You can also sign up for daily emails where they update you about gizmos, gadgets, Bots, apps, futuristic contraptions, you name it. It’s all there. There’s current reviews of new and past projects and products, you can participate in live chats, and there’s an app available for your phone. Whenever I want to find out what new tech products are in the works I head over to Product Hunt. I’m also on their daily emails. Check it out!
3. Wednesday: WAIT BUT WHY (30 minutes)
I enjoy Wait But Why because it’s unlike any website / blogosphere I’ve ever come across. Tim Urban created it several years ago, and well, I’ll let you check it out for yourself. He writes on a wide variety of topics and has a style that keeps things very simple and concise. It’s not current boring news that would put anyone to sleep sitting at the computer. He gives a fresh take on issues and concepts from space to culture to relationships. Pretty much everything across the board. It’s your classic “think outside the box” reading in a simplistic style. In a society where we think every piece we read should be structured and offer predictable perspectives that we’ve seen and read a million times, “Wait But Why” dares to be different.
4. Thursday: BLINKIST (30 minutes)
Blinkist is your shortened version of all the greatest books one can get their hands on. I wrote about it in My Morning Routine post. It is the best possible website / app if you want to read books but wish you could pull the main ideas / golden nuggets from each. It breaks each book into “blinks” (basically like chapters). You can read or listen to them. They also have a new “Blinkist Minute” feature for subscribers. It consists of a daily email (weekdays) with a one minute read per day about a certain book. You can then opt in to read the Blinkist version of it (usually 15–20 minutes). I love the “Blinkist Minute” as it gives me a book a day. That’s 20 books per month ! Blinkist is available for a small subscription fee but they give you a 3-day free-trial. Give it a try!
5. Friday: UDEMY (30 minutes)
While this isn’t “reading” per say it is a website where you can take online courses often for a very reasonable price on whatever topic you choose. I have taken multiple courses and find they are extremely helpful. The instructors use videos, PDF’s (reading), and hands-on learning to teach and advise you on a topic of choice right in your own living room. There’s a large variety of discount codes and special offers teachers will often hand out. Online courses are becoming more and more popular these days.
Special Mention: THE MISSION
This one is the newest of them all. Army Infantry veteran, author, and entrepreneur Chad Grills started a Medium platform recently which many of my columns are published on. He shares a variety of topics including technology, science, innovation, tragedy, triumph, and overall subjects that “improve the human condition.” He strives to help build a better future with a think-forward approach.
Chad writes in a recent newsletter:
“There is a movement growing of people who are eager to explore how they can improve their lives, the lives of those they love, and help build a better future for all of humanity.”
I could not agree more! Check out his blog on Medium if you haven’t already: https://medium.com/the-mission
Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep evolving!