The Best Sites for Inspiration and Insights



“Life is a big canvas, throw all the paint on it you can.” — Danny Kaye

“Too soon old, too late smart.” — Gordon Livingston

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” — George Eliot

These are the best sites I follow for inspiration and insights.

The Web is a fountain of knowledge, especially if you know where to drink from. 

This post is a quick tour of some of my favorite sources of inspiration and insight that make me feel, think, and act.

I hope they help you, too.

Top 10 Best Sites for Inspiration and Insights

I draw from a lot of sources.  One of my tag lines for years on Sources of Insight has been “Stand on the shoulders of giants.”

I like helping people draw from great books, great people, great quotes and more.

With that in mind, here are 10 sites that inspire me, make me think, and inspire new ideas:

1. Change This


ChangeThis is focused on spreading important ideas and changing minds.

2. Charlie Rose


Charlie Rose engages America’s best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, business leaders, scientists and other newsmakers in one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions.

3. The Huffington Post: Good News


Daily Good news. Positive, uplifting, inspiring stories from the Huffington Post.
Happy news that shows the good in the world around us.

4. Freakonomics


Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, authors of Freakonomics, keep the conversation going from their best-selling book that explore the hidden side of everything.

Freakomoics applies economic theory to diverse subjects not usually covered by “traditional” economists.

5. Gates Notes


Gates Notes is where Bill Gates shares his thoughts, his learning and his travels.

6. MIT Open Courseware


Free lecture notes, exams, and videos from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

7. NPR


The NPR talk show  brings fresh voices and perspectives to public radio from the opinions of global newsmakers to listeners’ personal experiences of life-changing travel…the wisdom of renowned thinkers, activists and spiritual leaders…and intimate dispatches of daily life around the world from NPR News correspondents on the ground.

8. HBR.Org


At Harvard Business Review, we believe in management. If the world’s organizations and institutions were run more effectively, if our leaders made better decisions, if people worked more productively, we believe that all of us — employees, bosses, customers, our families, and the people our businesses affect — would be better off.

So we try to arm our readers with ideas that help them become smarter, more creative, and more courageous in their work. To do that, we enlist the foremost experts in management theory and practice, collaborating to express their thoughts in the most influential way possible.

9. Psychology Today


Commentary, Research and News that cover all aspects of Human Behavior, from the workings of the brain, to relationships and the larger cultural forces that influence our decisions.

10. Ted Talks


TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. 

Their mission is spreading ideas.  They believe in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world, so they built a clearinghouse for free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

3 Bonus Sites for Insights and Inspiration

Here are a few more sites for the over-achievers where 10 sources is just not enough.  Enjoy 🙂

1. Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker


Featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine and Time Magazine, BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE provides science based insights on how to be awesome at life.

2. Optimize (YouTube Channel) by Brian Johnson


Optimize your life. Actualize your Potential.  Did you know that the word Optimize comes from the Latin optimus which literally means “the best”?

Yep. In our case, we’re talking about helping YOU be your absolute best self. That’s what I obsess about all day every day and why I do what I do.

3. Tim Ferris Show


Each episode, Tim Ferris deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.

This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.

Just Start…Here are a Few TED Talk Examples You Can Start With

TED Talks are a quick way to dive deep into the pool of possibility.

After all, TED Talks are ideas worth spreading.

Here is a quick sampling of some of the interesting talks and life changing ideas:

How To Live Passionately — No Matter Your Age by Isabel Allende


Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too.

In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.

How To Live to 100+ by Dan Buettner


To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and team study the world’s “Blue Zones,” communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age.

In his talk, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them spry past age 100.

The 3 As of Awesome by Neil Pasricha


Neil Pasricha’s blog 1000 Awesome Things savors life’s simple pleasures, from free refills to clean sheets.

In this heartfelt talk, he reveals the 3 secrets (all starting with A) to leading a life that’s truly awesome.

The Transformative Power of Classical Music by Benjamin Zander


Your passion can be contagious.  A measure of how you inspire others is how you create “shining eyes.” 

Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.

Why I Read a Book a Day (and Why You Should Too) by Tai Lopez


In this talk, Tai Lopez reminds us that everyone wants the good life, but not everyone gets the good life because not everyone is willing to do what it takes.

What Inspires the Crap Out of You?

As Mary Oliver put it:

“Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do. With your one wild and precious life?”

If you know what inspires you deeply, then great, do more.

If you don’t know, then go find it.

Find the sources of insight that light your mind on fire, help you explore the art of the possible, and expand what you are capable of.,

How will you use your one wild and precious life?

What are your favorite sources of insight and inspiration on the Web?

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  1. Hi J.D. This is brilliant. I just realized how incredible it is the different resources that people get to influence their thoughts and writings. The resources that I usually get are not close to these types of material that you put up here. I am lucky to explore the internet and find out what others have to share. I will check some of this out; thank you for this.

  2. @ Hulbert

    Thank you. I think you are in for the ride of your life. These sites are your free pass to some of the best thinking and ideas on the planet.

    @ Jannie

    There are so many valuable voices and inspiring minds.

    @ Bo

    Thank you!

  3. This blog here is one idea that I really like, but I’ll give a few more that may be useful:

    “Upgrade Reality” has some useful tidbits every so often that I find inspiring and useful.
    “The Happiness Project” which is committed to an idea I really like, the idea of being happy.
    “Gift of Re:Life” is a social movement that while still in its infancy is something that I am actively

    working on trying to elevate and work through in some ways.
    “Blue Sky Resumes” and “Ask the Headhunter” are

    useful for keeping my resume and job hunting skills sharp.
    “Rands in Repose” is another blog I follow that has the odd nugget here and there.
    “Positively Present” is another like the Happiness Project that I follow for fun.

    “” can be useful in finding local groups for things that can also be a resource for some to use.

    I’m a member of 17 different groups but they range from a “Do Something New” group to a group mostly for Geeks and Nerds called “Computer


    That almost felt like a mini-brain dump, but there’s more! I also use Google News and Yahoo! News at times for gathering specific things and

    there are blogs like “Shark Tank” and “The

    Daily WTF” that are humorous to my life.

    For developer stuff there is Stack Overflow along with sister sites like Career Advice and Dear Vesta that are also ways I pass the

    time. Then there are Twitter and Facebook where on the latter Guy Kawaski is often posting links to cool things.

    Ok, I think that is enough for one post here. Thanks J.D. for having this awesome site.

  4. @ Rob

    Thank you and that’s quite the roundup!

    I forgot about Meetup and I think it’s a great way to stay on top of local interest groups and activities.

    @ Karl

    No doubt — TED is where I first saw the power of brilliance unleashed.

  5. Hi JD – great list – and thanks for posting them together with the interesting topics at the end. TED – I’ve loved for a while, and freakanomics, but the others and great to have the RSS links too – thank you!

    As you say – here – as you give us great ideas and I’ve used a couple of others, but I’m relatively undeveloped still. I love the blogging community we have – many of them .. Tess, Jannie, Lance, Marelisa at Abundance Blog, Barbara Swafford of BloggingWithoutABlog – always has helpful ideas, Wilma, Liara .. et al .. love them – all so informative and ground settling –

  6. Great list to explore, thank you for the new leads and I am seeing a pattern here to get folks out of winter mode and some fresh ideas springing forth.

    I have been watching a documentary every week on line, and just finished the National Parks Series from PBS…such fascinating work out there just for the taking!

  7. @ Hilary

    Thank you. I think you’ll really enjoy Charlie Rose.

    Informative and ground settling is a nice wrapper.

    @ Patricia

    Thank you. “Fresh ideas” is the name of the game.

  8. – do use the Sequences to read systematically. – don’t miss the World Question Center.

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