I’ve always loved reading articles in which writers list their favorite websites, tools, books, etc. It tells you a lot about a person when you see where they get┬átheir inspiration. The first post of this sort that I discovered was called “You’re Bored? That’s So AWESOME.”

It’s basically a list of all the coolest things on the Internet, particularly those to do with learning and self-education.

I read this post right around the time I discovered the potential of the Internet for teaching myself things I could never learn in school (this was the second semester of my freshman year of college).

Since then, I’ve put some of that knowledge to use in starting my own website, getting freelance clients, and learning new skills such as mixology.

I want to pay forward the value I got out of the post. To do that, I’m making a list of my favorite things on the Internet. I hope that someone will find at least one new thing – maybe even a thing that changes the course of their whole life.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite Internet things.

1. Brain Pickings

As the site’s author describes it, Brain Pickings is “An inventory of the meaningful life.” Maria Popova collects the best wisdom from the staggering volume of books she reads and distills that wisdom into the posts on Brain Pickings. Each post is interdisciplinary and synthesizes information from great authors, obscure poets, brilliant scientists, artists, and even children’s books (to name just a few).

2. Farnam Street

In a similar vein to Brain Pickings, Farnam Street collects wisdom from a broad variety of disciplines. In general, though it tends to focus more on the strategic value and application of the information. Its audience is much more entrepreneurs and business people than artists and writers. Nonetheless, anyone who wants to get smarter (who doesn’t?) will find value in reading this blog.

3. Last.fm

On the surface, Last.fm seems like just another music listening service. And it is that, but it’s also so much more. Where it really shines is in suggesting new music. Obviously, Pandora pretty much has the market cornered in terms of dynamically generating music suggestions. But when I was living in Belfast and didn’t have access to Pandora, Last.fm proved a powerful alternative for finding new music to listen to. I’ve used the service to find several new bands that are now among my favorites.

4. Capitalize My Title

This site isn’t going to be interesting to everyone, but if you write anything for the Web, it’s invaluable. Just paste in your article or section headings, and Capitalize My Title will convert them into the correct title case. If this makes no sense to you, then that’s fine – you’ll know if this is something you need.

5. Unsplash

If you do anything that involves images, you need to know about Unsplash. The site is a collection of images that are freely available with any purpose – no attribution required. You can literally use them for any purpose you want. It’s a great site for blog post images, particularly ones that look a bit less cookie-cutter than a lot of the stock photography you see.

What are your favorite websites? Share them in the comments section below!

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