Know any good intellecutal websites or thought-provoking reads? Post them here.
January 16, 2009 2:37 AM   Subscribe

What are some other "intellectual" or though-provoking websites like: Also, what are, in your opinion, some of the best books in the following topics: -economics -investing -psychology -design -religion -self-help

I am a senior in high school this year - I am extremely curious and I want to explore and learn as much as I can. I ask for though-provoking books and websites in an attempt to satisfy my thirst for resources and knowledge and also to create a sort-of resources for others to use.
posted by meta.mark to Education (27 answers total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
http:/ is quite good, though I'm biassed. is cool too.
posted by evil_esto at 2:46 AM on January 16, 2009

sorry, should have been

posted by evil_esto at 2:53 AM on January 16, 2009

I can't help you with any more websites, but I can offer a few book suggestions.

Having recently graduated, I have found myself with a thirst for knowledge, now that I don't have to worry about University work.

My suggestions for you would be:

- Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen J Dubner: An off-the-wall but inspiring look at how economics can be used to look at every day life.
- The Undercover Economics by Tim Hartford: An easy to read and interesting introduction to economics.

- Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: A look at how randomness (and most people's inability to perceive it) affects life and the markets. Interesting, surprising and thought provoking.

More anti-religion, but on the topic nonetheless:
- The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins: One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. Very well written and researched. A fairly in depth introduction to evolution and genetics. If you are religious, don't worry too much about the author, as it is much, much less god-bashing than:
- The God Delusion (also by Richard Dawkins): If you are an atheist you will probably love it. If not, I would recommend it as a test-of-faith exercise. If 'Fooled by Randomness' teaches you anything it would be that we need to look for contradictions, rather than confirmations, to prove our ideas.

Well there is my list for now.

Good luck, and I look forward to finding some more material for my own reading in this thread.
posted by latentflip at 2:54 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you know German, and Die are great. Eurozine and Sign and Sight are also excellent.

As far as intellectual books go, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter and The Tin Drum by Günter Grass are amazing books.
posted by vkxmai at 3:14 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

For religion/psychology/self-help I recommend you read one of Thich Nhat Hanh's books on mindfulness e.g. The Miracle of Mindfulness or Peace is Every Step, and also Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow. It's been a good while since I first read these and the ideas in them have stuck with me.
posted by tomcooke at 3:47 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sam Harris's The End of Faith is a much more intellectually stimulating book of the "New Atheist" strain than The God Delusion, IMO.

EconTalk is one of the best podcasts, period, certainly the best on Econ. On an unrelated note, notwithstanding the name, The Economist (both magazine the and the podcast) fits squarely with the vibe you seem to be going for, though you're probably aware of it already.
posted by abcde at 3:59 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Speaking of podcasts, see.
posted by abcde at 4:01 AM on January 16, 2009

Best answer: If you like, check out Most of the conversations are fairly garden-variety political punditry, but some of them deal with more intellectual topics, including all the ones you list.

Philosophy etc.

Will Wilkinson (political philosophy and economics)

Cognitive Daily


Encyclopedia of Economics

Of the recent anti-religion books, I probably recommend Hitchens's God is not Great above the rest.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:19 AM on January 16, 2009

Religion: Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russell.
posted by namewithoutwords at 4:24 AM on January 16, 2009 my daily dose of brain food.

More podcast ideas here
posted by 0bvious at 4:28 AM on January 16, 2009

For books, you may really enjoy this thread, arguably one of the Best of Metafilter.
posted by nkknkk at 5:05 AM on January 16, 2009

You also might be able to find something here (though the thread is over a year old, so some of the links might be obsolete): intellectually stimulating podcasts
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:27 AM on January 16, 2009

One more thing: someone suggested, and I heartily second that, but I would add: peruse their permanent list of links -- not the main 3 columns of daily updates, but the left-hand sidebar. They're very well selected to be intellectually rewarding. You could easily spend years, or really your whole life, just going through those links.

Also try (The New Republic). While most of it is news/politics-related, their book reviews get very deeply into all sorts of interesting fields like law, philosophy, ethics, history, etc.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:58 AM on January 16, 2009

Edge. Lots of intellectual heavyweights recently weighed in on their question, 'What will change everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?'
posted by driveler at 6:40 AM on January 16, 2009

Another Aldaily fan here. I'ver restricted myself to one evening per week. That's the night of the week that I go to bed way past midnight.
Also What Is Your Dangerous Idea?: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable which is a diverting morsel of Edge offline.
posted by ouke at 7:05 AM on January 16, 2009

Steven Pinker - How the Mind Works
Introduction to Psychology, lectures, prof. Jeremy Wolfe

Popular Science:
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
posted by leigh1 at 7:11 AM on January 16, 2009

A paper, then book by Robert Axelrod called "The Evolution of Cooperation" about the game theory situation called The Prisoner's Dilemma. When presented with the PD choices ONCE, the usual response is to be self-serving and ultimately screw your "accomplice." Alexrod runs an iterated PD environment (where you are presented with the PD choice with your accomplice many times and each of you know this and remember the past choices. The story of his study is fascinating and not intuitive.

Kind of a 1981 version of "Freakonomics" as he presents an outcome that is non-intuitive and relates the seemingly dry game theory to real life situations.
posted by Kensational at 8:04 AM on January 16, 2009

PS, look for the 1981 Axelrod article first, if you like it, move onto the book for a more fleshed out version, if the article doesn't float your boat you didn't have to invest a lot of time or money on the book.
posted by Kensational at 8:09 AM on January 16, 2009

charlie rose has lots of good programming online that you might find interesting.
posted by krautland at 8:16 AM on January 16, 2009

Also, really fun book about why more choice may not be the best thing with all kinds of interesting cited studies, The Paradox of Choice

And similar behavioral psych studies of perhaps non-intuitive situations, Predictaby Irraltional.

Ditto Re: Concept of and what really makes us happy; Stumbling on Happiness.
posted by Kensational at 8:36 AM on January 16, 2009

As another approach, you could make a feed of what other people find interesting and want to read: Delicious tagged toread+interesting
posted by lubujackson at 9:32 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'll attempt to list some interesting investing blogs, which I consider distinct from blogs about economics (of which there are a ton and can be found in other threads here)...

Bronte Capital (Australian-based investor who really knows banks)
The Aleph Blog
The Icahn Report (blog of the famous investor/raider Carl Icahn--mostly this just re-publishes what he writes for print publications, but it's good nonetheless)
Ultimi Barbarorum
Going Private (very interesting commentary from a private equity investor--though she now writes for the more tabloid-like Dealbreaker. I don't like her politics, but she's sharp.)

As for books on investing, I think the best is Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor. You might also like Michael Mauboussin's More Than You Know--Mauboussin is a successful and well-known investor who likes to write about investment philosophy and how it overlaps, interacts and mimics other disciplines (biology, psychology, etc).
posted by mullacc at 11:07 AM on January 16, 2009

For Christianity/Judaism, outside of the atheist books:

Walter Brueggemann is one of the current heavy hitters for Old Testament studies. Anything he writes is worthwhile. His Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy, is one of the standard introductory texts in the field. James Kugel is good and accessible for the development of Judaism and the ancient Near East religious context. I particularly liked The God of Old: Inside the Lost World of the Bible.

When it comes to church history, one of the major texts is Justo Gonzalez' The Story of Christianity (2 volumes).

N.T. Wright is a name you need to know for New Testament studies. He writes both scholarly and popular books. Of his popular ones The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture and Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church are my favorites. His current book series "Christian Origins and the Question of God" is dense, but excellent. So far he has written The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The Resurrection of the Son of God. If you are going to spend any time with Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris and want to experience what an intellectual but orthodox believer looks like, Wright is a good place to turn. So is Luke Timothy Johnson, especially The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels, and his classic The Writings of the New Testament.

There is a good webpage that catalogs everything of NT Wright that is web-accessible. That's a good place to start for him:
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:13 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

as counterpoint to an above suggestion, Why I Am a Christian.
posted by dawson at 1:51 PM on January 16, 2009

Umm, I meant a suggestion before Pater's. About old Russell's dusty tome.
posted by dawson at 1:53 PM on January 16, 2009
posted by liron00 at 7:29 AM on January 17, 2009

Great suggestions so far. Be sure to check out this earlier thread for some great suggestions in psychology and philosophy (among others).

If you are interested in religion, you may be interested in God?: A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist. I haven't read the book myself, but my brother studied it for his philosophy of religion class and thought it was interesting.
posted by tickingclock at 7:24 PM on January 17, 2009

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