In years past, trips and getting together with friends and family helped to break up the long, dark season between New Year’s and springtime. But the travel and social restrictions that are necessary to keep us and our loved ones safe from COVID will make it necessary to find other ways to entertain ourselves.
In case you’ve already watched all of Netflix (or are just looking for something beyond the latest binge-worthy show), we’ve put together a starter list of fascinating lectures, talks, and podcasts.
Here are 6 lecture series suggestions to check out:
Odds are, you’re already familiar with this collection of “ideas worth spreading,” but if you haven’t visited in a while, you may want to take another look. Their library of video 18-minute talks includes more than 3,600 talks on a massively varied range of topics. From business to nature to neuroscience and beyond, there is literally something for everyone in this catalog. If you’re not sure where to start, consider their curated playlists: Must-see TED Talks and Most popular TED Talks.
Interested in personal stories? The Moth is a non-profit dedicated to artful storytelling. Since 1997, The Moth has been collecting and sharing stories from professional comedians and writers as well as everyday people. Over the past twenty plus years, they have helped people share more than 25,000 stories at their “Live at The Moth” events all across the country and around the globe. Many of these stories have been captured on audio, which you can find on The Moth website or in podcast form wherever you listen to podcasts.
Each story is unique and has the potential to touch your heart. As Neil Gaiman wrote of the series, “I’ve watched people trying to tell stories and fail, and I’ve watched them break the hearts of everyone in the room even as they inspired them.”
If you make the mistake of assuming that the Talks at Google series is all about technology, you’ll miss out on some great content. While they do cover a lot of business topics, they also have an impressive number of celebrities and experts who come by to share their stories and experiences. For example…
- Maybe you’d like to hear author Yaa Gyasi talk about her breakout novel, Homegoing…
- Or you might be interested in hearing the Rockefellers’ thoughts on art and philanthropy…
- Maybe you’d like to get a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 film “A Quiet Place” with writer, director, and actor John Krasinski
There are dozens of talks on topics from cuisine and the environment to fitness and politics and more.
If science and intellectual exploration is your thing, Big Think might be a good choice for you. Presented by leaders from a variety of fields, these video talks cover all kinds of fascinating topics from artificial intelligence and outer space to the study of mindfulness and history. And you really can’t go wrong with presenters like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mary Aiken, and Bill Nye.
Are you inspired by movers and shakers who are doing things to change the world? If so, The DO Lectures might be right up your alley. The spark that started this series was a text that Tony Davidson sent to The DO Lectures’ founder, David Hieatt. The text read, “Don’t just stand there, do something.” And David did. He launched what the team referred to as “a world-class event in a cow shed” on an old farm in West Wales. The idea is simple: invite people to share their “DOs.” They can be big or small, ordinary or extraordinary; but they will all “light a fire in your belly to go and DO your thing.” Peruse their categories—adventure, business, creativity, social change, well-being, and more—and you just might find a story that will help you rekindle your own passion.
If you’re willing to make an investment in exploring new topics, The Great Courses is one of the most well-respected players in the digital learning space. This service offers immersive video-on-demand courses taught by some of the world’s greatest professors from Ivy League and other top schools and institutions. All the classes are on demand (so you can do them at your own pace—nothing to be late for, and definitely no homework). And they create much of their content with well-known (and loved) brands like The Culinary Institute of America, Smithsonian, Mayo Clinic, The History Channel, and National Geographic. In addition, you can watch The Great Courses Plus (a subscription-based service) on your computer, TV, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or via apps available in the Google Play, App Store, and Amazon Kindle.
Even though we may be stuck at home and indoors for a while longer, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a world of eye-opening, informative content. And, who knows, you might even learn something, or maybe discover a new interest that will take you to unexpected places after the pandemic is over!