For the most part, YouTube is probably more a colossal waste of time more than anything else. Take a look at the day’s most popular videos and you’ll quickly see that most of them are relatively useless or at most just mildly entertaining.
Like any big group of anything, roughly 80% will be pretty useless, but there will also be a top tier with some very helpful stuff.
Despite having an enormous TV downstairs with a killer surround sound system, I don’t watch TV at home anymore. I used to watch all the time, but kept asking myself “What the hell did I just do for 6 hours?” So more and more YouTube is becoming one of my most-visited sites. I’ve discovered a few things which make the YouTube experience educational, informative and helpful rather than just a giant distraction for bored students, people with spare time on the job and insomniacs:
Personally I like learning about interesting/successful people and how they got where they are. I find that subject fascinating. I read about this kind of stuff all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to hear and see the words being spoken. I find the stories inspiring and containing many great nuggets of information.
It’s also great stuff to listen to in the background whilst doing work.
Inside the Actor’s Studio:
The show focuses on celebrities who are very well known, and you often get a very introspective view into the celebrity and the work and hardships they endured to get where they are.
Obviously it’s preferable listening to the celebs who had a similar upbringing to yours, but some of the others are good. Even if you weren’t brought up in a poor, broken home it’s nice to hear what it’s like for others.
I personally just watched the Conan O’Brien interview and thought it was great.
Conan Obrien Interview
On one of my library visits I randomly read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” which I strongly recommend. I loved reading this book, and was introduced to the great physicist Richard Feynman with his very-not-so-scientist-like-antics and brilliant mind.
I think the reason he got so popular was his great layman explanations that help people understand complicated physics, he definitely communicates ideas MUCH better than most intellectual types…..and that small thing he did in the 40’s to basically help build the first nuclear bomb.
Richard Feynman Part 1
Richard Feynman: Take the Word From Another Point of View Part 1
I find it fascinating that my dad migrated to the United States from India to get his masters from Berkley….and now I can get all of those same classes online, for free!
Berkley posts many classes online, for free, for anyone to view. No enrollment fee, regardless of age….almost anyone in the world has access to higher education. You’re not going to get a helpful TA to push you along with school work, but any self-motivated person out there can participate in a top-tier college course.
I’m personally taking this Berkley Physics course right now. Getting some of the best professors and special guests in the world on any subject you like? Way better than watching 6 hours of TV.
Archive of American Television:
Sort of like Inside the Actors Studio except more in depth and un-edited. Each interview is somewhere around 4-6 hours, so you get details you normally won’t hear on edited interviews.
The AAT has posted hundreds of their interviews, many names which you will recognize. The other cool thing about these interviews is they generally only interview older people who’ve gone through a lifetime of experiences. I like that.
It’s great listening to these in the background while doing work that doesn’t require intense thought.
I very much enjoyed and learned from the Ted Turner Interview and George Carlin Interview.
Obviously one of the richest men in the world will have some good insights, and his are remarkably simple. There’s tons of Warren Buffet stuff on YouTube but my favorite is this Warren Buffet Speech given to a class of MBA’s.
If you’re interested in learning about a person, simply YouTube search some simply phrases such as:
- (Their name) speech
- (Their name) documentary
- (Their name) interview
Another thing is to realize right away that YouTube user comments are probably some of the most idioc things ever.
So while YouTube can be one of the greatest time-wasters of all time, it can also be massively helpful and educational.
I’m a firm believer that most education is learned in your spare time….so why not better yourself with YouTube instead of just wasting time on it?
Ok, fine….a double motorcycle backflip from time-to-time is OK too :-)