Big Brain Time

UPDATED 7/10/2020 Made it less impossible to read
Other updates listed at the bottom of the page

Bit about me: I have finished about two years of college in mostly science and math-based topics. I’m by no means an expert in anything but I’m still learning.

If you have time during this quarantine, chances are you might want to learn, especially if your school or college is suspended until further notice. So here’s how this is going to work. This is a master post of textbooks and online resources for really digging into subjects and learning. I noticed that there are plenty of textbooks out there, but only some that are worth the read. Libraries don’t have these textbooks, books marketed for grade 12 and under are never used by professionals (and are totally worthless) and making a mistake buying a lousy textbook is expensive and wastes time. Not only that but some unscrupulous colleges force students to teach themselves from the required [bad] textbooks in order to get their degrees and then expect them to miraculously have knowledge above and beyond what those [bad] textbooks taught. Then they flunk out students who can’t make the cut. Therefore, I’ve sent out for some help from my friends who have graduated college, also from some college professors I know, and asked them what the best textbooks in their careers/fields of study were. Below, you can see the results. As I find more books, I add them. I’ve also added books that I’ve read myself to both my website, Macrev, and the entries below.

EDIT 4/19/20 One useful trick I’ve found in studying any topic is to get a blank notebook or Word file and jot down any info in it that you find highly useful in your life. Put things into this notebook that you want to refer back to at a later date. For instance, if you are studying herbalism, write down formulas that worked for a sore throat, your favorite way of making a tincture, and so on. If you are studying physics or math, write down your favorite applications of a specific formula or concept. Write down how you apply the knowledge you learn in a useful manner. Only put things into this notebook that you want to keep with you for your whole life. Then one day your notebook can be a family heirloom or contribute to a scientific breakthrough. Get a notebook like this for every subject you study even if you don’t think you’ll use it. You probably will.

So, in no particular order, here are the books and online resources, organized by subject matter:

Shaum’s Outlines series: use with another textbook to improve understanding of any field
MIT OpenCourseware
StackExchange Sites – if you have any questions, don’t post them to Reddit, Quora, or other social media, post them here and you’ll get better responses
National Science Foundation Classroom Resources – intro-level accessible resources anyone can view with an Internet connection
The Great Books of Western Philosophy series: these are very expensive and hard to find but they are the original sources most modern textbooks have taken material from
TI-84 Calculator Emulator: 6 months free subscription from Texas Instruments
Instructables for Teachers: contains resources for class demos and projects for grades K-12 and college
Skype a Scientist: You need to gather 5 people together to do this, therefore teachers using Zoom probably have the best chances of getting this to work

I classify this as required reading if you have never heard of what’s mentioned here or if you aren’t clear on what it is.
The difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources ***This is a major reason why people believe hearsay and confuse it with fact***
Further explanation
The Scientific Method
Applying the scientific method to almost any question (skip to relevant part)
Basic introduction to deductive and inductive reasoning

A lot of other topics are kind of hard to apply to daily life. This, on the other hand, is stuff you definitely need to know.
Red Cross swimming classes
Also check at your local pool, usually swimming classes are relatively cheap
Note 1: just like communicating with a business or company to provide feedback, you can email, call or write letters to the public officials who represent you, including judges, Senators, members of Congress, Governors, and of course those in the White House. I have actually seen changes happen in my life that were possibly thanks to this so don’t knock it.
Note 2: Without a sample ballot, it’s nearly impossible to figure out who will be on it without something like a week’s worth of research. They usually aren’t complete, so you have to look at multiple sample ballots unless you’re a mail-in voter and have the luxury of a few days to look at your real ballot. Find sample ballots here: here:
and here
Note 3: The Democrat and Republican internal political machinery are in charge of which candidates get the most publicity and funding. There is little to no oversight or transparency for both parties. Therefore, it is wise to do your own research about candidates instead of blindly accepting who these parties choose to endorse
How Elections Work
A comprehensive guide for how to get involved
Federal Elections Commission – candidates for public office are required by law to disclose where they get their funding, and you can find at least some of that data here
Follow The Money – a website that details where candidates get their funding. Generally more detailed than the FEC
A website that helps you register to vote
On The Issues: summarizes candidates’ viewpoints
VoteSmart: another website that attempts to summarize candidates’ viewpoints; a little clunkier and harder to use but still valuable
The Declaration of Independence
The U.S. Constitution
The U.S. Constitution and related topics
Bill of Rights
United States Citizenship Test
FBI Tip Report
CIA Tip Report
ICE Tip Report
Reporting a crime
Reporting a scam
Dealing with robocalls
Dealing with spam text messages
Reporting healthcare fraud
Do Not Call registry to combat telemarketers & robocalls
Report a postal service related crime
CIA and FBI declassified documents – NOTE: if you are under the age of 18 I would recommend that you avoid reading this. Quite a bit of the stuff done by these agencies is disturbing.
FBI Most Wanted
Amber Alerts & Missing Children
Note: Every state and city government has a website. You can easily find these using a search engine. They have many resources, especially if you are trying to start a small business.
Another note: Every state has multiple local Department of Motor Vehicles and Vehicle Registration. Their regulations differ. If you want a driver’s license, search for your local DMV online and prepare yourself for several days of bureaucratic red tape.
Another note: To get a passport, you will need a valid form of I.D. and you will need to go to your local post office. Then, you will also enjoy several days of bureaucratic red tape.
Official website of Congress
Official website of the Senate
Court System
A-Z List of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies
Democrat vs. Republican – a small chunk of the mess, explained
Files taxes online for free
There are websites that help you file taxes online as well, for a fee, if you don’t trust the IRS.
Start a business in the US
EIN application
To start a business in your area, check your state and county’s legal requirements first. Use a search engine to find these. Some states have excellent websites for getting started but most do not.
Copyright applications
How to apply for a patent
Introduction to trademarks
Resume creation
Job interviews
Cover letters
Sample cover letters for various professions
3 tips for job applications: 1. Keep a notebook of the places you have lived, previous work experience, previous work supervisors, and previous schooling, with addresses, phone numbers, all applicable email addresses, and start and end dates for all of the things mentioned. 2. Interview professional contacts, such as teachers or work supervisors, who are likely to be good references for you, and if they agree to it, write their phone numbers and emails in the notebook. 3. Look at everything from the employer’s point of view.
How To Form A Union
You should know that many unions, such as various teacher’s unions, succeed in creating a work environment that promotes laziness and poor quality of work. In fact, the teacher’s union in this country is so powerful that it often prevents ineffective teachers from being fired, which certainly explains a lot. Unions are a double-edged sword.
See tip 1 for job applications, but also write down the names of previous landlords and their contact information.
Miranda Rights
Don’t ever get your news from a solitary source. Compare and contrast the news from sources that tend to disagree with each other and when you see something they all say, it might be true. Take all news with a grain of salt unless you were actually there in person. In general, solitary people have less to gain from breaking a news story and are less likely to be influenced to publish something, so videos/pictures taken with cell phones and posted to social media are very valuable. You can find mainstream news sources via search engines. I posted lesser known ones here. Note: it is important to read local, state, national and international news. exists specifically to debunk false claims and may or may not be trustworthy. reports on consumer products, but requires a subscription for you to see their product reviews provides a place for people to publicly slam businesses that they claim ripped them off

You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren
Convict Conditioning by “Coach” Paul Wade
Beginner’s Health and Fitness by Liam Rosen
Reddit’s Bodyweight Exercise forum

REI Expert Advice
This is my website. I only add books to my website if I’ve read them. Here you can find lifehacks, links to recipe websites, recommended reading, DIY recipes and such. For convenience’s sake, I have also listed many of the books recommended on the site on this post.
This is Instructables. It’s got quite a lot of information on how to DIY just about anything.
Psych2Go (Youtube channel)
When Panic Attacks by David Burns, M.D.
Un@&*# Your Brain by Faith G. Harper (NSFW language, but that’s about all that’s NSFW about it)
How To Be You by Jeffrey Marsh
The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

If you can afford it, I recommend taking a First Aid and CPR course at the local Red Cross. They are currently doing these certification courses online via video.
Basic herbal medicine
What To Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
“Birds and bees” website
Way more involved “Birds and bees” website that actually explains things – Planned Parenthood. You should know that their status as an abortion clinic in many places makes them very controversial politically, and frankly morally questionable, but you will find accurate, free information here. Actually I couldn’t find any other place on the Internet that gave the full “talk” with all the relevant details, which weirds me out, but whatever. Their section for parents on how to give an age-appropriate version of “the talk” to kids is imho the best part of the website.
More in-depth information on sex ed: Boo! It’s Sex webcomic
Reddit’s Birth Control forum
Basic Emergency Kit

National Safety Council
Red Cross Emergency Preparation Guidance
Fire Safety Info
3 little-known fire safety tips: 1. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord, 2. Always close doors, especially if you’re going to sleep, 3. If on the second floor or higher, every room should have a rope window ladder or fire escape, and of course a window
Tornado Safety Info
Hurricane Safety Info
Reddit’s Parenting forum
What To Expect When You’re Expecting series
Dr. Spock’s Child Care series
National Park Service
United States Forest Service
Poison Control
Supporting said libraries
Resources many people do not know are common in many US libraries nowadays: audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, copy machines, computers with internet access and printers, online access to ebooks from home, MakerSpaces, free and for-profit classes and tutorials, demonstrations, inter-library book loans (usually within a 35-mile radius, these are very handy for getting rare books; order them and they arrive in 2 weeks or so), free storytelling of children’s books, and more. I’ve seen the following things in libraries before: a seed bank, gardens, a coffee shop, a music recording studio, a teen only zone, and even a temporary job placement agency. The quality of the library depends on how much funding and support the local library gets both politically and from the local community.
Food For All App: this allows restaurants to sell food they would have otherwise thrown out for under $10. Currently only in Boston and NYC, hopefully will expand nationwide.
United States Postal Service
County Agriculture Extension Offices
You can usually find police and fire department information for your local area on your town’s website.
The nearest town’s farmer’s market information is often online.
The nearest town’s tourist center is often jam packed with good resources for having fun in that area.
If you’re trying to start a business, try to find the local Chamber of Commerce online or walk in and talk to someone.
Learn How To Adult

Monthly star chart free pdf
Go outside and look up LOL. Also print out some star charts for tonight if you can. Flashlights with red cellophane covering the light can help you look at the star charts without killing your night vision.
On The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Nicolas Copernicus
Explorations of the Universe by George Abell
Textbook on Spherical Astronomy by Smart
Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics by Zeilik
Skymap Online
JPL Infographics
Bad Astronomy
Magazines for people with way too much time on their hands and way too much interest in Astronomy:

The SomethingAwful Forums. Owned by a wife beating jerk. Do not give them money. Read the threads while they’re still up and not behind the paywall, before the site goes down in flames.

How To Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe

Scotty Kilmer

Chemistry Guide – you could get lost in this huge website.
National Science Foundation’s Chemistry resources
5maldehyde’s Chemistry Masterpost on Reddit
Chemistry Hall – a blog with interesting chemistry topics
Chemistry & Engineering News
Compound Interest – infographics that are basically just chemistry posters
Clayden’s Organic Chemistry

HTML programming:
Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach by John Hennessy and David Patterson
Intro to Quantum Computing by Nielseng & Chuang

Rainwater Harvesting 1, 2, and 3 by Brad Lancaster
Mushroom Farming by Tradd Cotter
Hedgerow article

Statics by Russell Hibbeler
Dynamics by Russell Hibbeler
Mechanics of Materials by Russell Hibbeler
Solid State by Ashcroft and Mermin
Introduction to Microwave Engineering by Pozar

The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill

Japanese: Genki! 1 and 2
Most foreign languages: Duolingo

Project Gutenberg – has very old, hard-to-find books that can be read online for free

The Art of Problem Solving series by Richard Rusczyk et al.
Euclid’s Elements by Euclid, translated by Sir Thomas L. Heath
Mathematics in 10 Lessons by Jerry King
Differential Equations by Boyce and Diprima
Math Section
Better Explained – use this as a supplementary resource, not a primary one

Harrison’s Guide to Internal Medicine
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Physician Edition
Pubmed Central

Intro/Basics: Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt, and Problem Solving for Conceptual Physics by Hewitt and Wolf
Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach, by Knight
Principia by Newton
Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems by Thornton
Introductory Electricity and Magnetism by Ed Taylor
Introduction to Electrodynamics by Griffiths
Griffith’s Electricity and Magnetism
Griffith’s Quantum Mechanics
Introduction to Quantum Physics by Griffiths
Introduction to Elementary Particles by Griffiths
QED by Feynman
Quantum Mechanics: 3 volumes by Cohen – Tannoudji
Griffith’s Particle Physics
Jackson’s Advanced Electromagnetics
Taylor’s Classical Mechanics
The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein
Gravitation and Spacetime by Hans Ohanian
Encyclopedic Gravitations by Misner, Thorne & Wheeler
Taylor’s Introductory Error Analysis
The Feynman Lectures by Richard Feynman
The Feynman Lectures online from CalTech
Statistical Physics by Richard Feynman
Thermodynamics by Yunus Cengel
Thermodynamics: Thermal Physics by Kittel
Fluids by Yunus Cengel
Fluid Mechanics by Landau & Lifshitz


Check out your local library’s online reading access. If you have a library card, you can read books online. In fact this often works for all libraries in your state; try your luck with a library in the biggest metropolis in the state; check out their website at least. Also see to try to read books online and for the older ones. If you have access to physical library books then take advantage of a thing called interlibrary loan. You place an order for books located at another library in your library’s “family of libraries” in-state network, wait two weeks, and then your books arrive.
Cheap places to get books online: , Amazon, eBay
Goodreads – check out the lists and see if you can find something that catches your eye. Almost all books have many reviews
Required Reading in High School list
The Most Influential Books in History list

Note: You can find most religious texts in their entirety online. Try

Religions in a strictly oral tradition such as most Indigenous and Native American spirituality can not be learned from books or plastic shamans. They are “closed” traditions, so unless you have been invited to learn, don’t look into it or pretend that you are doing Native American spirituality if you have not been trained. You can read books about it, but I can’t personally vouch for their accuracy.
Islam: The Qur’an

Christianity: The Bible, Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Book of Mormon

Voudun: Note: this is another closed tradition.
Judaism: The Old Testament, the Talmud, the Mishna

Hinduism: The Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas
Buddhism: The Lotus Sutra

Sci News
Science Daily
Genetic Engineering News
American Chemical Society News Releases

Atlas Obscura
The Broke Backpacker
The Culture Trip
Nomadic Matt


One Good Thing By Jillee

Reddit thread of what foods are cheapest

TED talks
Reddit’s YouShouldKnow forum
Reddit’s AskReddit forum
Reddit’s Too Afraid To Ask forum
Reddit’s IAmA forum

My website’s online resource recommendations:

How to get access to these textbooks: Try,  your local library’s online access portal, and only then try online book merchants such as eBay, Alibris, Half Price Books, Barnes and Noble, Better World Books, Chegg, and of course Amazon. I’ve actually had the best experience with eBay, Amazon, and Better World Books. Alibris likes to make the shipping costs insane so watch out. Currently Audible is offering free audiobooks during this pandemic, so you could also try that, although they are not textbooks, just fiction.

Recommended listen for reading this article:

Here are some anime, internet resources, and TV shows that you can unwind with while learning a thing or two.

The Great British Baking Show
Kitchen Nightmares (not safe for work)
Food Wars (note: NOT safe for work)
Food Wishes

Forensic Files
The Detail Geek

Practical Engineering
Real Engineering

Watch any kind of TV show or movie in the foreign language you are learning, with or without subtitles, and try to understand it. Do this on top of what you’re already doing to learn the language and you should progress faster

Big Dreams in Small Spaces with Monty Don
Crash Course
TED talks
How To Make Everything
Modern History TV

Dad, How Do I
Legal Eagle
Law & Order

Moyashimon (Anime)

How Ridiculous
Comedic Psychosomatic Medicine (Anime)

Bill Nye the Science Guy
Mark Rober
The King of Random

72 Most Dangerous Animals series

Japanese Style Originator

Oprah Magazine


UPDATED 6/12/2020 – found a sex ed comic that seems to know its stuff
UPDATED 6/11/2020 – added more good Youtube channels, man these are hard to find
UPDATED 5/24/2020 – added some more Youtube channels and TV shows, and put some things in alphabetic order
UPDATED 5/16/2020 – added some family planning and anime resources
UPDATED 5/9/2020 – added substantial amounts of stuff to the Adulting section
UPDATED 4/23/2020 – online learning resources, educational TV shows, and educational anime added

Buy me a coffee?

Please feel free to comment with a resource that you regularly use in your profession or which adequately prepared you for your work, or criticize what’s listed. If you comment, please list your degree and/or qualifications first.

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