Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Defense of Not Reading: My Favorite MP3 Repositories

So, it will surprise no one to learn that reading is one of my favorite activities. But the way I have ordered my life, I only read about 10 books per year.[1] This is not enough to maintain a positive flow of ideas through the control volume of my mind.[2] So I supplement with technology. I have found a discipline of listening to a broad range of quality (and often free) MP3 content while I do chores, perform laboratory experiments or exercise, has become the centerpiece of my reflective life. This week I am talking to a group of students about how I aquire, metabolize and process ideas…so I wanted to post a list of my sources of free[3] audio content.[4]

Bible and Theology:

Biblical Training:

Full length and summary seminary classes by well respected professors.


Monergism comes from a pretty narrow theological perspective but they have compile an excellent compilation of audio resources.

Tim Keller:

No person that currently has a pulse has been more influential in my thought and praxis. So he gets his own link.[5]


The Veritas Forum:

Recordings of apologetic talks given on college campuses across the country.

Be Thinking:

I have not used this site. It was recomended by a friend. It looks very promising.

Classic Works:


Hundreds of classic, public domain, books read (mostly) by quality readers. Includes classic fiction (e.g. Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, George McDonald) and non-Fiction (e.g. Justin Martyr, Chesterton, Darwin).

General Interest:


TED is the periodic Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference. It started as an opportunity for nerds to get together to be nerds together…but has evolved into something much bigger. Now they get whoever they want to speak on whatever they want. Anyone who has an innovative big idea and can communicate it well gets invited to speak and you can find provocative 20 minute talks on nearly any topic. Some of these make excellent illustration material. It is also a good way to become familiar with the theses of influential contemporary thinkers without having to read their books. Yup, I really like Ted.

MIT: Open Campus -

MIT has made a commitment to offer most of their class materials free, online. More and more are becoming available by MP3.

The Library:

I get a lot of great free audio content from the public library. There is great fiction, non-fiction, music and, I especially like the full length classes on a variety of topics by The Teaching Company

Do you know of others? Please let us know in the comments.
[1] A pretty standard example is here.
[2] Meaning, this is faster than the rate at which I lose ideas, making me less insightful with time.
[3] Note, I also pay for audio content. Most seminaries have excellent selections of audio lectures for $40-100. The Teaching Company also has great classes for $30-100 (note: never buy from them if the class is not ‘on sale’ – all classes go on sale at least once/year and usually more often – also, check your local library first). This seems steep, but if you compare it to the cost of a university class (~$1k) or the hours it would take to do the reading to get an equal dose of insight, it turns out to be a deal.
[4] My brother also did a post like this a while ago.
[5] Another link I like is here, where a dude who has a bigger ‘brain crush’ on him than me has organized other free Keller content. This is some of his best stuff.

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