Five Bloggers Who Make Me Think Hard

thinking bloggerBecause I read blogs to learn, all of the blogs on my blogroll at right* are written by thinking bloggers. So when I got tagged by Janet as one of five bloggers that make her think, and challenged to pass on the meme (originated by The Thinking Blog) I wasn’t sure how to respond. Any list of five I could come up with would almost certain annoy those not included.

And then I thought: One of the challenges of the blogosphere is that articles that really make you think, that make you think differently, have to compete for attention with the firehose of (mostly) more accessible, shorter, simpler articles. Many readers have told me that it is the length, complexity, and seriousness of my articles that have prevented me from becoming an ‘A-list’ blogger. “You make me work too hard, to the point I groan each time I visit, or fall behind” is how one put it.

So I decided to raise the bar on the meme a notch, and identify five bloggers who do likewise: who are not only thoughtful, but who demand a lot of the reader, who make us work hard to understand and appreciate information and arguments that are important, who stretch us and our thinking. Writers who are on to something big, and who are too far ahead of their time to expect mainstream blog popularity.

I quickly came up with twenty such bloggers (and if you think you were one of them, you’re probably right ;-). The five I list here are not necessarily those who have the biggest ideas or make me think the hardest. I selected them because they write about completely different subjects, and make us understand how reading and understanding a widely diverse spectrum of topics is essential to understanding how the world really works, and imagining possibilities for coping with some of its great challenges. Just as my blog has a broad, overarching and provocative theme (mine is preparing for civilization’s end) each of these have something important and underappreciated running through everything they write. Here, with my take on those themes, is my list:

  • Kathy Sierra, Creating Passionate Users: Here’s what I got out of this, let’s have a conversation about it. Life, making a living, and learning have to be fun.  There is genius in whimsy. Is this a crazy idea? Let me draw you a picture.
  • Mark Woods, Wood s Lot: An appreciation of art, beauty and history is essential to an understanding of the world, a grasping of life’s purpose, and a joyful life. Pay attention.
  • Evelyn Rodriguez, Crossroads Dispatches: Be utterly open. Challenge everything but judge nothing. Don’t rule out possibilities. To understand, keep asking questions.
  • Jim Kunstler, Clusterfuck Nation: That way of thinking got us into this mess, and won’t get us out. Try thinking this way instead. And then start doing something. Just start, you’ll figure it out.
  • Max Sawicky, MaxSpeak: Here’s how the rich and powerful are taking advantage of your ignorance of how the world really works. Here are the hard numbers made easy. And here’s what we could do.

Who would be on your list of Blogs That Make You Think Hard?

*Yes I know my blogroll is sorely in need of updating. A lot of these links are obsolete, some of them are defunct, and I have about 60 more toadd. I’ll get to it.

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6 Responses to Five Bloggers Who Make Me Think Hard

  1. Don Dwiggins says:

    Hi Dave,One that’s doing it for me right now is The Oil Drum (, which hosts a group of knowledeable people doing a good job of collecting and analyzing the technical aspects of Peak Oil and potential alternatives. (I guess it’s not so much that they Make Me Think Hard, but that they Help Me Think Hard — I’m one of those wierdos who’re addicted to Thinking Hard.)

  2. David Parkinson says:

    I think I’d pick:- HtStW- Casaubon’s Book- Archdruid- lichenology- Glenn Greenwald (for US politics – but my heart belongs to Billmon RIP)I’ll definitely check out the ones you recommend. Thanks.

  3. David Houser says:

    I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that Eleutheros’s blog How Many Miles From Babylon (sorry, I haven’t mastered the hyperlink)has changed my life. His posts are infrequent, but all are gems in my opinion. I hope he writes a book someday. Kevin Carson’s Mutualist Blog (from which I was directed here), while often over my head with the economic technicalities, has definitely been instrumental in helping me refine my political outlook.Arthur Silber’s blog is almost too much to take at times, but I think he is definitely saying important things about the current state of world events.

  4. janet says:

    What a pleasant surprise to wake up to this morning. You took the challenge and responded to the thinking meme and not only that, you linked to my site. I’m honored.

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  6. Theresa says:

    Those blogs look interesting, I’ll have to check them out when I get a chance. Reading the post made me think that maybe those are the people you are supposed to make a living with? They look self selected anyway. Perhaps the collaborative blog once in awhile? Just a thought.

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