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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

Have a Brain Party!

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

U.S. News writer Philip Moeller looked into the connection between learning and the sense of happiness it generates. “Your mind may be the closest thing to the Holy Grail of longevity and happiness. Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity...

And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”

So why not “go back to school” and let your happiness blossom? Except this time learn the kinds of things that you really want to know and satisfy your curiosity with courses like how to speak a new language, mastering secret Egyptian building methods or how to play the banjo -- or just about anything you can think of!

LinkedIn Learning (formerly is one of the best business and tech training services out there. MasterClass offers a dazzling lineup of famous chefs, artists, writers, musicians and actors who share the secrets of their craft. Great Courses Plus operates on the same streaming model as MasterClass with its lecture series of classes on art, history and the sciences given by popular university professors. All three charge charge to download or stream their courses.

Many courses are available for free

On the other hand, free online learning classes have become very popular ways to connect with thousands of fascinating opportunities to learn something new, right at home from your laptop, in your spare time. Check out the leading free classes at Class Central. Class Central is a search engine and reviews site for free online courses popularly known as MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, taught by university professors from around the world. And don’t forget to scan their “Best Online Courses of All Time” list to find some hidden gems like Introduction to Dutch, Mountains 101, Literature of the English Country House, etc.

And at many public libraries these days, your library card number will get you access – for free – to video classes given by professionals at Coursera or The Great Courses (Genealogy, The Night Sky, Medieval Europe, Solo Piano, Birding) and yes, even LinkedIn Learning (Photoshop, Excel, Mobile App Development, Basic Web Design and Marketing, among many others). Check the “online courses” section of your public library website to find out what’s available.

Listen to TED Talks: "Ideas that Matter"

You’ve heard about TED Talks, no doubt. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Today the nonprofit organization continue to share great ideas from around the world. Browse more than 3,600 10-20 minute videos given by expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity. The videos are available with subtitles in 100+ languages. These captivating presentations are completely free to view and download.

Photo: World-renowned mixologists Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana teach the art of cocktail mixology at

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