3 Years, 100 Issues, 30 Big Ideas

Celebrating the podcasts, videos, books, and articles that burrowed deep within my brain after years of curating.

Erik Jones
12 min readFeb 19, 2020


Illustration by author

Writing a newsletter with curated content can get a little addicting. You want people to know about the amazing stuff you are coming across, and you can’t wait to get it out to as many people as possible.

In my case, I try to find the parts of the internet that give your brain a workout. The podcasts and links that will make you think. Content around history, science, philosophy, big ideas, interesting interviews. That sort of thing.

I’ve done this now 100 times with the Hurt Your Brain newsletter. The format has changed a little here and there, but the ultimate goal is always to help people find content they can learn from. The internet is still an exciting and mentally stimulating place if you know where to look.

The one trap I find myself in is the tendency to be hyper focused on the new. For podcasts, there is so much I haven’t listened to from the past decade, but there are also more and more great new shows coming out all the time. I want to be the person that helps get the word out there about some great new indie show, or some fascinating piece from an established institution that could easily go past people’s radar.

I would like to take a moment to counterbalance this pattern I’ve fallen into.

My goal with learning new things is to understand how the world works better. I want to constantly update my mental models. The problem with big ideas is that it’s hard to know them when you see them.

Time is the best arbiter on true influence.

If I read a good book or listen to a fascinating podcast, there is no way I’ll remember the details years down the road. But if there is a big idea I can take away from it that I will remember, that’s a win. Using the Cosmos series from Carl Sagan as an example, I can’t recall many of the details of the documentary series, but what I do remember is that it opened up a door in my brain. One that said, “Come through here to realize there is an unlimited amount of wonder in the universe.”



Erik Jones

Writing about podcasts and creativity. Check out https://www.hurtyourbrain.com/ to never miss an article and to get podcast recommendations that make you think.