Best Highbrow Courses – 5 Minute Lessons

21 best Highbrow courses to learn skills in daily 5-minute chunks.

Image Best Highbrow Courses Online - Learn in Chunks

It is said that a slow drip of water can make a hole in a rock. If we apply that to learning: What if you could get a steady stream of highly valuable nuggets of knowledge at the same time every day? What if the total of those nuggets could arm you with a new skill? This is what Highbrow courses offer over a wide range of topics.

In this round-up, you will get a thorough tour of the best Highbrow courses and topics. You’ll more than likely see at least one that piques your interest. Let’s get started!

Highbrow Courses – Overview

On their About page, the founders of Highbrow explain how they first got the idea for their education model. They felt that there was a “huge knowledge gap between what we were learning from the media and real textbook knowledge.”

Imagine checking your inbox in the morning with your first cup. Among all the tragedies and pundits, the biased news, and the potentially fake news, you see one uplifting message. Your Highbrow lesson of the day, your oasis in the information desert, which they say can be read in 5 minutes. Highbrow’s hope is to be that spotlight in the darkness.

How Highbrow Works

Highbrow is a premium, subscription-based service. With your annual membership, you get access to the entire selection of courses. All the Highbrow courses consist of 10 lessons that are 5 minutes each and delivered to your email every day for 10 days.

You can only take one lesson at a time, in hopes that you will focus your attention on mastering each lesson you select. Every Highbrow course ends with a quiz. Topics range from arts, business, tech, health, and history to languages, philosophy, photography, psychology, science, and productivity.

How Much Does Highbrow Cost

Highbrow’s fee structure is on the low side of the MOOC/Online Learning spectrum. Currently, a one-year membership will cost you $5 per month, billed annually. On top of that, they offer a one-month free trial – three free lessons if you play your cards right!

There are no certificates and Highbrow courses are what I like to call P2P learning. There’s a “Become a Teacher” in their header, so just about anyone can offer a course, much like Skillshare or Udemy. Interestingly, premium MOOC provider FutureLearn is on Highbrow.

Highbrow alternatives: Explore our reviews of Creativelive classes, Udemy courses, Coursera courses, Mindvalley courses, or MasterClass courses.

Best Highbrow Courses 2024 – Top Picks

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Below are 21 best Highbrow courses to make learning a fun and easy experience. This list is by no means comprehensive. Each Highbrow course is structured as follows:
Format: One lesson/day | Duration: 10 days | Effort: 5 minutes reading/day

Highbrow Courses – Business & Entrepreneurship

Image Highbrow Courses - Business & Entrepreneurship

These Highbrow courses revolve around lessons on how to launch and grow your business. Courses on offer include leadership classes, like How to Lead in Tough Times. There are also management courses, such as How to Conduct a Market Research Survey. They’ve even included gig/self-employment courses, like How to Freelance Like a Pro. Here’s a closer look at four Highbrow courses you can find under this topic.

1. How To Start A Startup With Zero Budget

Dr. Donatas Jonika teaches you how to reduce the risk of failure and make your business more attractive to potential investors. His bio says he has a Ph.D. in economics and a master’s in marketing management, strengthened by 12 years of industry experience. He covers a strong list of startup skills for entrepreneurs.

2. How To Build An Online Business

This course is offered by a Montreal company called Crew, which has worked with startups for almost 10 years in the digital space. After helping you answer the question “what do I want to accomplish?” they want to “help figure out the fun part—how to make it happen.”

3. How To Validate An Idea

This course aims to demystify the process of idea validation. Ryan Kulp is an experienced entrepreneur who enjoys teaching people how to grow their businesses. He will lead you in thinking deeply about what problem you’re solving and teach tactics to distribute your ideas to potential clients freely.

4. Startup Marketing for Everyone

As the founder and head of marketing at his own business, Jonah Bliss teaches marketing, communications, and PR. He draws from his experiences in marketing, building and launching successful start-ups himself. The class covers SEO, content creation, and social media marketing. One of the most popular Highbrow courses students get enrolled in.

Highbrow Courses – Health & Fitness

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These “easy-to-digest” email Highbrow courses promise better health and fitness for learners. Interesting offerings include 10 Ways to Improve Your Memory, Secrets to a Long Life: A Study of the World’s Oldest People, and Hack Your Workout: A Self-Paced System for Core Muscle and Posture Strength. Here’s a closer look at three others.

5. How To Live A Healthy Lifestyle

FutureLearn is listed as the teacher of this class, which offers learners simple life hacks to improve overall health and well-being. In the ten days, they address your eating and exercise better, but also your mindset about aging. The course promises to teach you “easy ways to make your lifestyle healthier”. Browse our list of best FutureLearn courses.

6. Ultimate Guide To Running

Lifelong running enthusiast Matthew Henshall designed this class for everyone from joggers to hardcore marathoners. It is a ten-step format that teaches about training plans, runner nutrition, cross-training, and managing injuries.

Henshall also offers tips and tricks, and rounds the course out with “the psychology of running”. These are valuable insights for all types of runners indeed. This is among the most booked Highbrow courses on the platform.

7. Mindful Eating

This course is taught by dietician and blogger Sanchia Parker. She poses a rather sobering nugget of food for thought: Do you “eat without really paying attention to your food?” This course is designed to teach learners how to have better relationships with food and build skills to help them reach weight loss goals.

Highbrow Courses – Productivity

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More than just a buzzword, productivity is getting more done in less time, which many of us would love to master! Two Highbrow courses on this topic include How to Stay Focused: Ten Top Hacks for Motivation and Efficient Time Management. Also, you find value in Master Your Gmail to Get More Done. Here’s a closer look at four more.

8. How To Be More Productive

Dan Silvestre’s newsletter teaches folks how to get stuff done. He reveals productivity secrets that top performers use. You learn how to implement the secrets, including how to prioritize and manage your time effectively.

After being your guinea pig (he conducts “personal experiments” to enhance himself regularly) he emails you valuable, applicable insights. Not a bad deal!

9. The Fundamentals of Self-Discipline

This course promises to reveal to you the fundamentals of self-discipline. Your sensei is Martin Meadows, who lists self-discipline accomplishments in his bio that might make a Marine cry. But what can he do in only ten days? Perhaps you won’t be ready for a forty-hour fast, but you’ll learn some useful tools to become more self-disciplined.

10. How To Create A Productivity System

Your teacher, Paul Minors, is a productivity blogger who likes to help people “get more done with less stress.” He offers this practical course as a ten-step guide that shows you tools and apps that will help you “organize your tasks, plan your time, and get more done.” We breathe a collective sigh of relief! It’s one of the most popular Highbrow courses.

11. How To Make Better Decisions With The Matrix

Self-proclaimed “chronic busy-body” invites you to the Matrix. She promises to show you “a new kind of prioritization,” an intriguing prospect indeed. Designed for people who still aren’t sure whether to take the red pill or the blue pill, she brings the term “work smarter, not harder” to life for learners.

Reading tip: Review of the Best Productivity Courses.

Highbrow Courses – Psychology

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Why do people and act as they do? The Highbrow courses on this topic promise to help you learn more about psychology without years of Ph.D. study. You can find Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology, Confident Conflict Management, and The Theories of Sigmund Freud, among other fascinating courses. Take a closer look at these four with us.

12. Understanding Needs

This course promises to introduce you to needs assessments so you can improve decision-making and get better results. Your teacher, university professor Ryan Watkins, Ph.D., studies and researches needs as a way of understanding what drives the choices we make. These insights could be truly valuable indeed.

13. Attraction Science

The icon for this course is a bottle of love potion. Unfortunately, Jake Teeny doesn’t tell you where you can get some, but he does promise to teach you how to become more attractive. He shows learners “the scientific study of attraction and love.” The “36 empirically-tested questions that can increase your attractiveness” certainly make for an intriguing course offering.

14. The Secrets of Body Language

Your instructor is Wonder Woman! Bestselling author Vanessa Van Edwards advocates body language as a way to learn about others and yourself as well. You will learn how to read nonverbal cues and improve your body language with actionable tips.

She teaches ”power body language” – was that one of Wonder Woman’s superpowers? – to nurture better relationships. This is one of the most popular and best Highbrow courses on the website. You can get a similar class on Udemy too (visit website).

15. The Psychology of Persuasion

Jake Teeny is a Ph.D. student at Ohio State. He helps raise your consciousness about when and why you are under the influence of persuasion. Teeny packs information about persuading others, exploring the “empirical, scientific data on the processes of persuasion,” and a lot more in this short course.

Highbrow Courses – Personal Development 

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Here is a selection of the best Highbrow courses from the personal growth category.

16. The Philosophy of Happiness

Taught by modern-day Greek philosopher (well, he’s based in Greece) Will Buckingham, this course touches on philosophers from Ancient China and Greece to modern times. You will examine the meaning of happiness, why it matters, and of course, how to get more of it for yourself and others.

17. Learning How To Think Clearly

Having done his Ph.D. research on “knowledge extraction,” David Urbansky’s interest in machine learning piqued his interest back to how we think and learn as humans. Thinking as a skill? Oh yes, learn the physical and mental factors that impact thinking ability. Then, use what you learned to think better!

18. Speed Reading – How To Read More Books

Memory and speed reading coach and TED speaker Jordan Harry promises to help you improve the four key elements of reading to streamline your work. Gain a competitive edge over your contemporaries by reading faster and get back more time in your days.

19. How To Learn A Foreign Language

Language software company WordBrewery brings you a little sampling of what they have to offer in this short course. They give you a set of strategies that show you how to pick a new language to learn and ways to lock down grammar and vocabulary in your new language. Reading tip: Best language courses or how to learn a new language fast.

20. Improving Your Photography Skills

Photography enthusiast Julia Revitt is a landscape photographer. In this course, she shares her skills and love of photography with you. She covers how to create great images using various techniques on whatever equipment you use. She invites you to “dust off your camera”, so I wonder if she includes smartphones also. Tip: Best photography courses.

21. Scientific Laws And Theories Everyone Should Know 

Taught by the Highbrow team themselves, this course seeks to cultivate “better citizens of the world community. This course teaches principles that can “help us make sense of the world.” They touch on the law of gravity and the origins of the earth. The goal is to help you gain a greater perspective on life.

Reading tip: Round-up review of the best personal development courses.

Best Highbrow Courses – Pros and Cons

Image Highbrow Courses - Pros and Cons

Highbrow offers hundreds of valuable topics to learn new skills or expand knowledge from science, technology and business to art, politics and history. The daily lessons are compact and can be easily implemented into a busy day. Highbrow courses deliver knowledge in digestible 5 minutes chunks and build upon each other.

Highbrow instructors are generally people who want to share their gifts and knowledge with others. However, it’s not clear if or how they are vetted, and they range from actual college professors to just general enthusiasts. The teachers get half of your course fees when you sign up for their Highbrow courses. There is no certification upon completion though.

Highbrow Courses Pros

  1. Very low cost.
  2. Predictable model. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re in for when you sign up for an online course. Here, there’s no guesswork. 
  3. Time efficient. 
  4. Wide selection of learning opportunities. 

Highbrow Courses Cons

  1. No partnerships with professional educational institutions. The Peer-2-Peer education model with a low barrier for entry brings the quality of the education you get into question.
  2. Only caters to one learning style. If you are an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner, this format may not be ideal for you. 
  3. No certificates. If there is value in certificates as part of your learning goals, then this is not a good platform for you. 

Highbrow Courses 2024 – Review Verdict

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Wrapping up our tour of the best Highbrow courses. Highbrow has a lot to offer for any lifelong learner. In terms of investments of both time and money, you get more than what you pay for.

While certifications serve their purpose, they are not the be-all and end-all of education. Also, there is value in Peer-2-Peer learning if you believe that pretty much everyone has something to offer the world. The greatest appeal of Highbrow’s model is its simplicity.

The one-month free trial is incentive enough to at least test drive it to see if indeed you can get value in your inbox. Uplifting emails that you curated for your own personal development greeting you every morning – wouldn’t it be nice?

Best Highbrow Courses 2024

  1. How To Start A Startup With Zero Budget
  2. How To Build An Online Business
  3. How To Validate An Idea
  4. Startup Marketing for Everyone
  5. How To Live A Healthy Lifestyle
  6. Ultimate Guide To Running
  7. Mindful Eating
  8. How To Be More Productive
  9. The Fundamentals of Self-Discipline
  10. How To Create A Productivity System
  11. How To Make Better Decisions With The Matrix
  12. Understanding Needs
  13. Attraction Science
  14. The Secrets of Body Language
  15. The Psychology of Persuasion
  16. The Philosophy of Happiness
  17. Learning How To Think Clearly
  18. Speed Reading – How To Read More Books
  19. How To Learn A Foreign Language
  20. Improving Your Photography Skills
  21. Scientific Laws And Theories Everyone Should Know

What are the best Highbrow courses? What is your learning experience? We look forward to hearing about your experience with their daily lessons.

Resources: Learning in Chunks – Techniques | Learning Habits – 1 | Moocs – 2

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