The Best of Defector
The most popular Defector articles, as voted by our community.
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These are some of the most-read articles by Defector.
How I Got Smart
The fact is, I know how I got so smart, and I know how you can, too. The real answer to “How did you get so smart?” is simply this: I wanted to. And you can, too!
What is Refind?
Every day Refind picks 5 links from around the web that make you smarter, tailored to your interests. is one of more than 10k sources we monitor.
How does Refind curate?
It’s a mix of human and algorithmic curation, following a number of steps:
- We monitor 10k+ sources and 1k+ thought leaders on hundreds of topics—publications, blogs, news sites, newsletters, Substack, Medium, Twitter, etc.
- In addition, our users save links from around the web using our Save buttons and our extensions.
- Our algorithm processes 100k+ new links every day and uses external signals to find the most relevant ones, focusing on timeless pieces.
- Our community of active users gets 5 links every day, tailored to their interests. They provide feedback via implicit and explicit signals: open, read, listen, share, add to reading list, save to «Made me smarter», «More/less like this», etc.
- Our algorithm uses these internal signals to refine the selection.
- In addition, we have expert curators who manually curate niche topics.
The result: lists of the best and most useful articles on hundreds of topics.
How does Refind detect «timeless» pieces?
We focus on pieces with long shelf-lives—not news. We determine «timelessness» via a number of metrics, for example, the consumption pattern of links over time.
How many sources does Refind monitor?
We monitor 10k+ content sources on hundreds of topics—publications, blogs, news sites, newsletters, Substack, Medium, Twitter, etc.
Can I submit a link?
Indirectly, by using Refind and saving links from outside (e.g., via our extensions).
How can I report a problem?
When you’re logged-in, you can flag any link via the «More» (...) menu. You can also report problems via email to email@example.com
Who uses Refind?
200k+ smart people start their day with Refind. To learn something new. To get inspired. To move forward. Our apps have a 4.9/5 rating.
Is Refind free?
Yes, it’s free!
How can I sign up?
Head over to our homepage and sign up by email or with your Twitter or Google account.