"Awesome lists" actually suck

by Randy Gingeleski

2 minutes to read

What I think is wrong with "awesome lists" and what to publish instead.

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It’s tough to pinpoint when exactly “awesome lists” rose to Github prominence. Could be around 2015. But I’ve never been a fan.

Why? Information overload.

high-raise photography of library
Photo credit - Max Langelott / Unsplash

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t find a big list of links helpful when trying to learn something.

Open courses = salvation

Setting out to learn web development in 2014, I encountered a lot of resources. A lot. Believe me when I say there was no resource shortage.

Yet I spun my wheels for over a month after deciding seriously to learn it.

I might’ve spun my wheels forever had I not found The Odin Project. It’s an opinionated, Rails-biased education in web development.

But it holds your hand and takes you from 0 to 100.

Awesome lists, on the other hand, just carpet bomb you with links. Quite often their content will overlap too.

The Odin Project and open courses like it have just as many links, really. But they’re delivered in a logical order. Surgical strikes.

This removes the uncertainty, the link overwhelm, the information paralysis.

About a month ago, inspired by The Odin Project, I launched my own open source course. It’s on smart contract security for Ethereum.

I understand developing a whole course takes more effort than just dumping links. But it’s worthwhile if you really want to help others learn something faster than you did. Not just look like you care.


This has been pretty opinionated. “Awesome lists” have helped people, I’m sure. My intent is you’ll just consider this format over writing a list…

… and check out my Ethereum security course if you’re a fellow hacker. 🤓