Cool factor 4/5
Usability 3/5
Value for money 3/5

Forget the aphorism "Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach" — which we’ve surely all realised is rubbish — and learn directly from those who do, and do very well, with MasterClass (

This service has been stalking me on social media for a while (you may have seen it in your Facebook feed too), with adverts entreating me to learn photography with Annie Leibovitz or writing from Malcolm Gladwell.

In addition to these two drawcards, the website continues the name-dropping trend with some truly impressive talent. If you browse its "current offering" page, which lists all the available classes, MasterClass’s specialist teachers include Spike Lee, Gordon Ramsay, Garry Kasparov and Paul Krugman. All promise to share their knowledge and guide you in their particular area of expertise.

Krugman’s class includes 22 lessons on "economics and society", including "the economic theories that drive history, policy, and help explain the world around you", delivered in video format by the Nobel laureate himself and exclusive to MasterClass. A more physical class example is Serena Williams’s tennis lessons, which include two hours of video instruction, a workbook on serving, and the opportunity to submit a video of yourself for peer review — and, says the website, possible feedback from Williams herself.

For each class, you can sample the content or "meet your instructor" in a brief, high-quality preview video.

The website and companion app (available free, with in-app purchases for iOS and Android) are easy to navigate and premium looking — built to match the premium pricing. Classes (each is a series of lessons) cost R1,500 each. "All access" annual membership is R3,000, which is a much better deal, assuming you’ll find value in "Documentary filmmaking" with Ken Burns, or "The art and soul of guitar" with Carlos Santana when you’re done with your top choices.