“Life is a continual process of arrival into who we are.”
– Maria Popova
Founded in 2006 as a weekly email to seven friends, BrainPickings now gets more than 5 million readers per month (!). I read very few blogs regularly, but BrainPickings is one of the few that makes the cut. It’s a treasure trove.
Maria is massively successful, and her output is staggering. None of it’s accidental, and she’s great at teaching what she’s learned.
This episode answers the top-10 most popular questions you all had for Maria, including:
- The single attribute that leads to greatness in any given field
- Required reading and habits for anyone in public office
- How Henry David Thoreau was the first to talk about the dangers of sitting
- Why we must stop referring to our work as “content”
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”.
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What blogs do you consider a must-read every week? What makes those sites worth your time? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- Working Days by John Steinbeck
- The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- The Journal of Henry David Thoreau by Henry David Thoreau
- Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
- A Rap on Race by James Baldwin
- On Science, Necessity and the Love of God by Simone Weil
- The Republic by Plato
- On the Move by Oliver Sacks
Mentioned from Brain Pickings
- Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on Writing
- Sontag on Writing
- Dan Gilbert on the Present vs. Future Self
- Van Gogh’s letters to his brother
- Desert Solitaire
- Gathering Moss
- Thoreau’s Journal
- A Rap on Race
- Simone Weil
- Oliver Sacks’s Memoir
- What advice would you give to someone just starting a blog? [4:07]
- You have probably read all the wisdom shared on Brain Pickings. Has this helped you become who you want to be? If not, what is stopping you? [8:45]
- What is the most significant characteristic that distinguishes people who have accomplished greatness in any given field? [11:43]
- How do you decide what to read? What makes something not worth reading? [16:00]
- What book have you read multiple times? [19:23]
- If you could guarantee that every public official or leader read one book and engaged in one habit, what would those be? [24:38]
- How do you turn down invitations that don’t interest you? How do you avoid losing time in your day? [26:05]
Posted on: July 24, 2015.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.