Brain Pickings

On Gratitude: 51 Micro-Essays on Life’s Blessings

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There is plenty of evidence that practicing gratitude dramatically increases our sense of well-being, yet we consistently fail to acknowledge our blessings and instead choose to fixate on misfortune. On Gratitude, a lovely new book by Todd Aaron Jensen, reels us back from our dystopian mental habits by reminding us of the blessings big and small, from pajamas to parents to perfect timing, that make life worth living. The anthology features 51 micro-essays by musicians, artists, actors and other public figures, from B. B. King to Ann Rice to Francis Ford Coppola, that unequivocally disarm our typical dislike of celebrity culture as generally lacking in substance and instead present us with slices of sincerity as thoughtful and profoundly human as they come.

I always say that writing, for me, is like going to church. When I’m out of my way, when my ego is hushed, when my propensity for judging myself and editing myself is silenced for a moment, I’m feeling pretty close to God and everything that’s good.” ~ Sheryl Crow

Creation of the ladies is the greatest creation ever. I still think that today. Nothing better.” ~ B. B. King

Without empathy, you’ve got nothing.” ~ Ricky Gervais

Breath and life, and the opportunity to try. If you have nothing more, you always have that.” ~ Alicia Keys

On Gratitude is a delectable treat of humanity and humility. Sample it with a free Kindle download of Alicia Keys’ chapter or go ahead and grab the real thing — you’ll be grateful you did.

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