Brain Pickings


Photograph by Allan Amato.

Hello, kith. My name is Maria Popova. I am a reader and writer, and I write about what I read here on Brain Pickings — my one-woman labor of love, exploring what it means to live a decent, inspired, substantive life of purpose and gladness. Founded in 2006 as a weekly email to seven friends, eventually brought online and now included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive, it is a record of my own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually, poetically — drawn from my extended marginalia on the search for meaning across literature, science, art, philosophy, and the various other tentacles of human thought and feeling.

I am also the author of a very long, very yellow book titled Figuring and the editor of an eight-year labor titled A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader. I have at times thought in words for The New York Times, Wired, and The Atlantic, among others.

For more about the ethos and the human behind this labor of love, here are some reflections on my most important life-learnings from the first thirteen years of Brain Pickings, some answers to The New York Times’ “By the Book” questionnaire, and an On Being conversation with the wonderful and generous Krista Tippett:

Brain Pickings remains free and ad-free, and is supported by readers.



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