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The Best of Brain Pickings 2017
The Best of Brain Pickings 2017

The courage to be yourself, a Stoic’s antidote to anxiety, how friendship transforms us, in praise of solitude, and more.

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A Stoic’s Key to Peace of Mind: Seneca on the Antidote to Anxiety
A Stoic’s Key to Peace of Mind: Seneca on the Antidote to Anxiety

“There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

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The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Cummings on Art, Life, and Being Unafraid to Feel
The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Cummings on Art, Life, and Being Unafraid to Feel

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”

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The Writing of “Silent Spring”: Rachel Carson and the Culture-Shifting Courage to Speak Inconvenient Truth to Power
The Writing of “Silent Spring”: Rachel Carson and the Culture-Shifting Courage to Speak Inconvenient Truth to Power

“It is, in the deepest sense, a privilege as well as a duty to have the opportunity to speak out — to many thousands of people — on something so important.”

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A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness and the Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility
A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness and the Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility

“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope.”

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Susan Sontag on Storytelling, What It Means to Be a Moral Human Being, and Her Advice to Writers
Susan Sontag on Storytelling, What It Means to Be a Moral Human Being, and Her Advice to Writers

“Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.”

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Mary Oliver on What Attention Really Means and Her Moving Elegy for Her Soul Mate
Mary Oliver on What Attention Really Means and Her Moving Elegy for Her Soul Mate

“Attention without feeling … is only a report.”

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The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

“Loneliness is difficult to confess; difficult too to categorise. Like depression, a state with which it often intersects, it can run deep in the fabric of a person.”

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Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives
Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives

How to fine-tune the internal monologue that scores every aspect of our lives, from leadership to love.

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A Brave and Startling Truth: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Maya Angelou’s Stunning Humanist Poem That Flew to Space, Inspired by Carl Sagan
A Brave and Startling Truth: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Maya Angelou’s Stunning Humanist Poem That Flew to Space, Inspired by Carl Sagan

“Out of such chaos, of such contradiction / We learn that we are neither devils nor divines…”

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In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times
In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times

Perspective to lift the blinders of our cultural moment.

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10 Learnings from 10 Years of Brain Pickings
10 Learnings from 10 Years of Brain Pickings

Fluid reflections on keeping a solid center.

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Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers
Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers

Hemingway, Didion, Baldwin, Fitzgerald, Sontag, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Morrison, Orwell, and other literary icons.

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The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease
The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease

How your memories impact your immune system, why moving is one of the most stressful life-events, and what your parents have to do with your predisposition to PTSD.

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Against Self-Criticism: Adam Phillips on How Our Internal Critics Enslave Us, the Stockholm Syndrome of the Superego, and the Power of Multiple Interpretations
Against Self-Criticism: Adam Phillips on How Our Internal Critics Enslave Us, the Stockholm Syndrome of the Superego, and the Power of Multiple Interpretations

“In broaching the possibility of being, in some way, against self-criticism, we have to imagine a world in which celebration is less suspect than criticism.”

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Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change
Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change

“This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.”

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Leisure, the Basis of Culture: An Obscure German Philosopher’s Timely 1948 Manifesto for Reclaiming Our Human Dignity in a Culture of Workaholism
Leisure, the Basis of Culture: An Obscure German Philosopher’s Timely 1948 Manifesto for Reclaiming Our Human Dignity in a Culture of Workaholism

“Leisure lives on affirmation. It is not the same as the absence of activity … or even as an inner quiet. It is rather like the stillness in the conversation of lovers, which is fed by their oneness.”

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