Brain Pickings Icon
Brain Pickings

favorite reads

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

Fluid reflections on keeping a solid center.

read article

16 Overall Favorite Books of 2016
16 Overall Favorite Books of 2016

From loneliness to love to black holes, by way of Neil Gaiman, Annie Dillard, and Mary Oliver.

read article

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.”

read article

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.”

read article

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.”

read article

Philosopher Erich Fromm on the Art of Loving and What Is Keeping Us from Mastering It
Philosopher Erich Fromm on the Art of Loving and What Is Keeping Us from Mastering It

“There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.”

read article

An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: Alan Watts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence
An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: Alan Watts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence

Wisdom on overcoming the greatest human frustration from the pioneer of Eastern philosophy in the West.

read article

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.

read article

How to Love: Legendary Zen Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on Mastering the Art of “Interbeing”
How to Love: Legendary Zen Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on Mastering the Art of “Interbeing”

“To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.”

read article

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.”

read article

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

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

read article

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.”

read article

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.

read article

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

“Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective… We are in this together, this accumulation of scars… What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity.”

read article

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.”

read article

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.”

read article

Friedrich Nietzsche on Why a Fulfilling Life Requires Embracing Rather than Running from Difficulty
Friedrich Nietzsche on Why a Fulfilling Life Requires Embracing Rather than Running from Difficulty

A century and a half before our modern fetishism of failure, a seminal philosophical case for its value.

read article

How to Neutralize Haters: E.E. Cummings, Creative Courage, and the Importance of Protecting the Artist’s Right to Challenge the Status Quo
How to Neutralize Haters: E.E. Cummings, Creative Courage, and the Importance of Protecting the Artist’s Right to Challenge the Status Quo

“War and chaos have plagued the world for quite a long time, but each epoch creates its own special pulse-beat for the artists to interpret.”

read article

View Full Site

Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I get a small percentage of its price. That helps support Brain Pickings by offsetting a fraction of what it takes to maintain the site, and is very much appreciated