Inspiring People of 2018: Roaming Local Libraries Once Again With the Help of Maria Popova.

Productivity porn is a real thing on the Internet. There are piles and piles of websites centered on making you more productive. Right now it’s impossible to flip through any social media without boosted posts for planners, journals, systems, and courses to make 2019 your best year yet — but only if you buy this product.

I ignore most of this.

But if Maria Popova started selling her secrets to productivity, I’d buy the crap out of whatever she offered. She is the most prolific reader and writer I’m aware of.

There are two blogs I read every day. One is Seth’s blog.

The other is Brain Pickings written and curated by Maria Popova.

I don’t know how to describe Brain Pickings. I have it filed in my RSS reader in a folder called “Literati”. Not sure if that’s best. But this blog is my critical source for new reading material because Maria Papova has to be one of the most well-read people on planet earth.

Ms. Popova and her blog help with literary diversity.

She has introduced me to children’s books and memoirs, autobiographies and scientific research non-fiction. She’s even been a discovery catalyst for science fiction and fantasy. Maria Popova is a purveyor of books — and not just new books. In fact, most of what I’ve gleaned from her have been old books. Books from previous decades and centuries. Books that have been forgotten in dusty library stacks until the cover appears once again in Brain Pickings.

Oh — and that’s a seemingly minor detail about Maria’s blog that I find incredibly important.


She links to Amazon. Sure. Lot’s of folks do that, and it’s helpful (and a small way to support the site). But she also links to local libraries. This led to my rediscovery of the power, beauty, and importance of libraries. I’ve started wondering library stacks once again, reminiscent of hours spent there as a small boy in a small town in Illinois. (Side note: downtown Greenville, SC has a wonderful and under-utilized library.) And it’s been a wonderful rediscovery.

Brain Pickings is the main reason I frequent this place once again.

Anyone who reads or writes could aspire to Maria Popova. She is a breath of fresh air in a meme-driven world where short and shareable rule the day. A year of reading Brain Pickings and you’ll learn a lot.

But, if you do it right, you’ll actually be smarter, because you’ll be more curious. And there is great power in curiosity.

“Greatness is consistency driven by a deep love of the work.”
― Maria Popova

If you want to get started with Brain Pickings, I recommend checking out her “Best Of” posts for 2018. Then, by all means, add this site to your RSS feed for 2019. You will be moved, angered, argue, smile, and laugh, and your smarts will be much better rounded.

The public library in downtown Greenville, SC.