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The best of Brain Pickings this year

The best of Brain Pickings this year. NOTE: This message might be cut short by your email program.
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In 2016, I poured tremendous time, thought, love, and resources into Brain Pickings, which remains free. If you found any joy and stimulation here this year, please consider supporting my labor of love with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:


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And if you've already donated, from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU.

WelcomeHello, Blue! As this season of reflection draws to a close, I take stock of the best Brain Pickings articles this year -- "best" being a composite measure of those you read and shared the most, and those I most enjoyed writing – in this special annual edition. The regular weekly newsletter will return on Sunday, as usual. If you're enjoying it, please consider supporting this labor of love with a donation – in 2016, I spent thousands of hours and tremendous resources on it, and every little bit of support helps enormously.

10 Learnings from 10 Years of Brain Pickings

What Makes a Person: The Seven Layers of Identity in Literature and Life

There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions

The Secret Life of Trees: The Astonishing Science of What Trees Feel and How They Communicate

The Third Self: Mary Oliver on Time, Concentration, the Artist’s Task, and the Central Commitment of the Creative Life

Young Barack Obama on What His Mother Taught Him About Love

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

The Psychology of What Makes a Great Story

Cry, Heart, But Never Break: A Remarkable Illustrated Meditation on Loss and Life

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

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

No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: Toni Morrison on the Artist’s Task in Troubled Times

The Science of How Our Minds and Our Bodies Converge in the Healing of Trauma

Ursula K. Le Guin on Power, Oppression, Freedom, and How Imaginative Storytelling Expands Our Scope of the Possible

The Difficult Balance of Intimacy and Independence: Beloved Philosopher and Poet Kahlil Gibran on the Secret to a Loving and Lasting Relationship