As far as I can tell, a comprehensive synthesis of Maria Popova (Creator of "Brain Pickings"—now rebranded as "The Marginalian") does not exist anywhere online.
I went through 50+ articles, interviews, podcasts, and videos to compile this synthesis. While I've explored Maria in the past, this is by far my deepest dive down the rabbit hole of her life and work—which she considers one and the same. It's amazing that Brain Pickings / The Marginalian celebrated its 15th anniversary on Oct 23, 2021!
I learned that Maria and I have a lot in common:
- Neither of us found our college educations intellectually stimulating or rewarding.
- Both of us worked in advertising but eventually had cognitive dissonance.
- Both us explore the question of how to live a meaningful life and are fueled by endless curiosity and lifelong learning across disciplines.
- Both of us started as personal growth first (business growth as a byproduct).
- Both of us are fascinated by and leveraging our synthesizing minds.
Maria and I are roughly the same age, but we started to figure out life at much different ages:
- Maria started Brain Pickings / The Marginalian 15 years ago in her early 20s.
- I started Sloww a few years ago in my early 30s.
Premium Synthesis Contents:
- The Origin & Evolution of Brain Pickings (Before, Beginning, Descriptions)
- From Meaning to Monetization (Purpose, Business as Byproduct, Defining Success)
- Curation, Creativity, Literature, & Wisdom (Art of Curation, Combinatorial Creativity, Literature as Original Internet, Information to Knowledge to Wisdom)
- Maria's Process: Strategy, Tactics, & Tools (Curiosity, Reading, Note-Taking, Thinking, Writing) + INFOGRAPHIC
- Maria's Daily Routine (No Work-Life Balance, Routine Breakdown)
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