Maria Popova is the mind behind Brain Pickings, a NY-based site that boasts half a million visitors each month, 263,000 Twitter followers and a newsletter with 150,000 subscribers. Popova doesn’t like ads on her site. The New York Times reports that most of her income comes from books purchased on her recommendation through Amazon and donations. While her ideas pervade the site, she doesn’t talk about herself and rarely uses the word I. She told the Times that she views her work as, “helping people become interested in things they didn’t know they were interested in, until they are.” Recent essays recount a visit by Helen Keller to Martha Graham’s studio and how to find your true passion with links to a commencement address by Steve Jobs and a talk by Alain de Botton.
Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, said Popova celebrates literature and art and readers feel her extreme pleasure in sharing her ideas. “It’s like walking into the Museum of Modern Art and having somebody give you a customized, guided tour.”