Abdurrahman Muhammad

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The Best of Brain Pickings 2014 – Brain Pickings

After the annual reading list of the year’s best books overall, it’s time for the annual summation of the best <i>Brain Pickings</i> articles of the year — “best” meaning those most read and shared by you, as well as those I took the most pleasure in writing. Please (re)enjoy and have an inspired, …

33 Books on How to Live: My Reading List for the Long Now Foundation’s Manual for Civilization

In a recent piece about the Manual for Civilization — the Long Now Foundation’s effort to assemble 3,500 books most essential for sustaining or rebuilding humanity, as part of their collaboratively curated library of 3,500 books for long-term thinking — I lamented the fact that Stewart Brand’s …

John Updike on Writing and Death

<i>“The mystery of being is a permanent mystery, at least given the present state of the human brain,”</i> <b>John Updike</b> (March 18, 1932–January 27, 2009) told writer Jim Holt in his poignant recent meditation on why the world exists. But Updike had been seriously pondering the question of existence for much …

The Art of Looking: Eleven Ways of Viewing the Multiple Realities of Our Everyday Wonderland

<i>“How we spend our days,”</i> Annie Dillard wrote in her timelessly beautiful meditation on presence over productivity, <i>“is, of course, how we spend our lives.”</i> And nowhere do we fail at the art of presence most miserably and most tragically than in urban life — in the city, high on the cult of …

How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes: Lessons in Mindfulness and Creativity from the Great Detective

<i>“The habit of mind which leads to a search for relationships between facts,”</i> wrote James Webb Young in his famous 1939 5-step technique for creative problem-solving, <i>“becomes of the highest importance in the production of ideas.”</i> But just how does one acquire those vital cognitive customs? That’s …

Uncommon Genius: Stephen Jay Gould on Why Dot-Connecting Is the Key to Creativity

<i>“Originality often consists in linking up ideas whose connection was not previously suspected,”</i> wrote W. I. B. Beveridge in the fantastic 1957 tome <i>The Art of Scientific Investigation</i>. <i>“The role of the imagination is to create new meanings and to discover connections that, even if obvious, seem to</i> …

Be Like Water: The Philosophy and Origin of Bruce Lee’s Famous Metaphor for Resilience

With his singular blend of physical prowess and metaphysical wisdom, coupled with his tragic untimely death, legendary Chinese-American martial artist, philosopher, and filmmaker <b>Bruce Lee</b> (November 27, 1940–July 20, 1973) is one of those rare cultural icons whose ethos and appeal remain timeless, …