How My Admiration for Maria Popova Turned into Jealousy (but Not for Long)

Coffee Cups

If you don’t know who Maria Popova is … shame on you.

She’s the founder and curator of Brain Pickings … one of the few blogs catalogued into the Library of Congress.

That blog is a bottomless source of curiosities. And for any writer, a well of inspiration. Which made her interview with Kelton Reid hands down my favorite.

Let me put this in context.

Over the years Kelton has interviewed some great writers: Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Jeff Goins.

But HER interview had me hanging on every word. To say she is intelligent and creative is a gross understatement.

No wonder: her life is consumed by reading and writing. Devoted to books like a nun with a iron-clad pact to serve God. It’s an entirely enviable life.

And not just any kind of books. Old, non-digital books. [Read more…]

Web Writers: 9 Classic Must-Read Direct Response Copywriting Books

I don’t care who you are — blogger, freelance journalist, ghost writer, ad copywriter — if you are writing on the web then you need to absorb copywriting mechanics.

There are two ways to get to that point: learning and practicing. I can’t help you with the practicing part. You just simply need to write … and keep on writing. But I can help you with the education part.

What follows are the nine books from the legends of direct response. Two are more recent than the others (and Influence is not technically direct response). These are the books I would demand you read if teaching a ground-level course on writing for the web since so many principles of direct response copywriting obey the unbreakable law of the web. [Read more…]

Warning: These 4 Books Will Give You a Case of “Rage to Master”

I’m an achievement addict. And I love books. So no surprise that I read books that will help me achieve my goals [no matter how ridiculous they are].

The four that I’ve read recently are high on my list of must-read. Like read them and you’ll get lit. In a good way. Passionate.

In other words, you’ll get a case of “rage to master.” I explain below. [Read more…]

6 Ways to Becoming a Hardcore Reader

“My concern is not to make people read, but to make them think.” –Montesquieu

Books are dead.

Sure. Whatever. Especially if what we mean by that is the physical object–the paper, the cover, the spine. Because one thing is for sure: reading is not dead.

Kill off the printed book and we’ll figure out a way to read. [Read more…]

How to Abandon a Book

Abandoned Book

Americans are ferociously pragmatic. We nurture an appetite for quick and easy.

For practical. Effective. Profitable.

We love racy articles on how to retire early. How to cram for a test. How to shave a pound off our tummy.

And we want these articles to hammer home the point in 5, 10 or 15 easy steps.

Don’t make me think. At least not too hard.

That’s the prevailing MO.

Naturally, this pragmatism MUST be avoided when it comes to cherishing a spouse, attending a cocktail party or raising children.

But I do strongly believe some things are in lock-step with expediency… [Read more…]

9 Reasons Why You Should Read More Old Books

If you’re like me, you get anxious and marginally depressed when you see all the new books published each year.

It can happen at Barnes and Noble or while scanning the New York Times bestseller lists.

But the result is always the same: an acute sense of failure. How in the world can I read all of these books? [Read more…]