On May 15, writer Maria Popova (C'07) spoke at the graduation ceremony for the Annenberg School's 77 graduating Communication Majors. Her speech encouraged students to avoid toxic comparisons to other people and artificial metrics, instead focusing on their own path and happiness.
Popova, who the New York Times has called “the mastermind of one of the faster growing literary empires on the internet," is the founder and sole author of Brain Pickings, a literary-minded blog whose incisive reviews of books old and new, and celebration of diverse thinkers and ideas aims to answer to a fundamental question: “What does it mean to live a good life?”
She is an obsessive reader who draws connections between disciplines and time periods, turning her own curiosity into several thousand words written each day.
Brain Pickings began when Maria was a Communication major at Penn. She sought to share her habit of collecting information, and so she created Brain Pickings as an email to six friends. Her passion for curation ultimately grew into a widely read blog supported by reader donations. She is also a freelance writer for the NYT, Wired, The Atlantic, Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, and others as well as an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.