What I’ve Been Reading: My 11 Favorite Blog Posts From 2016

For the past few years, I wrote a post about my favorite things I’ve read over the last year.  This is something I do leading up to my personal review of everything that happened over the last year. The good, the bad and the things that I want to change for the year ahead. It sums up everything – personal, professional, relationships, travel, health, etc, and helps me set my theme and goals for the new year.

For the past three years, I’ve shared my theme for the year in a blog post. My theme in 2014 was change and resiliency. In 2015, it was vulnerability and this year was mindfulness. Leading up to it, I like to reread blog posts, articles and even a few books that stuck with me earlier in the year. I find that I almost always walk away with something new when I reread a good blog post or book.Something that I glanced over at the time but now has much more impact. Right time, right context sort of thing.

So, here’s the 11 blog posts that I read, bookmarked, and reread the most this year.

No matter how you slice it 2016 was a crazy year for both U.S. and global politics. While this article that Mark Manson wrote was written before everything that went down last month in the U.S. and our newest president-elect, it is still the best read that explains why this happened.
There’s a reason I keep going back to Erika Napoletano’s blog year after year. And, it is for content like this. This title might be a little, “rah rah” and overly self-help sounding, but the post is anything but. It is raw and real in the best way possible.
There’s a small number of people that I look up to so much that I will read everything they write. Derek Sivers falls into the category. So, is it really a surprise that I would include one of his blog posts in this yearly round-up? This is a post to read, bookmark and reread every time you are struggling to get motivated.
I’ve always been really skeptical of Tony Robbins – partly because of how he markets his products and also because he has some unsettling characteristics of a cult-leader.  Just think about it for a second- he gets people to spend their life savings on a seminar, encourages people to “enter their peak state,” and has people literally walk on fiery coals. I also know several people who have gone to his seminars and had life-changing experiences. This post from David Spinks, who was also a bit of skeptic before attending, has me reconsidering some of my original assumptions.
Mental health still has a negative stigma in the U.S. So anytime a public figure is willing to talk about their struggles is helpful. The last person you expect to talk about battling their mental health woes is one of the most winningest college football coaches in recent memories. This long-form article on Coach Urban Meyer’s mental health struggles is not only hard-hitting but beautifully written.
 
I have a small confession. Despite hearing the word a bunch of times and some failed Google attempts, I didn’t know what the word, “antifragile” even meant until this summer. Reading this post shortly thereafter everything just clicked. This post from Taylor Pearson is a must read if you want to better at starting and managing relationships with anyone.
Silicon Valley startups may glorify “pivoting” and “failing fast,” but it doesn’t make it easier for an entrepreneur to talk about it publicly. This post from my Shannon Byrne about her failed Kickstarter campaign for Song a Day is not only brave, but extremely insightful.
My favorite part of this post is this gem-  “Be more concerned with character than reputation. Character is what you are, reputation is what people think you are.”
When you think of bullying, you probably think of the playground bully who teased the fat kid or made someone eat worms. The reality is most bullying is not that overt. And, most bullying online – outside of gaming communities – is intellectual bullying. Something I’ve personally dealt with, and I wish I had this excellent post from Alexandra Bowen to read when I was dealing with a similar situation.

10. How to surprise people in the digital age
This post from Justin Jackson is a great reminder. In our always-on social media world, sometimes the best way to stand out and surprise people in a good way is to go offline. Snail mail can be really effective as both marketing and surprise and delight tools. Everyone receives tons of emails. It is hard to stand out in a sea of noise. But how often do you receive cool snail mail? It is mainly just bills, more bills and spammy credit card offers.
I have so much respect for anyone who is willing to tell it like it is. This post is no exception. There’s also some excellent copywriting gems in this post including something that has stuck with me ever since. “Don’t just share the facts. Share the experience.”
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