The Profile's 2022 Year in Review
Here is 2022 through the eyes of The Profile.
2022 has been one of my most personally fulfilling years so far.
I wrote a book, interviewed a number of fascinating people, and watched my daughter transform from a baby to a toddler. Those are the highlights, of course. But 2022 has also been filled with a number of moments that weren’t always easy to navigate.
Through it all, however, I always knew there was one uplifting corner of the internet: this newsletter and its amazing readers. Each year, I’m so thankful for our conversations and for those of you who reach out with great ideas, kind words, and helpful feedback.
Below, I’ve compiled some of the best profiles, interviews, podcasts, and videos that I’ve shared throughout the year. I hope you enjoy.
✨ BEST PROFILES
America’s most remarkable kid: If anyone was going to save this world, it was Kevin Cooper. At age 14, he had just published his autobiography. He was making plans to expand his 350-acre farm to buy up surrounding farms to convert to regenerative agriculture. He was saving money to build a house for his disabled parents and another for his autistic older brother. He was polishing a movie script and a series of children’s books teaching business literacy for kids. And, in his spare time, he had the task of grading the road to his farm using the John Deere tractor he bought new for himself for his 11th birthday. But on a hot day last June, Cooper drowned in a kayaking accident at a friend’s birthday party. If there’s one thing you read today, let it be this. (Deseret News)
The women getting paid to carry babies: Surrogacy has hit the mainstream. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson, Grimes and Elon Musk, and Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade have all shared that they’ve used surrogates to grow their families. Still, the surrogacy industry in the United States remains unregulated at the federal level, and only half the states have laws that determine how surrogacy should be practiced, if at all. Surrogates have the right to make all decisions regarding their bodies, including whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. Meet the women who choose to carry the children of others. (New York Magazine)
The ‘Miracle Boy’ of Surfside: Sixteen-year-old Jonah Handler was one of only several survivors in the tragic condo collapse in Surfside, Fla., last year. In this exclusive profile, he opens up about his miraculous rescue from the mountain of rubble, a year of balancing trauma with hope, and how he became the ‘key witness’ to a billion-dollar settlement. This one is heart-shattering. (Rolling Stone)
The woman who builds the world’s most unique Airbnbs: Over the past decade, Kristie Wolfe has built some of the most popular and unique vacation rentals on Airbnb, including a jungle treehouse in Hawaii, a real-life hobbit-hole in Washington, and a converted fire lookout in the middle of a forest. Less than a decade ago, Wolfe was making $13/hour working odd jobs. Today, her properties gross hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Here’s how a potato factory worker from Idaho become one of the most influential Airbnb proprietors in the world.
The death chamber doctor: Almost never do doctors who have worked in death chambers speak for themselves. Weeks after the S.C. Department of Corrections announced it was ready to execute by firing squad, physician Dr. Green Neal shares his story publicly for the first time. “Death is death, no matter whether it’s by disease, by homicide, whether it’s state-sanctioned or murder. But it’s just, here I am, I’m supposed to be saving people, not killing people,” he said.
✨ BEST PROFILE DOSSIERS
(These are normally only accessible to premium members but I've unlocked them for a limited time. If you want the full archive, become a premium member here.)
Jerry Seinfeld, the lifelong student of comedy
Svante Pääbo, the geneticist unlocking the secrets of our DNA
Martine Rothblatt, the futurist creating life-saving technology
Ron Finley, the gangster gardener
✨ BEST PROFILE COLUMNS
Q&A with Polina: How I Built the Profile (I answer reader questions about making mistakes, generating ideas, growing a newsletter, building daily habits, reading memoirs, and more.)
15 Months Without Alcohol (If you’re “sober-curious,” this one’s for you.)
10 Practical Pieces of Advice for First-Time Parents (I crowdsourced the ultimate guide to parenthood.)
Why You’ll Never Win the Status Game (Although it’s impossible to opt out of the status game, you can play with good intent.)
43 Life-Changing Quotes from the World’s Most Powerful People (For when you need a boost of inspiration)
Why Activism Isn’t Enough to Change the World (A reminder that there is no one way to advocate for meaningful change)
My Annual Birthday Check-In: 13 Lessons I Learned in the Last Year (Insights from my 31st birthday)
I Studied Hundreds of Successful People —And Wrote a Book About What I Learned (The announcement of my first book)
Inside the Book-Writing Process: How I Wrote a Book in the ‘Edges of Time’ (Here's the truth about how I wrote a book while taking care of a newborn.)
✨ BEST PROFILE ORIGINAL INTERVIEWS
Bridgewater co-CEO Mark Bertolini offers practical strategies to help us become better leaders in our personal and professional endeavors
UFC Champion Francis Ngannou explains what it really means to bet on yourself
Photojournalist Lynsey Addario shares stories from the front line and delves into how she assesses risk in a war zone
Author Robert Hoge teaches us how to accept our imperfections, differences, and all the "ugly" things that make us uniquely ourselves.
Podcaster Jacob Goldstein discusses the power of podcasting, the role of Bitcoin, and the future of money
‘More to That’ creator Lawrence Yeo discusses the nuts and bolts of his storytelling process
Professional baseball player Jack Kruger breaks down ‘the myth of the overnight success’
✨ BEST PODCASTS
You probably know Rich Roll as the voice behind his wildly popular eponymous podcast. What you may not know is that he has successfully re-invented his life after a dangerous addiction to alcohol. It affected all aspects of his life — including the day his marriage ended during the honeymoon because of it. One phrase had the power to change his life: “Mood follows action.” In this podcast, he explains what it means and how it can play out in our own lives. Listen here.
Ryan Holiday has written 12 books in 10 years. That’s a lot of damn books. In this podcast episode, he explains that the bulk of his money doesn’t come from his books, but from other streams of income he’s created around his brand. Here’s how Holiday quietly built a successful media empire with several branches that have nothing to do with books. Listen here.
We’ve become a pretty self-absorbed society. In this interview, comedian and actress Sarah Silverman shares a piece of advice her therapist gave her: “Look in the mirror less.” Silverman found it profound because when we look in the mirror, we don’t see what other people see. “We cognitively distort what we see in the mirror so much,” she says. Introspection is great — until it becomes detrimental. Listen here.
✨ BEST VIDEOS
Michael Larson is Bill Gates’s money man. He’s the quiet, secretive investor who has overseen Gates’s sprawling fortune since 1994. In this mini-documentary, we learn how Larson has grown the wealth of one of the richest people in the world. Watch here.
In this interview, “human cyborg” Peter Scott-Morgan’s avatar explains how the most important parts of him are controlled by artificial intelligence. “That all potentially gets a bit weird,” he says. He plans to use AI for everything from speaking to controlling things to moving about. Here’s how he’s pushing science forward by making his work and life open to the public. Watch here.
While the digital ecosystem offers children more learning tools at their fingertips, it also comes with drawbacks in terms of emotional and cognitive health. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents aged 10-14,” says adolescent psychologist Kimberly Ho. “And what causes depression more than scrolling for ages, comparing your life to the highlight reels of others?” Watch here.
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