If Silicon Valley has taught us anything, it’s that popularity isn’t everything in life. High school dynamics be damned, the nerds sometimes win. And so do the writers. This collection showcases the most engaging stories of the year, based on the average time a visitor spent reading. They’re not the most viral and they’re not click bait, but they are definitely worth the read.

1. The Battle for America’s Miracle Pig

The rare breed has been called a delicacy, a pest, and the key to a cure for mankind’s worst diseases. Which is it?

2. An Exit Interview with David Granger, Editor in Chief of Esquire

Quality time and a round of golf — for money — with David Granger, the Editor in Chief of Esquire for 19 years and winner of 17 National Magazine awards.

3. An Interview with the Greatest Living Mountaineer

Drinking beers and climbing rocks with mountaineer Conrad Anker.

4. Meet Thomas Bergersen — Master of Powerful, Epic Music

Thomas Bergersen has scored a huge number of film trailers, but his music is aimed at a much larger goal.

5. Who Is the Greatest Fictional American Badass?

We challenged the GP crew: give us the baddest of American badasses, and explain why they’d be the one left standing after shit hit the fan.

6. ‘Chef’s Table’ Cinematographers Reveal the Secrets of the Show

How to make the most beautiful show about food, ever.

7. Meet the Young American Cyclist Kicking Ass in Europe

Ian Boswell credits Lance Armstrong with his pro career. Read the interview to find out why.

8. Meet the Man Behind ‘Star Citizen,’ the Most Ambitious Video Game Ever

Chris Roberts is brilliant, boundary-pushing, and stubborn as hell. But that’s what it takes to make the most ambitious video game in history.

9. The Best Rye Whiskey You Can Actually Buy

Introduce yourself to the next best thing in brown spirits.

10. 12 Questions, 3 Virtual Assistants: Whose Answers Are Best?

12 Questions, 3 Virtual Assistants: Whose Answers Are Best?

11. A Guide to the American Watch Renaissance

A “Made in the USA” watch, by FTC standards, is almost an impossibility today. But American watches are still more exciting than ever.

12. How Kayaking Saved the L.A. River

What’s it take to rescue a waterway? Just an out-of-touch governmental agency, a whistleblower’s bold move and an unlikely hero’s ad hoc, bootleg journey.

13. For 51 Painful Hours, a Verde Mantis Lamborghini Huracán Was Mine

The Huracán is Italian, operatic, frenetic. A mechanical dream worthy of addiction. I admit I have a problem.

14. Climbing Partners

They climbed the 13,770-foot Grand Teton peak on their first date. What’d you do?

15. 10 Questions with the Man Who Out-Jumped Felix Baumgartner

A 57-year-old retired Google executive broke the record for the highest-altitude jump, but you’ve never heard of him. Here’s why.

16. The Adventure List

Travel engages us in the small moments — a conversation with a foreign cabbie, the feeling of breathlessness in high altitude. For 2016, these places are where great adventures will take place, and where travelers will be forever changed.

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