To create my weekly newsletter, I sift through a ton of other newsletters and websites about life, creativity, and productivity. If you’re itching to expand your horizons (and your brainpower), here’s my shortlist of indispensable outlets.
If you’re terrible at keeping up with the news cycle, NextDraft is the answer. Dave Pell’s daily email synthesizes everything you need to know. You get the big-picture news and politics as well as extremely well-curated offbeat stories.
The Exponential View
If you want to stay on top of the tech world, Azeem Azhar’s weekly newsletter, The Exponential View, is indispensable. With a wonderful high-low sensibility, he mixes deep coverage of the future of business and AI with emojis and “short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties.”
The Modern Desk
A project of Offscreen magazine editor Kai Brach, this newsletter highlights helpful tools for the modern office professional—everything from stylish Danish desks to writing and meditation apps to interactive white boards. It’s an incredible mix of physical and digital tools with real utility.
From a newsletter perspective, Manson is all about substance over style (aka his email is infrequent and un-designed, but contains incredible writing). He’s probably my favorite self-help writer going these days, and largely because of his bracing, no-bullshit approach to giving good advice.
From the author of Steal Like an Artist, this weekly newsletter is great for creative inspiration. With tips on art, music, and books to take in, Kleon is like that friend who always has something cool and unexpected to recommend. He obviously has an insatiable curiosity and appreciation for great artwork, and it’s infectious.
The weekly newsletter from my alma mater 99U just got a sleek redesign to add more visual punch. But the killer content hasn’t changed: It’s still filled with excellent interviews, articles, and tips that offer pragmatic, actionable advice for creatives. And if you get lucky, maybe an article from me every once in awhile! ; )
While no topic is out of bounds, Farnam Street editor Shane Parrish seems particularly interested in learning how to think more clearly, problem-solve better, and make smarter decisions. (He is also strangely obsessed with Charlie Munger.) If you want to challenge your thinking, literally, this is a good place to start.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree
This weekly newsletter by Eric Barker dispenses excellent wisdom on everything from happiness to relationships to money in an engaging and insightful manner. As you scan his website you might think, “But, my, these headlines look quite click-baity!” And they are, but who cares because they always deliver.
This should probably go without saying, but if you’re not already signed up for my newsletter about working smarter and living better in the Age of Distraction, get on it! It’s a labor you’ll love. I promise.
Beyond newsletters there are a number of websites that I am extremely devoted to via RSS feed. A quick overview of those I strongly recommend:
The Morning News
TMN’s daily collection of headlines is absolutely indispensable. They cover all the usual news and politics alongside an incredibly well-curated collection of zany and unexpected stories.
Tyler Cowen’s daily “assorted link” roundups on Marginal Revolution are fantastic and insanely far-ranging—from dense economic references to the latest Beyoncé news, and everything in between.
I always look forward to the “Friday Link Pack” post from Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka SwissMiss), which collects clever videos, smart quotes, insightful articles, and beautiful design bits and bobs all in one place. Her taste is impeccable, and her enthusiasm is irresistible.
Run by the incredible autodidact Maria Popova, Brainpickings offers deep wisdom on living well. From Susan Sontag to Rainer Maria Rilke to Maurice Sendak, Popova reads and recommends a wide range of books, excising their best insights to spark your curiosity and your creativity.
If you like deep, thoughtful longform writing, Aeon is one of the best outlets on the web. Whether it’s on the future of reading, the self-help industry, or the meanings of life, their stories regularly question conventional wisdom and offer a unique and valuable new perspective.
It’s Nice That
For tracking the hottest new illustrators, artists, and photographers, few do it better than It’s Nice That. If you dig artist profiles and curated creative inspiration, this is the website for you.
Note: Many (but not all) of the above outlets also have newsletters—that just doesn’t happen to be the way that I follow them. But subscribe away if you like!