My favourite newsletters

6th December, 2021

Now we live in the substack era, I thought I’d share a few newsletters I enjoy receiving… Admittedly, the line between newsletter and RSS feed is rather blurred (and personally I like to consume things via RSS when I can). But here are a few recommendations…

David Epstein’s Range Widely is a weekly essay. The topics (appropriately) range widely, but often reflect Epstein’s interest in sports, expertise, and generalisation vs specialisation. David Epstein’s latest book, Range, is outrageously good.

Oliver Burkeman’s The Imperfectionist tends to be shorter and scarcer – perhaps appropriately for the author of a book about the finitude of life, Four Thousand Weeks. The newsletter contains reflections and consolations on the art of getting things done, and more often on the art of not beating yourself up too much when you don’t get things done.

Matthew Levine’s Money Stuff is a long, daily newsletter about finance, but it’s full of creative ideas and often very funny. I don’t always have time to read it, but it’s email: free disposal! Worth a look.

Diane Coyle’s The Enlightened Economist offers frequent reviews of the latest books, usually in history, economics or social science. Not a newsletter in the classic sense but the reviews are serious-minded and insightful. Coyle’s latest book is Cogs and Monsters.

Noah Smith’s substack Noahpinion fully explores the medium: there are recommendations of the best manga, pieces of macroeconomic analysis, proposals to fix Twitter, and video interviews with interesting people (for example, an early interview about Omicron with Eric Topol). Worth a look.

And, not quite a newsletter but I loved this piece on the Futility Closet blog about an open letter written before Christmas 1914 from the women of the UK to the women of Germany. Needless to say Futility Closet itself is worth your time.

Those who prefer their recommendations in audio format might enjoy my recent interview on the Better Known podcast, where I recommend six things that should be better known (and one thing I wish was more obscure). Enjoy.

The paperback of “How To Make The World Add Up” is now out. US title: “The Data Detective”.

“One of the most wonderful collections of stories that I have read in a long time… fascinating.”- Steve Levitt (Freakonomics)

“If you aren’t in love with stats before reading this book, you will be by the time you’re done.”- Caroline Criado Perez (Invisible Women)

I’ve set up a storefront on Bookshop in the United States and the United Kingdom – have a look and see all my recommendations; Bookshop is set up to support local independent retailers. Links to Bookshop and Amazon may generate referral fees.

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