Thinking the thoughts of others

How I manage my newsletter reading habit

I mentioned a daily newsletter reading habit in my post Tuesday and a bunch of people asked for me to expand on it. This is what I said:

I meticulously curate about two dozen newsletters that I read every word of. I’ll just start reading until something strikes me. Usually this is something I agree with very much (and want to add to or remix) or something I disagree with very much (and want to contest or reframe).

Why do this? Reading is a superpower; reading is mind-reading. When you read the words of another person, you think their thoughts and escape the constraints of your own experience. Now you can make use of the experiences of others.

I love books, podcasts, streamers, newsletters, even twitter profiles for this reason. Consuming the bibliography of a person–whatever the format–is the closest thing to being able to see the world through their brain for a little bit. So don’t @ me with any “there’s too many newsletter/podcasts/XYZ” tweets. There’s not nearly enough.

We wouldn’t want to read everybody’s mind though. So curation is important. Here’s how I do it:

  1. I subscribe to a lot of newsletters. Bar is low. If it’s recommended by a trusted contact or I read something that makes me think, I’ll subscribe.

  2. Every subscription goes into a gmail filter that skips the inbox and puts it into a “newsletter subscriptions” folder, creating a backlog of posts.

  3. Each morning, I work through my backlog. If I find a newsletter isn’t serving me (reading it is a chore, not learning anything, etc.), I’ll unsubscribe. Bar to keep a newsletter in my daily routine is high.

That’s it. I prefer personal newsletters to corporate ones. And I don’t read news.

It’s simple but separating newsletter content from my inbox full of to-do lists has had a huge positive impact on my online reading. I get more useful information and the whole process is more enjoyable.

Some of my favorites:

Would love to try new newsletters. What are your top few blogs/ newsletters? And why do you like them?