30 Newsletters I Couldn’t Live Without

Newsletters can be awesome sources of inspiration, opportunity and entertainment, if you find the right ones

I love a good newsletter.

My job is to know what’s going on in various industries (media, science, tech, startups), come up with new ideas related to these industries (whether that’s writing about them, speaking about them, making advisory decisions of the back of them), and find new sources of work, travel and opportunity.

A lot of people ask me how I manage to keep up — and the short (and maybe slightly too simplified, but that’s for another day) answer is that I subscribe to craploads of newsletters.

Some newsletters are made to be a newsletter, others are summaries of what’s been published on a website — I love the former for it’s indulgent, deep dive, inner-workings-of-someones-mind qualities; I love the latter because who actually checks their favourite websites and blogs every day any more…?!

But a wee note on personal newsletters: there are many awesome internet people who put a lot of effort into curating incredible newsletters for the pure joy of sharing what they think is fab with the wider world, in a more intimate setting — the fact that you can click reply and, more often than not, get a reply from these people is pretty unique to the world of newsletters. This is probably the main reason I like them: because I get to hear the inner workings of someone’s brain that I won’t get in an article, a keynote or mayyyybe even over a coffee. I’m very aware of this, as I too have a newsletter, and it’s unlike any of my writing, tweeting, speaking or advising; it’s just some thoughts and some awesome things I’ve seen that I think other people might like. I love finding newsletters like this from others. (Shameless promo: you can find mine here #sorrynotsorry)

Before I get into my list — a few things to note:

  1. I am super open-minded with newsletters, so I’m an easy convert when I see the option of a newsletter — but I’m also quite impatient. If the first one I get isn’t as useful, interesting or entertaining as I suspected, I’m quick to unsubscribe and move on to the next
  2. I use Unroll.me to manage my inbox (they put everything into a separate folder which is essentially my ‘read later’ list) and I check it once a day
  3. I set aside time to specifically go through the more meaty / inspiration-led newsletters (in the same way I’d set aside time to read a book)
  4. There are plenty of days where I’m not in the mood and I just select all and delete — I used to get serious FOMO around newsletters and frankly it was just a bit sad. I’d advise fellow perfectionists to bear that in mind
  5. I have a really long, random list of things I’m interested in, so it’s unlikely you’re going to like everything below — but I reckon if there’s SOMEthing we have in common, then there’s something in this list for you

Ok enough place-setting, below are some of my go-to favourite newsletters (alphabetically, because structuring this list somehow was getting out of hand…)

  1. A VC — so this VC in New York called Fred Wilson (USV) essentially writes what’s on his mind EVERY DAY (how?!?!) on his blog (I subscribe to get it in my inbox) — skews startups, business, funding, tech, blockchain
  2. a16z newsletter — monthly newsletter from Andreessen Horowitz pointing you to 5 things they’ve made that month (podcasts, articles, explainers, reports etc). Useful to know what those inside one of the most influential firms are thinking — skews tech, funding, startups, future tech, government
  3. Aeon newsletter — a summary of what’s been published on Aeon, one of my favourite publications — skews philosophy, science, reason, society, ‘big ideas’
  4. ARMACAD — great summary of opportunities in academia, journalism, international exchanges open for applications — skews academia, science, international, politics, opportunities, journalism
  5. Austin Kleon’s newsletter — the author of ‘Steal Like an Artist’, this is his weekly newsletter with awesome links and some of his writings, all about the world of art, creativity, and writing — skews art, writing, design, book recommendations
  6. Brain Food, by Farnam Street — weekly summary of (and some commentary around) the articles published on the Farnam Street website that week, and their recommended books — skews self development, business, philosophy, books
  7. CB Insights — cracking newsletter on what’s going on in the world of startup investment, globally; includes lots of ace graphs. It even ends with ‘I love you’ — skews startups, tech, science, funding, US, business
  8. Crunchbase Daily — daily round up of investments, conferences, news and important deadlines in the world of startups — skews tech, startups, funding, business
  9. Design Luck — Zat Rana essentially writes, curates, and shares awesome ideas and tips around ‘designing your own luck’ — skews self-development, philosophy, ways of working, education, book recommendations
  10. Exponential View — weekly deep dive and download from the cracking Azeem Azhar on what’s going on in the world of future tech & society (predominantly AI) — skews AI, business, startups, funding, ethics, society
  11. FierceBioTech — best way to get all the news in the world of biotech, life science businesses, pharma, medtech etc — skews biology, science, life science, startups, pharma, funding
  12. Finimize — financial news in 3 minutes (daily), with emojis, what’s not to love? — skews finance, business, analysis, investing
  13. Five Things — a VC called Nico Lumma pulls together this cracking list EVERY DAY (how?!?!?), there’s always a great read or two in there — skews business, politics, startups, tech, society
  14. Five Things on Friday — a list of (you guessed it…) 5 things that the wonderful James Whatley thinks are awesome each week (there’s always more than 5 things btw) — skews advertising, gaming, media, culture
  15. Fully Charged — Bloomberg Technology’s daily newsletter; I like it because it’s not just a list of obvious articles, but has some editor’s commentary around it — skews tech, startups, business, funding
  16. H+ Weekly — as Conrad Gray (the author) perfectly summarises: ‘latest news and articles about robotics, AI and transhumanism’, I’m assuming the H stands for Humanity? — skews future tech, AI, robotics, transhumanism, startups, science, tech
  17. Hurt Your Brain — newsletter from Erik Jones which he calls ‘an internet playlist for people fascinated by the world’ — there’s always cracking podcast and video recommendations in here — skews media, society, recommendations, culture
  18. Laura Olin’s newsletter — this one’s hard to describe so I’ll use Laura’s words: “Lovely and/or meaningful things in the form of links, notes, and updates on projects” (She was Obama’s digital strategist for his re-election and I only found this out now when I was trying to find her newsletter link. I honestly have no idea how I started getting her newsletter but I’m so glad I do, it’s a great source of inspiration) — skews media, internet, society, culture, random
  19. Life Sci VC — a cracking blog by Bruce Booth (Atlas Ventures) about the wonderful world of life science companies, I subscribe to get it in my inbox — skews life science, startups, funding, business, pharma, health
  20. Longreads Top 5 — if you love long, meaty, cracking articles, this list of the best from that week is 100% up your street — skews writing, journalism, society, recommended reads, books
  21. Neo.Life — weekly newsletter all about the future of humans, life and biology; WIRED, but focused on life science (funnily enough, it’s founder was one of the co-founders of WIRED itself…) — skews science, life science, good writing, tech, startups, culture
  22. Other Valleys — creative and tech-related news NOT from UK / US / EU from the lovely Anjali Ramachandran — skews startups, digital, tech, business, funding
  23. Storythings — 10 interesting stories, or thoughts on how to tell great stories, every Friday — skews media, arts, digital, journalism
  24. Ten Things, by Luke Leighfield — a list of (of course…) 10 things that the lovely Luke thinks are awesome. I always look forward to reading this — skews art, documentaries, society, music, writing
  25. The Hustle — this is one of my favourite sources of business / financial news, written in a to-the-point, entertaining way (I hate myself for calling it ‘FT for Millennials’, but I can’t think how else to describe it) — skews US, business, startups, finance
  26. The Prepared — so this is a newsletter about manufacturing but STAY WITH ME. Machines are bloody cool and this newsletter totally indulges in that, with a startup / engineer / maker-movement slant — skews startups, engineering, manufacturing, business, making
  27. The Reading List Email — Ryan Holiday’s monthly email outlining 5–10 books to read. I look forward to this one: it’s always full of gems I’d never think to read, and any recommendations I’ve taken have *always* been brilliant — skews books, culture, history, politics, recommended reading, good writing
  28. Web Curios — the wonderful Matt Muir writes this every week. It’s the longest newsletter I receive, and I honestly don’t know how he does it. Anyway it’s utterly glorious, a total frenzy and full of things you won’t find elsewhere — skews social media, society, art, music, tech, random
  29. WIRED Awake — morning summary from WIRED about what’s going on in the world. I find this useful as a quick browse — skews tech, science, startups, gaming, media
  30. Zeynep’s Eclectics — I love Zeynep Tufekci’s writing, and this is her newsletter where she puts ‘thoughts and notes that are too long for Twitter, not polished enough for my New York Times column, and not ready or a good fit for Facebook or elsewhere.’ — skews business, personal thoughts, journalism, good writing

*BONUS* Of course, I’ve got my own wee newsletter, Brain Reel

*ANOTHER BONUS AREN’T YOU LUCKY* If you want to discover awesome (new and old, from all over the genres) music every Friday, you should also subscribe to Jed Hallam’s Love Will Save The Day

If you have any newsletter recommendations, post them below in the comments — I’d love to hear about the ones I’m missing…