That last default apps post was fun, and I’m often sharing things I read without giving enough credit to what I enjoy reading in the first place.
Pandemic-era dread inspired me to audit my news sources and replace algorithms with a handpicked selection of RSS feeds and newsletters.
I’ve spent years reflexively unsubscribing from mass emails, so opting in feels like petting the cat backwards. While I may have gone overboard with subscriptions, they combine with Mastodon and community chatter to have me feeling aware of major news in a way that has more variety, depth, and personality than the daily churn of breathless headlines.
I also get the sense that working out these DIY curation muscles is going to be increasingly important for the rest of my life.
Listing every RSS feed and newsletter here would be chaos, but these are the ones I’ve enjoyed most this year.
Morning Brew is a daily news summary that manages to be terse, thorough, and witty. It’s as close as I get to a conventional news outlet, and while it’s more market-focused than I am with ads to dodge, I don’t mind as a freeloader.
A.R. Moxon writes The Reframe, stunning essays about American society and politics that are elegant, thoughtful, and cathartic. His depth, care, and sensitivity for nuance are an antidote to what often feels like tribal screaming matches.
Austin Kleon writes about art, curiosity, and inspiration. If your relationship with art is lacking or complicated, his essays and recommendations are a pull of gravity toward a creative, expressive place.
Daniel Steinberg writes Dim Sum Thinking, which is a sort of personal newsletter. It stands out to me for its cadence, each issue being a meditative thing with sentences standing on their own lines. I read more slowly and deliberately, which is always rewarding. It doesn’t matter much to me that Daniel operates in a different software microcosm, he’s obviously a thoughtful guy and good teacher and I’m happy to be living on the same planet.
Kat Valente is a science fiction author with razor-sharp wit and off-the-chart spiciness reflecting on how dumb things are, particularly with politics and tech. It would be enough if it was only entertaining and hilarious, but often she so precisely characterizes and incinerates her targets I want to stand up and clap in an empty room.
John Cutler writes about the business of getting things done in organizations. His topical dives, breakdowns, and advice have been therapeutic as I’ve tried to better understand some of my own career narrative. If you manage people, or might end up managing people, there’s a wealth of regular, well-articulated advice here.
Matthias Ott recently started a newsletter devoted to personal websites that’s upbeat, beautifully designed, and fun to read. He manages to write for both the aspiring website-maker and the serial-replatformer that’s been at it for years, which is impressive. I’m hopeful that the internet is having a resurgence of personality, and generous efforts like this are a friendly and rallying call to action.
Brain Food is a newsletter that reads sort of like a brief collection of fortune cookies. Thoughtful quotes and short blurbs about leadership, productivity, creativity, and motivation.
Rob Walker writes The Art of Noticing, about creativity and work and being a person.
Mandy Brown writes a blog for her consultancy Everything Changes, sharing insights about the nature of people working together and growing.
Erin Kissane is some kind of human miracle, exploring things with so much depth and diligence it boggles my mind. How she manages to read so voraciously, write with earnestness and humor, and delve so deeply into topics is just … I feel like a cantaloupe but I’m glad smart people like her choose to write.
Amy Hupe is humor and bravery personified, writing with an unvarnished honesty and sincerity that inspires me to get over myself and take a hard look at the perfectionism I’m not better off for having.
Dave Rupert is a web developer that writes about all sorts of things and demonstrates that a blog is whatever you want to make it. And his is fun to read.
Kev Quirk writes about reflections, experiments, and sometimes taking care of a country house.
John Gruber writes about Apple and tech. I’ve been an on-again, off-again follower, but his ability to succinctly summarize wonders and nonsense, combined with giving a shit about design and typography, has made for a years-long stretch of “on.”
Chris Coyier writes about seemingly anything he wants to, which is often an inspiring reminder of what blogging is all about. There’s not necessarily a theme or usual length or discernible pattern, just a regular march of posts that fall into a “just right” zone of blogworthiness.
Elan Ullendorff writes about taking control of attention and the human side of the internet. It’s one of the latest newsletters I’ve added to my rotation, and his reflections on humanity and AI have me eager for more.
Have you been reading any blog posts or newsletters you’ve enjoyed?