I’ve done a couple of these so far, and they’re always super interesting. This post is really long, so you can jump about with these links, and you absolutely shouldn’t read it from top to bottom like a book!

  1. Some graphs
  2. Popular Articles
  3. Lots of Authors

Some Graphs


It makes sense that there are more short articles than long because you can fit more shorties into a given length book, but the interesting thing is that the peak is shifted to the right over the default of people’s overall Pocket which seems to be at about 2–3 minutes, this peak is over 6ish minutes.


Ben Thompson gets the top slot here down to one person who has been using WP as a way to get books of the Stratechery subscription content (which is an awesome use case), but it’s cool to see Venkatesh up there, given that I pinched his idea for the name of the product.

Names like SUBMISSION and EMAIL are sad because it’s bad metadata from the publishers, so we’ll never know who the real author is. (e.g. EMAIL is almost entirely the Marc Andreessen interview. I read it last night, it’s good.)

There’s a mega list of authors at the bottom of this page, most of them have links to their author page if you want to check them out.


There’s a really noticeable break between the major publishers and the niche publishers (bad names, but they’ll do). The niche section probably says something about the kind of people who read WP, but it’s also worth remembering that those bars are all <100, and there have been something like ten thousand (9971) articles printed so far. Half (4379) of them come from the top 37 publishers. (The ones shown in the graph.) The rest (5592) come from 2433 other places!

Pocket is in the top ten twice because of a really infuriating thing where they recommend an article, but then colonise its metadata. I think everyone would prefer they didn’t do that.


Nbody has really gone hard with using tags to make custom editions yet (as far as I can tell), but people love the wpMustPrint and wpNoPrint tags.

Popular Articles

This is an all time chart, I’ve been thinking about doing a month by month leaderboard at some point.

17 saves:

The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done

James Clear

In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his groundbreaking book, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which described his three laws of motion. In the process, Newton laid the foundation for classical mechanics and redefined the way the world looked at physics and science.

5 minutes to read

11 saves:

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person

Alain de Botton

IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person. Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others.

7 minutes to read

9 saves:

The Dangerous Downsides of Perfectionism

Amanda Ruggeri

In one of my earliest memories, I’m drawing. I don’t remember what the picture is supposed to be, but I remember the mistake. My marker slips, an unintentional line appears and my lip trembles. The picture has long since disappeared.

14 minutes to read

Colorectal cancer screening

Peter Attia

When I learned about Chadwick Boseman’s death from colorectal cancer (CRC) at the age of 43 a few weeks ago, it broke my heart. I know it might seem odd to be so struck by the passing of someone we never knew.

15 minutes to read

You’re Showering Too Much

James Hamblin

In October, when the Canadian air starts drying out, the men flock to Sandy Skotnicki’s office. The men are itchy. Skotnicki studied microbiology before becoming an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Toronto.

8 minutes to read

Final thoughts

Neil Levy

How do we find out what really matters in life? One way might be to ask those who are dying. They might occupy a perspective that allows them to see better what’s trivial and what’s truly significant.

16 minutes to read

8 saves:

Audio’s Opportunity and Who Will Capture It

Matthew Ball

As most of the major media categories — music, video and video games — have existed for decades, we tend to forget that media is technology. Instead, we think of technology as being used to express media, rather than media itself.

39 minutes to read

You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question

Mark Manson

CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay/FoundryThink about what you want.By This article is more than 2 years old.Everybody wants what feels good.

7 minutes to read

Marc Andreessen


Welcome to the first ever interview on 'The Observer Effect'. When planning for these series of interviews with interesting leaders and institutions, there was only one person I had in mind to have here first - Marc Andreessen. This interview was published on June 13th, 2020.

34 minutes to read

How to Work 40 Hours in 16.7 (The Simple Technique That Gave Me My Life Back)


Sound familiar? Looking back, I realize I used my work to try and fill a void in myself. The problem was that this void was like a black hole. No matter how many hours I worked, it never seemed to fill it up. If anything, it made me feel worse.

12 minutes to read

The Four Quadrants of Conformism

One of the most revealing ways to classify people is by the degree and aggressiveness of their conformism.

11 minutes to read

Finding the Critical Problem: How to Work on The Right Things

Arvid Kahl

You start a new business that solves a problem. You create a unique solution to help your audience deal with a pain they’re feeling. Yet the company fails to take off, even though you have a good solution and excellent marketing material. People don’t want to pay for it. Why is that?

14 minutes to read

7 saves:

Digital Crackdown: Large-Scale Surveillance and Exploitation of Uyghurs

Andrew Case

Over the last several years, numerous reports have emerged regarding the shocking treatment of Uyghurs, a Muslim minority ethnic group that makes up a large part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China.

14 minutes to read

How to Think for Yourself

There are some kinds of work that you can't do well without thinking differently from your peers. To be a successful scientist, for example, it's not enough just to be correct. Your ideas have to be both correct and novel. You can't publish papers saying things other people already know.

19 minutes to read

Emotional Intelligence: The Social Skills You Weren't Taught in School

How much of what you learned in school do you still remember? Even more importantly, how much of it do you actually use on a daily basis? Though we may not need to know the Pythagorean theorem or what happened during the Spanish American War, we do—or at least should—understand how and why peopl

12 minutes to read

The 10/10/10 Rule For Tough Decisions

Chip Heath, Dan Heath

It’s good to sleep on it when there are tough choices to make, but you also need a strategy once you wake up–which is why you should employ the 10/10/10 rule. 5 minute ReadIt’s easy to lose perspective when we’re facing a thorny dilemma.

8 minutes to read

A Big Little Idea Called Legibility

Venkatesh Rao

James C.

13 minutes to read

Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture

Chantal Panozzo

I was halfway through a job interview when I realized I was wrinkling my nose. I couldn't help myself.

10 minutes to read

The Art of Decision-Making

Joshua Rothman

In July of 1838, Charles Darwin was twenty-nine years old and single. Two years earlier, he had returned from his voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle with the observations that would eventually form the basis of “On the Origin of Species.” In the meantime, he faced a more pressing analytical problem.

20 minutes to read

6 saves:

An Absurdly Complete Guide to Understanding Whiskey

Jake Emen

What really makes whiskey taste like whiskey? If flavor truly just came down to a simple formula of distilling ratios of grains plus time spent in a barrel, then there wouldn’t be an infinite range of tastes, profiles and qualities.

14 minutes to read

From Muhammad to ISIS: Iraq’s Full Story

Tim Urban

If you’re not sure what Odd Things in Odd Places is and why I’m in Iraq by myself, here’s why. On the morning of Saturday, August 2nd, I got in a taxi in Erbil, the regional capital of Kurdish Iraq, and asked the driver to take me to the Khazir refugee camp.

35 minutes to read

Garbage Language

Molly Young

This article was featured in One Great Story, New York’s reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly. I worked at various start-ups for eight years beginning in 2010, when I was in my early 20s. Then I quit and went freelance for a while.

19 minutes to read

How A Player In The Trump-Russia Scandal Led A Double Life As An American Spy

Anthony Cormier, Jason Leopold

In the sprawling Trump-Russia investigation, one name constantly pops up: Felix Sater.

26 minutes to read

The rise of American authoritarianism

Amanda Taub

A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what's driving Donald Trump's ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016.

43 minutes to read

Emotional Intelligence: The Social Skills You Weren’t Taught in School

Eric Ravenscraft

How well do you recognize and understand your emotions? What about the emotions of those around you?

14 minutes to read

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Greg McKeown

Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases: Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.

6 minutes to read

Stoic Insights for Happier Relationships

Chad Grills

In ancient Rome, there was an entrepreneur-turned-statesman named Lucius Seneca. He was a philosopher who counted himself among the Roman Stoics. Seneca started from humble beginnings and rose to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world at the time.

13 minutes to read

The State of Micro Private Equity


Not every empire is built. Even by today's standards, these would represent extraordinary deals, with Louisiana costing roughly $345 million, the three western states totaling $600 million, and Alaska running a mere $126 million.

17 minutes to read

The semi-satisfied life

David Bather Woods

Two years earlier, in Hamburg, Johanna’s husband Heinrich Floris had been discovered dead in the canal behind their family compound. It is possible that he slipped and fell, but Arthur suspected that his father jumped out of the warehouse loft into the icy waters below. Johanna did not disagree.

17 minutes to read

Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

James Clear

This article is an excerpt from Atomic Habits, my New York Times bestselling book.

5 minutes to read

How to Learn Everything: The MasterClass Diaries

Irina Dumitrescu

When I was a teenager I read James Thurber’s Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I fell in love with this story of a meek, middle-aged Connecticut man whose daydreams afford him temporary escape from a dreary shopping trip with his overbearing wife.

30 minutes to read

‘Hard to back out’: Publishers grow frustrated by the lack of revenue from Apple News

Max Willens

Last year, Apple News brimmed with promise for publishers, offering an engaged, high-quality audience that seemed to do nothing but grow. Ad revenue wasn’t great, but at the start of 2018, most publishers assumed that would come around. One year later, most publishers are still waiting.

5 minutes to read

Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Many famous scientists have something in common—they didn’t work long hours. When you examine the lives of history’s most creative figures, you are immediately confronted with a paradox: They organize their lives around their work, but not their days.

22 minutes to read

5 saves:

The Case for Letting the Restaurant Industry Die

Helen Rosner

In late March, not long after the coronavirus brought America’s restaurant industry to a tense and precarious halt, the writer, cook, and artist Tunde Wey posted, to Instagram, the first part of an essay titled “Don’t Bail Out the Restaurant Industry.

18 minutes to read

How a History Textbook Would Describe 2020 So Far

James West Davidson

History never ends. But history textbooks must. As deadlines for new editions loom, every textbook writer lurches to a sudden stop. The last chapter always ends in uncertainty: unfinished and unresolved. I’ve experienced this many times myself, as a co-author on several history textbooks.

13 minutes to read


Stephen Rodrick

There is persona and there is reality in Greta Thunberg. It is Valentine’s Day in her hometown of Stockholm, but there’s only wind, no hearts and flowers. A few hundred kids mill about, with a smattering of adults.

14 minutes to read

What’s Next in Computing?

Chris Dixon

The computing industry progresses in two mostly independent cycles: financial and product cycles. There has been a lot of handwringing lately about where we are in the financial cycle. Financial markets get a lot of attention. They tend to fluctuate unpredictably and sometimes wildly.

15 minutes to read

The History of Loneliness

Jill Lepore

The female chimpanzee at the Philadelphia Zoological Garden died of complications from a cold early in the morning of December 27, 1878. “Miss Chimpanzee,” according to news reports, died “while receiving the attentions of her companion.

12 minutes to read

The 3 Stages of Failure in Life and Work (And How to Fix Them)

James Clear

One of the hardest things in life is to know when to keep going and when to move on. On the one hand, perseverance and grit are key to achieving success in any field. Anyone who masters their craft will face moments of doubt and somehow find the inner resolve to keep going.

15 minutes to read

How to Edit Your Own Writing

When the student pitches the plan to me, I start by looking at the items in the boxes of the flowchart, to make sure they are all relevant and that no relevant things have been missed. So far, this is no different than looking at a bullet list in a conventional outline.

23 minutes to read

What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life?

Rhaina Cohen

Kami West had been dating her current boyfriend for a few weeks when she told him that he was outranked by her best friend. West knew her boyfriend had caught snatches of her daily calls with Kate Tillotson, which she often placed on speaker mode.

29 minutes to read

How to retire in your 30s: save most of your money and rethink your core values

Danielle Kurtzleben

Seven in 10 Americans are disengaged from their jobs, according to Gallup. That's more than two-thirds of us who are unfulfilled by our work, just dragging our sorry selves to and from the office every day. One community has an attractive answer: just quit.

14 minutes to read

Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful

Gabriel Weinberg

2019 UPDATE: Since this post came out, I co-authored a book about it called Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models. You can order it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.

58 minutes to read

4 saves:

The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings

Amy Gallo

We love to hate meetings. And with good reason — they clog up our days, making it hard to get work done in the gaps, and so many feel like a waste of time.

8 minutes to read

Have We Already Been Visited by Aliens?

Elizabeth Kolbert

On October 19, 2017, a Canadian astronomer named Robert Weryk was reviewing images captured by a telescope known as Pan-STARRS1 when he noticed something strange.

18 minutes to read

The Black Bartenders That Created the Dive Bar

David Wondrich

Part of writing history is finding a path around the load of stories and “facts” that have been handed down to us so that you can see the real people standing behind them.

25 minutes to read

Warren Buffett’s “2 List” Strategy: How to Maximize Your Focus and Master Your Priorities

James Clear

With well over 50 billion dollars to his name, Warren Buffett is consistently ranked among the wealthiest people in the world. Out of all the investors in the 20th century, Buffett was the most successful.

4 minutes to read

Archaeologists May Have Finally Solved The Mystery Of What Happened To Roanoke

Marco Margaritoff

In 1590, every settler in the colony of Roanoke suddenly vanished without a trace. An archaeological study has turned up thousands of artifacts that may prove what happened to them. The mystery of what happened to Roanoke has puzzled historians for centuries.

5 minutes to read

Personal Leverage: How to Truly 10x Your Productivity

Nat Eliason

Our days are fixed. You have no less time than Musk or Bezos.  You can only do it through personal leverage.

12 minutes to read

Notes on technology in the 2020s

fascinating write-up

As we start a new decade, it’s a good time to reflect on expectations for the next 10 years. Tyler thinks the Great Stagnation could be ending. Caleb sees cracks. Noah expresses techno-optimism. In this post, my aim is not to predict an end or non-end to stagnation.

31 minutes to read

The Very Real, Totally Bizarre Bucatini Shortage of 2020

Rachel Handler

The very real, totally bizarre bucatini shortage of 2020. Part I: The Mystery Things first began to feel off in March. While this sentiment applies to everything in the known and unknown universe, I mean it specifically in regard to America’s supply of dry, store-bought bucatini.

22 minutes to read

You’re Only As Good As Your Worst Day

We tend to measure performance by what happens when things are going well. Yet how people, organizations, companies, leaders, and other things do on their best day isn’t all that instructive. To find the truth, we need to look at what happens on the worst day.

7 minutes to read

The Fall of Armie Hammer: A Family Saga of Sex, Money, Drugs, and Betrayal

Julie Miller

Armie Hammer already needed crisis therapy. The world was under lockdown last summer, and Hammer had been quarantining at a luxury villa in the Cayman Islands with his father, Michael, his stepmother, Misty, his two young children, and his wife of a decade, Elizabeth. 

40 minutes to read

The Last Children of Down Syndrome

Sarah Zhang

Prenatal testing is changing who gets born and who doesn’t. This is just the beginning. Every few weeks or so, Grete Fält-Hansen gets a call from a stranger asking a question for the first time: What is it like to raise a child with Down syndrome?

51 minutes to read

Why We Slouch

Venkatesh Rao

All physical structures can sag, but only sentient beings like you and me can slouch. To slouch is to adopt a degenerate behavioral posture. One that is aware of the potential for less degeneracy, and retains within itself a seed of an ability to actualize it, but consciously takes it out of play.

20 minutes to read

The Most Powerful Learning Tool (That Doesn’t Involve Studying)

A couple hours of studying isn’t nearly as impactful as eight hours of memorizing.

7 minutes to read

Can You Die From a Broken Heart?

Kirsten Weir

What happens to our bodies when the bonds of love are breached. Ruth and Harold “Doc” Knapke met in elementary school. They exchanged letters during the war, when Doc was stationed in Germany. After he returned their romance began in earnest.

16 minutes to read

The Glorious, Almost-Disconnected Boredom of My Walk in Japan

Craig Mod

The jazz cafe was tiny, with a few polished wood tables, a record collection on display, and two beautiful speakers. The owner, in his 70s, wore a porkpie hat and a sleeve garter. I’d stumbled into this place during a long walk through a stretch of rural Japan.

20 minutes to read

The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done

Cal Newport

In the early two-thousands, Merlin Mann, a Web designer and avowed Macintosh enthusiast, was working as a freelance project manager for software companies.

23 minutes to read

What Is It Like to Be a Man?

Phil Christman

At the time my wife and I were beginning to date, I owned a broken bed. The box spring had a biggish crack on one side, which caused you to feel like you were being gradually swallowed in the night—an effect seriously exacerbated by the presence of a second person.

24 minutes to read

Maybe Just Don't Drink Coffee

Matt Buchanan

It's eight in the morning and you can barely keep your eyes open, much less engage in the activities that constitute productive participation in the glorious neoliberal machinery of our economy.

7 minutes to read

Lessons on Success and Deliberate Practice from Mozart, Picasso, and Kobe Bryant

James Clear

How long does it take to become elite at your craft? And what do the people who master their goals do differently than the rest of us? That's what John Hayes, a cognitive psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, wanted to know.

8 minutes to read

The garden of forking memes: how digital media distorts our sense of time

points out

My Dad first gave me The Talk when I was 12 or 13. We were driving down the freeway, and he asked me if I’d ever been judged or harassed for being black. I remember this conversation vividly because my family doesn’t talk too much about their personal experiences with racial discrimination.

24 minutes to read

Not So Simple


Around eleven p.m. the night before the winter solstice of 2016 I unplugged my laptop and turned off my phone for what I hoped would be forever. I had just put the finishing touches to a straw-bale cabin that I’d spent the summer building on the three-acre, half-wild smallholding where I live.

11 minutes to read

How to write good prompts: using spaced repetition to create understanding

Matuschak, Andy

This guide and its embedded spaced repetition system were made possible by a crowd-funded research grant from my Patreon community. If you find my work interesting, you can become a member to get ongoing behind-the-scenes updates and early access to new work.

71 minutes to read

How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym

Brad Stulberg

When I first started training for marathons a little over ten years ago, my coach told me something I’ve never forgotten: that I would need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

5 minutes to read

Signaling as a Service

Paid membership

One of the best books I have read in the last few years is The Elephant in the Brain by Robin Hanson and Kevin Simler. So we think and say that we do something for a specific reason, but in reality, there’s a hidden, selfish motive: to show off and increase our social status.

14 minutes to read

Horizontal History

Tim Urban

Most of us have a pretty terrible understanding of history. Our knowledge is spotty, with large gaps all over the place, and the parts of history we do end up knowing a lot about usually depend on the particular teachers, parents, books, articles, and movies we happen to come across in our lives.

21 minutes to read

The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship

Amanda Mull

A few months ago, when millions of Americans were watching the Netflix series Emily in Paris because it was what we had been given that week, I cued up the first episode and was beset almost immediately by an intense longing.

14 minutes to read

Is It Really Too Late to Learn New Skills?

Margaret Talbot

Among the things I have not missed since entering middle age is the sensation of being an absolute beginner.

18 minutes to read

The fruits of anger

Brian Wong

At her speech at the United Nations summit on the impending climate crisis, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg spoke with passion and anger, calling out those who have been apathetic towards bringing about global warming.

17 minutes to read

Radical Candor — The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss

Radical Candor — The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss

Kim Scott, co-founder of Candor, Inc., has built her career around a simple goal: Creating bullshit-free zones where people love their work and working together. She first tried it at her own software startup.

13 minutes to read

The Unraveling of America  

Wade Davis

Wade Davis holds the Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. His award-winning books include “Into the Silence” and “The Wayfinders.” His new book, “Magdalena: River of Dreams,” is published by Knopf.

23 minutes to read

How Lego Became The Apple Of Toys

Jonathan Ringen

Every September, largely unbeknownst to the rest of the company, a group of around 50 Lego employees descends upon Spain’s Mediterranean coast, armed with sunblock, huge bins of Lego bricks, and a decade’s worth of research into the ways children play.

24 minutes to read

Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America's back country

Stevie Trujillo

If you look closely on city streets, campgrounds and stretches of desert run by the Bureau of Land Management, you’ll see more Americans living in vehicles than ever before. It was never their plan. “I wasn’t prepared when I had to move into my SUV. The transmission was going.

9 minutes to read

3 saves:

No, engineers don't suck at time estimates

No, engineers don’t suck at time estimates - and generally speaking humans are better estimators than what most people believe.

11 minutes to read

Why Do We Humanize White Guys Who Kill People?

Rebecca Traister

On Friday, November 27, a 57-year-old white man named Robert Louis Dear allegedly injured nine people and killed three in a shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Among those shot were four police officers, one of whom died.

14 minutes to read

Chemobrain is real. Here’s what to expect after cancer treatment

Anton Isaacs

A few years ago, one of my students came to me and spoke about her mother who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She said her mother was losing her memory and her bearings, and was very worried because nobody knew what to do about her symptoms. The oncologist sent her to the psychiatrist.

6 minutes to read

Apple Is the $2.3 Trillion Fortress That Tim Cook Built

Austin Carr, Mark Gurman

Trade war? Pfft. Trump? Please. Antitrust? Zuck’s prob. (Ditto privacy.) Revenue? Endless. As everyone at the dinner well knew, the idea of mass-producing an iPhone, or any advanced consumer electronics, in a domestic factory was an exceptionally tall order.

23 minutes to read

The Conscience of Silicon Valley

Zach Baron

Tech oracle Jaron Lanier warned us all about the evils of social media. Too few of us listened. Now, in the most chaotic of moments, his fears—and his bighearted solutions—are more urgent than ever.See more from GQ’s Change Is Good issue.

23 minutes to read

How Venture Capitalists Are Deforming Capitalism

Charles Duhigg

In 2008, Jeremy Neuner and Ryan Coonerty, two city-hall employees in Santa Cruz, California, decided to open a co-working space. They leased a cavernous building a few steps from a surf shop and a sex-toy boutique, and equipped it with desks, power strips, fast Wi-Fi, and a deluxe coffee-maker.

45 minutes to read

Reverse Engineering the source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine

Welcome! In this post, we’ll be taking a character-by-character look at the source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. Now, these words may be somewhat jarring - the vaccine is a liquid that gets injected in your arm. How can we talk about source code?

21 minutes to read

Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform

The Great Mental Models Volumes One and Two are out. Learn more about the project here. Things are not always as they appear. Often when we solve one problem, we end up unintentionally creating another one that’s even worse.

4 minutes to read

A Game of Giants

Tim Urban

Billions of years ago, some single-celled creatures realized that being just one cell left your options pretty limited. So they figured out a cool trick. By joining together with other single cells, they could form a giant creature that had all kinds of new advantages.

19 minutes to read

Religion for the Nonreligious

Tim Urban

The mind…can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. ― John Milton The mind is certainly its own cosmos. — Alan Lightman

45 minutes to read

The SCD1 Theory of Obesity, Part 1 – Insulin, Leptin, SCD1 and Thermogenesis

Brad Marshall

In The ROS Theory Of Obesity, I argued that the key determinant of body fatness was the saturation level of fat as it enters the mitochondria.

18 minutes to read

How to overcome distractions (and be more productive)

Distractions tempt us at every turn, from an ever-growing library of Netflix titles to video games (Animal Crossing is my current vice) to all of the other far more tantalizing things we could be doing instead of doing what actually needs to be done.

14 minutes to read

Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You

Ken Armstrong

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. This story is co-published with NPR’s Planet Money.

30 minutes to read

How People Learn to Become Resilient

Maria Konnikova

Norman Garmezy, a developmental psychologist and clinician at the University of Minnesota, met thousands of children in his four decades of research. But one boy in particular stuck with him. He was nine years old, with an alcoholic mother and an absent father.

10 minutes to read

How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis

Abrahm Lustgarten

It was only November, but the chill already cut to the bone in the small village of Dimitrovo, which sits just 35 miles north of the Chinese border in a remote part of eastern Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region.

45 minutes to read

My Mustache, My Self


To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android. Like a lot of men, in pursuit of novelty and amusement during these months of isolation, I grew a mustache. The reviews were predictably mixed and predictably predictable. “Porny”? Yes.

32 minutes to read


Rebecca Wragg Sykes

The first Neanderthal face to emerge from time’s sarcophagus was a woman’s. As the social and liberal revolutions of 1848 began convulsing Europe, quarry workers’ rough hands pulled her from the great Rock of Gibraltar.

25 minutes to read

Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to modern knowledge graphs

Ramon LLull

What do hieroglyphs, flowcharts, road signs, and knowledge graphs have in common? They’re all thinking maps. Humans have been thinking in maps since the very first symbolic communication systems.

18 minutes to read

The Social Life of Forests

Ferris Jabr

As a child, Suzanne Simard often roamed Canada’s old-growth forests with her siblings, building forts from fallen branches, foraging mushrooms and huckleberries and occasionally eating handfuls of dirt (she liked the taste).

39 minutes to read

Daniel Ek


Welcome to the second interview on 'The Observer Effect'. We are lucky to have one of the most influential founders/CEOs in technology and media - Daniel Ek, Founder and CEO of Spotify. This interview was published on 4th October, 2020.

41 minutes to read

The American Abyss


To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android. When Donald Trump stood before his followers on Jan. 6 and urged them to march on the United States Capitol, he was doing what he had always done.

25 minutes to read

Body Pleasure

Sarah Perry

Suffering is very serious. Death is very important. Let me instead talk about something else that is becoming both serious and important, as the world gets richer and more awesome: the problem of pleasure. Excessive leisure time is a problem that has only become widespread in the past century.

15 minutes to read

The Doomsday Invention

Raffi Khatchadourian

Last year, a curious nonfiction book became a Times best-seller: a dense meditation on artificial intelligence by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who holds an appointment at Oxford.

67 minutes to read

Are Experts Real?

it's no panacea

I vacillate between two modes: sometimes I think every scientific and professional field is genuinely complex, requiring years if not decades of specialization to truly understand even a small sliver of it, and the experts1 at the apex of these fields have deep insights about their subject matter.

15 minutes to read

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens

Elspeth Reeve

It had taken Pizza more than two years to reach this milestone. In late 2010 she had signed up for Tumblr, the then-three-year-old social network, and secured the URL IWantMyFairyTaleEnding.tumblr.com. At first, she mostly posted photos of party outfits—hipster photos, she thought.

53 minutes to read

How to Talk to People, According to Terry Gross

Jolie Kerr

It’s fair to say Terry Gross knows some things about talking to people. The host and co-executive producer of NPR’s “Fresh Air” has interviewed thousands of personalities over the course of her four-decade career.

6 minutes to read

Banking on Status

Julian Lehr

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know by now that one of my favorite topics to think and write about is “status signaling”. Signaling explains most of our everyday actions: what clothes we wear, which universities we pick and which religion we subscribe to.

10 minutes to read

It’s 2022. What Does Life Look Like?


The pandemic could shape the world, much as World War II and the Great Depression did. Mr. Leonhardt writes The Morning newsletter.

16 minutes to read

Amazon Has Transformed the Geography of Wealth and Power

Vauhini Vara

This article was published online on February 12, 2021. In the mid-1990s, when I was in middle school, my family moved to the suburbs of Seattle, where my father had gotten a job at Boeing.

13 minutes to read

Apt: The Natively Integrated Developer

Packy McCormick

Welcome to the 403 newly Not Boring people who have joined us since last Thursday! If you’re reading this but haven’t subscribed, join 5,900 smart, curious folks by subscribing here! Happy Thursday! We here at Not Boring HQ always want to keep you on your toes, mix things up, try new things.

17 minutes to read

Life is Short

Life is short, as everyone knows. When I was a kid I used to wonder about this. Is life actually short, or are we really complaining about its finiteness? Would we be just as likely to feel life was short if we lived 10 times as long?

11 minutes to read

Why It Pays to Be Grumpy and Bad-Tempered

Zaria Gorvett

On stage he’s a loveable, floppy-haired prince charming. Off camera – well let’s just say he needs a lot of personal space. He hates being a celebrity. He resents being an actor.

10 minutes to read

The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse

Graeme Wood

A historian believes he has discovered iron laws that predict the rise and fall of societies. He has bad news.

28 minutes to read

What If You Could Do It All Over?

Joshua Rothman

Once, in another life, I was a tech founder. It was the late nineties, when the Web was young, and everyone was trying to cash in on the dot-com boom.

24 minutes to read

Why the Flow of Time Is an Illusion

Michael Segal

In his book Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, Max Tegmark writes that “time is not an illusion, but the flow of time is.

7 minutes to read

Could we harness energy from black holes?

Research News Study indicates that energy can be extracted from black holes A remarkable prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity -- the theory that connects space, time and gravity -- is that rotating black holes have enormous amounts of energy available to be tapped.

3 minutes to read

The economics of vending machines

Zachary Crockett

Three months ago, Jalea Pippens — a phlebotomist at St. John Hospital in Detroit — had her hours cut. In the midst of the pandemic, the 23-year-old found herself in dire need of a second income stream.

11 minutes to read

Amazonfail: How Metadata and Sex Broke the Amazon Book Search

Avi Rappoport

Amazon failed in a big way on Easter weekend. As the largest bookstore in the world, if a book does not appear in its lists or its search results, the book practically disappears.

18 minutes to read

What Awaits Muses Who Outlive Their Usefulness?

Annalena McAfee

There are two types of women, Picasso said: “goddesses and doormats.

15 minutes to read

On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic

Jesmyn Ward

My Beloved died in January. He was a foot taller than me and had large, beautiful dark eyes and dexterous, kind hands. He fixed me breakfast and pots of loose-leaf tea every morning. He cried at both of our children’s births, silently, tears glazing his face.

13 minutes to read

Memory’s Work: The Art of Toba Khedoori

Christopher P Jones

The appeal of Toba Khedoori’s work lies, perhaps, in the enigmatic precision with which her images are made. It lends them the virtue of high-draughtsmanship. But it is a draughtsmanship that left unfinished, deliberately so.

4 minutes to read

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

Laura Sullivan

Note: An audio version of this story aired on NPR's Planet Money. Listen to the episode here.

21 minutes to read

Combat Fatigue With the Army's 'Aggressive Napping' Strategy

Elizabeth Yuko

After more than a century with an image problem, napping is getting a rebrand, courtesy of the U.S. Army.

3 minutes to read

What Is Glitter?

Caity Weaver

Each December, surrounded by wonderlands of white paper snowflakes, bright red winterberries, and forests of green conifers reclaiming their ancestral territory from inside the nation’s living rooms and hotel lobbies, children and adults delight to see the true harbinger of the holidays: aluminum

18 minutes to read

Neurons Gone Wild

Kevin Simler

To reject gods and spirits is easy: just bully them away in the name of science. But to accept them, or at least our experiences of them, and yet give them a scientific explanation: there's a task worthy of our art.

26 minutes to read

The Digital Maginot Line

Renee DiResta

There is a war happening. We are immersed in an evolving, ongoing conflict: an Information World War in which state actors, terrorists, and ideological extremists leverage the social infrastructure underpinning everyday life to sow discord and erode shared reality.

18 minutes to read

How Beeple Crashed the Art World

Kyle Chayka

In October of last year, Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist who goes by the name Beeple, noticed increasing talk in his online circles about a technology called “non-fungible tokens,” or N.F.T.s. Broadly speaking, N.F.T.s are a tool for providing proof of ownership of a digital asset.

24 minutes to read

How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To

Heidi Grant

There’s that project you’ve left on the backburner – the one with the deadline that’s growing uncomfortably near. And there’s the client whose phone call you really should return – the one that does nothing but complain and eat up your valuable time.

6 minutes to read

After Life

Joan Didion

Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.

37 minutes to read

The secret rules of the internet

Catherine Buni

Julie Mora-Blanco remembers the day, in the summer of 2006, when the reality of her new job sunk in.

44 minutes to read

Everything I know about a good death I learned from my cat

Elizabeth Lopatto

My cat has been dying for the last two years. It is normal to me now — it is simply the state of affairs. There's a rhythm to her medication: prednisone and urosodiol in the morning, urosodiol again in the evening, chemo every other day, a vitamin B shot once a week.

7 minutes to read

This cartoon explains why Elon Musk thinks we’re characters in a computer simulation. He might be right.

Alvin Chang

Elon Musk thinks it's almost certain that we are living in a computer simulation. In short, we are characters in an advanced version of The Sims — so advanced that it creates, well, us.

5 minutes to read

How to visualize decision trees

Please send comments, suggestions, or fixes to Terence. Decision trees are the fundamental building block of gradient boosting machines and Random Forests™, probably the two most popular machine learning models for structured data.

33 minutes to read

The Best Podcasts of 2020

Sarah Larson

The podcasts that stood out to me most this year, not surprisingly, were those that transported me—especially when they made me laugh. I also appreciated shows that gave me useful information in a form I could stand.

12 minutes to read

Andrew Sullivan’s Advice for Beating ‘Distraction Sickness’

Andrew Sullivan

I was sitting in a large meditation hall in a converted novitiate in central Massachusetts when I reached into my pocket for my iPhone. A woman in the front of the room gamely held a basket in front of her, beaming beneficently, like a priest with a collection plate.

39 minutes to read

Mansionism 1: Building-Milieu Fit

Venkatesh Rao

In politically turbulent times, when it is not clear which way the arc of history will bend, it is useful to reframe the question of political futures in terms of built-environment futures.

8 minutes to read

Sam van Zwedenon creativity and rest

This essay is part of a new Sydney Review of Books essay series devoted to the labour of writing called Writers at Work. We’ve asked critics, essayists, poets, artists, and scholars to reflect on how writers get made and how writing gets made in the twenty-first century.

15 minutes to read

Remote Work Is Killing the Hidden Trillion-Dollar Office Economy

Steve LeVine

For a decade, Carlos Silva has been gluing, nailing, and re-zippering shoes and boots at Stern Shoe Repair, a usually well-trafficked shop just outside the Metro entrance at Union Station in Washington, D.C. On a typical day, he would arrive at 7 a.m. and stay until 8 p.m.

10 minutes to read

The highly unusual company behind Sriracha, the world’s coolest hot sauce

Roberto A. Ferdman

Reuters/Amit DaveNo matter how many chili peppers Huy Fong harvests, it may never be enough.From our ObsessionExplosive GrowthBy This article is more than 2 years old.

10 minutes to read

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial

Venkatesh Rao

A few months ago, while dining at Veggie Grill (one of the new breed of Chipotle-class fast-casual restaurants), a phrase popped unbidden into my head: premium mediocre. The food, I opined to my wife, was premium mediocre.

40 minutes to read

Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they're on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more. There are two types of schedule, which I'll call the manager's schedule and the maker's schedule. The manager's schedule is for bosses.

7 minutes to read

A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon

Brian Resnick

I am a game designer with experience in a very small niche. I create and research games designed to be played in reality. I’ve worked in Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), LARPs, experience fiction, interactive theater, and “serious games”.

35 minutes to read

Ursula Le Guin: ‘Wizardry is artistry’

Hari Kunzru

Ursula K Le Guin lives along a winding road in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Walking uphill towards her house I find the way spectacularly blocked.

18 minutes to read

What Data Can’t Do

Hannah Fry

Tony Blair was usually relaxed and charismatic in front of a crowd. But an encounter with a woman in the audience of a London television studio in April, 2005, left him visibly flustered.

20 minutes to read

Vincent Chan : Inside PayPal

Why did so many successful entrepreneurs and startups come out of PayPal? I long have been fascinated by the extraordinary achievement from the ex-Paypal team and wonder about the reasons behind their success.

7 minutes to read

The Outsider: How CEO-For-Hire Frank Slootman Turned Snowflake Into Software’s Biggest-Ever IPO

Editors' Picks

This story appears in the March 31, 2021 issue of Forbes Magazine. Subscribe By Labor Day, it had become clear that Frank Slootman’s third initial public offering would not be like the other two.

16 minutes to read

Internet 3.0 and the Beginning of (Tech) History

Ben Thompson

Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man is, particularly relative to its prescience, one of the most misunderstood books of all time. Aris Roussinos explained at UnHerd:

18 minutes to read

How To Be More Productive by Working Less


Productivity is more about what you don’t do than what you do. Focused effort on your most important tasks is a skill that can be practiced and perfected. It took me 18 months to write The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.

17 minutes to read

The Internet of Beefs

Venkatesh Rao

You’ve heard me talk about crash-only programming, right? It’s a programming paradigm for critical infrastructure systems, where there is — by design — no graceful way to shut down. A program can only crash and try to recover from a crashed state, which might well be impossible.

32 minutes to read

Why Animals Don’t Get Lost

Kathryn Schulz

One of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed involved an otherwise unprepossessing house cat named Billy. This was some years ago, shortly after I had moved into a little rental house in the Hudson Valley.

32 minutes to read

Love you to death: how we hurt the animals we cherish

Imust have been about four when we drove to buy a dog. The day is now only a haze of Sunday afternoon impressions of rain and green, of the muddy track somewhere in the Stirlingshire countryside, a room, a log fire, and the two chosen puppies who would be the confidants of my growing up.

18 minutes to read

Stop coddling your dog—he’s 99.9% wolf

Kevin Ashton

SANTA CLARITA, California—Cesar Millan crosses the road to meet me. Two pit bulls, a Chihuahua, and a Yorkshire terrier—named Junior, Taco, Alfie and Kaley Cuoko—follow. Off leash and at heel, the dogs are calm, almost languid. If Millan communicates with them, I do not notice.

16 minutes to read

Joan Didion: Staking Out California


In her new book, "The White Album," Joan Didion writes: "Kilimanjaro belongs to Ernest Hemingway. Oxford, Mississippi, belongs to William Faulkner... a great deal of Honolulu has always belonged for me to James Jones...

31 minutes to read

The War That Doomed America in Vietnam: The First Indochina War

Grant Piper

Heavy guns ring out from the surrounding, wooded, hills. The enemy seems like they’re everywhere and nowhere. The troops on the ground are slowly surrounded and pounded from invisible positions. Morale is sinking quickly as the jungle is torn up in explosions of mud, dirt and fire.

9 minutes to read

The Positive Split - Issue 1

I’d like to write about running more often. And not just about running, but about the emotional intersection of running and life. To that end, this is Issue 1 of The Positive Split. If you have thoughts or feedback, I always welcome email at bromka@gmail.com.

9 minutes to read

The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude

Paul Elie

The house, in a quiet part of Mexico City, had a study within, and in the study he found a solitude he had never known before and would never know again. Cigarettes (he smoked 60 a day) were on the worktable. LPs were on the record player: Debussy, Bartók, A Hard Day’s Night.

23 minutes to read

The Secret to Happiness Is 10 Specific Behaviors

Benjamin Hardy

Happiness is the purpose of life. Despite this, only one in three Americans say they’re very happy. Several years ago in an interview with Conan O’Brien, Louis C. K. tells of flying on a newly equipped Wi-Fi airplane. He was amazed by the new technology.

17 minutes to read

When U.S. air force discovered the flaw of averages

Todd Rose

In the late 1940s, the United States air force had a serious problem: its pilots could not keep control of their planes.

11 minutes to read

Down the ergonomic keyboard rabbit hole

For best results, listen to me read you this post instead! Just play the audio and the page will automatically scroll in sync. This post is all about my recent obsession with ergonomic keyboards.

28 minutes to read

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time

Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work? It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.

4 minutes to read

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team


Like most 25-year-olds, Julia Rozovsky wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She had worked at a consulting firm, but it wasn’t a good match. Then she became a researcher for two professors at Harvard, which was interesting but lonely. Maybe a big corporation would be a better fit.

31 minutes to read

What if You Could Outsource Your To-Do List?

Nathan Heller

Back when the world seemed bright and ambitious—another century, it might have been—I managed to convince myself, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, that what I really needed in my life was an assistant.

27 minutes to read

Grapefruit Is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet

Dan Nosowitz

In 1989, David Bailey, a researcher in the field of clinical pharmacology (the study of how drugs affect humans), accidentally stumbled on perhaps the biggest discovery of his career, in his lab in London, Ontario.

14 minutes to read

The empty brain

Robert Epstein

No matter how hard they try, brain scientists and cognitive psychologists will never find a copy of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the brain – or copies of words, pictures, grammatical rules or any other kinds of environmental stimuli. The human brain isn’t really empty, of course.

23 minutes to read

Reduce Your Stress in Two Minutes a Day

Bill Rielly had it all: a degree from West Point, an executive position at Microsoft, strong faith, a great family life, and plenty of money.

6 minutes to read

The future of work is written

Olivia Fields

Contrary to popular belief, distributed work isn’t a modern invention. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, has been working at a distance for centuries; so have organizations like the Hudson’s Bay Company.

15 minutes to read

Going Sohla

E. Alex Jung

This article was featured in One Great Story, New York’s reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly. Sohla?” the video begins.

18 minutes to read

Reality has a surprising amount of detail

My dad emigrated from Colombia to North America when he was 18 looking looking for a better life. For my brother and I that meant a lot of standing outside in the cold.

13 minutes to read

Is technology scrambling my baby's brain?

Ben Popper

I reached the breaking point, as many parents do, about two and a half months in. My newborn son, Oliver, was hitting a phase where his five senses were really coming online.

11 minutes to read

A Latticework of Mental Models

To help you build your latticework of mental models so you can make better decisions, we’ve collected and summarized the ones we’ve found the most useful. And remember: Building your latticework is a lifelong project.

40 minutes to read

The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism

Zoë Beery

Lately, Sam Jacobs has been having a lot of conversations with his family’s lawyers. He’s trying to gain access to more of his $30 million trust fund. At 25, he’s hit the age when many heirs can blow their money on harebrained businesses or a stable of sports cars.

12 minutes to read

Following Your Gut Isn’t the Right Way to Go

Tom Nichols

I’ve spent years telling people, usually with exasperation and a certain amount of petulance, to trust experts and to stop obsessing about the rarity of their failure. But that was before a crisis in which millions of lives were dependent on a working relationship between science and government.

9 minutes to read

TikTok and the Sorting Hat — Remains of the Day

Eugene Wei

I often describe myself as a cultural determinist, more as a way to differentiate myself from people with other dominant worldviews, though I am not a strict adherent. It’s more that in many situations when people ascribe causal power to something other than culture, I’m immediately suspicious.

32 minutes to read

It’s Time to Build for Good

Isaac Wilks

Americans have gotten quite bad at building things in physical reality. Although the United States remains on the frontier of information technology, we have neglected the mundane and the essential to the point of crisis.

12 minutes to read

Dark matter holds our universe together. No one knows what it is.

Brian Resnick

Dark matter, unexplained. If you go outside on a dark night, in the darkest places on Earth, you can see as many as 9,000 stars. They appear as tiny points of light, but they are massive infernos.

21 minutes to read

I was homeschooled for eight years: here’s what I recommend

Mordechai Levy-Eichel

I was homeschooled for eight years, from age 11 through to college, before it was a novel way for tiger parents to show off their dynamic commitment to their children’s education.

6 minutes to read

Why do we work so hard?

Ryan Avent

When I was young, there was nothing so bad as being asked to work. Now I find it hard to conjure up that feeling, but I see it in my five-year-old daughter. “Can I please have some water, daddy?” That was me when I was young, rolling on the ground in agony on being asked to clean my room.

17 minutes to read

Stop Spending So Much Time In Your Head

You know, thinking, worrying, stressing, freaking out — call it whatever you want. I call it a preoccupied mind. And with what? All my life I’ve been obsessed with practical things. Practical philosophy, practical knowledge, practical books, practical work, and practical advice.

4 minutes to read

Money Is the Megaphone of Identity

Lawrence Yeo

There was an extended period of time in my twenties when I didn’t have a job. For most of us, that’s not a big deal. We have our whole lives ahead of us to work, so taking a few months off to “find yourself” can be completely justifiable.

41 minutes to read

How Nothingness Became Everything We Wanted

Kyle Chayka

To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android. In 2019, I developed a habit of indulging in nothingness.

22 minutes to read

11 Reasons Not to Become Famous (or “A Few Lessons Learned Since 2007”)

Tim Ferriss

November of 2008. I had more hair, a flip phone, and absolutely no idea what was coming. Let the cymbals of popularity tinkle still. Let the butterflies of fame glitter with their wings. I shall envy neither their music nor their colors.

29 minutes to read

1 on 1 Meeting Questions

Mega list compiled from a variety to sources. Also available here: http://www.managersclub.com/mega-list-of-1-on-1-meeting-questions/ Why is there also a JSON file?

29 minutes to read

Fruits and Vegetables Are Trying to Kill You


Antioxidant vitamins don’t stress us like plants do—and don’t have their beneficial effect.

16 minutes to read

When to break a rule

Steven Nadler

In a high school in Wisconsin, an African American security guard is dealing with a disruptive student, also African American. While being led away by the guard, the student repeatedly calls him a notorious racial slur.

20 minutes to read

How to Be Bored

Shayla Love

In the 1930s, a professor of psychology at City College of New York, Joseph Barmack, ran a series of experiments on the psychophysiology of boredom.

19 minutes to read

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