8 Newsletters to Help You Live Better

. 4 min read . Written by Russell Smith
8 Newsletters to Help You Live Better

Let these beautiful writings lift up your thoughts and spirit

You may have noticed that I love reading. True, since age 5 books have been my first love. But newsletters and audiobooks certainly have their place in a life well-read. Since beginning Solvitur Ambulando, I’ve come to appreciate the art and craft of newsletter writing. We live in a wonderful era of newsletter writing. Some amazingly gifted writers have their own publications to share their wisdom and perspective. One of the great joys today is discovering one of these gems.

Beautiful writing ennobles our human spirit, our thinking and our connection to our world. Here are eight newsletters that I love and read regularly, if not semi-religiously, because they lift up my spirits to a higher plane. You will enjoy them too!

  1. The Ruffian, by Ian Leslie

I heard Ian Leslie on Russ Roberts’s EconTalk podcast; I had to check out his writings. Curiously, as a book lover above all, I felt drawn to his newsletter before his books. I love the newsletter; I’m sure I’d love Ian’s books too. I’ll check them out soon.

Ian writes the way I aspire to write: about hidden topics of fascination and with an unexpected twist. His remembrance of the Queen was one of the most thought-prodding pieces I have read this year. His examination of art treasured by the ages has kept me thinking since reading it. His essay on “64 Reasons to Celebrate Paul McCartney” is superlative.

2. The Conservative Wahoo, by Bryan McGrath

Bryan is a retired Navy officer and founder of a defense consulting firm. While Captain of the USS BULKELEY, he won the Surface Navy Association's Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Award for Inspirational Leadership, and the BULKELEY received the Arizona Trophy from 2004 to 2006 as the most combat ready ship in the entire Navy fleet. He is a purposeful man with sage wisdom to share.

Bryan writes brilliantly and rationally about politics, military strategy and life. Bryan’s poignant reflection about September 11th memories always catches me in the throat. It’s a useful reminder that at certain moments, my opinions and experiences simply don’t matter.

When a new issue hits my inbox, I stop whatever I’m doing and read it. I can’t recommend it enough.

3. the watering can, by DJ May

DJ May writes beautifully on moments of significance and purpose in life. She pulls lessons from nature to illuminate lessons in living, calling us to prune relentlessly, finding pleasure in the dirt, and choosing love. She describes the watering can:

I’m here to write about gratitude. About settling down in one place and taking a good, hard look around. About finding joy in putting down deep roots. Who said settling was a bad thing?

Reading DJ, settling is a wondrous thing.

4. Construction Physics, by Brian Potter

The smartest research and insights into the world of construction, real estate and related industries. Brian Potter's writing is a service to the world. His analysis is deep, breathtaking and painstaking. I have no idea how he publishes such richly detailed research every week or two. Fantastic!

5. Tiny Revolutions, by Sara Campbell

Every issue, I welcome Sara’s Zen Buddhist perspective on life’s big and small quandaries. She tackles moving, goals, stories we tell ourselves, among many other sundry matters.

A reader commented on one of Sara’s posts: “was so nice to read this today…felt like suddenly a friend appeared when i found it in my inbox.”  That’s right – Sara feels like a friend; an extremely kind friend who has a magical way of putting human feeling into written language. Such a talent and Sara is such a gift to readers.

6. A Continuous Lean and 7. The Contender

Michael Williams and David Coggins are two style writers who each have their own paid newsletters. Style writing, like baseball and fishing writing, can devolve into weepy, overwrought cliches. Not with Coggins and Williams, because they do not write – really — about style. They write about living deliberately.

Like me, Michael publishes transcribed interviews. His recent one with Garphyttan founder John Skullman stood out. I loved this line from Skullman:

“It has not only developed into a partnership, but also a very dear friendship.”

How many business partners can say the relationship evolved into a friendship? Few, I suspect. Plato said the best city would be one of friends. Sometimes I wonder if the same is true of the best businesses too.

Right now, I have three, free, one-month subscriptions of A Continuous Lean to give away. If you are interested, email me (srsmith3@gmail.com)!

Coggins’s travel tips always leave me ready to pack my bags and head out. His “Detour List” seemed to lift treasures from a byegone era; I want to visit them all.

Buy a subscription to either and you also obtain access to their fun podcast, Central Division.

8. White Noise, by Tom White

Tom is a dissident of modern writing which asserts you must write simple sentences using simple words...and keep it all short. Instead, Tom knows -- as the true greats know -- the subject takes the words, sentences and length it requires. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Tom’s essay about his brother, a woodworker in Brooklyn, makes for a wondrous entry into his writing. You breathe in his brotherly love with every word and wood chip.

Like me, some of these writers are members of a wonderful writing community, Foster. It’s a warm, engaging, highly-skilled group of writers supporting each other in pounding the stone on the craft of writing and storytelling. Since I joined in the summer of 2021, it’s been one of the great joys in my life.

If you want to become a better writer, I invite you to try Foster! You can sign up for a free, one-month trial. Enter the code RUSSELL to unlock this offer. You will love it as much as I do!


Images created by Midjourney.