Around the Newsletter Universe


I started Now I Know more than 13 years ago, and at the time, there weren’t a lot of other email newsletters out there. But the space has exploded over the last few years in particular, and there are a lot of other email newsletters that you may want to give a try. So, every so often, I’m going to use this space to recommend a few. Let’s jump right to it.

  • Sports: Neil Paine’s newsletter on the analytics side of sports. I’ve known Neil for years, and he’s become one of the leaders in using data-driven storytelling in the sports world. If you’re interested in using math to better understand professional sports, there aren’t better options.
  • Trivia: The Morning Rounds. This is a daily newsletter produced by Trivia Mafia, a bar/brewery trivia company headquartered in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Every morning they send a five-question round of trivia to help wake up your brain, with answers posted the following day. They also use the newsletter as a repository for all the funny/wild/incredibly interesting stuff they come across while researching the hundreds of trivia questions their editorial team cranks out every week.
  • Lifelong Learning: The Daily Concept. If you’re reading Now I Know, you’re definitely curious — and The Daily Concept is all about exploring that curiosity. This newsletter — also written by a guy named Dan! — takes a deep dive into something that is typically in the current zeitgeist, helping readers better understand it. For example, geothermal heat is often in the news (and I keep seeing ads about it) — and don’t know what it’s about, no problem! The other Dan, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, has a story explaining how it works, and it’s great.
  • Investing: We Study Markets. This newsletter, by the Investor’s Podcast Network, helps you learn the biggest stories in financial markets each day — each story is explained simply. You’ll understand the financial markets in just a few minutes.
  • Reading (or … Outsourcing it!): A Book a Week. Each week, they read a book and boil it down to actionable insights. It’s a very useful digest — as I learned firsthand. A few years ago, I read “Never Split the Difference” by former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, and I liked it and found it useful — but it’s nearly 300 pages. A cheat sheet summarizing his tactics and principles would be great! And this newsletter has exactly what I wanted.

Let me know what you think of these and if you have recommendations for a future roundup of newsletter, let me know — I’m glad to take a look!

The Now I Know Week In Review

Monday: Can Killing Vampires Cure Tuberculosis?: Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess!

Tuesday: The Spies That Learn to Stand Up For Themselves: This was one of the hardest stories to write — I searched for what seemed like forever for a good set of images to show the differences in how people stand, with no success. I’m glad it turned out well!

Wednesday: The Year There Was a February 30th: It’s only happened once — and it didn’t happen everywhere.

Thursday: Why February Only Has 28 Days (Usually): I learned about this while driving home on the 28th, which is why I didn’t share it until the 29th.

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend:

  1. This Is How You Train As a Spy in the CIA’s Most Elite Covert Unit” (Washingtonian, 13 minutes, October 2019). In the course of Googling stuff for Tuesday’s email, I came across this story which turned out to be only tangentially related, but fascinating.
  2. Everyone’s a sellout now” (Vox, 8 minutes, February 2024). A few years ago, I pitched the idea of a book of fun baseball facts to some publishers. Now I Know was going well and I had already published two books. Some publishers liked the idea but the concern was always the same: I’m not a known name in the sports world. So this article? It spoke to me. Here’s the opening paragraph: “When Rachael Kay Albers was shopping around her book proposal, the editors at a Big Five publishing house loved the idea. The problem came from the marketing department, which had an issue: She didn’t have a big enough following. With any book, but especially nonfiction ones, publishers want a guarantee that a writer comes with a built-in audience of people who already read and support their work and, crucially, will fork over $27 — a typical price for a new hardcover book — when it debuts.”
  3. If you want to know where the world economy is headed, look at the bottom of this toy car” (Washington Post, 6 minutes, January 2024). If you’re reading this for investing insights or to better understand the future of the world economy, you’ll be disappointed — the title is inapt. But this is a lovely essay and a pleasure to read.

Have a great weekend!