Year end roundup
Nearly four years have passed since I launched this newsletter in January of 2020. As I mentioned in this Substack Grow interview, back then it was hosted on MailChimp before moved it over to Substack in April of 2022.
After the first year, it accrued about 7 thousand subscribers. After two years, there were 14 thousand subscribers. By the end of year three, there were 27 thousand. Today, there are nearly 47 thousand total (free + paid) subscribers. With any luck, this figure will come close to doubling once again by this time next year.
This Substack has become my main job. As I noted in a earlier post:
Writing online started as a side hustle when I was in grad school. The original iteration of my newsletter began as a hobby, and I found myself putting more and more work into it. It has become a primary income stream, which was unplanned. Over the past couple of years, I’ve turned down several offers from prominent outlets and magazines. I’ve discovered that few things give me more pleasure than sharing my writing directly with my readers.
The biggest piece of professional news this year for me is that my book is now available for pre-order. If you enjoy this Substack, you’ll enjoy my book even more. The preface and final three chapters contain plenty of citations to studies and survey data and theoretical frameworks. The rest of the book (chapters 1-10), is primarily a firsthand account of my life. So there’s something for everyone. If you like survey data and social science, that’s there. If you want to read a unique personal story, you’ll find that, too.
Like many people, I’ve heard that Gen Z doesn’t read books. One reason (not the only reason) is that most books are uninteresting or kind of boring (which, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb says, is the only very bad thing for a book to be). My book is good. Here’s a message I received from a 20-year-old Zoomer friend who read an early draft of the book:
Please be sure to pre-order Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family and Social Class:
My top 11 most-read posts of 2023:
1. How I Read
I'll spend 3 or 4 days typing up a 10K word deep dive or book review and it won't get as much interest as this 1400 word post about my reading habits. You just never know what's going to hit.
Top 11 premium subscriber-only posts of 2023:
4. New Taboos
10. My Three Names
Conversations I had in 2023:
My talk at the All-In Summit, followed by a discussion with Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks and David Friedberg at the All-In Summit in Los Angeles:
Modern Wisdom (hosted by Chris Williamson):
Speaking with Hillel Ofek at UATX:
Infinite Loops (with Trung Phan; hosted by Jim O’Shaughnessy):
Speaking with Peter Boghossian:
With Richard Hanania and Marc Andreessen, speaking about the HBO series and film Deadwood:
In addition to movie and TV show reviews, Richard and I may start doing some advice giving podcast episodes, reflections on growing up poor, what it’s like to be a teenage boy, dating and relationships, and other similar topics.
Robert Breedlove on his “What is Money?” podcast:
Spectator TV with Lionel Shriver and Freddy Gray:
The Dropping In Podcast with Charlie Houpert (the dude from Charisma on Command):
Nicholas Crown on The Really Rich Podcast:
Speaking about the second greatest TV series of all time with my friend, Greg Owens:
And here we spoke about the first greatest:
The Deprogrammed podcast hosted by Evan Riggs and Harrison Pitt:
Four print interviews, one in Perspective, one in City Journal, one in Male Psychology: The Magazine, and this one for Substack Grow, where I describe my experiences launching a newsletter and migrating from MailChimp to Substack.
Best books I read in 2023:
Just a note that these books weren’t all necessarily published this year (though some were).
A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going by Michael Muthukrishna
The Two-Parent Privilege by Melissa S. Kearney
The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis
The World Behind the World: Consciousness, Free Will, and the Limits of Science by Erik Hoel
Greatness: Who Makes History and Why by Dean Keith Simonton
A Story of Us: A New Look at Human Evolution by Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson
Psych: The Story of the Human Mind by Paul Bloom
Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America's Future by Jean M. Twenge
Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell
This lesser known book from Orwell offers an illuminating glimpse into the arrogant, entitled, and self-pitying mindset of downwardly mobile elites.
A Personal Odyssey by Thomas Sowell
My review here. Insights into the mindset required to climb out of poverty and remake one’s fortunes. A countervailing perspective from the above Orwell work.
Napoleon: A Concise Biography by David A. Bell
How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness by Russell D. Roberts
Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos by Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa
The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys Into a Vanishing World by Theodore Dalrymple
Fool or Physician: The Memoirs of a Sceptical Doctor by Anthony Daniels
A couple of Christmases ago in California. Putting toys together and installing batteries into noisemaking devices designed to annoy parents for the daughter of my mom's friend.
Thank you all for your support. Merry Christmas!
And please remember to pre-order my book: