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Hello All,

Welcome to the latest edition of our irregular and irreverent newsletter.  Thanks for being one of more than 110,000 subscribers. (The reading time for this newsletter is 3 – 4 minutes).


A couple of years ago, Dave Evans, who teaches at Stanford University, told me about a book that he and fellow professor Bill Burnett were just starting to write. Based on a popular course the duo taught, the book would apply the principles of “design thinking” not to products or processes — but to life itself.

Whoa, I thought. This could be big.

Well, that book — Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life (Buy it at Amazon,, or IndieBound) — came out earlier this week. I’ve read it — and, yep, it’s gonna be a blockbuster. 

Designing Your Life walks readers through the process of building a satisfying, meaningful life by approaching the challenge the way a designer would. Experimentation. Wayfinding. Prototyping. Constant iteration. 

Throughout are lots of interesting (and for this genre, decidedly non-lame) exercises. One of my favorites is The Good Time Journal, which aims to catch people in the act of having a good time. You log your primary activities during each day. Then you rate how engaged and energized — high, low, or in between — you were by those activities and whether you reached a state of flow. Do it every day for a couple of weeks and you’ll see patterns you never realized.

Dave and Bill were kind enough to allow me to share that exercise with Pink newsletter readers. The PDF — it’s free — is here: The Good Time Journal. Give it a try this week. You’ll get something out of it even if you don’t read the book.

But you should read the book. Everyone else will. 

Meantime, here are my 3 favorite quotations from the text:

“Designers don’t think their way forward. Designers build their way forward.”

“Passion is the result of good life design, not the cause.”

“Do not fall in love with your first idea. This relationship almost never works out.”


For my money, email newsletters remain the digital world’s single most efficient source of ideas, information, and insight. I subscribe to more than 40 of them — and once or twice a year I tweak the list, adding new entrants and removing those that no longer do the trick.

Here, in alphabetical order, are 11 newsletters — a few of which I’ve recommended before — that these days I always read and always find valuable:

Austin Kleon — Each week, writer and artist Kleon, who lives in the Texas city that bears his first name, sends 10 links about what he’s reading, watching, and thinking about. 

Barking Up the Wrong Tree — Eric Barker’s newsletter promises “science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life.” He delivers — every Sunday

Brain Pickings — Maria Popova is the uber-curator of all things literary and scientific on the Internet. Her weekly e-zine helps me try to keep up with her. 

Farnam Street Brain Food — Another idea-driven newsletter that will make you think.

Longform — A weekly roundup of the best in longform journalism.

Matt Thomas New York Times Digest — Didn’t get a chance to read the Sunday New York Times? Fear not. Matt Thomas has done the work for you and highlighted the good stuff.

Next Draft — I know I’ve recommended this before. I’m doing it again. Just subscribe, OK? 

Quartz Daily — Daily newsletters from established media outlets aren’t my favorite. But this one is different. Every day, it uncovers something that I hadn’t seen and want to know about. 

Ryan Holiday Reading Recommendation Newsletter — Ryan seems to read more books than any human being alive. Fortunately for us slow readers, he recaps the books is an amazingly rich newsletter. 

Seth Godin — Seth had been blogging every single day for many years. This daily dispatch delivers his posts, always smart and thoughtful, directly to your inbox. 

Washington Post’s Inspired Life — A weekly (but not treacly) roundup of stories of real people doing things that are kind, courageous, and often inspiring. 

Got other newsletters you want to recommend?  Just send me an email and put “Newsletter recommendation” in the subject line. I’ll publish a compilation in an upcoming issue. 

That’s all for this edition. As always, thanks for reading our own humble newsletter.

Daniel Pink

BTW, I just posted this season’s ninth Pinkcast. Check out the whole collection