The Marginalian
The Marginalian

5 Fantastic Daily Email Newsletters for a Better Life

For all its wonders and curiosities, the web can be an overwhelming place. And, for some of us, so can the inbox. But the fact remains that email is still the most manageable way of consuming information, so the past few years have seen a boon of smart, thoughtfully curated email newsletters that serve the web’s best on a silver platter. (You’re getting the free Brain Pickings weekly newsletter, right? Good.) Here are five fantastic, free daily email newsletters to inject a potent blend of utility, optimism, and curiosity into your information and inspiration diet.


Very Short List is easily the granddaddy of the modern curated newsletter, offering one must-see gem a day: a website, a book, a film, a sweet animation, a photoessay — you get the idea, but you can mine the archives for a taste of the goodness. VSL launched shortly after Brain Pickings, with a very similar editorial-curatorial vision, so I have an added layer of affectionate kindred-spirit sentimentality towards it.

The only downside: VSL never give credit for their finds, the kind of failure in attribution of discovery that I’ve been very vocal about and some go as far as saying is killing kittens.


TBD, named after the idea that our collective future is yet to be decided, goes beyond mere sit-back inspiration to offer one world-changing idea per issue paired with one action you can take about it, right now, to improve the future. From spotlighting smart social enterprises to featuring beautifully designed products with a social good component, TBD may not be daily per se, but when it does come — I’m yet to figure out the pace of their cycle — it’s very much worth it.

You can sample the archives via their Facebook feed.


Milkshake calls itself “a daily edition of good finds that give back” — a discovery engine for causes, people, and companies that have positive impact on the world. (If it sounds a bit like TBD, it should be noted TBD came first by a long stretch.) From handmade dog shampoo bars to cooperative foods produced by Israelis and Arabs, the daily picks are as wonderfully varied as they are uniformly worthwhile.


From the good people who bring us the Webbys comes Netted — a daily serving of the best sites, apps and online services that “make life better.” From productivity apps to gadget hacks to eclectic digital delights, the finds blend utility, playfulness and sheer can’t-wait-to-tell-friends-aboutness.

Poke through the archives here.


Every day, Dan Lewis follows his own curiosity is some esoteric direction, from the great baby carrot sham to how Tetris therapy works, and shares his findings with the world in Now I Know — a wonderful daily treat of knowledge you probably don’t need but will feel exceedingly cool having. Bonus points: Dan has the marvelous day job of heading new media communications for Sesame Street, which sort of explains his penchant for all things quirky-cool.

The treasure trove of archives can be found here.

Published June 21, 2011




Filed Under

View Full Site

The Marginalian participates in the and affiliate programs, designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to books. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book from a link here, I receive a small percentage of its price, which goes straight back into my own colossal biblioexpenses. Privacy policy. (TLDR: You're safe — there are no nefarious "third parties" lurking on my watch or shedding crumbs of the "cookies" the rest of the internet uses.)