The Penguin Latte Podcast #20 – Uri Bram on Publishing a Newsletter with 50,000 Subscribers, How to Enjoy Writing, and Statistical Errors We Make Everyday

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Warning: what follows is a communion of two souls in a chance encounter.

Uri Bram is the publisher of The Browser — a weekly newsletter curated by Uri and his team, read by over 50,000 subscribers. He’s written two books: Thinking Statistically and The Business of Big Data. Uri is also the designer of three games: Lettercat, Person Do Thing, and Days Old.

Uri and I had never spoken before we recorded this episode. And neither had I heard of The Browser prior to two weeks before this post. The morning I discovered their work was the morning I became brighter, smarter, more entertaining, or at the very least, half as much as the folks working hard to produce the world’s favorite curation newsletter.

I kept scrolling through their site.

I was floored.

Their website is topnotch. The giraffe mascot is cute as all hell.

Most important, they collect only the finest, most entertaining and thought provoking articles on the Internet. I’m incredibly impressed at their high bar for quality. I promise that any article chosen by their hard working team is worth the read. This isn’t your typical buzzfeed bullshit. And nor is it as high brow as The New Yorker. The content they collect is fun, interesting, hilarious, and full of humanity. Reading articles from The Browser is now a part of my evening reading routine. It’s making me less stupid, and it’ll make you less stupid, too.

In this conversation, we discuss Uri’s writing process at length. Uri’s a much more experienced writer than I am. And I learned so much about how difficult it is to organize hundreds, if not thousands of ideas in a book. We also discuss content curation (not creation), and why The Browser is world-class at it, game design, meditation, getting unstuck, going for walks and getting out in nature, how regular people can benefit from learning statistics, and much more.

So grab your favorite coffee and please enjoy our talk!

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This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox on Sunday.

Stop Summarizing Books

Did the author not make themselves clear?

Was the book so awfully written that we need you to explain what the author failed to articulate?

Summarizing books is a waste of time that works.

It works because we’re getting busier. 200 pages? No time for that. 12 bullet points? Perfect.

And it’s a waste of time because none of your favorite authors summarized books before writing their first bestseller. Instead, they wrote until they wrote their first bestseller.

The point of reading a book is to experience the book through the lenses of your perception. To summarize books is to enable people to take more shortcuts.

Please don’t give me the key takeaways. Tell me why this book is worth the 9 hours it takes to read it.

If you have a counter argument, please, drop a comment and let me know. I love having my mind changed.

Penguin Latte Podcast 10: Why read?

Why read?

In this episode, I attempt to answer that question. It’s one of those questions with an answer that’s so obvious, so self-evident, that it’s nearly impossible to answer. It’s like asking why it is that we should breathe.

And here’s the episode on Spotify: