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Here you’ll find an archive of Nathanael’s weekly email. In it, he features an essay and curated reading on technology + marketing + simplicity.

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small town laundromat at dusk

about small towns

Yesterday, I went to HubSpot’s Portsmouth, NH office to spend the workday out of the basement, closer to the sun. The drive from Beverly to Portsmouth is a drive towards my past. After a childhood in southern Maine, just over the bridge, really, I spent my first married year in Portsmouth. That was long enough ago that many of the streetscapes have changed. But our pizza place, the Breadbox, is still there, as is the drafty old church on the square, where we spent most Sunday afternoons.


Nathanael's Recommended Reading: Feminism, Slack, and Humility

Last week, Friday came and went without me even noticing. I was deep into a kitchen painting job on Saturday morning before I realized that I’d neglected to send this email.

This week, we’re back with the normal set of links: great writing and interesting ideas on our usual themes. Enjoy the reading!


In search of dynamism

Why would you want to find dynamism?

I think it’s because too many of our institutions and leaders pride themselves on stopping change or returning things to how they used to be.


Reading: What's Wrong with Us?

BEVERLY, MA In our last local election, my longtime city councilor’s re-election message was a list of the things he’d opposed. Highlights on the list were stopping a gymnastics place from opening and successfully blocking the licensing of a new day care in our part of town; his lowlight was that he’d tried and failed to stop the new Whole Foods from going in. Happily for the neighborhood, his failure to stop the Whole Foods ensured that the old dump by the highway overpass was turned into an ok little shopping plaza.


Boys vs. Men - #381

There have been a few trend-pieces on age gaps recently. I guess people dating or marrying people far older/younger than themselves is interesting, although most of the pieces take the more judgmental approach. There seems to be no one more blameworthy than the person who slightly upends a social convention to make themselves better off. The age gap in a relationship often signifies a wealth or status gap as well: the rich older man finds a younger, more attractive woman than his poorer peers find; the wealthy older woman finds a younger, more attractive man; etc. The self-interest these relationships signify gives the cultural commentator just enough to write the trend-piece.


These two profiles are dueling futures for the American right - #380

After leaving my job in politics, I found that I had a whole lot of freedom to rethink things. My old views seemed to matter a whole lot less. Upton Sinclair had it right, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." When my salary became apolitical, my opinions stopped being sacrosanct.

Alan Watts

The allure of zen - #377

Over the past year or so, I've read a bit in the modern type of Zen Buddhism promulgated by Alan Watts. The books have been uniformly interesting and wildly diverse: from the delightfully titled meditation guide Don't Just Do Something, Sit There to the fairly dense The Way of Zen to the ur-text of white people going on Tibetan pilgrimages The Snow Leopard. I've also sprinkled in some of Watts's essays and other authors aiming for the same thing: explorations of meaning, spirituality, and mindfulness untethered from western religious tradition.


Is it good to make things easier? - #376

We're deep in ski season. March is usually the snowiest month and the snowpack usually lasts until early May. It's been a little iffy this year: too many days of melting temperatures and a lot of forecasted snow that fell as rain. But we're still skiing a lot of acreage at our home mountain.


Nathanael's Reading

More than a hundred and fifty  people read the weekly email “Nathanael’s Reading,” which he’s sent every Friday since 2016. Nathanael includes original thoughts and curated reading on technology + marketing + simplicity. Subscribe by entering your email here