There’s a common phrase in computer science, “garbage in, garbage out”, describing the concept that poor input data will result in poor output data.  

The same concept applies to anyone on the path of personal development.  What you consume helps to shape who you become.  

This is obviously true for what we consume with our mouths.  Someone who eats healthy foods, avoid drugs and drinks a lot of water is more likely to be healthy than someone who intermittently has a french fry or cigarette in their mouth, right? 

This also applies to what we consume through our eyes and ears – what we’re watching, reading and listening to on a daily basis.  It’s time to take a self-audit. 

Do we really need to scour Trump’s Twitter for 45 minutes?  Do we really need to “keep up with the Kardashians” as much as we think?  Do we really think that spending our mornings and evenings watching the news is going to benefit us in the long term? 

Garbage in, garbage out. 

Once we take out the hours each day we spend consuming useless information, we now have time to consume content that will inspire us, challenge us, help us to grow.  This can be a book, a blog, a podcast, a YouTube video – all with the end goal of growing ourselves. 

Another way I like to learn is through email newsletters.  On a daily or weekly basis, I can learn from people much smarter than I am.  What they’re reading, what they’re thinking about, what they’re using to get ahead.  

In no particular order, here are my seven favorite email newsletters for personal development: 

Seth Godin 

Seth is one of the most brilliant minds of our time, writing 19 bestselling books focused on concepts from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything.  

Seth has dropped a blog and newsletter every single day, 7 days a week for over 19 years.  That’s over 7,000 posts. That’s a dedication to the craft. His newsletter is filled with daily, short thoughts to ponder throughout the day as you look to up-level yourself.  

You can check him out here.

Brain Pickings

Writer Maria Popova puts together this thoughtful, creative, bi-weekly newsletter.  She describes it as an “inquiry into what it means to live a decent, substantive, rewarding life, and a record of my own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — drawn from my extended marginalia on the search for meaning across literature, science, art, philosophy, and the various other tentacles of human thought and feeling.”  

It will make you think, it will make you feel.  And it pulls from a lot of books and poems that I’ve never heard of.

You can check her out here.

Brain Food 

Put together by the Farnam Street blog, this weekly newsletter puts together a collection of the best books and articles for deeper thinking and problem-solving.  This ranges from hard science to better understand what it means to live a good life. Mainly, they love reading – and so do I – so we get along quite well.

I’ve found a lot of great articles from this newsletter that shape the way I think and have helped my blog quite a bit. 

You can check them out here

Daily Stoic 

Written from one of my favorite authors, Ryan Holiday, this daily newsletter offers stoic wisdom for everyday life.  Topics range widely from daily rituals to self-discipline to thinking about your own fatality.  

As usual, Holiday has a way of writing that can really punch you in the gut, probing deeper thought on an important topic, all while using philosophy that is thousands of years old. 

You can check it out here.

5-Bullet Friday 

The name of Tim Ferriss’ newsletter is pretty self-explanatory.  Each Friday, Tim sends out five bullets exploring the five coolest things he’s using each week – including books, gadgets, albums, articles, new hacks/tricks and anything else he’s come across on the internet. 

Tim is one of the most influential people around personal development in the world and I’ve learned that his suggestion is usually worth exploring. 

You can check him out here.


Every Thursday, James Clear, author of the bestselling book Atomic Habits, sends out 3 ideas from him, 2 quotes and 1 question for the audience.  His goal is to make this is “the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”  

This one is relatively new and I’ve found it be just as advertised, concise and wise.  I’m a huge fan of powerful quotes, which is one reason this one is so appealing to me. 

You can check it out here

Daily Momentum

Outside of my weekly newsletter recapping the best things I’ve found the previous week, I’m launching a brand new newsletter.  It’s a free, daily email with a small nugget of inspiration and positivity.  

The world is filled with too much negativity.  Help me to change that, one day at a time.

You can check it out here