8/7/21 Themed Newsletters: History, Innovation, & Progress

8/7/21 Themed Newsletters: History, Innovation, & Progress

Good day!

For the next couple of months, we'll be taking a break from our normal content-- and instead, we'll be highlighting some specifically-themed newsletters as well as sharing newly emerging or trending topics in newsletters (which you can also see in real-time on narrowSCALE).

Thanks for sticking with us until our normal programming resumes (...and our lead researcher/writer returns from maternity leave).

The theme for this week is HISTORY AND INNOVATION. 

If you’re at all interested in how society has progressed over time and how some of the foundations of society as we know it today came to be, these are all fantastic, super passionate writers who can take you on great journeys. 

Roots of Progress by Jason Crawford

  • Quick description: Jason writes about the history of technology and industry, and the philosophy of human progress. He believes the story of progress is important and underappreciated, and deserves to be studied.

  • What makes it worth reading? Jason offers fascinating insight into the past, as well as ideas about what our society should be thinking about NOW to continue improving and progressing. You will learn not only about historical developments and their impact on the world, but you’ll also acquire more fodder to think about the present and future.   

  • Style: Some are long form essays with pictures and diagrams to help visualize what Jason is describing. Some are shorter and discuss a few topics which link to longer pieces on his main website. 

  • Frequency: 1-4 times/month

  • About the writer: Starting in 2019, Jason has been building the Roots of Progress website and newsletter full time. He is also the creator of Progress Studies for Young Scholars (an online learning program about the history of technology) for high schoolers, and is a part-time technical consultant and adviser to Our World in Data. Previously he worked in engineering at big tech companies and tech start-ups.

Age of Invention by Anton Howes

  • Quick description: Anton writes mostly about the causes of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, focusing on the lives of the individual innovators who made it happen. He explores why they became innovators and the institutions around them (or that they created) which promoted innovation even further.

  • What makes it worth reading?  If Britain’s Industrial Revolution sounds either dry or unlikely to impact your daily life, just wait for it...Anton’s writing is anything but dull or dry; he’ll make you feel like you’re right there experiencing the story. And while yes, much of his writing is about the past, he helps you find bridges to the present that ARE actually quite relevant to innovation in the 21st century. His newsletter is likely to make you think more about current innovation policies, challenges, and what we can learn from the past to build a better innovation culture for the present/future.

  • Style: Long form essays

  • Frequency: 1-2 times/month

  • About the writer: Anton’s focus has forever been on the history of invention...he holds a PhD from King’s College London, was a post-doc at Brown University, is the Head of Innovation Research at the Entrepreneurs Network, is a published author (Arts and Minds), is currently working on another book, has been a historian-in-residence at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) since 2017, and somehow still manages to devote time to sharing his latest research in his amazingly interesting newsletter! Whew! 

Read some recent issues   |   Subscribe

Perspectives: Past, Present, and Future by Patrick Wyman

  • Quick description: Patrick offers thoughts and explanations of past happenings (like migration in prehistory, the invention of agriculture, the importance of early written texts, etc) with a tie to the present.

  • What makes it worth reading? While much of the content comes from research/explanation of the past, Patrick has a fabulous way of making you think about its relevance to the present. For instance, in a June issue he delves into the latest discovery in human anthropology (a skull being colloquially called “Dragon Man”), which some researchers have proclaimed to be a new species. He helps you to understand the science behind the headlines-- and also why this hyper-categorization of human species may not actually be that helpful to a modern understanding of the past. He’ll provide you with new perspectives to ponder and you’ll be better off for having thought about them...

  • Style: Long form essay, but personalized… you feel like you’re hearing from a friend who’s teaching you something worth learning.

  • Frequency: 2-3 times/month

  • About the writerBesides writing this newsletter, Patrick runs a Podcast called Tides of History and has authored a book releasing in July 2021 called "The Verge," on finance and the world around 1500. He holds a PhD from USC, and is a researcher (obviously!), lecturer, and journalist.

Read some recent issues      |    Subscribe


We hope one of these struck a chord of interest...and if not, perhaps the next theme will resonate better! Feel free to email us if you have a specific genre or topic that you'd like us to deep dive into.

Also, if you're interested in what's been trending in newsletters this week, you can check that out here on narrowSCALE.

If someone forwarded you this issue, you can subscribe via the button below!
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Missing a past issue? See our archive here.

Sign up for our newsletter

Let us deliver intriguing, curated content straight to your inbox...

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.