A new essay from me on the disquieting legacy of Thomas Midgley Jr. and the problem of technology's unintended consequences.

February 2023

A tribute to one of the great chapters in the history of nonfiction prose, and a few thoughts on the power—and challenge—of writing on different time…

January 2023

In the latest installment of the Creative Workflow series: a tribute to the transformative power of a great editor.

December 2022

A look back at my 2022 and a few hints about new projects to come.
David Byrne, Ernest Hemingway, and the importance of leaving yourself fragments to build on.
How Ideas Happen: David ByrneListen now (6 min) | The legendary performer and songwriter (Talking Heads, American Utopia) explains why nonsense lyrics and "little beginnings" are…

November 2022

An ode to the short but influential life of the audio cassette.
Why popularizers and explainers can be just as important as inventors—and Dilip Mahalanabis finally gets the obituary he deserves.
How Ideas Happen: Randall MunroeListen now (11 min) | The bestselling author of What If? and creator of xkcd explains his research techniques for answering seemingly unanswerable…

October 2022

Dilip Mahalanabis popularized one of the great medical advances of the 20th century. Why did his death last month go mostly unmentioned?
How Ideas Happen: Atul Gawande and Linda VillarosaListen now (12 min) | Two acclaimed writers on health describe the virtues of "scheduled unscheduled" time, a daily writing practice, and the…
Why are the triumphs of public health and medicine a footnote in the history books?