Why subscribe?

This newsletter is a Dan Gardner production.

If that sentence convinces you to subscribe immediately, fabulous. Go press the button. If not, let me add that Dan Gardner — that’s me — is a New York Times bestselling author of a bunch of books about about psychology, decision-making, risk perception, risk management, forecasting, and, most recently, project planning and delivery. (For more about my books, have a look.)

As complex as people are, how we navigate the world can be stripped down to something pretty simple: We draw on the past to make decisions in the present that we hope will pay off in the future. We can do that well or we can do that badly, and thrive or suffer accordingly. But however we do it, we will do it. There’s no other way to get though life.

That’s why this newsletter is called PastPresentFuture. It is about, as the tagline says, “exploring history to understand today and shape a better tomorrow.” (For more, see this post.)

When you subscribe, you’ll be emailed a notice whenever I post something new.

Some of what I post is free to anyone, but other material is only available to paid subscribers. So now the question shifts from “why subscribe?” to “why pay?” There are three reasons.

One, you get full access to all my work. Two, and more importantly, as a paid subscriber you can read and post comments on everything, so you get access to a community of people interested in history, psychology, and decision making. There will be real value in that. I want this newsletter to be a place where people bring their own knowledge and experience and contribute to real discussions. This is not me delivering lectures to a silent audience. This is me hosting a dinner party. You are more than welcome to speak up.

The third reason to become a paid subscriber is to support my work. Much to my astonishment, I am still not independently wealthy and must concern myself with making money and paying bills. A subscription keeps me writing. That’s good for you. And it keeps the wolf from my door. That’s good for me and my bedraggled children.

My bedraggled children thank you for your consideration.

To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.

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Exploring history to understand today and shape a better tomorrow.


New York Times bestselling author of Risk (The Science of Fear in the US) and Future Babble. Co-author of How Big Things Get Done (with Bent Flyvbjerg) and Superforecasting (with Philip Tetlock.)