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8 Publications You Should Be Reading

Cropped image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr. Cropped image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr.

Where do you go when you need helpful insight into economics? What does a conservative aesthetic look like in the arts and culture? Who’s offering thoughtful commentary on the political scene?

Whether you’re researching for a paper or an article, looking for a solid news and commentary source, or seeking out inspiring ideas, these eight publications regularly provide smart reading and cultural insight.

Bookmark them in your browser and follow them on Twitter. Your intellectual life (and your ongoing education) will be the richer for it.

1. The Imaginative Conservative

From T. S. Eliot to Edmund Burke, this publication is a haven for anyone who pursues the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Here you’ll find everything from classic essays by Richard Weaver, Christopher Dawson, Robert Nisbet, and Russell Kirk to new articles by Peter Augustine Lawler, H. Lee Cheek Jr., and many others.

2. First Things

“America’s most influential journal of religion and public life” shows that there is a viable alternative to the growing secularist movement—that faith can and must shape the public conversation. Or, as deputy editor Matthew Schmitz told me, First Things is dedicated to proving that you can live your faith and live a vibrant intellectual life; “indeed, each enlivens the other.” Founded by Richard John Neuhaus in 1990, First Things defends human dignity from conception to natural death, the traditional family and sexual norms, and religious faith and reason against secularist and materialist ideology.

3. The Federalist

Federalist cofounder Sean Davis says that this publication provides “a perspective on life that is often lost on those who think about politics 24/7.” It’s true. The Federalist covers the misconceptions surrounding stay-at-home-moms, the incongruities of People magazine, what Caesar’s murder means for the American republic, and many other topics that you’ll never hear about from journalists obsessed with electoral horse races.

4. The New Atlantis

Technology has simplified our lives in some ways (thanks to the blender, we don’t have to crush our frozen strawberries with a pestle), and it has undeniably complicated them in others (smartphone culture, for example). If you’re into technology and its social implications, the New Atlantis is the “lively and idiosyncratic” place to go for “morally serious writing about modern science and technology.”

5. The New Criterion

Created by art critics, the New Criterion engages and analyzes art, architecture, and culture. Reading the New Criterion will provide you with unparalleled insight into the intellectual side of the art world, enabling you to develop your own critical eye.

6. The Economist

Why are oil prices falling? Just how shaky is the EU? What’s that disease more deadly than Ebola that no one’s talking about? The Economist will keep you informed about the local and global economic, scientific, and financial landscape. The publication has been devoted to defending free markets with “plain language” since 1843, and continues on in the spirit of James Wilson and Walter Bagehot to this day. Make sure to get your dose of market smarts regularly.

7. National Review

NR was founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley Jr. to stand “athwart history, yelling Stop.” Ever since then, it has called not only called for realism and common sense in politics but also for the rehabilitation of the conservative intellectual tradition in America.

8. Wall Street Journal

Maybe the WSJ is an obvious suggestion. But if you’re not reading it regularly, do so, starting today. Add it to your daily ritual, right up there with flossing and episodes of House of Cards.


What publications are you reading these days? Let me know in the comments!

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