This newsletter will largely adhere to the topics I usually write about: Human nature, psychology, social class, TV shows and movies, book reviews, social and political divisions, luxury beliefs, and more. I’ll also share book, article and video recommendations.
I started a newsletter in January of 2020, and I’m grateful to Substack for approaching me with the idea of moving to this platform.
I’ve committed to writing two posts per week. Most recent posts will be available to everyone. However, premium content, the full archives, discussion threads, Ask Me Anything threads, personal reflections, and other substantive posts will be largely limited to premium subscribers only. Premium subscribers will also be able to comment on posts.
Please subscribe—it’s $9/month or $79/year.
Why should you subscribe?
I have a unique point of view.
I grew up in foster homes in California. After working as a busboy, a dishwasher, and supermarket bagger, I barely graduated high school. I joined the Air Force at the age of 17. Most of my enlistment was spent abroad, stationed in Europe and deployed in the Middle East.
Once described as “self-made” by the New York Times, I then obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Yale (thanks to the G.I. Bill) and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Cambridge (St. Catharine’s College), where I studied as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. I am currently a faculty fellow at the University of Austin, and have written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and Quillette, among other outlets, and have appeared on several podcasts including Honestly with Bari Weiss, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, and Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson.
I am perhaps most known for pioneering the concept of "luxury beliefs," a term I coined to describe a new way of understanding the American status system.
In August of 2015, I was honorably discharged from the military. I still vividly recall having to deal with the VA bureaucracy to secure my GI Bill for college tuition.
In September, I started classes as an undergrad at Yale.
In October, I witnessed 1,000 student protestors unite to call for professors to be fired over an innocuous email. One of them subsequently stepped down from her position.
Maybe, I thought, that was just an American thing. But no.
In 2018, I moved across the pond to the University of Cambridge for graduate school. Six months later, Jordan Peterson was invited to be a research fellow on campus.
But he never came, because activists protested his presence on campus which led to his invitation being revoked.
Universities are a lot different from how I imagined.
I’ve already felt out of place in many educated circles because of my unusual background.
You are welcome to learn more about my early life here and here. My forthcoming memoir will be published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
With that, I hope you’ll become a premium member. And be sure to tell your friends!
What readers say:
"Rob is a must-read. He unearths unpopular and nonobvious social truths, from data and personal experience, and created the ‘luxury beliefs’ framework."
-Naval Ravikant, entrepreneur, investor, and philosopher
“You have a very sharp mind. I’ve had many graduate students over the years and you are right among the best of them. I hypothetically speak with the smartest people in the world and you are right up there, I learned a lot from you. That’s not a compliment by the way, it’s just an observation.”
-Jordan B. Peterson, psychologist and author
“Rob is one of my favorite thinkers. He will challenge the way you think about dating, social status, and why certain people have the luxury of having certain beliefs. Go follow him on Twitter and Substack immediately.”
-Matthew Kobach, investor and former Manager of Digital and Social Media for the New York Stock Exchange
“If you like Rob's Twitter feed (which you should; it's full of fascinating research and ideas), you'll love his Substack newsletter. Check it out!”
-Steve Stewart-Williams, evolutionary psychologist and author
“My friend Rob has one of the most interesting newsletters related to ‘human nature,’ broadly construed, that you can find out there. His ‘lived experience’ is also one of the most unique you’ll find in the ‘chattering classes.’”
-Razib Khan, geneticist and writer
“High quality newsletter.”
-Brian Norgard, investor and former Tinder CPO
“I became aware of your newsletter and subscribed. Good stuff. I also enjoyed your WSJ article on luxury beliefs and the class bias in woke language. A very good essay.”
-Keith E. Stanovich, author and Professor Emeritus of Applied Psychology and Human Development
“If you are interested in learning more about status I recommend Rob Henderson’s newsletter, one of the leading thinkers in this space.”
-Nick Maggiulli, COO, data scientist, and author
“Rob Henderson is one of a few writers outside of the rationalist community that I follow obsessively, for his consistently high insight-to-length ratio, and his general writing style which appeals to me in some hard to articulate way.”
-Wen_Dai, Less Wrong
To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or premium member.
Rob, welcome to substack...I was on your email list and doing the occasional donorbox....but substack makes supporting your work and writing via a subscription so much easier . Look forward to your thoughts and writing. Cheers
I echo Raymond; very happy to see you here!