Welcome to a community of readers who care passionately about culture and literature.

Subscribers receive each Saturday a weekly post with a personal take on life and literature, with a focus on wealth, privilege, and capitalism A few recent examples: 

My Personal Myth in which I test the story I’ve told myself about a privileged life.

My Experience Raising Privileged Children, sparked by a reader’s comment and Thomas Cromwell’s approach to his son in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall

Wealth-Envy Has Become Part Of The Cultural Air We Breathe, sparked by remembering how reading Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities incited my own invidious comparisons.

With over 1,500 subscribers, Sparks From Culture is recommended by more than 40 other Substack writers, including M.E. Rothwell, Susan Bordo, John Halbrooks, Jay Adler, and Martha Nichols.

Read more here…

A very personal post begins:

On the morning of my daughter Lauren’s wedding, I was in the Frank E. Campbell funeral home haggling over the price of caskets for my mother who had died the night before. It was Saturday, March 21st, 2020, and New York City had been shutting down in stages all week. My mother’s body too had shut down in stages.

About Me

I’m 61 years old. I had a forty year career in finance and now devote myself to reading, writing, and thinking.

I bring the perspective of my career, my decades of reading (and re-reading), and my observations about family dynamics. Married 38 years, three adult children (two married,) one grandchild, and one Shih Tzu named Sophie.

Lifelong resident of Manhattan.

I love comments, especially those that broaden my own thinking. I especially love when subscribers get to “talk” to each other.

While I think posting public comments is great so everyone benefits from your thoughts, many of my subscribers feel more comfortable emailing me directly. So, here’s my email: robertsdavidn@gmail.com

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Subscriber

To a writer, there's no such thing as a free subscriber. Subscribers devote some portion of your most precious resource––your time––to reading my posts and often commenting on them. I am truly grateful for your attention, and it’s more than enough for me. It’s why I write. 

That said, I want to be supportive of Substack, whose revenue model is based on paid subscriptions. So, here’s my solution.

I offer both a free and a paid option, but there will be no difference in content or access between paid and free.

As well, all paid subscription revenues will be donated by me to The Robin Hood Foundation, a leading poverty fighting organization in New York City. Robin Hood has a thirty year history of doing innovative and highly impactful work, helping hundreds of not-for-profit organizations with both funding and advice.

The standard paid subscription price is $30 per year.

I asked my friends at Robin Hood what impact a $30 contribution to Sparks From Culture could have on people living in poverty. This is what they came back with:

  • $30 provides 15+ meals at a food bank.

  • $30 covers 10 subway rides enabling a mom in shelter to take the subway to find housing and employment.

And in case you want to consider a larger contribution:

  • $100 pays for 1,000 diapers for a baby in shelter.

  • $300 will provide health care to an uninsured New Yorker.


Through 2/2/23, 101 subscribers have elected the paid option, amounting to over $8,000 in annual contributions to Robin Hood. 

To find out more about Robin Hood, go here.

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Personal takes on life and literature with a focus on wealth, privilege, and capitalism


Writes Sparks From Culture offering deeply personal takes on life and literature robertsdavidn.substack.com/about for Bio