Daniel Giacopelli | May 15, 2023

The Monday Media Diet with Daniel Giacopelli

On print, Arcana, and deep maps

Recommended Products

The Complete Walker IV
The Complete Walker IV

The original guidebook for backpackers by Colin Fletcher.


A book by Olga Tokarczuk.


A book by James Nestor about the science and art of breathing.

2666: A Novel
2666: A Novel

A novel by Roberto Bolaño.

Wildsam Field Guides Big Sur & Highway 1 (Wildsam American Pursuits)
Wildsam Field Guides Big Sur & Highway 1 (Wildsam American Pursuits)

A travel guide by Wildsam for planning trips in the Big Sur area.

The Aloha Shirt: Spirit Of The Islands
The Aloha Shirt: Spirit Of The Islands

A book by Dale Hope about the history of Aloha shirts.

Fonts In Paradise
Fonts In Paradise

A book by Mark Jonathan Davis about mid-century fonts on buildings.

Daniel Giacopelli (DG) has been a longtime friend of WITI and recently swapped London for Los Angeles. We are delighted to have his great taste on the page today. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Editor-at-Large for Courier, a media brand about modern business. I’ve been there since 2017 and at various points I’ve been Deputy Editor, Editor and Editorial Director. We make a print magazine, big coffee table books, and a killer weekly email newsletter. It’s all geared towards inspiring you to live a life on your own terms. Whether that means starting a business or... anything really. I came to Courier after 6+ years of traveling the globe for Monocle, where I built, produced and hosted their business podcast, The Entrepreneurs.

I was raised on Long Island, went to college in upstate New York, and moved to London for grad school, where one year somehow turned into a 12-year stint and British citizenship. Life! Six months ago I left Europe with my French wife Kim, a marketing consultant, and we relocated to the Santa Monica / Venice area.

I’m a passionate street photographer and recently spent 10 days shooting on the streets of Oaxaca with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. And I just launched a personal newsletter called Desire Paths. It features deep-dive interviews with people you might not normally read about, who have wild life journeys and big lessons to share. Small business owners, farmers, painters, shopkeepers, billionaires, hermits. You name it. Plus photo essays and brands/people/places on my radar. Subscribe and I’ll love you forever.

Describe your media diet.

Part of my job is to hunt down intriguing ideas/brands and bring them into Courier's editorial reactor, plus recruit new voices around the world. Which means I’m constantly talking to people who work in niche industries and hearing what’s new in their patch. It’s media from the horse's mouth.

I’m a big print guy and a luddite, I guess (whatever), so I buy forests of magazines. It was a lot easier in London – there’s a newsagent or WHSmith on every corner. In LA? Not so much. When I first moved here, I thought it was easier to find a special edition bookazine on keto diets or ghosts than The Economist. But I’ve slowly discovered hidden gem shops and indie kiosks that sell great stuff. I enjoy reading New York, Harper’s, Emergence, Popeye and Casa Brutus for the brands and photos, Apartamento, Avant and Heritage Post.

I get my news news from NYT, LA Times, BBC and Twitter. When I was living in London, I’d savor a print copy of FT Weekend over breakfast. LA Times is great, but not as weighty. I’ll also browse websites like Dezeen, The Slowdown, Field Mag, Modern Farmer, Skift.

I subscribe to lots of Substacks. Mostly friends. Favorites are A Continuous Lean by Michael Williams, all the zeitgeisty links you’ll ever need from Ben Dietz’s [SIC] Weekly, crystal ball China stuff from Yaling Jiang’s Following the Yuan, The Melt by Jason Diamond, stuff I’m not smart enough to understand from Ana Andjelic’s The Sociology of Business. I love The Retrologist by Rolando Pujol, who drives around sharing stories of roadside Americana, plus Chris Arnade Walks the World. I get media intel from Brian Morrissey’s The Rebooting. And For Scale, a wildly fun new design newsletter from my buddy David Michon. Obviously WITI too.

And photo books… I’m a photo book hoarder and recently made my first pilgrimage to the delightful Arcana. A temple.

What’s the last great book you read?

Train Dreams by the late Denis Johnson. A strange and beautiful and short (116pp) novella about a railroad laborer out in the American west in the early 1900s. It’s not what it seems. It’s very hard to describe this book, so I won’t attempt to do so.

What are you reading now?

I’m at various stages with…

  • The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher. The OG backpackers guide. Late 1960s. The book that kickstarted a movement. I found a secondhand copy of volume 1 at Bart's Books in Ojai. Incredible. His wit and insight is top notch.

  • Flights by Olga Tokarczuk. Brought this on a recent trip back to London and really enjoying it.

  • Breath by James Nestor. Learning that mouth breathing is a cardinal sin and the root of all evil and bad health.

  • 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. Magic.

  • Big Sur & Hwy 1 by Wildsam. Planning a birthday trip.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

I dip in and out. I rarely read one magazine (or book) in a single sitting. I’ve got giant stacks of mags, photo books, novels and travel guides piling up around my place.

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

Desert Oracle, Ken Layne's magazine and radio show about weird tales and life in the Mojave Desert. And Scope of Work (formerly The Prepared), an extremely engaging, well-written, high-signal read.

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?

QuakeFeed. Living in Southern California has turned me into a low-key prepper. Not long after moving here, we felt our first earthquake. I quickly went deep on The Big One. I’ve got a bug-out bag and other stuff, like this app, which alerts you to earthquakes and tsunamis. It’s not gonna alert you to one before it happens and it’s probably not gonna save your life. But it’s still pretty interesting to look at the data/maps after the fact. If anything it makes you more aware of the sheer scale of what’s happening below your feet literally everywhere, everyday. I’m writing this at 5pm and there’s already been 39 earthquakes today, in places like Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Japan, Nevada.

Plane or train?

Train, if I can help it.

What is one place everyone should visit?

Le Provençal, a family-run hotel on Presqu'île de Giens, in the south of France. I wrote about it here. A hotel that's like a movie set from the 1960s, located in the most dreamy setting imaginable. A special place.

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.

I burrow another hole every night before falling asleep. At the risk of becoming Mark Corrigan from Peep Show, I’ll never pass up the opportunity to learn about some ancient engineering feat. I also went embarrassingly deep on Napoleon for a few months last year. Streaming algorithms have picked up on all of this and my viewing recommendations are now Dad-worthy. I was in Hawaii last month and dove headfirst into the history of Aloha shirts, and also mid-century fonts on buildings. Highly recommend Dale Hope's The Aloha Shirt and Fonts in Paradise by Mark Jonathan Davis. 

Another long-term obsession is the concept of a deep map. I fell into this hole after buying an old copy of Prairyerth (1991) by William Least Heat-Moon. I’d never heard of him or the book. But in 600+ pages he paints a gorgeous, detailed portrait of a single county in Kansas (Chase County, pop. 3000). Part travelog, investigation, science report, collage, oral history. He calls this sort of thing a ‘deep map’ – and I’m now obsessed with the concept.

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Danny (DG)

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