How Things Work

Is a site written by Hamilton Nolan. Its focus is on power, how it is wielded, and how it can be channeled for the common good. I’ll seek to answer questions like: Why is America so fucked up? Why do the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer? How is the system broken, and how can we fix it? When I wrote for Gawker, “How Things Work” was a tag that we applied to stories that tried to get at the infernal, surprising, enraging, and sometimes very stupid machinations that make our world how it is. That’s what’s happening here.

Our beautiful commie gator logo is by JIM COOKE.

What’s It About?

Inequality. Organized labor and unions. Politics. Media. Housing. Capitalism and socialism. All the things that make and distribute power. Sometimes these appear to be very different things, but really they are branches of the same thing.

Who Am I?

Hi, I’m Hamilton Nolan. I’ve been a journalist for two decades. I spent a large part of my career at Gawker, writing about inequality and politics and labor and the various ways our world is fucked up, and how it could be better. I was a full time labor reporter for In These Times magazine, and I just wrote a book about the American labor movement, which will be published by Hachette Books in 2024. I helped to unionize the online media industry. I write regularly for The Guardian, about politics, for In These Times, about labor, and for Defector, about boxing. I’ve won many fabulous and prestigious awards, a fact which should induce you to subscribe. I come from Florida, and I live in Brooklyn.

Why Subscribe?

Journalism is a funny field in which even very smart, experienced people may find it hard to make a living, due to grand economic, political, and cultural forces—the same sorts of things that this Substack will be about. The support of readers is ultimately the only way that independent media can exist. It’s good!

How Things Work is a reader-supported publication. It’s great and you’ll love it.

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Labor, politics, and power.


A journalist who writes about labor and politics.