Hello reader.

My name is Dan Bartlett. I am a coach and writer who previously worked in Tech as an engineer and leader. Alongside the nerdy credentials, I’m fascinated with consciousness, philosophy and awakening. My life is an awkward reconciliation between the geek, the mystic and the malcontent.

After a spectacular burnout several years into co-founding my own company, I reset my bearings, retrained as a coach and dedicated myself to writing more regularly, on topics like inner work, authenticity, creativity, contemplation and crisis navigation.

My writings spring from two sources: wonder and scepticism. Wonder at life, and scepticism towards the many popular ideas that tell us what to do with life—whether self-help platitudes, spiritual loopholes or scientific misapplications. These ideas matter; in the absence of religion, they are what feed and nourish us. And I'm a picky eater.

What drives me is a search for wisdom—perennial ideas and practices that compound in value as the hype rushes by. This usually means sailing into the headwinds of a culture hellbent on consumption, distraction and all things new.

My coaching and writing often points people back to the sovereignty of their own experience—how body, being, language & emotion weave together this immediacy we call life. Here lies fulfilment and autonomy—in learning how to use the mind instead of cramming it full of further ideas.

I started this Substack in 2023 by writing about my pandemic-flavoured breakdown: starting in divorce, swerving into burnout and ending up in depression. You can read the full story here: one, two and three. After that, I took a long sabbatical, retrained as a coach and talked about what helped me to recover.

The name of this publication—affectionately and appropriately abbreviated to NOBT—comes from a story of one of Jung’s patients:

She saw herself in a dream sinking into a dreadful mire. Overhead appeared the figure of Dr. Jung serenely floating in the aether and sternly addressing the distressed patient with the following words: “Not out, but through!”

What the people are saying


"raw and honest"

"visceral and beautiful"

"transparent and human"

"unvarnished vulnerability"

and in response to my most popular piece—Three Years: Part One"one of the most meaningful pieces of writing I've read all year"


You can learn more about me here. I also wrote a piece called Not what I had in mind—a 3-minute tour through the weird and wonderful ways other people have shaped my life.

Ten years ago, I wrote a piece called Answering the Demand which traces my insatiable thirst for a Big Picture. I also have a personal website with articles about 30-day digital declutters, 100km ultramarathons, 6-month sober spells, 10 ways to improve Huel and 5 remedies for anxiety.

If you’re not already subscribed, I’d love to have you on board. It’s all free to a good home:

Subscribe to Not out, but through!

Experiments in awareness, articulation & creativity. Broadcast weekly over the din of a deafening culture.


Geek, mystic and malcontent writing weekly. In polite society: coach and consultant. Bristol, UK.