Consuming Information

Consuming Information

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of junk information out there. Click-bait, misleading headlines, viral memes that act to incite social media sharing, and opinion pieces masquerading as fact are just way too common. The alternative of burying your head in the sand is not beneficial to you. It’s been proven again and again that consuming information is absolutely imperative to leading a productive and well rounded life. Exposing yourself to new ideas, staying current on the latest trends that affect you, and being aware of the world in general is tantamount to navigating life. Some of the world’s most respected business leaders, including Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk are famously voracious readers. You should be too. But where to start?

First off you need a place to collect all of this data so you’re not clicking through hundreds of hyperlinks. I suggest using Feedly. Feedly is an RSS aggregator. Do you remember Google Reader? It replaces it. Feedly can be used to harvest articles from any site that incorporates RSS, and most do. This gives you a chance to capture posts from those small bloggers who have really great sites up like Brian Krebs or Ben Thompson to the mass postings from Entrepreneur and Fast Company. I would suggest subscribing to the feed of Hacker News. If you’re not familiar with HN, it is a message board supported by Y Combinator, a famous startup incubator. It really is one of the last message boards where people actually participate outside of Reddit. I have learned so much from it by reading the articles that programmers and developers think are important and from their comments as well.

Next you need a place to store articles for further reading. Yes, you can do this in Feedly using the “save for later” function, but I prefer using Pocket. Pocket allows you to save articles from Feedly (Evernote can do this too) but it also gives you an option to add on the fly from an extension in Firefox when you’re browsing the internet. If you’re reading something that is taking too much time but is good, save it to your Pocket and read it when it is more convenient. You can also archive your saved articles as well, which is helpful if you want to revisit something.

Lastly you need a few news sites that are reputable. I would suggest skipping the FOXs and CNNs of the world and go with something you have to pay a subscription to use. You have to pay for quality writing. I would suggest the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review (HBR). They all have digital subscriptions that are well worth the money. If you only choose one of these, I’d suggest HBR. The articles supplied there are meaningful and written by some of the world’s best scholars.

Addendum: I did not include Medium the body of this article for a reason. I know Medium is doing a lot to clean out the listicles and click bait articles so that more meaningful writers can emerge, but I have to see that in action more before I recommend it. I still like Medium a lot and have considering posting to it, but let’s see what the new promise of human curation and cleaner content can do first.