It has been said that there is no such thing as a new idea, just a composite/synthesis/evolution of a lot of other people’s ideas. I believe in this. One’s daily, weekly, and monthly information in-take is vitally important to allow yourself – consciously or subconsciously – to construct new ideas. “You are what you read,” or so the old line goes. I don’t believe this 100%, but I do believe that monitoring what, when, and how I consume information is important for keeping me on the cutting edge. I have posted before on trying to avoid information overload and it’s still something that concerns me. Each day I spend hours in the classroom absorbing even more amounts of information than listed below. Anyway, here is my daily, weekly, and monthly breakdown. Would love recommendations or feedback.
Daily Information Consumption:
Newspapers: New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle. I read the front section, business, circuits, and science times of the Times thoroughly each day, and breeze through Arts and Leisure. I read the Bay Area and Sports section of the Chronicle thoroughly. This is all in print.
Email Lists: Each day I receive the Software and Information Industry Association Industry Briefing which contains a nice snapshot of the latest in tech, software, and business. I also receive the I Want Media daily briefing which is a great overview of the day’s happenings in the media and publishing world.
RSS Aggregator: In my NetNewsWire each morning at around 6:40 AM and night at around 10:00 PM I refresh the 80 RSS subscriptions. My blogroll on the left side of this blog contain some of the feeds. I only subscribe to one “professional blogger” – Jeff Jarvis – my other feeds are mostly individuals. I also have NPR, CIO.com, and of course Slate feeds. I highly recommend subscribing to Slate’s RSS feed – it continually offers some of the strongest analysis and reporting of any publication I read.
Monthly Information Consumption: Some of my favorite reading is from some indespendable monthly magazine subscriptions. First and foremost, the The Atlantic Monthly is far and away one of the most amazing publications for anyone interested in current affairs or intellectual culture. Harpers also comes and its famed Harpers Index is worth the subscription price alone; its articles often dissapoint. Harvard Business Review has been a bedside table go-to for four years and routinely provides some of the best insight on managerial issues. Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Business 2.0 will only be read if I come across them. I just bought Columbia Journalism Review print subscription so we’ll see how that goes.
Books: During the school year I will probably get through a book every 2 weeks or so, sometimes more. My book roll on the left side of this blog updates this list. This is mostly nonfiction, though the occassional fiction winner sometimes falls on my lap, too. I buy 99% of the books I read used through Amazon.com.
My overall goal in monitoring my information diet is to make sure I am getting a) diversity, b) breadth, c) something new. A lot of places cross-link and cross-report so it’s easy to read redundant stuff. I have tried to structure my diet in a way that will expose me to the widest range of ideas, commentary, and reporting so that each and every day I can bring insight into the task at hand.