Shane Parrish, creator of the Brain Food newsletter and the Farnham Street blog, has published a pointed and provocative essay on why should stop reading the news.
Source: Why You Should Stop Reading News (This article takes about five minutes to read.)
Parrish has a large following of people who are trying to make the most of their time and who need to make good decisions. The news, he says, is very little “signal” and mostly “noise.”
The point is, most of what you read online today is pointless. It’s not important to your life. It’s not going to help you make better decisions. It’s not going to help you understand the world. It’s not going to help you develop deep and meaningful connections with the people around you. The only thing it’s really doing is altering your mood and perhaps your behavior.
Parrish wisely makes the distinction between “news creators” and “journalists.” News creators simply want to gain your attention and hold it for as long as possible. He doesn’t spell it out, but I assume that in his view journalists report information that adds value to your life.
Much of what you see, hear, and read today — particularly online — is designed to peak your curiosity rather than to make you a more informed citizen and a better decision-maker.
Avoid the noise because it messes with the signal. Your attention is valuable, so why spend so much time on stuff that will be irrelevant in a few days? Read what stands the test of time. Read from publications that respect and value your time, the ones that add more value than they consume. Read what prompts you to think for yourself. Read fewer articles and more books. Read books that have stood the test of time, those that are still in print after 20 years or so.