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I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
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BlurredSevens Away
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Lightbulb I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
For the better part of my adult life, I've been the kind of person that followed the news incessantly. From politics to human rights to war to science to sports and entertainment: if there was a new story, I'd be reading it.

Why?

Because smart people are well-informed, right? What kind of redneck, uneducated cretin didn’t know detailed accounts of what was happening on the ground in Syria last year? Or the implications and possible outcomes from North Korea’s aggression toward the US, Japan and South Korea? Or what the long term effects of Obamacare would or wouldn’t be in the US? How could I not keep up with this important news? It’s life changing stuff, it makes a difference, and it’s important to keep up to date with everything that’s happening. People are dying, society is collapsing, and the world is going to hell, and I would be a fool not to know what’s happening all around me. Right?

Wrong.

In late 2013, I asked myself: “Is my quality of life higher because I read the news?”

I pondered for a few days on this idea. I thought that reading the news had been such an obvious value all these years, that I benefitted greatly from being a well-informed individual. But in the end, I realized that my quality of life doesn’t improve from reading the news. I’m not a better person for reading the news or for being well-informed on current events. My productivity doesn't improve because of it, my relationships with friends and family and don't depend on it, and my health and well being don't benefit from it.

As I dove into this new concept, I asked myself a new question: “Do current events have a direct effect on my life?” Again, I thought the answer was an obvious yes. But it occurred to me that 99.9% of what I read about in the news has 0.1% effect on my life. I never meet the people I read about. I’ve never been to half the places many stories come out of, nor will I likely ever visit them. My immediate surroundings have an enormous impact on my life, but I spend my time reading about what is happening in the rest of the world. But why? To what end? What sense does it make to read the world news when it has a negligible effect on my quality of life?

To put things in perspective, I concluded that the new traffic light by my apartment has had a larger impact on my life than the 150,000 people that died in Syria last year. It feels ridiculous to write that sentence, but it’s absolutely true. So why stress out about it? I’m not going to go save all those people, nor will I convince any government to take action, so why would I waste my exceedingly short life keeping up to date with something that’s irrelevant to me?

So, I stopped reading the news. I decided to improve my signal-to-noise ratio by focusing only on what has an effect on me and the things I care about.

The results have been excellent, but it has been a struggle. My curiosity gets the better of me, and I sometimes find myself mindlessly clicking to news sites. I have to force myself to click away, because I know it doesn’t improve my life in any measurable form.

My focus and productivity at work have skyrocketed since I quit reading the news. I am able to keep my attention focused longer, because my head isn’t filled with irrelevant noise. I feel less stressed out, and I feel like I have a clearer vision of my own future and my own place in the world.

More importantly, and most unexpectedly, I have greater perspective and am more in touch with myself and the world around me. This is counter-intuitive, but you must remember that every news outlet on earth is biased and has an agenda. It’s inescapable. By taking myself out of the news equation, I’m able to make my own observations about what’s happening in the world, instead of consuming what someone else wants me to believe is important or what I should think is important.

Here is a short list of things I haven’t thought about since I quit reading the news:

Feminism - I don’t see any effects of it in my daily life. It’s a non-issue and doesn’t exist in my world.
Gay rights - I have a few gay friends, but they don’t mention gay marriage or gay rights. The issues I see guys here getting riled up about are irrelevant to my life.
Politics - By and large politicians have no effect on my life. My taxes might go up or down based on who’s in office, but other than that there is no value in knowing who said what or what new law is being passed or what person is running for office. Wholly irrelevant.
Ukraine Conflict - apparently something is happening in Ukraine, judging by the RVF subforum dedicated to it. But, I’ve never been to Ukraine, have no plans to go there soon, and don’t know anyone that lives there. So, what value would it bring to my life by knowing what’s happening there? Absolutely none.
Iraq/Afghanistan war - Is the US still there? Wouldn't matter to me either way.
The Collapse of Society - people love to harp on this one. I haven't seen any direct evidence of it in my daily life. Go figure.

Overall, my life hasn’t become worse since I quit reading the news. Which is proof that it didn’t improve my life when I was doing it. And in fact, as I mentioned above, there are notable improvements to my focus and reductions in my stress level since I quit.

You may ask: But what if something really important happens in the world? Well, then my friends will tell me about it. If something really truly important happens, something that will have a direct effect on my life and the way I choose to live it, then someone will bring it up. Otherwise, if they don’t, then it wasn’t important and it wasn't worth my valuable attention or consideration in the first place.

I know a lot of guys pride themselves on being super knowledgeable about world events, and on forming strong opinions on what's happening, what should be happening, and what they think is going to happen. But, I encourage all of you to ask yourself the following question: Does your quality of life improve from reading the news, and keeping up with current events? If it does, please let me know how. I would enjoy reading counter arguments to my theory and experience thus far.

My guess is that most of you, like me, have always just assumed it was important, but never really stopped to consider the value it does or doesn't bring to your life.
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2014 09:41 PM by BlurredSevens.)
04-01-2014 09:34 PM
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RawGod Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
3 hours/week reading news sites + 3 hours/week impressing people with your knowledge
after 6 years=???

or

6 hours week working on a new business or new side to your business adding 1% to your income monthly (compounding)
after 6 years=your income has doubled

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04-01-2014 09:41 PM
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unbowed Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
"“To bankrupt a fool, give him information.” - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I've phased out almost every news site and am weening off the mild zerohedge addiction. It becomes rather easy when you realize 99% of news these days is disinformation.
04-01-2014 09:50 PM
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Jackreacher Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
The problem with the news isn't so much with reading it but where you are getting your news from. Mainstream is a horrible source, and political news is a lot like watching reality tv, nothing but drama and people acting butt hurt. I think a lot people who read the news are addicted to what I'd call "bad news". I like to read up news on actual developments, like the latest piece of technology or science that's intriguing or useful. I think that covers about 90% of my news reading habits at least.
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2014 10:14 PM by Jackreacher.)
04-01-2014 10:13 PM
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bacon Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
News is a big time suck that as the OP correctly noticed does little to add value to your life.

Many men tend to read up on developing political issues/stories either on a national or international level the way women read about the latest celebrity gossip. They incorporate consuming news into their day to day schedule as something as vital to their life as sleeping or eating. For many it becomes an addiction to constantly have to know whats going on around them and learning the facts about the latest developing story even if its on the other side of the world.

I should know as for about a decade I was a hardcore news junkie. I justified the time I spent on news as as worthwhile because I felt it was important to be knowledgeable about what was going on in the world. But like the OP around a year or so ago I began to ween myself off reading or watching the news almost entirely. The results of stopping watching/reading the news have like the OP mentioned been great. And now having broken the addiction I realize how little value for the time and energy I put into the news I actually received.

Today I will never go back to my old ways of news consumption. Its not worth it. It was never worth it and only after quiting it can you realize how unneccessary it is to your life.

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04-01-2014 10:54 PM
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Christian McQueen Offline
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Post: #6
RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
I canceled my WSJ subscription years ago, although it was (is?) a good paper.

Never looked back and have been happier as a result.

I can read any important headlines from scanning a great Red Pill News Site: RooshVForum.com Laugh
04-01-2014 11:14 PM
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
We are people of this world. Surely the events which take place throughout the world will impact you in one way or another. For instance, take the crash in 2007-08 -- There were many people who, by being well versed in the real estate market as well as the US economy made contrarian moves to get their money out from industries which they believed to be over-levereged. They made these moves by following and deeply analyzing news and current events. Of course these people were the exception, but these highly educated people were able to make the right moves, get out and then back in at the right time, and, in turn, stack some bread. If you don't know when the market crashes, and for what reason, how are you going to invest in the right industries?

Ok, say you are not interested in the financial markets / commodities / investing. Say you are just talking about politics. I guess I don't really have a strong argument for you here, except that you admit that you enjoy reading the news. But then you write : " why would I waste my exceedingly short life keeping up to date with something that’s irrelevant to me? " Well, why do you waste your time keeping in touch with your friends, why do you waste your time keeping in touch with your family? I guess you can argue that you have an emotional connection with your friends and family, but many people also have an emotional connection with the world beyond their friends and family. I have many friends who are from the Middle East and the the ramifications of what is happening in Syria will have a direct affect on their extended families living in the region. These are my friends and they are concerned with it -- Should I be concerned with it as well? Should you be concerned with it? These are questions you answer for yourself depending on your level of emotional involvement, and the amount of pleasure that you acquire from reading and being knowledgeable about the world.

Further, keeping up with current events also prevents you from being a sheep. After you acquire a lot of experience in forming your own views and opinions on unfolding current events, you begin to see patterns which, hopefully, lead you to shift your own thinking and acquire certain beliefs about the world and then eventually yourself. For instance, you watch the government take 20-30% of your paycheck and use it to bail out the banks rather than the taxpayers, (opposite is actually what happened in some of the Scandinavian nations -- learned by staying current), and then you watch the government take your money again and fund wars that you give no shit about -- why are we still spending millions in Afghanistan, why is this money not going to subsidize the college education of the youth of this country? You learn that key government players encouraging these wars acquire stakes in industries making a lot of money from our occupations. This is just one example, of course, but there are thousands. You become jaded. You learn that politicians, corporations, news, teachers, your boss, they all talk a lot of shit. You start to connect the dots and think for yourself. You learn that the government and the corporations allowing you to take out these insane amounts of debt are not acting in your best interest, and, in fact, they may have absolutely no fucking idea what they are doing. You read more and branch out into other topics to learn how to interpret everything going on around you (ie. Black Swan by Taleb) -- You get smarter and motivated to acquire skills and money, so that you don't have to work for these people, and so that you can be independent. You are part of the world that you live in -- you should understand how it works and what motivates the events which take place in it.

Finally, keeping up to date with current events leads you to form opinions which you can write about. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy improving my writing by arguing about topics which I have a strong view point on. If you enjoy writing, arguing about your views will be a great way to improve it.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 03:07 AM by fortysix.)
04-02-2014 02:47 AM
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berserk Offline
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Post: #8
RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
I'm not against news, it's good to keep up to date on what is going on, so that you can better act in it. I am very against the superficial sound byte news which mainly serve to depress you and put you in a state where something is always 'Breaking'.

Therefore, I prefer to get a good rightwing/libertarian/conservative weekly newspaper with a high academic level and read through lots of interesting in depth pieces with a cup of coffee in the weekend. Weekly magazines like the Economist, Time, Foreign Affairs are alright too, but I prefer the newspaper format. You simply have to find a non-mainstream intellectual rightwing paper, which isn't very common, but worth it.
04-02-2014 03:41 AM
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spalex Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
I am just so fucking sick of the mainstream news news dishing out rubbish information with no valid sources and just being repetitive.

For example, this Malaysian airline plane that has gone missing. There is really only some new information coming out every 4 or 5 days. But 1 newspaper will publish 4 articles about it every day. Just regurgitating the same information as the day before and not even giving us some new pictures or diagrams.

I also hate how much of an influence it has on stupid people.
Like this Ukraine conflict... Had the whole world against Putin and Russia. Then they had the referendum in Crimea and it was something like like 74% of people there wanted Crimea to be part of Russia anyway.
I didn't see any information in the newspapers about the history and back story of Crimea either.

Then I get pissed off at how left wing the mainstream media is. I could go on for days about that.

Its only really worth reading when there is a big world event... Or when a plane disappears. But you will eventually end up getting pissed off when you think you might get some new information today and its exactly the same as yesterday.

The less fucks you give, the more fucks you get.
04-02-2014 03:49 AM
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funkyzeit Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
(04-01-2014 09:34 PM)BlurredSevens Wrote:  But it occurred to me that 99.9% of what I read about in the news has 0.1% effect on my life.

Really? Do you want to be the guy who approach a cute political science girl in 2017 thinking Obama is still your president because you don't read news since 2014? I've stopped watching television in 2011 and I'm completely clueless when my friends and our girls talk about some hilarious commercial they saw, or a talk show that featured someone interesting. I do have internet for movies and seasons of tv shows but there are things that steal the topic and you are just there silent. Imagine now what would happen if you stopped with all printed, online and tv news. You'll basically be the guy living under the rock.

Be up to date with the news, but learn to read between the lines so you can filter out retarded propaganda and blue pill crap.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 04:45 AM by funkyzeit.)
04-02-2014 04:40 AM
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Parlay44 Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
My father is like that. Always watching the news. Always reading the paper. Always up on current events happening on the other side of the world. All he does is bitch and complain about things that don't affect him. He's a miserable old fuck.

I've always hated politics. Not my thing.

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04-02-2014 06:42 AM
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
But it gives me shit to be angry about...
04-02-2014 06:43 AM
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ColSpanker Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
I get most of the "news" shoved in my face by Facebook friends who will find a story that (amazingly!) agrees with their views. The story is then re-posted endlessly by their ilk. Sometimes I respond, usually not.
What has always amused me is the "news" which the big median outlets emphasize and the "news" they ignore.

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04-02-2014 07:02 AM
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WanderingSoul Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
If anything important happens I'll see it on here or Facebook. Otherwise, probably not so important.
04-02-2014 07:19 AM
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
You will hear about the most important news through social circle and social media. I see no point in following the news Smile
04-02-2014 07:20 AM
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
I organize my news with a rss-reader that automatically updates all feeds. At some point I had over 100 new headlines to check daily and it took at least half an hour. Reading the headlines often is enough, no need to read the articles.
Then I decided to cut out all mayor mainstream news from my feeds, because they often release the same news. Copying and modifying standard press releases. Now I only have some Niche feeds I wouldn't hear anything about, if I wouldn't read the stuff myself. I now invest less than 5 minutes a day.

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04-02-2014 07:34 AM
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
(04-02-2014 07:34 AM)void Wrote:  I organize my news with a rss-reader that automatically updates all feeds. At some point I had over 100 new headlines to check daily and it took at least half an hour. Reading the headlines often is enough, no need to read the articles.
Then I decided to cut out all mayor mainstream news from my feeds, because they often release the same news. Copying and modifying standard press releases. Now I only have some Niche feeds I wouldn't hear anything about, if I wouldn't read the stuff myself. I now invest less than 5 minutes a day.

I used to be a News Junkie and realized much what others have said, it was of no benefit to me and just added more stress to my life. Knowing a bus went off a bridge in India or Pork bellies crashed in trading added nothing positive to my life. I yanked my Cable TV in July 2011 and haven't watched or listened to anything other than my local news or weather report since then. As far as I'm concerned this 24/7 newsfeed is just another way of distracting us from what's really going on.
04-02-2014 07:55 AM
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
(04-02-2014 04:40 AM)funkyzeit Wrote:  
(04-01-2014 09:34 PM)BlurredSevens Wrote:  But it occurred to me that 99.9% of what I read about in the news has 0.1% effect on my life.

Really? Do you want to be the guy who approach a cute political science girl in 2017 thinking Obama is still your president because you don't read news since 2014? I've stopped watching television in 2011 and I'm completely clueless when my friends and our girls talk about some hilarious commercial they saw, or a talk show that featured someone interesting. I do have internet for movies and seasons of tv shows but there are things that steal the topic and you are just there silent. Imagine now what would happen if you stopped with all printed, online and tv news. You'll basically be the guy living under the rock.

Be up to date with the news, but learn to read between the lines so you can filter out retarded propaganda and blue pill crap.

The point is the vast majority of the news is Crap, as is most of what's on TV. I get my news at the cafe's I go to, if I hear of an interesting story, book, show or event from somebody I find intelligent I'll check it out. Anyone who generally has anything accurate to say about what's going on in the world is not normally given any airtime in the Media, except as a clown or is taken out of context. to make them out to be either dangerous or and idiot. All one has to do is look at how they all laughed at Peter Schiff over the housing/finacial crash and bull that was heaped on anyone who tried to expose what was going on in the lead up to War after 911...
04-02-2014 08:12 AM
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Maciano Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
Good post. I agree.

My version: never bother with politics or religion, it doesn't matter. It never does.

That makes 90% of news irrelevant.
04-02-2014 08:38 AM
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
(04-02-2014 04:40 AM)funkyzeit Wrote:  Do you want to be the guy who approach a cute political science girl in 2017 thinking Obama is still your president because you don't read news since 2014?
Imagine now what would happen if you stopped with all printed, online and tv news. You'll basically be the guy living under the rock.

I think that's the illusion OP is referring to. In actual fact, nothing happens, you only *imagine* this would happen. In reality, it's not like you suddenly acquire brain damage when you stop reading the news. You still know what's up, and any important and breaking news, you would find out anyway. Whether you want to or not. Your friends/family, random flier you see on the subway, random snippet you happen to see on a tv in a sports bar, etc, etc.

Some counter-arguments might be:

-what about something like bitcoin? Perhaps because you'd never heard of it via the news early you could potentially miss out on an opportunity. Not sure if it's a good argument though (I had been following the news closely, but I still missed the boat on bitcoin). But perhaps a tech news source/forum might be in order.

-what if I want to donate money/do some activism based on what happens in the world. Again though, if you are serious about it, it probably makes more sense to follow some special source for that or a forum.

-what if I just enjoy reading up on the news. It gives value to me in and of itself, in a way a TV show might, even if neither actually bring any other value in my life. In which case, for a person like that I think it's a fair argument.


Suppose you are up early in the morning and considering going on a bit of a news binge. A useful question to ask yourself beforehand might be this:
Will reading the news this morning have ANY impact on the things I need to get done today?

The answer for almost all people is almost certainly no. While it will take up your time, and likely fill you with negativity and scatter your thoughts even after you stop reading. So if you don't have a good reason to read the news, you are probably better served with getting on with your tasks for the day.

I have deliberately given up the news at least twice in the past for months at a time, and nothing bad happened. Curiosity got the best of me though, and I went back to it.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 09:00 AM by Espresso.)
04-02-2014 08:56 AM
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Sherman Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
I limit my news to 10 minutes a day. That is more than enough time to be fully informed of current events. I read the headlines on Google News. I don't watch television news which tends to sensationalize in order to bring in viewers. Most of the news is not for your benefit but for the benefit of the messenger - 1) news is sensationalized to bring in eyeballs for advertisers, or 2) news source has an agenda, e.g. global warming scare stories. You can be informed about current events in a very short period of time without being sucked into a time hole. Think of the hundreds of hours some people spent speculating about what would happen in the Zimmerman trial, when you can now be informed about the whole affair in less than 3 minutes, or better yet read nothing about a useless story. Or what about Flight 370 which has now become a time suck of useless speculation. But, the worst part isn't the lost time, but that the media likes to make you angry, because anger creates interest and more captivated eyeballs. However, anger is not good for your health. No news is good news.

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(This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 09:13 AM by Sherman.)
04-02-2014 09:06 AM
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Barron Offline
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RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
(04-01-2014 09:34 PM)BlurredSevens Wrote:  So, I stopped reading the news. I decided to improve my signal-to-noise ratio by focusing only on what has an effect on me and the things I care about.

I thought your point about the stoplight outside your place effecting you more than any news story was a good one. You should elaborate more on the things you've discovered to have more impact on your life than reading news pages. Could become a great reference for self-improvement

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04-02-2014 09:28 AM
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The Beast1 Offline
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Post: #23
RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
Read Zerohedge and listen to NPR during the day. A little information helps, but I just want facts and not a lot of hyperbole (yeah I know, ZH is big on hyperbole).

Getting a grasp of geopolitics from the news is stupid difficult.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 10:39 AM by The Beast1.)
04-02-2014 10:39 AM
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monster Offline
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Post: #24
RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
zerohedge is great. NPR too. the rest is mostly bs
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 11:05 AM by monster.)
04-02-2014 11:04 AM
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Yeti Offline
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Post: #25
RE: I Stopped Reading the News, And Why You Should Too
I was disconnected from the Internet for many years not so long ago - a significant portion of my twenties. This was by choice.

I had a phone with text and call capability, but naught else. (I guess that it took decent photos.)

I was more focused and aware. With the time that I would have spent reading the news and whatever else, I exercised, studied a foreign language, and hung out with friends. In my opinion, the benefits far outweighed the drawbacks. You should try it - the Internet at home is really not as necessary as we're all herded to believe. At work or in business, fine, but outside of the workplace, we're probably better off without it. (If you're an entrepreneur, you can invest in a small space in a communal office - something cheap that you can physically leave.)

Any time that I needed to email, I did so from work on Monday. I'll soon switch off from the Internet at home, actually - it's going to be amazing. I guess that I won't be able to get as much info from RVF.

Anyway, yes, reading the news is a big time suck. 80/20 rule - for all the time that I spend reading it, I receive much less than a proportionate utility in return. Time to say goodbye.
04-02-2014 01:30 PM
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