My Information Diet

Warren Ellis (The writer, not the musician) has written several times about his information diet. I suspect he got the term from Clay Johnson who wrote a book on the subject that I haven't read (yet). I've been trying to improve the signal to noise ratio on the information that I take in. I've culled out some of the tech news that I used to really keep on top of. I've decided that it doesn't matter to me who has released a new motherboard each day. When I need to buy one, I'll go research it. Not something I need in my daily information diet.

This post is mainly me documenting my current information diet. Right now I absorb new information primarily through my feedly subscriptions, podcasts, audio books, and links from social media.

I haven't listened to podcasts regularly in a couple years, but this week I've decided to reduce my audible subscription so that I can work podcasts back into my diet. After trying a couple apps, I've settled on Downcast.  I love that it doesn't annoy me with a list of things I haven't listened to yet, so I don't feel like I'm failing at podcast listening if I don't listen to everything. (I'm a bit OCD about having numbers appear showing something that wants my attention.)

The podcasts I currently have subscribed are:

  • Little Atoms - I haven't listened to this one yet, so I have no opinion
  • Science Friday (NPR) - Usually it has an interesting topic
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class - I haven't listened yet, so no opinion
  • Stuff You Should Know - It's has interesting topics, I was actually expecting something with a bit more production value.
  • Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - Saving this for a long trip or something. The latest episode is over 4 hours.
  • The Digital Human - BBC podcast talking about digital culture and it's impact. 
  • The Future Human Podcast - BBC podcast with people discussing technology and the future.
  • this Week in Tech - Good roundup for the days tech news. I don't listen every day, but I might try to work it into a routine.
  • Tech News Today - I've liked Leo Laporte since the TechTV days. I just wish he would keep this down to an hour or so. It tends to ramble on.
  • The Firnecast - This one is a local Brother/Sister group doing a goofy show.
  • Spektrmodule - Sleepy music put together by Warren Ellis. I should find more music based podcasts to play while I'm working.


As for audiobooks, I try to mix it up between fiction and non-fiction. A few months back Rob Donoghue posted a large list of books he recommended for people starting a business. I can't find the original post, but I did read most of those books, plus a few others. Here's books that I've found helpful recently. I'm including quick blurbs really for my own benefit so I can recall bits about them.
  • Start by Jon Acuff
    I'm only about a quarter of the way through this one. It's the perfect book for me to be listening to right now. Anyone planning on making a big jump like I am really should read this.
  • Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
    This talks about why some ideas are sticky and why some aren't. I'll be reviewing this one before launching my kickstarter project. I also recommend this to any teacher. 
  • Blue Ocean Strategy - W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
    A Blue Ocean is a new or untapped market. This book talks about how to identify Blue Markets and test how viable they are. It's fantastic.
  • All Marketers are Liars - Seth Godin
    Seth Godin has written a LOT of marketing/self improvement books. There are probably others that I should read. This one talks about the need for successful storytelling in marketing. It's a theme that really needs to be hammered into anyone that's trying to promote something.
  • Entreleadership - Dave Ramsey
    This is basically Dave Ramsey's playbook for running a company. It's full of great information. Parts of it are more relevant than others at this point in my adventure. As I get to different points, I'll be grabbing my wife's paper copy for references.
I'm not going to list all my RSS feeds in feedly. No one wants to see that. I have removed all of the sites that have a daily post requirement. I've gotten it down that I can skim through a days worth in a sitting. I would like to find more sites that curate content from other sites (like Penny Arcade Report does for Video Game news).

I have statusboard on my iPad to have running as an ambient consciousness when I'm working. I've moved both Mashable and The Verge over to there. I also keep twitter on there. I wish it were a bit more fully featured as a twitter client. If it supported twitter cards, then it would be about perfect. 

I do most of my social networking through Google+. Pretty much anything newsworthy to me pops up in there. 

Okay, this has gotten really long. 

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