Roundup: Doing Stuff That Matters, The Diderot Effect, and Evidence Against the Insulin Hypotheses

‘Weekly’ Media Roundup (Oct 26th – Nov 1st)

How do I consume so much stuff? Is it healthy to read this much and listen to this many podcasts? I hope you find something enjoyable in here. This week I’ve been obsessed with nutrition, so I hope I don’t overload you there.

Career/Financial

Videos:

Articles/Blogs:

Personal Improvement

Articles/Blogs:

Health/Nutrition

Podcasts:

Articles/Blogs:

Fun

Articles/Blogs:

Advertisements

The Problem with ‘Content’

I’ve been troubled recently with some of the podcasts and blogs I follow.

My problem isn’t with what they are saying, or the advice they are giving, or the guests. It’s the way they refer to their product: as ‘content.’

Do you produce a blog, a podcast, a newsletter, or write books? Are you trying to add value to my life, or to yours?

If you’re trying to add value to your life, please, continue to refer to your product as ‘content.’ Fill up your pages so you can get advertising dollars, talk for hours so you can build your brand, and spew out e-books so you can turn people on to your higher priced ‘content.’

But if you’re trying to share wisdom with me, please, don’t ever let me find out that you’re:

  • hiring a guy to write articles so ‘content’ appears more frequently on your site
  • writing 10,000 words a day or a book in a matter of weeks/months
  • changing words and phrases of previous work so that you can repackage it as new ‘content’

I see the word used in your interviews and in your ads, and it makes me cringe. I get that you’re trying to make a business out of the words you produce and the advice you sell. But please, at least try to believe, for yourself, that you are adding value.

It makes me feel scammed.

Note: I’m going to take a sabbatical from trying to read “free e-books.” It’s becoming cliche to go to a website, enter my email in a popup form, and download a free pdf. I’m not even upset about the practice – by all means, if you have something important to share, do it. But I don’t have time to read your unedited chicken scratch – from now on I’ll read books that were vetted by publishers and edited by pros.

Roundup: Pirate Treasure, Sharing Salaries, and Purposefully Procrastinating

Weekly Media Roundup (July 18th – July 31st)

I didn’t listen to as much over the last few weeks as I normally do, but here are a few things I enjoyed:

Fun

Podcasts:

Financial/Career

Videos:

Articles:

Personal Improvement

Podcasts:

Videos:

Articles:

Books:

  • David Eschenlohr – After Improvement
    • I don’t entirely buy his philosophy of self-improvement is a sham, but he makes some good points about living life for yourself as well as improving for the sake of happiness, not for the sake of improvement. Worth a skim.

Fun

Articles:

How I Stay Motivated

I get embarrassed telling people I’m reading so much personal improvement material. Seriously, sometimes the volume seems ridiculous. I’m a member of an online community of men devoted to improving themselves, I regularly attend several personal improvement Meetups locally, I follow a dozen or so podcasts, another dozen blogs, and I’ve always got a book in progress on my kindle.

You can certainly ask the question: Why should you listen to any of these people? Isn’t it better just to listen to your own heart and follow your instincts?

Proven Techniques? Or Witch Medicine?

Sure, there’s a lot to potentially learn. There are literally thousands of ways people have improved their lives, and everyone wants to share The Silver Bullet that has changed their life and rocketed them to the top.

But each of these ideas is faulty. Every success technique is, by its nature, anecdotal. Are there serious studies that verify things like the optimal morning routing, or whether people who set alarms to go to bed are happier? Further, do the authors even care about verifying their claims? There are several experts I follow who seem interested in bringing fact based research into their work, but are they able to tell good studies from bad?

It’s also entirely possible that half (or more!) of the advice people are giving is wrong, at least for you in particular. I’ve heard so many people talk about the virtues of getting up early as if that’s The One True Path, but this completely ignores the fact that people can be larks and night owls. Who is to say that getting up early is best for people who are most creative late at night? I can think of several examples of people who do their most productive work after the rest of the world has gone to bed.

How did was The Witch Doctor a respected figure in earlier societies? How did bloodletting last so long as a practice? I think the answer comes down to the fact that sometimes the treatment, coincidentally, worked. And the same holds true for self improvement advice.

The advice you hear is invariably from people who are successful, who pulled themselves up from their bootstraps and turned their lives around. Undoubtedly, some of the things they talk about worked. But how much of their success techniques ‘worked’ via coincidence? How much does following the perfect morning routine actually tilt the needle?

I rarely hear profiles of impoverished, down on their luck folks. Maybe this is a weakness in my search for self-improvement materials (indeed – if you have a resource you can share, leave it in the comments!). But it might certainly put things in perspective if you hear from someone who did everything right and is still stuck in the rat race. “I make my bed every morning, I meditate twice a day, I follow Warren Buffett’s 2 bucket system, and I still work at McDonalds.”

So What’s the Point?

Staying Motivated! I remember where I’m headed when I fill my head with stories of how to improve. I am reminded that I’m not where I want to be in life when I hear successful CEOs and world travelers talk about how they got to where they are. I’m stirred, out from complacency, off my couch, and driven to think about how I might make things a little better than they are.

I throw away 90% of what I hear. Hell, probably 80% of what I hear doesn’t make it past my ears. There’s a lot of bs being thrown around, and there are a lot of techniques that just don’t resonate (I’m not sure journalling is for me… but obviously it works for someone). But that 10% that does resonate, that I do try, is going to rocket me to the stars.

As long as I remember to keep applying it 🙂

That’s why I can’t get enough of that sappy self-help candy – It Keeps Me Motivated.

Roundup: Storytelling, The Fallacy of Looking for Ninjas, and Becoming a Better Man

Weekly Media Roundup (May 31 – Jun 5)

I found a lot of great stuff this week. I hope you find something in here that you enjoy as well. Share it with me in the comments.

Fun

Articles:

Health

Articles:

Relationships

Articles:

Personal Improvement

Podcasts:

Articles:

Career/Financial

Podcasts:

Articles:

Roundup: Six Pack Abs, Mastering Your Memory, and Being a Pickpocket

Weekly Media Roundup (May 14-19)

Every week I listen to a huge number of podcasts as I exercise, clean, and drive – and I’d love to share the ones I enjoyed and recommend! Here they are, broken down by general category.

Health

Podcasts:

Articles:

Career/Finance:

Podcasts

  • Listen Money Matters – Getting Schooled on Bonds
    • Not the most organized episode, but this seems like a nice primer on the basics of bonds.

Articles

Fun

Personal Improvement:

Podcasts

Articles

I would love to hear if there’s anything I’m missing. What have you enjoyed?

Roundup: Meta-learning, Burnout, and Fake Armies

Weekly Media Roundup (April 29 – May 6)

I think my mind exploded this week. I drove for hours, backpacked for days, and commuted by bicycle. I hope you find something in here inspires you. I’ve grouped this list into several categories: Health, Financial/Career, Personal Development, and Fun. Here’s what I’ve listened to and read in the last week and recommend:

Personal Development

Books:

  • Tony Robbins – Awaken The Giant Within
    • I’ve held out for a while, but I finally read a Tony Robbins book. Highly recommended. Take massive action and buy it now!
  • Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements
    • Achieve personal freedom by following these four super simple rules. Highly recommended.

Podcasts:

Articles:

Health

Podcasts:

Fun

Podcasts:

Short Reads:

Financial/Career

Podcasts:

Note: there’s a lot of meat in here, especially in The Four Agreements and Awaken The Giant Within, as well as Recovering From a Burnout and Distraction is an Obesity of the Mind. My brain is ready to explode. I’m going to try (as hard as I can – hopefully I don’t forget) to go on an information diet. I’ll only read fiction, and only listen to books I’ve read before (including The Success Principles), with the exception of research for this blog or work. Check in with me next week to see if I succeeded!