I may be on vacation… but that doesn’t mean the Money & Crisisheadquarters is closed for business.
I’ve asked some industry experts to fill in for me while I’m gone.
These folks know more about crisis, money and personal liberty than anyone I’ve ever met… so you’re in good hands.
Today’s issue comes to you courtesy of James Altucher, author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis
Block Out the Noise
I used to read four newspapers every morning. And then I would read about a dozen or so magazines a month.
I thought I needed to stay “informed”.
This is BS.
One time I was backstage while a TV news show was being produced. I had been a guest on the show many times and the producer invited me to come by and see how it was made.
It was a mainstream news show. Take the news of the day, invite some “experts” and then have an anchor or two moderate.
At one point an assistant producer was whispering into the mic of one of the guests, “Now’s the time to argue.” This had also happened to me many times.
The producer leaned over to me and said, “All we are trying to do is fill up the space between advertisements.”
That is what TV news is.
I’ve written for many print news publications. The editor has a meeting first thing in the morning and says, “OK, how can we scare people today?”
That is what print news is.
I am not blaming the reporters or the producers.
A video on Facebook might get 20 million views in a day. Local TV news is watched by about 50,000 people a day.
The numbers are dwindling so reporters have to be more and more sensational to get people to look.
And what about quality reporters? They are leaving.
One time I was sitting down with the managing editor of one of the top four newspapers in the country.
He said to me, “I’m having a big problem. My best reporters are getting huge social media followings and they want raises. I have to fire them because everyone should be a team player. Nobody should be a brand by themselves.”
So he fired his top reporters. And then he was fired.
But that is the direction of quality news. It doesn’t inform. It sensationalizes. It isn’t unbiased. It tries to persuade. It isn’t quality writing because it has to turn around so fast.
And, yes, the type of advertisers determines the type of content.
The hour or so a day I used to read the news I now use to read quality books.
I start the day reading quality fiction, quality nonfiction and usually a book about games.
Quality fiction because that’s where the best writing is. When I read quality writing, I become a better writer and communicator.
Quality nonfiction so I can learn. (People who write quality nonfiction often aren’t the best writers because they spent their lives being the best in the world at the nonfiction topic they are writing about.)
Also, quality nonfiction is really how to be informed. If the news today is about tariffs, I’d much rather read a history of tariffs over the past 500 years to form my own opinion of what’s good and bad.
If the news today is about AI stealing jobs, I’d rather read a book explaining more about AI trends and other attempts throughout history at a universal basic income and what happened.
If the news today is about Kim Kardashian (as is often the case) or the latest Donald Trump tweet, I’d rather read the biography of a hero of mine so I could see the habits behind true success.
And a book about games (chess, Go, poker, etc.) because I like to improve at things that are difficult and I love games.
Reading is about becoming a better person. “Being informed” happens when I overhear people talk on the subway.