Thursday, April 18, 2013

News you can't use

My friend Andrew brings to my attention an article by Rolf Dobelli, who raises various doubts about the value of avidly following the news.

One of Dobelli's reasons for being sceptical:

News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what's relevant. It's much easier to recognise what's new. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we're cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.

I have to say that, although I've been a pretty compulsive news reader for a long time now, I see the point of what Dobelli's on about here, and I have recently felt a pretty strong urge to withdraw from the day-to-day information overload and try to focus on things that are more important to me.

I did a pretty good job toward the beginning of the year in filtering things out and trying just to focus on the half-dozen or so information sources that I really do find valuable. 

Dobelli has inspired me to perhaps redouble my efforts.

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