My Daily Reading Strategy
Most of you who read my blog with any regularity know I read a lot. At any given time, I’ve got ten to twenty books going. I would estimate I read 150-200 books per year. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my daily reads of periodicals of one sort or another and the medical literature.
I had a guest visiting not long ago who saw me go through my paces and wanted to know exactly how I did it and what I read. I figured if he was that interested, there are bound to be other folks out there just as interested, so I decided to lay it out in a post. Plus, Michael Hyatt, a blogger I read from time to time, did the same thing a few years ago, and I found his daily reading list interesting.
Newspapers and periodicals
First thing I do when I get up in the morning — after throwing back my 16 ounces of cold water and fixing a Cafe Americano — is to run through my list of daily newspapers and periodicals.
It takes me about half an hour to forty-five minutes to make it through all of these. I don’t read every word, just the headlines and briefly skim any articles I find of interest.
I like to read The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal sequentially. One day I read one first, the next day the other. They have wildly divergent opinion pages, so I like to keep some modicum of balance. Obviously, The New York Times has a liberal bent while The Wall Street Journal has a conservative one. What I find interesting, though, is that the actual reporting often goes against the bias of the particular paper. In other words, I find The New York Times reporting of some event that has political overtones to be more conservative than The Wall Street Journal’s reporting of the same event. And vice versa. It’s as if the reporters — as opposed to the editorial writers — bend over backwards to be non-political. But the big difference is in the opinion pages and especially in what each paper chooses to write about. Which is why I like to read both.
I always read The Financial Times, which is my favorite newspaper of all. Great writing and different perspective from any of the US published newspapers.
I click on RealClearPolitics.com (RCP) because I’m a political junkie, and RCP always has all the up-to-date scoops on everything. It is an aggregator of political articles appearing elsewhere and works hard to find a balance by listing as many liberal outlook articles as it does conservative. RCP is also my jumping off point for RealClearScience.com, which reports on science articles in the mainstream press.
I always hit the Drudge Report next. I love Drudge because, although he’s partisan, he doesn’t mind putting up any thing at all if it will get him hits. Best of all, he has the pelotas to go out with anything – even the barest of rumors – before confirmation, so I always feel I learn about it first on Drudge. Some of the time he has to eat crow, but the majority of time, he gets a scoop.
I then take a run through The Spectator, a British publication, my favorite weekly news magazine of all. I never miss an issue. The writing is spectacular and the subjects are always intriguing. Plus, since it’s from the UK, the US politics, which it reports on, are presented in a much less overtly partisan way than they are here. And the writers there have a perspective writers here don’t have.
Finally, I make a digital thumb through of The Economist, another UK published news weekly.
You may wonder how I can root through all of this in only half an hour or so. Two reasons. First, I’m a very fast reader. Reading is like any skill – if you do it a lot, you get better at it. I’ve read voraciously since I was in grade school, so I’ve gotten very good at it. Second, I read enough of any article I find interesting to know if I want to take the time to read the rest of it. I then save it to Evernote in a file called Read Later. Then I read it later when I have some spare time.
I keep all these sources in a Chrome bookmark called Daily Reads in my bookmark bar. And, incidentally, although I read all these journals and magazines online, I subscribe to the print versions, just so I can have the full text available. And to take them on planes to read and throw away en route.
So, the first half hour or so of my day polishes off all of the news and current events kind of reading I do.
I then turn my attention to the blogs I keep up with. These I subscribe to on Feedly. I used to use Google Reader, which I loved, but last July, Google ditched it. I don’t like Feedly as well, but it works.
You can see below the collapsed categories of the blogs I read.
I wrote a post not long ago on the eight low-carb blogs I always read. But there are a lot more that those eight that I read as well. I’ve listed my expanded Feedly low-carb-blog category. There are more than this, but these are the ones who have published posts in recent history. Nice thing about Feedly is that it lets me know if there are new posts without having to actually click onto the blog.
Beef and Whiskey
Body by Science
Dr. John Briffa’s Blog
Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
Free the Animal
Low Carb Confidential
Mark’s Daily Apple
Richard David Feinman
Paleo Diet Blog
That Paleo Guy
The Anecdotal Biochemist
The Daily Lipid
The Ethical Nag
The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie
The Scribble Pad
Whole Health Source
Going through and linking all these blogs from Feedly made me realize I have a lot of blogs that are diet related that aren’t in the Low-Carb Bloggers category. I just didn’t have it in me late tonight to go through and pluck them all out.
After I make a run through the blogs to see what’s new, I then go to NetNewsWire, my aggregator app through which I keep up with most of the medical literature I read. I can go through in a hurry to see if there is anything I want to read in full text. If so, I go into my university affiliated online library and download the full text in pdf. I usually pull a bunch of these down every day.
I don’t have all the journals I want on my NetNewsWire app, so I go to the journals page on our website and go through the rest of the journals I read that way. And, again, I go through my university online library to pull down whatever I want in pdf.
I keep all these pdfs stored in various files on my Mac and read them when I have time. Any of them I feel would be of interest to my readers, I end up posting on my Twitter feed.
By the time I’ve gone through all these maneuvers, I burned through a couple of hours and about three Cafe Americanos and am ready to get on with my day.
Part of getting on with my day involves checking Twitter every few hours or so. I find a ton of interesting scientific papers there. I try to follow those who post links to papers instead of those who report of what they had for breakfast, though, I, myself, am guilty of that on occasion.
Typically, once every few days, someone will link a paper on Twitter that sends me off down a rabbit hole of pulling a large number of the citations listed at the end of the paper. When that happens, I spend more time than planned and invariably get behind. And endure the scorn of my lovely wife for not having done those things that I ought to have done.
Once I have all the day’s information stored and/or catalogued, I grab every second I get throughout the day to try to get it read. I get an enormous amount of reading done on airplanes and in airports. I don’t watch TV, and I always have something with me to read. If not, I actually have anxiety. So, if I’m in line at the bank, I’ve got a book. In fact, if I have to wait anywhere, I’ve always got something to read. It’s amazing how much you can pore through in a day if you just take advantage of a few minutes here and there and apply it to your reading list.
If you enjoy this kind of thing, let me know in the comments. If enough people do get benefit from it, I’ll put up a post on how I do my book reading. How I use Kindle and my own private Kindle site to save notes, and how I can crowd source the gist of most books without reading them. Also how I use Evernote to keep it all together in a meaningful and easily retrievable way.
Or if you think there are blogs I should add to my list, I’m all ears. Please let me know.