Operating Principles for Information Diet

Here’re a couple of principles I live by:

  1. Always prefer mediums that give you control over what you see. RSS and newsletter over algorithmic feed.
  2. Seek information, don’t get fed by it. Recommendation algorithms are good for search, not good for browsing.
  3. Fall down the rabbit hole. When you read something you like, comb through its citations and references and track down the sources that influence it.
  4. Don’t just follow good content, follow the people behind them. Obsess over the people you like, read what they read and do what they do.
  5. Read from the original. Get as closest to the source as possible. This varies based on your context and definition of good content. In my case, it means preferring English content to Chinese ones whenever possible.
  6. Choose what you don’t know. The news that really matters will come to you no matter what. One’s attention is finite. Ignorance (in the things you don’t care about) is bliss. Protect good ignorance.
  7. Save everything. Everything that you think is interesting or remotely useful—even if it’s not at the moment. It will compound and your future self will thank you.
  8. Have a system. Save each kind of information to a dedicated place. Don’t bother too much with organization, just search and let structure emerge. Consistency is what matters.