Reasons to Give Up News

  • News misleads. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.
  • 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.
  • News has no explanatory power. The more "news factoids" you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. If more information leads to higher economic success, we'd expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid.
  • News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones.
  • News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: "What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact."
  • News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers.
  • News works like a drug. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It's not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It's because the physical structure of their brains has changed.
  • News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you're at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is.
  • News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can't act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is "learned helplessness".
  • News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas... If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don't.


Taking just the titles/headers of the reasons, and abbreviated explanations.

Folksonomies: healthy living news productivity

/health and fitness/disorders/mental disorder/a.d.d. (0.448343)
/business and industrial/business software (0.436093)
/news (0.385756)

news (0.991490 (negative:-0.147210)), wrong risk map (0.695119 (negative:-0.704789)), news stories (0.666314 (neutral:0.000000)), higher economic success (0.655088 (positive:0.256390)), cognitive errors (0.640364 (negative:-0.704952)), avid book readers (0.638344 (neutral:0.000000)), News misleads (0.615342 (negative:-0.595301)), News inhibits (0.589221 (negative:-0.492841)), News Taking (0.581531 (positive:0.300874)), news factoids (0.569464 (neutral:0.000000)), News pieces (0.556642 (negative:-0.387442)), News increases (0.555339 (negative:-0.759867)), News works (0.543791 (positive:0.548936)), News wastes (0.538992 (negative:-0.817423)), news consumers (0.535961 (neutral:0.000000)), News kills (0.532128 (negative:-0.626623)), Fiscal irresponsibility (0.531171 (negative:-0.436813)), Lehman Brothers (0.509037 (negative:-0.527712)), cortisol). (0.508914 (negative:-0.380438)), Chronic stress (0.508007 (negative:-0.842817)), explanatory power (0.506715 (negative:-0.347712)), uninterrupted time (0.499413 (neutral:0.000000)), big picture (0.498409 (negative:-0.384305)), growth hormones (0.497477 (neutral:0.000000)), shallow thinkers (0.494471 (negative:-0.756923)), better decision (0.493785 (positive:0.422343)), confirmation bias (0.493558 (negative:-0.514150)), Panicky stories (0.491247 (negative:-0.678344)), Warren Buffett (0.490395 (positive:0.484289)), uninhabited space (0.489088 (positive:0.530129))

Lehman Brothers:Company (0.759227 (negative:-0.527712)), Warren Buffett:Person (0.747208 (positive:0.484289)), immune system:FieldTerminology (0.688930 (neutral:0.000000)), glucocorticoid:Drug (0.624489 (negative:-0.678344)), cortisol:Drug (0.620879 (negative:-0.380438)), 15 minutes:Quantity (0.620879 (neutral:0.000000)), five minutes:Quantity (0.620879 (neutral:0.000000)), 12 months:Quantity (0.620879 (neutral:0.000000))

Critical thinking (0.908415): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Psychology (0.807261): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Growth hormone (0.673996): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Immune system (0.659391): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Dobelli, Rolf (12 April 2013), News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier, The Guardian, Retrieved on 2013-12-13
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: health news