unplug from news

Unplug from News and Social Media

It seems like every day there is sadder, more stressful news. I have found that television news and social media compounds this, contributing little to make my life better, happier or more informed.

As I am reducing my time on television and social media, I find that has been a significant improvement in my daily routine. Instead, I am spending time on selected podcasts, websites, and apps that are nurturing. I am more optimistic, productive, and less worried about the world. I encourage you to explore some of these sites. I promise it will make you day better.

Tim Ferris Podcast

Tim Ferris, who wrote the 4 Hour Workweek has one of my favorite podcasts. He is one of the best interviewers and has always done a lot of background homework for every interview. Just peruse the list of people he has interviewed. I have never been disappointed. I would suggest his interview with Jane Goodall (#421) for starters.

Each podcast also has a printed transcript, show notes, selected links from the discussion, and comments from listeners. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the interviews.

Tim also has an email that he sends out every Friday, “5-Bullet Friday” that is very interesting reading. It is free, but you have to sign up.


Every one of Steven Levitt’s or Steven Dubner’s podcasts are thought-provoking and topical. Some recent topics:

  • What will college look like in the fall? (Episode 418)
  • 68 ways to be better in life (Episode 419)
  • How to make meetings less terrible (Episode 389)
  • How to you reopen a country? (Episode 416)

Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda

The actor Alan Alda has a wide-ranging podcast. I recommend:

  • They’ve Filled Our Lives with Laughter- Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner (April 13)
  • Thinking Globally with Fareed Zakaria (April 20)
  • His discussion with Michael J. Fox where they discuss their personal battle with Parkinson’s disease is very informative and moving (November 12, 2018)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis

Another great interviewer is the author Michael Lewis who wrote Moneyball, The Big Short, and The Blindside. I recommend:

  • Ref, You Suck! (April 02, 2019)
  • The Magic Shoebox (May 14, 2019)

The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

This podcast has been ranked the number one podcast for “curious minds” by Wired magazine. Shane Parrish interviews people to help you master the best of what experts have figured out. Suggestions:

  • Avoiding Loserthink with Scott Adams (Episode 70)
  • The Path to Perpetual Progress with Atul Gawande (Episode 42)

3-2-1 Newsletter James Clear

One of the things I look most forward to each Thursday is the weekly email newsletter from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. Sign up for the newsletter for free on his website. In this weekly newsletter, he shares three ideas from him, two quotes from another, and one question for you. One of my favorite quotes from last week’s email was from Pablo Casals, cellist, composer, and conductor, on being unique:

“Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you… You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work—we must all work—to make this world worthy of its children.”

Source: Joys and Sorrows: Reflections by Pablo Casals, page 295

Just Can’t Turn it Off?

If you are a news junkie and just can’t turn off being connected, I suggest you check out AllSides: Unbiased Balanced News.

This news aggregator breaks down and separates the news into silos based on the source of the news. You can look at the news as reported from the right, from the center, or from the left. You even have the ability to change the definition of the source’s viewpoint if you disagree with the current classification. This is a great way to have a more nuanced view of events. Here is a chart of their current classifications.

All Sides

I hope you will take some time to explore a few of these excellent sites and unplug from the current news and social media.

As I am writing this today, June 5, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 3.67%. While the market improvement is welcome and illustrates the folly of fleeing to cash, there remain many risks and issues to work through to return to a robust economy. As always, we are here for you.

Please email or call if you want to set up a Zoom videoconference meeting or talk by phone.  

Ralph Broadwater, MD, CFP ®

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