The Low Information Diet

dbagThe big news today is that the politicians of the United States just bumbled themselves into a Government Shutdown.

Last night, a military friend sent a message mentioning the impending doom to me, which is the first I had heard of the situation. Unfortunately that triggered a late night of frustrated, sweaty reading on my part as I spent the evening catching up on the history of this predicament, cursing the bullshit and the rhetoric of the responsible members of congress, and generally being pissed off about things.

But after an uneasy sleep and a slightly groggy morning, I opened my shutters and found a clear blue sky with bright yellow sun, singing birds, and my lovely family running up to me requesting hugs and breakfast. And thus, my plans for today do not include reading any more of the news.

If you’re surprised to hear that I knew nothing of the looming shutdown, and that I don’t read (or watch) the news at all, then you will get a lot from this article. Because I’m going to suggest that unless you work directly in the news media industry yourself, you too should be paying absolutely no attention to the daily news.

This is an unusual stance in this country, where the 24-hour news cycle has become common and 100 million office workers flop down in front of the television nightly to catch up on the day’s events. Political dramas, stock market fluctuations, meticulous recaps of all the major sports, local tragedies, weather, and of course an update on what is new in bikinis and celebrity gossip.

“As a citizen, it’s my duty to stay informed”,

one news watcher might say, while another quips,

“I gotta keep with up with my Packers, they got a real chance this year!”

“The markets are on a rollercoaster this year”,

Joe Trader might add,

“I need to be on the watch so I know when to sell!”

“It is all Bullshit”, is what Mr. Money Mustache says, “You need to get the News out of your life, right away, and for life.”

The reasons for this are plentiful, from the inherently sucky nature of news programming itself, to the spectacular life benefits of adopting a Low Information Diet in general. But let’s start with the news.

News programs are, with the exception of a few non-profit or publicly funded ones, commercial enterprises designed to turn and maximize profit. Many of them are owned by larger shareholder-owned corporations, most notably Rupert Murdoch’s News corp which runs Fox, but let’s not forget MSNBC and even the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post.

The profit comes from advertising, and advertising revenue is maximized by pulling in the largest possible audience, holding their attention for the longest possible time, and putting them into the mental state most conducive to purchasing the products of the advertisers (which turns out to be helplessness and vulnerability).

This is why the typical evening news program always follows the same arc:

  • It begins with a sensationalist take on a topic of at least plausible national interest (terrorism, political conflict or economic problems are favorites here)
  • Then takes a detour into truly horrific and depressing irrelevant tragedies (“Chinese boy’s eyes gouged out with spoon and left in field by unknown woman” is one that unfortunately crossed my screen when doing research for this article)
  • Finally, ends on an uplifting note with something like a defiant entrepreneur or a caring soup kitchen. An emotional roller-coaster ride every day of the week.

Now comes the interesting part.

The “largest possible audience” is by definition biased towards the people who watch television the most. These are the struggling masses, the people with debt problems, the folks likely to bring a 3-year-old SUV down to the GMC dealer and trade it in for an even newer loan document.

They are not comprised of 65% engineers, technology and finance workers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers like the readers of this blog. While news programming is an awful diet for their brains, it’s even worse for yours.

The news also completely fucks up the layperson’s perception of risk. The very fact that bad events are rare these days, makes them newsworthy.

A bicyclist hit by a car. A school shooting or an abduction. A terrorist attack. These things are so uncommon, it is best to ignore the possibility of them when planning your own life. But with a sample size of over 300 million people in the US and 7 billion worldwide, unusual tragedies happen daily, and they end up on the news nightly.

Because of this phenomenon, I got almost 50 concerned emails about the recent Colorado floods.

“Is your family OK out there in Longmont? We are terrified for you!”

I was touched by the thought, but also tempted to write back,

“Are YOU OK? You seem to have been watching the news, which is much more dangerous than living in Colorado during this 500-year flood!”

The news focused on the damage: ripped out roads and flooded suburbs. The numbers tell a different story: less than 1% of homes damaged or destroyed, and a death toll of 8. About the same number of people die in the state’s car crashes every week, and staggering property damage is caused in the state’s almost-2000 car crashes per week.

If the news were delivered on a basis of logic rather than sensationalism, it would proclaim

“250 more car crashes today! Families mourn injuries and death, and yet pointless commuting and Car-Clown driving remains unchecked!”


While we can do nothing to prevent the freak rainstorms that cause floods*, we can certainly reduce the unnecessary driving that kills and impoverishes us all. And thus, wouldn’t reducing driving be a much more practical focus, if the news were really a program designed to help society?

All of which brings us nicely to the real point of this article: it’s not just the news that is the enemy. It’s all forms of irrelevant information**.

 As an unusually intelligent person on a quest to create the best life for yourself and your fellow humans, you have a big task ahead of you, and you’ll need all your brainpower to do it. And yet your intelligence, your time, and your attention span are all finite. So why would you ever squander it on anything that doesn’t help you advance your goals? 

You need to be ruthless in your quest for a cleaner and more powerful mind, and the better you do at this, the more you will prosper. Let’s look at a few examples from everyday life:

Meetings at Work:

Back in my corporate days, I used to sit in meeting rooms with up to 15 other people, with a conference telephone on the table squawking out the chatter of an additional 15 people who had dialed in from the San Jose office. Pointy-haired managers would quiz people on the minutiae of their individual status reports while the rest of us tried to hide the fact that we were falling asleep. Every mind in the meeting was becoming less focused, less productive, and less happy, due to the flood of completely irrelevant information.
Meetings should be as short, focused, and small as possible. It is far better for a knowledge worker to miss some “key” information, than to end up flooded with too much.


One of the less competent managers at work used to try to read every single software and hardware design specification produced by the entire 50-person department. “As a manager, I need to stay on top of the design details”, he told me.
But he had it all backwards: because of this habit, he slowed down every meeting by second-guessing every design decision of every software engineer – most of whom were much more skilled than he. Let the smart people work at their own higher level while you focus on giving them what they need to do their jobs.


As I write this, there are no email programs in sight. My phone’s mail application (and indeed every app on the phone) is permanently set to “no notifications”. Every email is a potential wormhole of distraction and mental fatigue. This is fun if you have nothing to do, but disastrous for people like you who are working on improving your life.
So keep your email sessions defined, short, and focused, then completely close that Gmail tab (and erase the bookmark) so that logging in is a deliberate affair.


Oh man.. don’t even get me started on Facebook. It’s like the news, but at a local level focused on the latest parenting problems, bowel movements, consumer indulgences, and forwarding of pointless memes and Youtube videos.
From this point forward you may sign in to Facebook at most once per week. Make a grand appearance, read the updates from your best friends, drop a few compliments and jokes, then get the hell back out. Delete the app from your smartphone, change your password to a 12-digit alphanumeric string you have to look up on paper, and then log out from the web browser. Ahhhh.

I often tell people that the biggest benefit to early retirement has been “getting my own mind back”. Without the demands of 8 hours of software design every day, I’ve been amazed at the fun things I have had the energy to learn in these past 8 years.

But a job really only takes about 50% of your mind. The other half is generally burned by email, television, Facebook, Reddit, video games, researching potential products and other unnecessary things. If you can eliminate these, you’re halfway to retirement already.

With this 50% downpayment on that most powerful asset of a free mind, you can then start getting other things done. You’ll be able to better organize your time, get a better job, learn skills, learn about happiness itself, get in shape, be less exhausted, and much more.

And so begins your real life – which will proceed nicely whether the government is currently shut down or not. Congratulations!


Wow, this post is much more controversial than I expected and I’m taking some heat in the comments. I think most of the complaints come from the mistaken impression that I am promoting ignorance rather than efficiency.

Following the daily news with the death tolls and pointless squabbles is very different from seeking to understand human society and world politics in general**. And when you skip the sugar and carbs of the daily stuff, you free your mind up to understand much more of the big picture than you otherwise would.

As just one example, this blog has reached over 40 million separate people and 400 million page views (numbers updated for 2021), promoting the idea of lower consumption for the rich world. And I still cast my votes in every election and send the odd letter to a senator. Is this a higher or lower impact than me spending that time being “well-informed” watching or reading the daily news?

Regardless of your goals, you will notice exactly the same effect: If you don’t think you can be a better citizen without daily or even weekly news, just do yourself a favor and try it for one week.

Also, the title for this post was shamelessly copied from a chapter in Tim Ferriss’ useful book The Four Hour Workweek

Update: several years after this post was written, I had the pleasure of being a guest on The Tim Ferriss Podcast, completing this funny online circle. Then, I even got to contribute my own mini-chapter to his subsequent book, . Thanks Tim!

You can find the podcast episode here:

* Although if you really think about it, reducing driving actually could reduce the incidence of floods, due to the effect of driving on climate change, and the effect of a warmer planet on the amount of atmospheric moisture and thus the intensity of storms.

** I should mention that while the news is a useless way to learn about the world, learning about the world itself is very useful. But this is best done by reading books – and maybe the odd scientific blog or journal or other periodical.  I do still read most of the Economist every week or two, for example. The facts about the world don’t change on a daily basis, so by focusing on these slower and more well-researched sources of information, you filter out the noise and end up with the stuff that’s really worth learning.

  • Alex D October 2, 2013, 11:09 am

    Regarding the distractions of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, RSS feeds, other things that cause a deluge of information which one can feel compelled to ‘get through’…


    Highly recommend this plugin. I set my time limit (e.g. 10 minutes) on sites I want blocked AFTER I exceed my time limit (e.g. Facebook, Gawker, but never MMM…). So I have 10 minutes per day for those distractions, can outsource the willpower to the app, and when I hit the limit StayFocusd kindly notifies me, ‘Shouldn’t you be working?’

  • Dan Hawk October 2, 2013, 11:12 am

    First post here, but certainly not the first article that has created a fire to do things differently. I’ve been adding to a text document entitled “Distractions” over the last week and this has certainly helped put things into perspective.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Insourcelife October 2, 2013, 11:12 am

    I would hate to clutter up MMM’s comments section with a loooong reply, so I decided to write a post offering an alternative view on news consumption :) http://insourcelife.com/news-effect

  • Darrel, Minnesota October 2, 2013, 11:20 am

    I used to work in the news industry, and you’re right. It’s about screaming the loudest to get attention (we used to have to go to EVERY car crash “in case someone was killed”). While I don’t subscribe to the degree of cutoff you do, I have eliminated television news, national, regional and local. I do miss listening to a couple commentators, but that’s a small price to pay for eliminating the cost of cable/satellite for shows that generally suck. I do read a lot of news online, but that allows me to do my job more effectively and see opportunities in other areas.

  • Mike October 2, 2013, 11:28 am

    I think it is interesting that the increase in news bombardment over the last 40 – 50 years looks to be directly correlated with the decrease in political activism (measured by voting percentages).

    Maybe all this TV news creates a sense of helplessness that prevents people from actually being engaged?

  • propertymom October 2, 2013, 11:32 am

    Truly awesome post! I have been saying this very same thing for about twenty years now, but you say it oh so well. Thank you Mr. Money Mustache.

  • David Vega October 2, 2013, 11:34 am

    I have to say, i think it is insanely good for my psyche to get my political news from the market channels rather than FOX/CNN…..this shutdown really proves it. I watched to the 24 hour news shows last night and felt myself getting so angry over the sensationalism of stupid comments going back and forth……when i switched back to the market news, I found the reports to be calmer and much more realistic because all the dialogue is based around finances, which has no party affiliation.

  • Kate October 2, 2013, 11:58 am

    I am from Longmont too and when I read what you said about the news coverage I was thinking of all the calls and emails I got from people all over the world so scared for us. Well we were fine and no problems except driving so I can totally see how the news perpetuates the problems and adds more drama. I am going to focus on less t.v, and more on other things in life. Great article!

  • TallMike October 2, 2013, 12:13 pm

    The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. – Thomas Jefferson

    My read of the earlier comments didn’t turn this up anywhere so it seems worthwhile putting in. Not sure if I agree with TJ but it seems relevant.

  • Katie October 2, 2013, 12:26 pm

    I don’t watch the news but I’m married to a journalist so I usually get the cliff notes over breakfast. As another journalist mentioned above, local news can be very valuable. What I’ve learned is that “the news” varies greatly from market to market. In smaller cities, it has a very local focus & is often a lot of good news (high school students raise $1000 for the dance). In larger markets, the focus is more broad and tends to include more doom & gloom and less human interest. My hubby doesn’t watch the news here in Chicago (where we live) outside of work. When we travel (north woods of Wisconsin, small town Nebraska, Kentucky, et cetera) he can’t get enough. While I’d still rather read my book, I definitely see the difference, & the appeal of small town news.
    I love this post & mostly agree but wanted to give a perspective of someone who sees the business from another side.

  • Rebecca October 2, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Great article – my husband used to watch the news incessantly and I found it incredibly annoying. Not to mention damaging for the kids! I guess he finally got tired of turning the TV on each time I turned it off when I caught no one in the room because he actually doesn’t often watch it anymore. As for Facebook – I do find it useful for polling friends for their interest in doing things together, or my most recent request for a fun tech sabbatical project to work on. The best Facebook experience I have had was this summer when I took the family with me to Costa Rica for a work trip and then spent an extra week and a half enjoying the country afterwards, posting pictures as we went. My 85 year old great-aunt who lives in Panama saw the pictures and posted that we have cousins who live in Costa Rica and I ended up getting to meet them and spend the weekend with them!! Never would have happened without Facebook.

  • Chris October 2, 2013, 12:54 pm

    I definitely agree with the thrust of this article. I hardly ever have the TV on in my house, and when I accidentally stumble across a local news program its usually some over dramatized segment, always highlighting the murder or robbery that took. And the 24 hour news networks are just as bad if not worse.

    I also see friends of mine who are absolutely on information overload, and I used to be one of them. Constantly in meetings, constantly on their email, constantly on twitter and facebook. Multiple studies have come out saying that our obsession with all of these forms of media are basically making it harder for us to actually concentrate and be productive human beings throughout the day.

    Personally, there are websites and blogs I like to read, and I like to follow sports. I was trying to write up a defense about why its ok that I like these things, but i realized that the my defensiveness about it is evidence that I know deep down that I could be doing more productive and meaningful things with my time, then say, watching 3-6 hours of football on Sunday or spending an hour here and there perusing websites. I’ve gotten better over the years, and consume a lot less crap, but for every hour I spend on this stuff thats an hour I could be playing with my kids, working out, reading a book, learning a new skill, or bettering my self in some way.

    Posts like this give me a nice little jolt. Just when I start to slip into “man, i’m pretty awesome- look how much money i saved this month” i read posts like these and remember, “oh, yeah- actually, i waste tons of time on crap” and try to think about how I can be better.

  • Nancy October 2, 2013, 1:05 pm

    You are absolutely correct about the news, email, and facebook. I am an informed person but that does not mean I need constant bombardment of other’s agenda and sadly that is what most of the news, email, and facebook is. I do get alot of email and delete most after a quick scam. I read and use the few pieces that will advance my MMM goals and let the rest go to the recycle bin. That is not how I want to spend my life and my time, or ultimately my money.

  • Tara October 2, 2013, 1:16 pm

    While I agree to that it can be good to ignore financial and sports news, I disagree that it’s healthy to ignore all news.

    I think local news is something that truly matters and unfortunately a lot of people don’t pay attention to. There’s a hospital closing up the street from me due to financial mismanagement and it’s on the local news blogs (of course not the nightly news). I wouldn’t know of it’s closing if it weren’t for me reading my news blogs.

    Journalism is the fourth estate–a way to get folks aware and involved in seemingly un-fair practices. When cars continuously kill cyclists and pedestrians in NYC and walk away with nothing less than a summons, it’s the 4th estate through local news blogs that can get people aware of the situation so they can get involved to make change.

    I’m big on news to the point… ie just giving the facts without any opinions. That’s why I think news blogs are the best so long as they don’t get filled opinion pieces.

    Obviously, if you are someone who gets affected easily by sad stories, maybe you should cut the news out of your life lest it give you unnecessary stress. But you can’t turn off the news if you’re not keeping up with the serious issues affecting your local community. That can come back to bite you in the butt.

  • John October 2, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Instant classic! I like this article on so many levels. In fact, I’ve also written about this very topic here: http://www.practicalcivilization.com/why-you-shouldnt-watch-the-news/.

    It amazes me how so many people can tolerate and keep up with the stupid shit that is blown out of proportion on the news. There’s Mexicans crossing the borders taking YOUR jobs! The “majority” of Muslims (less than 1%) are plotting to blow up your house! Gay people can get married now! All very relevant to MY everyday life.

    I get all the information I need online. I can pick the outlet, the writer, and what I want to read about. High five MMM!

  • Alexandria October 2, 2013, 1:25 pm

    We have always been careful and efficient with our money, and that carries over to being careful and efficient with our time. Which means, not wasting a lot of time reading worthless information. We do live in a society of information overload, for sure.

    I think it also comes down to moderation. I am not as extreme as “turn everything off.” But I don’t think most people realize how extreme they are in “can’t turn it off for one second,” or if they understand how useless most this information is.

    Oh – changing topic – I was aware of shutdown because we are planning a trip to visit 4 National Parks next week. I love all the advice I have been getting to do other activites that literally cost 100 times as much as the $25 (park entrance fee) we intended to spend for a full week visiting National Parks. ;) Very very bummed right now. *sigh*

  • Rich Schmidt October 2, 2013, 1:44 pm

    I volunteer at a local low-power FM community radio station. Every Monday morning, another volunteer and I read the news for an hour (world, national, state, and then local) to our local listeners. I like it, because it forces me to read the news at least once a week. :) Otherwise, I just don’t. I catch little bits and pieces here and there, but I never sit down to just “watch the news.” The closest I come to that is catching Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” once or twice a week before I drift off to sleep.

    So I’m totally on board with your approach, MMM!

  • Howie October 2, 2013, 1:52 pm

    The common thread among your detractors seems to be the mistaken notion that by staying “uninformed” – aka not watching mainstream media news – there is the potential to miss out on something important. Unfortunately, they have completely missed the point that you articulated so brilliantly, which is the fact that anything they are hearing or seeing in the news is COMPLETE FUCKING BULLSHIT anyway. I mean, seriously, how dense are these particular MMM fans? I cannot reconcile the type of person who would be inquisitive, intelligent, and open minded enough to follow your blog in the first place, only to have such obvious points sail way above their heads. Maybe you need to remind them that listening to and watching mainstream media news is neither educational nor informative, but simply consumerist agenda based TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT, with an emphasis on the FUCKING BULLSHIT part. I hope I have made my point clear. Thank you. (By the way, I am a Canadian resident/citizen going to California on vacation next week. I really hope the U.S. is “open” by then. Has this shut down kept Trader Joe’s closed? Oh, I really hope not!)

  • Ms. M180 October 2, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Yay, an article that was mostly useless to me! We already avoid all of that pre-scripted bullshit, We do not have cable, satellite, or even antenna TV. (We haven’t since 2009, less than one year after moving out on our own, due to how much Comcast sucks. Thank you Comcast! You’ve saved us $3,120 plus interest by making us hate you!)

    I can absolutely improve on my Facebook time wasting, I waste maybe 15-20 minutes a day on it in an attempt to stay social with people I have moved away from. I don’t have any “friends” I don’t actually care about though, and have all advertising set to “offensive, do not show again.”

    Tell it like it is, MMM! The addicts will always fight for their drug.

  • Señor CookieDuster October 2, 2013, 2:19 pm

    This article is timely & clutch, per usual. I haven’t watched news in a long time…no need to be a jittery bitch for stuff that truly doesn’t effect me but sure makes me nervous and sad. As far as FB…I enjoy the occasional pic of family and friends but can sure do without someone’s victory lap at Target getting an unneccessary “prize” or a play by play of some clown’s exaggerated workout.

  • k October 2, 2013, 2:43 pm

    My 2013 new year’s resolution/theme/word to live by is ‘less.’ I reduced my daily newspaper subscription to Sundays only and now only skim the headlines. I have less headaches and more free time to go walking and biking, nap, relax, read the classics, ponder big issues at work, etc. MMM is endorsing batch processing here – just consume some summaries during a time-constrained interval, instead of the adrenaline-sappng, always-on, realtime delivery and consumption model that is all too common – and futile – these days (daze).

  • MB October 2, 2013, 2:47 pm

    “People who don’t read the paper are ill-informed. People who do read the paper are mis-informed”. Mark Twain

  • surfing_money October 2, 2013, 3:25 pm

    Anyone who tells you that you must be informed is just as bad as a solicitor of a product or a God at my door. They just want you to be “informed” about some random issue they care about so they can proceed to the next phase: arguing with you or re-affirming each others beliefs.

    There is nothing more deflating to someone who keeps up on the latest news, than to be told “I don’t know or care anything about it.”

    If you’re not following the news you’re likely following something else. Flip it on them and ask why they’re not informed like you are.

    As my grandfather once said… 99% of the things you worry about today you wont be worrying about next month. Your mind and your time is a precious resource that should cared for and defended diligently.

  • Kiwi Frugal Fan October 2, 2013, 3:45 pm

    As I make breakfast in the mornings, I listen to Radio New Zealand, our public not-for-profit broadcaster, for non-biased news reports. I also read The Guardian International and The Economist – usually at the kids’ swimming lessons so I’m not wasting time there either! I do spend too much time on Facebook though – thanks MMM for giving me a timely reason to log off and break that bad habit!

  • Debt Blag October 2, 2013, 4:17 pm

    Perhaps. I suppose I might not have known about being able to save money by signing up for the new exchanges yesterday without the news, nor about saving money by signing up for the PAYER option for my student loans, nor that Pluto was no longer a planet! I see the point though. I would love a little more balance too.

  • FrugalinGeorgia October 2, 2013, 4:24 pm

    That’s a great post, MMM. I think an addiction to the daily ( or shorter) news cycle is also a big contributor to poor investing habits, accentuating the greed/ fear cycle that leads people to buy high and sell low.
    I’m a big fan of taking the long view. There’s a quote in the. James Hilton Novel Lost Horizon in which one of the wise monks of Shangri-La says something to the effect of “There is nothing going on in the world today which was not foreseeable ten years ago and which not be understood better ten years from now.”

  • FinancialDave October 2, 2013, 4:33 pm

    Good article, but by the time I was done I was wondering just how many hours you would have personally saved, had you just turned on the nightly news for 5 min. a couple times a week…. had you just known the correct answer to your friend’s question it would not have gotten to the “blog phase,” and you could have saved a whole lot of time.

    x hours researching this subject
    x hours writing the post
    x hours reading the comments — you do read the comments right?

    Sometimes not knowing what’s going on in the world is not always a good thing.

  • JJ October 2, 2013, 6:11 pm

    You can make the same argument about voting. Why bother figuring out what all the different idiots policies will be. They will probably change their mind when they get in office. They may not be elected anyway and even if they are it likely won’t be by one vote. Why put any effort into learning about candidates and voting?

    I dunno tho. I’ll probably try to stay somewhat informed by reading some of the news and I’ll probably keep voting.

    Glad you and your family are safe from whatever flooding there may or may not have been.

  • Kevin Kane October 2, 2013, 6:13 pm

    Right on, MMM.

    We have this peculiar view on what it means to “be informed.” Like do we really need to follow what the Federal Reserve might do with interest rates, or are we better off to just read a book on investing or an annual report from Warren Buffett?

    I admit that I’m a news junkie: I read about an hour of news a day, almost always from the business section. I try to read only the articles that are relevant to my career or personal interests or that inspire me, and I ignore the rest.

    But I’d probably be better off reading more good books instead. The news can be addictive, triggering the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine: “Ooh, what headlines do we have today?!”

    I did enjoy getting an email notification today that MMM has a new post! Gotta let me have *some* notifications ;-)

  • Jay Bee October 2, 2013, 6:22 pm

    Don Henley sang about this exact problem 30 years ago. Check out the song ‘Dirty Laundry’ from 1982. You can even sing it to yourself as a reminder whenever you catch yourself tangled in the news.

  • Patty October 2, 2013, 6:44 pm

    I grew up in a house where the radio was tuned to a station with frequent news reports. We received at least 2 daily newspapers and the evening news (both 6:00 and 10:00pm) was standard fare.
    My dad in particular was a bit of a fanatic about it, even having all the newspapers delivered and saved when he/we went away on business or holidays.This was of course pre-internet.
    I still have memories of the huge stack of papers awaiting us when we returned from a holiday and him diligently going through each one, apparently with enjoyment!
    Recently I visited my mom for a week, who continues the family tradition of news!news!news! on radio,TV and newspapers. By the time the visit ended, I wanted to slit my wrists from the constant barrage of seemingly terrible things going on in the world.
    Nowadays, I rarely pay attention to the news, only reading the local small-town paper that comes out once a week and do not miss all that “information” one bit!

  • Jimmie Jo October 2, 2013, 7:31 pm

    I think the title “Low Information Diet” refers to the TV news; a half-hour “news” program has only about 5 minutes of real news. The rest is all adds, teasers and fluff. MMM reads about half of The Economist, which gives him a much higher information diet than can be obtained from the TV.

  • just call me al October 2, 2013, 7:34 pm

    This is just GREAT rule of thumb advice. Seriously, does anyone watch this bullshit anymore? I don’t discredit the people working in the media, it’s not their fault-they are making pay (it’s their own conscience). But, I kind of remember the day….I don’t know…maybe one of you actually remember the actual day, that the CNN reporter was in a canoe covering a flood on the east coast, talking about the horror—and then 2 individuals walked (a bit over ankle deep) in front of her while the camera was rolling—I don’t know, maybe 8 years ago. DONE. I would rather read really good shit (or watch the PBS news hour)that enhances the brain than to watch bad shit that diminishes all capacity and makes me want to lose function.

  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple October 2, 2013, 9:05 pm

    I don’t watch much news at all. I don’t have cable. I do check the news site once every couple of days (for example, when the Navy Yard shooting happened I got an email from a friend who worked there that he was okay, and said “what?”)

    I admit to facebook too much, namely to keep in touch with family. But I have seriously cut WAY back on TV (watch almost zero…less than an hour a week), internet, and FB. Mostly I play with my kids, cook, do chores, and read.

  • Posted On October 2, 2013, 9:24 pm

    Floods can’t be prevented, but homes being damaged by floods can.

  • Wrecked October 2, 2013, 9:33 pm

    I totally agree with this post. A couple years ago I used to wake up every morning and watch CNN for a half hour or so before going to work. Then one day (around the same time I started reading this blog) I woke up and said “what the hell am I doing?” Watching this crap doesn’t benefit me in the slightest. “I don’t even live in the US, so why am I watching US related news anyway?” I tuned it off and have not watched it ever again and I don’t miss it at all.

  • Chucks October 2, 2013, 10:00 pm

    So long as you check on the news maybe once a week, you’ll be more than well enough informed.

  • Rabia Aziz October 2, 2013, 11:21 pm

    I truly like this article, I really never think before that how News Channel sells all the information. Always more focusing at the tragic news, without stating the facts about other accidents, happening all over the world.

  • Systematic October 2, 2013, 11:49 pm

    Absolutely agree.

    Writing from Christchurch New Zealand. I have to switch off from media as it hasn’t and doesn’t represent my reality and it’s doing my head in.

    This thread has convinced me to cut the cord and only read info direct from the source

    Thanks, much appreciated..

  • Marc October 2, 2013, 11:58 pm

    Thanks MMM,

    This one struck a good chord with me… My wife has been a low information advocate for a long time but I have been guilty of trying to stay “informed” with the misguided perspective that it was helping. I have also been on FB way too much and today your article was all the nudge I needed to finally say goodbye to my FB App on my iphone only 45 min after reading the article! I had a good feeling of liberation and real knowledge that what I was doing was giving me back MY time to properly devote to my family and not to my ‘updates”. Well done MMM.

  • Penny October 3, 2013, 2:05 am

    There is nothing more loathsome than the Murdoch run press and CNN style TV news. I agree turn away from the rubbish peddled through these media. But, is it not important to understand what is going on in the world around us? We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that issues which have important implications will just go away. I am surprised that Americans are not marching on mass in protest against the Republicans blocking health care reforms. We have a similar health care system in Australia. We all pay a levy and have the assurance that everyone can access health care services when needed.

  • Boy Toy October 3, 2013, 5:28 am

    Man! You speak my f…ing mind!
    I havent watched TV or read newspapers or had facebook for several years – and boy it is sooo refreshing to live without all their negative bullshit and manipulation. Why bother about stuff we dont have an influence on anyways?
    Schools should teach your blog! Respect.

  • Ben Swartz October 3, 2013, 6:17 am

    I also apply this principle to the comments section of any internet site, (including blogs, even MMM!) Without exception, the commentary complements the “horrific and depressing irrelevant tragedies” documented in the main article with the seeming proof that our fellow humans are apoplectic, mouth breathing cretins who have nothing better to do than yell at strangers about things they know little or nothing. Why spend hours exposing one’s self to a freak-show display of our worst selves?

  • Jana October 3, 2013, 6:34 am

    I am so with you on this one! I can see the benefit of a low information diet as I have been an unfollower of news for years now. I can see that I can reduce my Facebook time… Glad to know I’m not the only weird person!

  • BeirutMM October 3, 2013, 7:07 am

    Great blog, great philosophy, from your starting point I think you tackle many of life’s problems.

    One point. The Economist, while well written, has an extreme editorial policy that often misleads its readers drastically. I believe that the most important thing when “consuming” media is the grain of salt…do not believe any one source. Most Journo’s are pretty lazy and do not really get to the heart of the story, many others are biased intentionally or not.

    I do agree that reading books is the way to go, but again varity fo view points is important…

    well done on the writing!

  • HJ October 3, 2013, 7:29 am

    You are soooo refreshing! Love this article and every other one i have read so far (exluding the one from the misses on makeup, i like a bit of that).
    Keep up the GOOD work, which keeps our minds filled with FRESH ideas! Some day, i would love to get to Longmont and say Hello!

  • My Wealth Desire October 3, 2013, 7:44 am

    I agree with you, meeting or conference shall be carried out short, focus and direct to the point. Just this week alone, we have a meeting and the meeting take more time, because he focus on nagging and shouting. What happened, we wasted our productive time, just to listen him while nagging and shouting. In the next day, he asked our accomplishment, he is not thinking that he wasted our 1/2 day.

  • tracyl October 3, 2013, 7:54 am

    I stopped watching the news a few years back, and find I am much happier and relaxed. I do get a little grief from my extended family, because they can’t believe I haven’t heard about the latest tragedy. When people ask my opinion about the latest political problem, I politely inform them that I haven’t really kept up with that as I don’t watch the news. These same people always seem riled up and stressed out by what’s going on with the news! I have a college degree and am mostly retired at age 49, so it is not because I am completely ignorant. I just find that there are better things to occupy my mind and my time.

  • Mike October 3, 2013, 8:53 am

    One cool thing that happened to me recently is that not having cable and not listening to commercial radio resulted in me completely missing an epic political advertising assault on Colorado voters over a recent recall election. Despite NOT watching any news and only browsing NPR headlines, I knew the issues enough to participate if it had been my district, but thankfully was spared a ridiculous avalanche of BS.

  • kathny October 3, 2013, 9:06 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say here. I once heard a saying that “News is just gossip for intellectuals” only now, it’s more like “Gossip is news for the masses”. These days, celebrity gossip items are the leading stories on the nightly news. The networks also try to outcompete each other to see who can stir up the biggest panic with over-sensationalized stories. It’s contributing to the dumbing down of America. When an item about Lindsay Lohan gets more attention than soldiers being killed in Afghanistan, or the latest crime our elected leaders are perpetrating upon us, you see that something is very, very wrong.


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