in Books, Investing, Marketing, On Writing, Reading, Stories

Reading Between the Lines

In the past year, I’ve devoted more time to organizing how I read and it’s made meaningful impact to how much I read.

Besides buying physical books, I’ve started buying ebooks through Apple Book’s store (most of which I’ve started and others are just collecting virtual dust). I’ve also realized that paying for access to information and good information is harder to come by these days. I have more disposable income in recent years and I can be more discriminate where I get my information.

So it’s all the more disappointing that even reputable publications that I’ve finally made the decision to put in my credit card number for, seems like they are just more of the same — clickbait articles, pages filled with distracting (and well-placed, well-designed) banner ads, and frankly, poor writing.

Taking aside the business of media for a second, but didn’t I already pay for this and don’t I get to at least not get bombarded by advertisers peddling things that I don’t need nor want? On that note, ads is just the start of it. Many publications now have tiered paywalls, annual subscriptions get your more exclusive or curated content filled with live Q&As and charts and graphs galore. All with the backdrop that, most of the Contributors and Editors are curating content for mindless snacking, not a decent sit down meal with good company.

Here’s my opinion. I’ve subscribed to Barron’s for the past year or so now (I’ve cancelled in February). Lots of content and sometimes not enough content on most days, it’s filled with many short articles that don’t warrant a full article (i.e. writers are just filling white space). Perhaps it’s to support finding a place to put a banner?!

Most of the time the article is an opinion of someone else’s opinion and so why don’t I just go straight to that source? I applaud the editorial team for writing some of the best article headlines — amazing copy about why you should see the world this way or that, but after reading, it makes you feel less confident in their conviction because it’s so vague.

Perhaps I should reframe this: I don’t mind the ads if the ads are well-designed, thoughtful and placed amongst good writing. But when the situation is that I am paying for content, I wish for their thoughts and ideas to lead the way.

Meanwhile, while this is nothing (super) new, I’ve taken an affinity for well curated daily topical email newsletters. There’s many out there and many more imitations I’ve found everyday, but it suits my method of funnelling the best articles to do a deeper dive.

The one’s I’m currently testing out are:

More to come on which non-daily newsletters/blogs I’ve managed to keep flooding to my inbox.

Post-script: I just started a paid subscription to The Information and I’m starting to feel a bit “walled” off. Let you know after reading a few months.