🍔AIP 53 Is Your Information Diet Feeding or Failing You?

🍔AIP 53 Is Your Information Diet Feeding or Failing You?
Photo by Haseeb Jamil / Unsplash

The common saying goes, "You are what you eat."

I say you're the information you consume. Your informational diet affects your physical and mental health just like your food. If you consume news articles, Tik Tok, and YouTube for six hours daily, you're hurting your ability to form intelligent thoughts.

I know because my information diet sucked a few years ago.

I consumed a cocktail of YouTube food reviews, lets plays, and video games for hours daily.

I didn't have rules for when, how, or why I consumed information. Instead, I consumed for entertainment. I was scared of missing out on something interesting my friends would talk about at school. This constant consumption made me feel lethargic, anxious, and ironically bored.

But by applying the principles I will discuss in this article, I remodeled my information diet.

Now my primary information sources are books, podcasts, and conversation.

I feel energetic, calm, and excited. The information I consume aligns with my values. It fuels the projects I'm working on. I have accepted I won't be able to consume everything I want to, and that's okay.

I'm prioritizing critical thinking, which has never been more important.

We are living in a paradox of abundance.

The quality of good information is getting higher while the quantity of bad information is also getting higher. The difficulty is in distinguishing the two. As AI becomes more and more advanced, deepfakes, Photoshop, and ChatGPT are making it harder and harder to differentiate what is real from what isn't. People's opinions are becoming more polarizing as they dig themselves into informational echo chambers online.

That's why you must remodel your information diet like I did. In this article, you will learn:

  • 4 Essential Mindsets For Becoming A Better Consumer Of Information
  • 3 Methods For Remodeling Your Information Diet

Let's jump into it faster than Radagast riding his bunny sleigh in The Lord Of The Rings!

🧠4 Essential Mindsets For Becoming A Better Consumer Of Information

📽️A) Become A Creator

One of the biggest problems with most people's information diets is they don't create anything from what they consume.

Creation is one of the best ways to learn. Consumption without application is procrastination. Beginning a YouTube channel 2.5 years ago was one of the most life-changing things I ever did because it gave me a medium to create.

But you don't have to take such a giant leap.

Becoming a creator is as simple as taking notes from what you consume and sharing them with others.

Make these questions a reflex when consuming information:

  1. Who is the author of this information?
  2. What is being said as a whole?
  3. How do the parts make up the whole?
  4. Why does it matter?

Get in the habit of writing the answers to these things down.

Use Obsidian (my notetaking app), paper, or your gosh darn arm if you don't have anything else! Share these notes and the link to the source with someone who might find it interesting.

Become a creator.

🔎B) Differentiate Your Information Diet To Break Free From The Crowd

"If you consume what everyone else is consuming, you will think what everyone else is thinking." -Someone smart lol

A second problem with how most consume information is they rely on the algorithm. But most algorithms aim to keep you consuming for as long as possible. To do this, it feeds you information it believes you will like based on past consumption. This is how people get caught in echo chambers, consuming wild conspiracy theories about how birds aren't real, the Earth is flat, or peanut butter isn't the best food (that last one might be made up by me).

The solution is to stop following the algorithm, and differentiate your information diet.

Blend a bizzare bowl.

Consume from various authors on several topics through your own research and analysis. Not through the algorithm. For example, read a book on indoor plant design while reading a behavioral economics book like Thinking Fast And Slow. In addition, immerse yourself in new experiences. A few weeks ago, I participated in the 90-mile Adirondack Canoe race. Returning to my routine after this novel experience, I was more creative.

By differentiating your information diet, you will have ideas and insights nobody has ever thought.

Doing this will help you break free from the matrix.

Since childhood, society socializes us to act in certain ways. This first occurs from the institutional and cultural backdrop into which we are born. It continues during childhood from our parents, friends, school, church, and more. This creates a matrix for ourselves similar to the Matrix Neo finds himself in during the 1989 classic The Matrix.

How do we escape?

We differentiate our information diet.

We don't assume the information we are fed from childhood is correct. We explore outward and come to our own conclusions. We join the resistance.

Check out my article School Is A Matrix if you want to learn more.

🌱C) Become A Lifelong Learner

A third problem with many people's information diet is they don't love learning intrinsically, so they consume primarily things they have to.

Most students I know at Cornell don't continue learning outside of school. Their excuse is they don't have time alongside the regular academic coursework. What will happen when they exit the real world, get a job, get married, and have kids? There will be even less time!

You have to become a lifelong learner.

In the digital age, your perspective and ability to learn fast matters more than your rote knowledge. There is more information than ever, and new information is coming faster than ever. A physical college degree doesn't prepare you for the digital world anymore.

Traditional schooling is still built on an industrial-era model.

It's trying to make you into the perfect factory worker.

Traditional schooling teaches you how to do algorithmic work. Algorithmic work has clear processes, systems, and outcomes. But as Daniel H. Pink describes in his book, Drive, heuristic work is increasing over the last few decades. Heuristic work doesn't have a clear process, system, or outcome for doing it. Think about knowledge work, content creators, AI researchers, and more.

To thrive in an age of heuristic work, you have to be a lifelong learner.

🤔D) Practice Critical Thinking

A fourth problem with people's information diet is they don't critically assess what they consume.

How can you practice critical thinking? Here are a few questions to ask of every piece of information you consume:

  • Who is the author of this piece? Does this incentivize them toward a certain argument?
  • How trustworthy are the sources this piece is citing?
  • What do other people have to say about this information?
  • Do the arguments laid out validly lead to the conclusion put forth?
  • Is there linguistic consistency?

Questions like these will make it much less likely you fall for bullcrap.

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me an SMS audio message asking if I wanted to get on a call soon.

I started to type in my response before I stopped. Something was off. Listening to the voice memo again, I realized what it was. It was subtle, but my friend didn't sound like my friend. When I called him out on it, he admitted he had used an AI audio creator to simulate his voice.

I only realized this because I had developed my critical thinking skills.

Just think how much harder it will be the better AI gets.

🔨Methods For Remodeling Your Information Diet

Now that we have talked about 4 essential mindsets for becoming a better consumer of information, we can move on to concrete methods for remodeling your information diet.

These methods will help you assess your information diet and adapt it to where you want it to be.

🎣Create A Collect Toolkit

To remodel your information diet, we must assess where it is now.

Then, we can create a collect toolkit, a series of 3-6 valuable information mediums you stick to. By purposefully defining 3-6 valuable information mediums, you make it less likely you will consume junk.

How you consume information is just as important as what you consume.

Consuming information through TikTok, even if it's the same information, is much less likely to lead to action and reflection than consuming from a physical book. That's why to create your collect toolkit you will choose from the mediums providing most value to your life.

This is important: FOLLOW along with me as you read through these six steps. You will only learn through action. I'll go through each step with you so you have someone to do it with 😉.

Step 1: Assess Your Current Information Mediums

  • Make a list of all the main information mediums you consume your information from. For me, this is:
  • Twitter
  • Books
  • YouTube
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Blog Posts
  • Academic Articles
  • Conversation

Step 2: Rate Each Of Your Mediums On A Scale Of 0-100 For The Value They Provide To Your Life

  • The exact rating doesn't matter as much as its relation to the other ratings. So don't make a huge deal about what exact number you give. For me, it would look like this:
  • Twitter: 75
  • Books: 95
  • YouTube: 70
  • Podcasts: 90
  • Newsletters: 70
  • Blog Posts: 50
  • Academic Articles: 30
  • Conversation: 95

Step 3: Limit Yourself To 3-6 Of Those Mediums

  • This is important. Limit yourself to consuming ONLY 3-6 of the mediums from above most days, preferably the ones of highest value.
  • For me, this would be in order of value:
  1. Conversation
  2. Books
  3. Podcasts
  4. Newsletters
  5. Twitter
  6. YouTube

Step 4: Figure Out How Much Time You're Spending On Each Medium Per Week

  • I know how much time I spend on each medium because I track it in my phone. But if you have no idea what it looks like for you, turn on the time-tracking setting in your phone for a week. And install a free app tracker on your laptop for a week (just search up free time tracking app laptop). Set a reminder to return a week from now and complete this step (you can still do the rest of the action items in the article until then).
  • For me, it would look like this:
  • Conversation: 420 Minutes
  • Books: 360 Minutes
  • Podcasts: 210 Minutes
  • Newsletters: 60 Minutes
  • Twitter: 210 Minutes
  • YouTube: 315 Minutes

Step 5: Find Mismatches In The Time Spent On A Medium To The Value It Provides Your Life

  • Which mediums did you rate high value but are consuming little of?
  • Which mediums did you rate low value but are consuming lots of?
  • For me, I'm consuming too much YouTube and too little newsletters.

Step 6: Course Correct

  • Make a plan for changing the time you spend consuming each information medium to reflect the value it provides.
  • For me, this looks like consuming less YouTube and more newsletter content.

➕C) Reduce and Add Friction to Collection

This is important.

You have to reduce the friction of capturing in your capture toolkit and add friction to capturing outside of it.

For example, I make collecting from books and podcasts easy by using Readwise to sync my highlights to my notetaking app, Obsidian, automatically. But for other informational mediums, I purposefully increase friction. For example, while using Twitter, I copy and paste the only collection methods. And I only allow myself to watch YouTube videos while having a meal.

Ask yourself these questions to do the same: How can I make this medium more or less obvious to consume from? How can I make consuming from this medium more or less appealing? How can I make it harder or easier to consume from this medium? How can I reward or punish myself for consuming from this medium?

❔Creating Your 12 Favorite Questions

"You have to keep a dozen of your favorite [questions] constantly present in your mind, although by and large, they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve questions to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, 'How did he do it? He must be a genius!" - Richard Feynman.

Feynman is famous for his teaching skills and Physics discoveries, but above all, he was a great questioner. Before rising to the legendary status he holds today, Feynman's most significant question was finding out how to revolutionize physics. To do this, he needed a filter to tell him what information to consume and actions to take. Otherwise, he might find himself saying yes to things he shouldn't. So he formulated twelve questions to guide everything he did in life.

You can do the same.

Now that you have defined you collect toolkit, let's define your twelve favorite questions.

To do this, we need to figure out what you are interested in!

What do you enjoy? What books, videos, and content do you look at whenever you have free time? Look at your weekly schedule. What do you always find time for? Reading? Exercising? Cooking? What are you learning currently?

I answered these questions myself:

My Favorite Content

📚Non-Fiction Books:

  • The Category Design Toolkit
  • Transcend
  • Storyworthy
  • The Extended Mind
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Pathless Path
  • The Meditations
  • The Coddling of the American Mind
  • Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke
  • Flow The Psychology of Optimal Experience 🪄Fiction Books:
  • 1984
  • The Stormlight Archives
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Siddhartha
  • Ready Player One
  • The First Law Trilogy


  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Her (2013) Movie Analysis
  • Fight Club
  • The Martian
  • The Matrix
  • Ready Player One
  • Parasite
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Before Trilogy
  • Interstellar


  • Controlling Your Dopamine for Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction Episode 39
  • Alonement How to Be Alone and Happy - Francesca Spectre
  • How Anyone Can Develop the Mindset of a Multi-Million Dollar Entrepreneur - Daniel Priestley
  • Happiness 2.0 The Path to Contentment
  • The Pathless Path How to Recreate Your Life In 2023
  • Someday Is Today — Achieve Your Goals and Live Without Regret - Matthew Dicks
  • The Quiet Catastrophe Brewing In Our Social Lives
  • Louise Perry — the Case Against the Sexual Revolution
  • Ep. 31 — RYAN HOLIDAY on Ranch Life, Fostering Discipline, and the Loss of Reading Culture
  • EP144 Happiness Expert Returns Retrain Your Brain For Maximum Happiness Mo Gawdat ✍️Articles:
  • Some Stoic Musings on Loneliness by Kevin Vost
  • The Complete Guide to Memory
  • The Future of Education Is Community The Rise of Cohort-Based Courses
  • 🌲 How Obsidian Replaced Video Games & Helped Me Publish
  • Why People Believe Others’ Social Lives Are Richer Than Their Own
  • 🦘The Skip Test
  • The Objectivity Illusion
  • The Audio Revolution
  • My 12 Hour Walk
  • Work Life Balance Is Impossible


  • How to Stop Overthinking
  • Life Is a Video Game (Here’s How You Win)
  • The Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz
  • Dan Koe & Dickie Bush On One-Person Businesses, Creative Workflows, and Lifestyle Design
  • Revealing Ship 30's Million-Dollar Marketing Strategy Espresso Hour E13
  • Navigating uncertainty as a creator with Paul Millerd
  • The Best Relationship Advice No One Tells You
  • Ram Dass – Here and Now – Ep. 130 – The Spiritual Path
  • Early 20s Syndrome, Paid Newsletter Empire, and Focus Framework
  • How ‘purpose’ works


  • Charisma University
  • Build Your Knowledge Portfolio
  • Linking Your Thinking Workshop
  • Building A Second Brain Cohort 4
  • Part Time YouTuber Academy Cohort 4
  • Awakening From The Meaning Crisis
  • Human Bonding Cornell
  • Six Pretty Good Books Cornell
  • Food For Contemporary Living Cornell
  • Social Psychology Cornell

🫂Favorite Creators/Authors:

  • Matthew Dicks
  • Nicolas Cole
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Alex Hormozi
  • Ali Abdaal
  • Andrew Huberman
  • Cal Newport
  • Paul Milliard
  • Nick Milo
  • Dan Koe

Taking my favorite content and authors into account, here are my broad buckets of interest:

🪣Buckets Of Interest

  • Notetaking
  • Online Business
  • Comedy
  • Public Speaking
  • Charisma
  • Resistance training
  • Nutrition/Dieting
  • Psychology
  • Gamification
  • Stoicism
  • Buddhism
  • Taoism
  • Storytelling
  • Content Creation
  • Debate

Once you have written out your favorite content and buckets of interest, you can define your twelve favorite questions.

Here are my twelve questions for inspiration when writing yours. Don't feel bad if you take a few of mine.

  1. How can I create an authentic online business that helps people and makes money?
  2. How can I write online in a way that allows me to both improve my skills and get feedback?
  3. How can I improve my memory using mnemonic techniques and mix them together with flashcards?
  4. How can I understand human psychology to come across better in my relationships?
  5. How can I use Obsidian to make my knowledge management more effective and fun while at the same time not sacrificing truth?
  6. How can I create fantastic digital courses?
  7. What can Psychology teach me about my and others decision making?
  8. How can I write more humorous scripts, comedy bits, and speeches?
  9. How can I become a more mature human being?
  10. How can I tell better stories?
  11. How can I make the most useful, interesting, and fun to watch YouTube videos?
  12. How can I become a better lover in my romantic relationship?

🛠️To Learn More Effectively Start A Learning Project

You have created a collect toolkit, defined your interests, and created your twelve favorite questions.

Last but certainly not least, you should start a learning project if you haven't already. One of the biggest mistakes people make when consuming information is not having a learning project to apply it to. Consumption without application is procrastination.

Here are three steps you should take for any learning endeavor:

⚒️#1. Outline A Learning Project

🎣#2. Collect Information Relevant To That Project

📸#3. Showcase Your Progress Publicly

The shorter the loop between consumption and application, the faster you will learn.

Let's dive into each of those more in-depth.

⚒️#1. Outline A Learning Project

Defining a learning project BEFORE starting to learn, creates a medium for you to apply your learnings to.

Why is this good?

2 reasons...

Firstly, it shortens the period between consumption and action. The shorter this period, the faster you learn. And secondly, it literally changes what you attend to throughout your day. Your goals shape the information that sticks out as relevant in your environment. Having a learning project will make information relevant to your project stick out to you.

🎣#2. Collect Information Relevant To That Project

Once you have defined a learning project, collect information relevant to that project.

Firstly, start by diving back into past information you have consumed.

If you have been notetaking for a while, you can revisit the notes you made in your notetaking app. Sometimes, I'm 80% with a project before starting.

Secondly, visit sources you trust to see if they have information relevant to the project.

Authors you have loved, creators you follow, and people in your network. Ask relevant friends, family, and co-workers if they have any recommendations.

Third and finally, go onto the internet and look for new information relevant to the project. Make sure to assess this information critically. ChatGPT can be super helpful here. I like using a simple prompt like, "I'm trying to learn X skill. Give me a list of 3 books, authors, podcasts, and courses I should consider checking out."

📸#3. Showcase Your Progress Publicly As Your Progress

Teaching your learnings to others is one of the most time-tested ways to know whether you have learned it.

You only truly know something if you can explain it to a five-year-old with no knowledge of that thing. So showcase your progress publicly.

If you're just starting, pick a medium. Don't overcomplicate it.

Twitter, YouTube, a newsletter.

If you're too scared to start creating on one of these mediums, simply send your progress to a friend or family member as you progress. Preferably someone who could benefit from the learnings as well. Showcasing your learning publicly will help you learn it better and open you up to the serendipitous properties of creating on the internet.

💪The Power Of Remodeling Your Information Diet

Remodeling your information diet is one of the most powerful things you can do in the digital age.

The world is more polarized than ever. Information is more abundant than ever. Ignorance is higher than ever.

Hopefully, through applying the insights in this article, you have started the process of change.

It starts with a foundation for changing your mindset toward consumption. Ingraining essential mindsets such as becoming a creator, differentiating your information sources, embracing lifelong learning, and practicing critical thinking.

Then you actualize it by creating a collect toolkit, defining your 12 favorite questions, and starting a learning project.

Here's what I would like to share this week.

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