Monday, February 22, 2010

"What I read"

The Atlantic online is posting a series looking at what their columnists and bloggers read. They start with this opening:

“Every time I hear about Twitter I want to yell Stop,” writes George Packer in his New Yorker blog. Packer feels he’s drowning in information and opinion. Perhaps he feels, like many of us, that other people can read faster, or have some secret formula that allows them to converse knowledgeably at 8 a.m. about an item this morning on To reassure you or alarm you further, and perhaps to give you a few ideas, we are asking various friends and colleagues how they deal with the information tsunami.

I also feel like everyone else is reading faster than I am, like I never really learned how to read. This series has somewhat depressed me. Maybe everyone reads more because they commute via train to work and have that time to read magazines or read major newspapers "cover to cover." @mattmckee might find this editor's use of Twitter handy. He has 4 different personal Twitter feeds that he checks. I'm always reading a non-fiction book, but don't count on me to have it finished tomorrow like other folks. I love reading long-form journalism like The New Yorker, but don't count on me to even read my BusinessWeek cover-to-cover in a week's time.

Tyler Cowen, an economist blogger, posts 12 times a day, publishes a book or two a year, publishes a textbook, travels all over the world, voraciously reads books on topics ranging from South African art to Haitian music to the Industrial Revolution, and reposts thoughts from academic journals and other blogs. He also has a family and teaches at a university while doing research. How does he sleep?

I've been trying to use technology to maximize reading time. And I've deactivated my Facebook.

I make it a point to read the following 5 bloggers every day. Everything they post, in order of priority:
1. Reihan Salam's The Agenda blog at The National Review's website. He's smart, and very clear in his writing. When he's on NewsHour he talks faster than other guests and is thinking harder than they are. He's the sharpest conservative out there, and is a genuinely nice guy in my communications with him.

2. Brad Delong's "Grasping Reality..." He's a liberal economist at UCLA who also has a lifestyle like Tyler Cowen above. He's one of those liberals who calls anyone who disagrees with him "stupid" or "nihlist", etc. He makes me think a lot, and I find him to be quite reasonable on some issues.

3. Econbrowser- 2 economists co-author this blog and they give me all the macro things I need to think about. With plenty of good graphs (which slow down my smart phone, but at least are readable on it).

4. Greg Mankiw- Dr. Mankiw doesn't write as much these days, I guess he's gotten busy with other things. His more reasonable voice has been sorely missed; he's sort of come across as a party hack in recent months. When he does think on his blog, it's generally thought-provoking and useful.

5. Marginal Revolution - Tyler Cowen and another economist run this blog and it's usually a lot to keep up with. But it's the "everything else" that economists and others are thinking about.

I'm not blogging much anymore because I'm reading and thinking more. But not fast enough to keep up with everyone else.


Matt McKee said...

I will check that service out for sure.

Reihan said...

Thanks for the kind words, sir!

JDTapp said...

Wow, Reihan Salam really did just comment on my blog. That's probably the best thing that happened to me today (that I know of).