My Daily Reading Habits

Something that fascinates me is how people inform themselves–how they get their news, what books they read, who they listen to, and what they watch.  This was the topic of one of my first blog posts, “You Are What You Read.” I think that people are profoundly influenced by who they listen to and what they read.

Reading Newspaper

Sometimes people ask me what I read, and some just assume what I read by what I write.  I read a lot.  I believe that “leaders read and readers lead.”  Here’s how and what I read.

How I read

Much of my news intake happens through my email.  If I find a site that has a good articles on it, I’ll subscribe to their email newsletter or RSS feed.  Side note: if you are a blogger, the surest way to lose readers is to not have a way for people to subscribe to your posts.  If I go to a site, and they don’t have a way to subscribe (either through my RSS reader, or by email), it’s unlikely that I’m coming back.

If I subscribe to a new newsletter via email, I will let the newsletters come to my Inbox for a few weeks, and I’ll read most of them.  After a few weeks, I decide whether the newsletters are worth my time to continue reading, and if it is, I create a filter in Gmail for them.  I prioritize them by putting them into one of three categories:

High Priority: these are newsletters that I highly value, and read them regularly (daily or weekly).
Medium Priority: these are newsletters and Google Alerts that I will skim daily.  There are hundreds of emails per day that go in this category.
Low Priority: these are newsletters that I only occasionally read, and most of the time I’ll go in and just delete them every few days.

My second way of ingesting information is through my Feedly (http://cloud.feedly.com).  I used to use Google Reader, until they closed down that application.  I follow 189 blogs through Feedly, and I break these up into several categories:

  • Atheism and Apologetics
  • Blogging
  • Christianity and Theology
  • Economics
  • Hispanic Political blogs
  • Leadership
  • Personal friends
  • Personal Interest
  • Politics

A third major way that I get information is through podcasts.  My podcasts roughly follow the same categories as the blogs that I read.

Another major way that I get information is through Twitter.  When I first joined Twitter, I thought it would be a huge waste of time, but I’ve come around to see it as a great way to deliver information.  I follow (and am followed by) around 28,000 people, so I use Twitter lists to filter whose tweets I see regularly.  I also use Hootsuite and Buffer regularly to read tweets and schedule my own tweets to go out.

Side note: for those of you that might think that I spend all of my time on Twitter and Facebook, because you see me post throughout the day, I’m not.  I schedule my posts the night before–or early in the morning–so that they go out throughout the day.  This way, I’m not stealing from my employers by using the time that I promised that I would give them.

Something of interest to many people that follow me will be that I don’t watch TV news much.  For large events (like the presidential inauguration, the State of the Union, or such events) I will watch TV–and typically switch back and forth between Fox and MSNBC–but for the most part I avoid TV news.  I do, however, occasionally watch C-SPAN’s Washington Journal (not live, usually several days behind).

On the less timely form of reading, I also read books, both on my Kindle and by listening to them on my commute–I have an Audible.com account.  I’ll write a post someday on what books I read.

What I Read/Listen To

I know many of you have been saying to yourselves for the past few paragraphs, “But WHAT do you read?”  Here’s a list:

High Priority – these are things that I read daily or weekly

Email newsletters:
Best of the Web Today: written by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal (who has been described as, “so sharp, he sneezes thumbtacks”), a witty and insightful daily post.  Long, but well worth the daily time.
RealClearPolitics.com: a daily digest of political editorials from the right and the left, and during election seasons, RCP has a great aggregation of polling data.
Harvard Business Review: a daily email of business and leadership articles.
The Hill daily political digest: The Hill has good political reporting, and also aggregates political news from other news sites.
Michael Hyatt: One of the best leadership and blogging sites out there.
Salon.com Daily Digest: This is a left-leaning site, but I read a LOT of articles on this site.  I like to see what the other side is saying :)

Blogs:
Atheism: Debunking Christianity, ExChristian.net
Blogging: Copyblogger
Christianity: Desiring God, Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung, Stuff Christians Like
Economics: Cafe Hayek, EconLog, The Becker-Posner Blog, Freakonomics, James Pethokoukis
Friends and Family: Living by Lysa, Kacie Mann, Drew Hunter, Chris McGarvey, Above All Things, EFAMILY, and Genuine Chris
Politics: Ann Althouse (center-right), Cato@Liberty (libertarian), FiveThirtyEight (center-left), The Fix (center-left), The Agenda (right)

Podcasts:
48 Days – Dan Miller is a best-selling author that has a podcast that’s on finding your passion, and doing work that is meaningful, purposeful and profitable.
Dave Ramsey – everyone needs to get their financial life in order; Dave Ramsey helps you do that.
Desiring God sermons – to feed the soul.
EconTalk – one of the best economics podcasts out there.
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders – weekly talks by thought leaders, presented at Stanford.
Grace Church of DuPage sermons – in case you miss a week of Pastor Daryle Worley, you can still get your fix.
HBR IdeaCast – weekly podcast of the Harvard Business Review; short and interesting
Hugh Hewitt – a practicing lawyer, constitutional law professor and author, as well as a radio talk show host, Hewitt has a interview format on his show, and has some of the most interesting interviews.
Manager Tools – if you are a leader or manager, and want to grow in the technical aspects of managing, this podcast is for you.

Medium Priority – these are things I skim, but don’t always read.  A medium priority is something that I will skim headlines on, and will read it if it sounds like a good story.  For instance, I have a Google Alert (below) on every Illinois congressperson, and I skim the headlines on them to see if they’re doing something interesting.

Email Newsletters:
Reuters Top U.S. News
Seeking Alpha – financial news
New York Post Morning Newsletter
Stratfor Security Briefings – emails about national security
InvestorGuide.com daily summary – stock market daily summary
Commentary Daily
The Patriot Post
Foundation for Economic Education (The Freeman)

Blogs/Podcasts:
Atheism: Sam Harris
Blogging: ProBlogger
Christianity: Blogging Theologically, Challies
Economics: Keith Hennessey, The Big Picture, Carpe Diem, Greg Mankiw
Leadership: Knowledge@Wharton, Seth Godin
Podcasts: C-SPAN Newsmakers, This is Your Life

Google Alerts: Aaron Schock, Adam Kinzinger, Alvin Plantinga, Americans for Prosperity, Angus King, atheism, Benghazi, Berkshire Hathaway, Bill Enyart, Bill Foster, Bob Ewoldt, Bobby Rush, Brad Schneider, Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft, Cheri Bustos, concealed carry Illinois, Corey Robin, coup in Nigeria, Dan Lipinski, Danaher, Danny Davis, Darlene Senger, debt crisis, Dennis Hastert, economics, ex-Christian, Flibe Energy, gun control, gun sales, health care rationing, Illinois legislature, Illinois redistricting, “I’m a moderate,” James MacDonald, Jan Schakowsky, Jesse Jackson Jr., John Loftus atheist, John Shimkus, Kelly Ayotte, Luis Gutierrez, Mike Quigley, Naperville, nuclear reactor, ObamaCare, Paul Ryan, Peter Roskam, price controls, Randy Hultgren, reactor design, redistricting reform, Richard Dawkins, Rodney Davis, Roe Conn, Sam Harris, Scott Walker Wisconsin, secular humanism, Stephen Hawking, supply-side economics, Tammy Duckworth, Ted Cruz, term limits, Thomas Sowell, Tim Walberg Michigan, Transatomic Power, trickle-down economics, voter ID law

New/Trial Reading

Here are some things that I’ve recently started reading or listening to, and haven’t decided yet whether I will continue to follow them or not:

Email newsletters:
Morning Buzz from YG by Mark Bednar – a short-ish daily political digest from the Young Guns Network.
Daybreak by Brad Dayspring – this is a daily political digest from Brad Dayspring, the Communications Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
CitizenLink Team daily email – this is a socially conservative daily email from a subsidiary of Focus on the Family.
The Fiscal Times – a center-left take on fiscal issues.
The American Conservative – “Authentically conservative — modest, open-minded, and uninterested in partisan chicanery,” according to them.

Podcasts:
Steve Deace – on the recommendation of a friend, I’m checking out this conservative talk show host from Iowa.
Commonwealth Club of California – a weekly center-left political forum.
The Christian Worldview – another recommendation from a friend.
Guntalk – given the recent focus on gun control, I’ve started listening to a couple of gun shows.
Cam and Company – another gun show; this is the NRA news daily show.