I’ve Stopped Reading The News And I Think You Should Too

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One thing Florian is absolutely loving about living in Paris is his newfound ability to watch all the sports he wants, live. No more staying up late or waking early mornings, he’s watching the games at the times they’re designed to be watched.

I’ve decided instead of scrolling through social media whilst Barcelona is on the screen, I’d start back up my love of reading. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen I’ve added a new highlight reel called Books and I’m up to book number six this year so far.

I’m trying to read a variety of books from murder mysteries to classics, memoirs to essays and everything in between. On a recent visit to my favourite bookshop (in the world) Shakespeare and Company, I found a book I never thought would have changed my life as it did.

Rolf Dobelli’s Stop Reading The News: A manifesto for a happier, calmer and wiser life has been an absolute game-changer and over the past fortnight, I’ve felt less stressed and anxious.

Dobelli states news is to the mind what sugar is to the body and as someone who previously worked for one of the biggest media companies in the world, this couldn’t be more true.

From understanding the ins and outs of what is involved in digital media, I couldn’t help but slowly become appalled at the state of modern-day news and the profit-making juggernaut it has transformed into from the inside. Getting eyeballs to the page is the number one objective because when you get eyeballs, you get ads and ads mean dollar dollar bills y’all!

I watched Netflix’s Social Dilemma last year and one statement that stuck out to me was “if you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold” and this rings true not just when it comes to social media, but news, too. 

Your attention is what’s being sold and so media outlets will play dirty to get yours.

Living in France there’s a constant stream of we’re going into lockdown, actually no we’re not, wait a health expert said it’s inevitable, hang on the prime minister said a lockdown is a last resort. This daily anxiety that accompanied reading news became an accepted part of my day and until I picked up this book, I hadn’t even realised it was ever-present.

I don’t want to give too much away as it’s only a short read and making your way through each chapter brings with it a revelation, but what I will share though after reading the book I unfollowed all news accounts on social media and have not engaged with any news since.

The book was originally published in 2013, well before the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on how mainstream media feeds us stories that are in actuality totally irrelevant to your life. A blizzard in Texas, a feud between two tennis players or a prince exiting the Royal Family whilst entertaining is totally unconnected to YOUR daily life.

Now Dobelli isn’t saying become a hermit crab and disassociate yourself from the outside world, but instead, he’s suggesting that you don’t look to mainstream media as your source of truth and rather engage with research papers and independent news sources that don’t need to encapsulate the whole story in less than a thousand words. Modern-day news often doesn’t have time to tell the whole story and instead picks and chooses what will garner the most attention.  

One point Dobelli raises in the book is that he’s often asked how he stays up-to-date with COVID-related information. He advises that instead of engaging with clickbait content written by non-medical experts, he downloaded the relevant COVID government app and follows restrictions and cases from there. No hype and no hysteria, just the facts and raw data. I’ve followed suit and I keep up with the latest via France’s Tous Anti-Covid app. 

If you’re not a reader (like my husband) here’s a condensed TED talk bu Dobelli himself:

For those looking for a book that will help you destress and give you back hours in your day you didn’t know you were losing, add this book to your cart today and you’ll wish you had quit the news sooner!

-tgfs x 

Image credit: Move Reviews Less News

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