The majority of us know the benefit of eating well and avoiding junk food. And yet, we go on and consume junk media instead of ingesting healthy information such as books. Why?

Bad habits and easy-to-digest nuggets of junk information are to blame. We are a society that enjoys instant gratification and quick access to interesting news. We consume information that entertain us and not inform us or educate us about much of anything.

On consuming junk media

We consume junk media because it is readily available, free and again, entertaining. We turn our TVs on or we look at the internet, and without any effort, we convince ourselves that we are in the know. This is a bad habit, and one that can make your life both miserable and stressful. How do you feel after watching evening news? What about reading top news headlines? are they sensational and negative for the most part? yes, they have to be, that is what we as consumers demand.

Media outlets are aware of this and it is hard to blame them. Media outlets, like any other business, look at demand to supply. It will be naive to tell you that the content media outlets produce is all junk, it isn’t, but a lot of it is. Be more selective when consuming information, and recognize junk media when you see it.

Junk media can be destructive and dangerous. If you ingest junk media with the purpose to be entertained and not informed, then it might be OK. If you watch evening news with the idea that you are being informed, then you are just fooling yourself.

On consuming good books

Books are a great way to learn, to discover and to entertain yourself. Good books are easy to find and you can ingest them in many ways for example: paper, digital and audio formats.

Ingesting books also spark curiosity, creativity and imagination. There are many books about an endless array of topics and lengths and I am sure you can find something you’ll like. Books are great tools to learn from as they are often written by experts on the subject and not commentators.

When you look for entertainment or something to spark your creativity, read fiction books. I find fiction books’ writing, some of the best writing there is. Fiction books are all about the writing. Non-fiction books are written by experts on a subject, and not always the best writers.

A book isn’t the only way to get good content; the internet and sometimes even TV can provide great content too. But most of the great content can be found in books.

Watching evening news, day TV and most news’ sites online is a bad habit. These media outlets are filled with junk content that can be damaging to you.

Improve your brain’s health and make a habit of reading or listening to books. Information from most media outlets can be the worst junk you can intake, don’t.

What books should you read?

This is a question that many of us have, especially when developing the habit of reading. Below are some examples of places where I get ideas and book recommendations:

  • Brain Pickings – This is an excellent site created and maintained by Maria Popova which describes her site like this: “Mostly, it’s a record of my own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — and an inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life.”
  • Derek Sivers’ Bookshelf – Derek is a programmer, writer, entrepreneur, and an avid student of life as he describes himself in his site. I have read books he’s written and followed his career and he is a very inspiring person.
  • Bill Gates’ Bookshelf – This is a recollection of all books Bill Gates has read and reviewed. It is an impressive collection and you’ll probably never run out of ideas for books to read using this list. Make sure you read the reviews he’s written for each book.
  • Tim Ferris’ Bookshelf – I read his 4-hour workweek book a while ago and was very impressed by the clarity of the tips and suggestions he provided. I recently started listening to his podcast and found out he is also an avid reader.
  • Austin Kleon’s Bookshelf – I discovered Austin Kleon on Twitter. He is a very creative writer and artist, and the list of books he’s read is pretty good.

There are many more sources of recommendations for good books, just ask around and you’ll get plenty. I am building a list of books I’ve read and like, you are welcome to take a look.