Don't Be Well-Informed; Be Weirdly-Informed

I · July 4, 2021

From what I can tell, it’s somewhat popular in some circles not to pay much attention to the news.

There are a number of good reasons for this, but one that I subscribe to but don’t think gets enough attention is that staying out of the popular loop gives you a different perspective.

If you’re well-informed, that means you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to knowledge of the popular issues of the day. Compare this state of being to someone who spends more of their time keeping way ahead of the curve in areas that are not part of the popular consciousness at the expense knowing less than average about the standard topics of the day.

Are these states of being equal tradeoffs with one another? One person knows a good deal about the popular topics of the times (well-informed), and the other knows some niche areas really well but is a bit out of the loop on popular topics (weirdly-informed).

While I can’t say that one is better or more enjoyable or more useful than the other, I think that being weirdly-informed is more likely to lead to extraordinary outcomes. If you spend more time in less-travelled areas of the idea landscape, you’re more likely to have ideas that fewer people have ever had and/or decide to pursue projects most people wouldn’t normally pursue. This can lead to all kinds of outcomes like living an uncommon lifestyle that works well for you, starting a novel business, and working on projects that have a larger impact due to their unforeseen nature.

As with anything, there are tradeoffs. Weirdly-informed people can’t benefit from the ability to easily converse with people about whatever is in the media, and there is other value to be had by being well-informed. I’m not here to say that it’s a waste of time to be knowledgeable about current events, rather I just think that being weirdly-informed is relatively under-appreciated by most people.

Let’s spend a little less time reading the news and more time becoming weirdly-informed.

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