You've successfully subscribed to Ali Abdaal
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Ali Abdaal
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.

Why my Information Diet is suboptimal

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

I’ve got a bit of a problem.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my information diet this week. An information diet is the stuff we consume - the books and blogs we read, the videos we watch, the podcasts we listen to.

Now, if we were to rank the most important things in life, we’d probably agree that health and relationships should be at the top of our priority lists.

But for me, my information diet doesn’t at all reflect these priorities.

For example, of the 69 podcasts I’m subscribed, only 1 (Bulletproof Radio) is loosely about health, and only 1 (The Art of Charm) is loosely about relationships / connecting with others. The rest are themed around business, software, creator stuff, entrepreneurship etc.

It’s the same with the books I read - if we look at non-fiction, the vast majority of what I’ve read has been books about business, building an audience, maximising performance etc. But comparatively few have been specifically about relationships. And almost none have been about health, nutrition or fitness.

There’s a quote that comes to mind:

The healthy person has a thousand wishes. The sick person has only one.

Health and relationships are the most important things in life. Without them, the other stuff (business, entrepreneurship, personal branding, youtube, creativity etc) is all meaningless.

Why then, do I spend 95% of my time and effort focused on these things that really don’t matter at the end of the day, and neglecting the ones that do?

Just something I’ve started thinking about and (hopefully) working on.

Have a great week!

Ali


This week's podcast

Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Castro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’.

A Critique of the Podcast | Not Overthinking

This episode features Calum, a junior doctor working in Scotland who spent 6 years in medical school living with Ali. Calum has listened to every episode of the podcast so far, and shares some critique about the format, the vibe and some specifics about motivation, complaining and conversationality. Enjoy!

My Favourite Things this week

1 - Article - This piece (On Caring) really hit home for me. When it comes to 'caring' about important causes (eg: world poverty. or the suffering of billions of people around the world), I don't have much of an internal care-o-meter at all. Even when taking the Giving What We Can pledge (video here), I wondered why I couldn't bring myself to 'feel' anything about the suffering of others. This article made me realise that that's okay, and that I can do the right thing anyway.

2 - Article - This piece about The Four Types of Luck was very interesting. I've long felt that 'luck' as a concept was more nuanced than the simple word suggests, and I found myself nodding along at every point while reading this post.

3 - Podcast - Speaking of health, I enjoyed this episode of Health Theory where the host interviewed Dave Asprey. They discussed ageing, mitochondrial function, dietary and weight loss mistakes, protein, sleep and a load of other interesting and important topics in just 45 minutes. Well worth a listen.

Kindle Highlight of the Week

We start off in childhood believing parents might have access to a superior kind of knowledge and experience. They look, for a while, astonishingly competent. Our exaggerated esteem is touching, but also intensely problematic, for it sets them up as the ultimate objects of blame when we gradually discover that they are flawed, sometimes unkind, in areas ignorant and utterly unable to save us from certain troubles. It can take a while, until the fourth decade or the final hospital scenes, for a more forgiving stance to emerge. Their new condition, frail and frightened, reveals in a compellingly physical way something which has always been true psychologically: that they are uncertain vulnerable creatures motivated more by anxiety, fear, a clumsy love and unconscious compulsions than by godlike wisdom and moral clarity – and cannot, therefore, forever be held responsible for either their own shortcomings or our many disappointments.

From The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. Resurfaced with Readwise.

This week’s video

Newsletter

Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.