Efficient Information Acquisition

January 23, 2019
Reading Time: about 1 minute


Especially with full-time jobs taking the vast majority of our lives, streamlining the remainder of our time is of utmost importance. Learning about the world and others is important for our growth and sometimes, our entertainment. I’ve therefore found a few ways to easily gaining information simpler.

Audiobooks and Overcast

Audiobooks and podcasts are useful because it’s possible to fully digest them even while we’re somewhat occupied. The best example of this is driving. Although we can’t do other hobbies while driving (watching movies, playing games, participating in group activities), audiobooks and podcasts allow us to get well-formatted, digestable information during time that’s already used (commute).

This is well-known and popular, especially among millenials. As such, I submit one further improvement.

Overcast is an application with a special feature: smart speed. Conventional podcast/audiobook applications are capable of linearly accelerating audio. Put simply, the voice will be faster but of higher pitch, resulting in a potentially irritating listening experience. Smart speed removes pauses in people’s speech such that it still sounds natural, but saves you time in the long run. In a typical audiobook, I save something on the order of 20 minutes - 1+ hours simply from smart speed. Additionally, Overcast’s voice boost feature makes listening on the car feasible yet enjoyable without downside.

Morning Brew

Morning Brew is a fantastic newsletter that covers business, tech, and politics quickly and efficiently while providing ample background information to understand context.

Pocket/News Aggregators

News aggregators pull from countless sources and provide you with news they believe you’ll find interesting/relevant. This is good in that it reduces your search time while maintaining your ability to reasonably gain a strong overview of what’s happening in the world. However, these also cause ‘echo chambers’, where you continuously get news that matches your viewpoint.