Book Review: The Information Diet

The Information Diet

You are what you eat. We hear this saying so often, and we all know how too true it is. So can the same be said for information? Are you what you read? This is the case that Clay Johnson tries to make in this book, and for the most part, he succeeds in making his case.

One of the most important parts that Johnson tries to drive home, is that most people don’t actually want to be informed. They just want validation of what they already think. His case studies on Fox vs. CNN does an excellent job of illustrating his point. In my group of friends, Fox is always seen as the source for the worst journalism of any kind. So why is is always number one?

To tell you why, would be too much of a spoiler, and I want to avoid those as much as possible, but Johnson does something in this book which is very hard to do; make case studies a page-turner. Normally case study style books can drag on with the inevitable feeling that you get it, and why can’t the author finally move on. By the time I believed Johnson’s thesis, were on to the what to do to fix the problem.

It’s not just old media that this book focuses on. A good amount of attention is paid to the results of social sites like Facebook and Twitter, and how they are increasing the problem. After all, don’t you follow people who already think like you do? After all, that’s why you are friends. Ever had a friend post too many articles you didn’t agree with on Facebook? How soon before you thought about un-friending that person?

This book is not marketed as a self-help book, but I’m starting to think it should be. I think anybody can greatly benefit from reading this book. It will enrich your life, and make you reconsider the media you are currently ready, watching, or listening too. Knowledge is power, but as we all know, the wrong knowledge can be disastrous. Step back and experience a life with a well-balanced, good information diet.

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