One Big Waste

I don’t get “liberal arts 2.0” or Zen Habits or productivity blogs or the rest of these self-improvement sites.

It’s completely detached from reality. Look at these awesome subway maps. Or check out some study about how the brain thinks about difference kinds of cereal. Scientists have discovered a secret way to reduce traffic congestion.

Excuse me if I don’t cum in my pants. In fact, my eyes glaze over. It’s all so pointless.

Am I really supposed to believe that they do anything with this information? I don’t even think they really read it. Does the headline make me seem smart? Are the words “psychology” “rationality” “DNA” “happiness” or “The New Yorker” anywhere in the article? Well then goddamn, I better summarize it and tell other people.

Who gets smarter from this? Where is the discussion? Where is the reality?

Ok, so now my email inbox is 20% more efficient. I’ve examined a sweet tagcloud of words from all the items in Google Reader. I’m firmly convinced that I need to believe in myself. I memorized a list of cognitive biases. Now the fuck what?

We’re not dandies. You don’t get anything for fine-tuning your body and mind like it’s a car modification kit. The question to ask is: What are you working towards? And I think you’d see that you could spend every second of every day reading that crap and it wouldn’t get you anything closer to being there. Unless, of course, your goal is to be one of those writers yourself and pass the buck of actually deriving value from the work to some other hypothetical reader.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.