Where should one get information?

Fredrik Samanta ‏@FredrikFiltered: estimating over 50% of the “information” coming my way to be… tenuous, how should I change my information gathering


What do you need any information for? You probably have enough. For instance, do you need to know about Higgs-Boson? I don’t even know what it is. Supposedly they found it somewhere. Do you need to have the “information” about it in order to get work done. A year ago everyone was obsessed with Fukishama. Now we know the truth: there was no more radiation coming out of there than exists under normal circumstances every day in Denver, Colorado. And yet the entire world was in a state of panic. I got angry hate mails, “YOU”RE GOING TO BE SORRY YOU DIDN’T WARN PEOPLE”. Did I get any apologies a year later? Of course not. People forget. People move on.

When I was selling my first company I needed to know information. I wanted to know what other, similar, companies sold for. So I read the SEC filings of public companies that bought companies like mine so I could know every deal just as well as my lawyer would know it. Heck, I ended up knowing more about those types of deals that my lawyer did. I also spoke to accountants about the obscure accounting rules (“pooling of interests”?) that would change how the deal would be treated from a tax perspective. On a need to know basis I identified all the sources of the best, most accurate information, and I read it.

Other than that, avoid random information gathering. The more information you know, the more you have to unlearn in order to be successful. It’s precisely when you think you know too much, that suddenly you become a “know-it-all”, with all of the negative connotations. Always assume you are a beginner, always assume that everything around you has something to teach you.

And finally, if you really want to read something for information – turn off the computer, turn off the TV, throw out the newspapers, and find a good book to read. That’s the information that will stick with you and make you better. Everything else will make you dumber.

[See also, “My Summer Reading List”]