On reading The Diff
Yesterday Byrne asked for testimonials. In a happy coincidence, I was already planning to write something about consuming newsletters.
I've argued elsewhere for "T-shaped" reading plans: it's an underrated skill, maximizing how much and well you consume what you're best at consuming. But now you need to figure out: what should it be that you consume a lot of?
For me, it's largely newsletter writers. The economics of this aren't fully clear to me (or anyone else, I think), but the people I'm most willing to bet chunks of my cognitive life on are, disproportionately, writing newsletters or newsletter-adjacent things.
- It makes them prolific, which fuels componding returns for a good reader (see above).
- There are massive intellectual benefits to writing on the cadence a newsletter encourages, so the writers are improving most rapidly.
- Various selection effects.
- There are intellectual benefits to reading on the cadence a newsletter encourages, too.
- It's important to have a lot of upside in your intellectual choices, and the best newsletters can improve in a basically unbounded way. (This is an aspect of (2).)
- They're good influences: having newsletters in your environment surrounds you with models of hard, diligent work.
- They're fairly likely to develop intellectual perspectives that aren't redundant with the rest of what's out there. (Related to (2), (3), and (5).)
- They're in your email archives already, so they improve your email search results. (Less important than the others, but a nice bonus.)
- And right now, The Diff is--for me, at least--the best newsletter going and the single most indispensable part of my information diet. I'm not really a finance guy--I just think of it as a student of the world sending me frequent dispatches from everywhere and about everything.
So, that's my testimonial. It's mostly a testimonial for newsletters, but also one for Byrne as a reliably useful (and fun!) read and a trustworthy investment decision for your intellectual effort.