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Information Diet | Ian Leslie

This is part of the series 'How to be Curious - Cognitive Fitness for Planners' by Ian Leslie, our APG Guest Editor during April 2018. He believes that strategists need to be curious and stay curious and the only way to do that is to excersise your brain as you do your body. One important aspect of fitness is diet.

Here he gives you a look at the information diets of different strategists, via a Q&A.


Ian Leslie| Brand Strategist and Author

1. Outside of ad industry/marketing sources, what are your daily must-reads for information?

2. Which websites, if any, do you go to when you want to spark new ideas and insights?

The Browser – best twenty bucks you’ll ever spend.

Marginal Revolution – daily inspiration

Farnam Street – and sign up to its excellent newsletter

Slate Star Codex – most powerful mind on the internet

3. Are there any magazines/periodicals you read regularly?

4. Are there particular writers you find to be a regular source of insight and inspiration?

Many but favourites (outside of the industry itself) include Steven Johnson, Kathryn Schulz and Tim Harford. Tyler Cowen is a model for how to cultivate your curiosity, and how to think.

5. Are there podcasts or video channels that you spend a lot of time with?

I love how podcasts let you go down rabbit holes into your favourite subjects, as well as learn about new ones. Right now I am spending a lot of time with podcasts about my personal religion, The Beatles (history’s greatest case study in collaboration). My favourite is called Screw It We’re Just Going to Talk About the Beatles.

I like the RSA Talks on YouTube.

6. Which social media, if any, do you find most intellectually stimulating?

I’m a Twitter guy. For all its craziness, it’s only there that you can get instant access to such a wide range of experts - people who actually know stuff - in so many fields. I don’t see how an intellectually curious person can do without it. I’ll be honest: if planners aren’t active on Twitter I mark them down.

7. When and how do you find time to read books, and do you pursue any particular reading strategy (fiction vs non-fiction, recommendations, etc)?

Of course, the reason I set this question is that I want to hear other people’s tips, because this is hard (and it gets harder if and when you have children). My only advice is prioritise it. Don’t think of reading as ‘something to do when I have time’. Think of it as a life essential, like you would exercise. It’s also going to make you better at your job. When you stop reading, you start to diminish.

8. Is there a book or books that changed the way you think about your work?

Lots but most recently:

9. What topic would you most like to learn more about?

AI, Christianity, predictive processing, Korean food.

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