Reading – Thinking – Writing

I have recently started a media detox program of not reading online news, online blogs, social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, FB, Instagram). Instead I am focusing on listening to interview based podcasts and reading physical books.

During this journey of reassessing how I spend my attention and time, I also started powering off my cell phone after I get home until I wake up the next morning.

This is the beginning of a long journey towards changing my life habits. During this discovery phase, I have stumbled upon (virtually) several people that have influenced me deeply.

One such person is Tim Ferris. Through his books (Tribe of Mentors, Tools of Titan) and podcasts (Tim Ferris Show, Tribe of Mentors), he has exposed me to life stories of people (authors, athletes, thought leaders). Most important of all, Tim Ferris has exposed me to books that have influenced the people he interviews in his book and podcasts. For example, Maria Popova is a writer who reads, thinks and writes on brainpicker.org. She reads a lot of books and spend hundreds of hours a month researching and writing. That is her full time ‘job’ if you can call it that.

Another interview based podcast is Design Matters with Debbie Millman. She started out many years ago interviewing designers & artists. But has since expanded her interviews to cover bloggers, authors, and other passionate ‘humans’ (I like the word). Today I just discovered books from Anand Giridharadas, author of ‘True American’, ‘India Calling’. The author claims that he accidentally come across Trumpism in 2011 and that our nation is now torned between those who used to rule America for the last 400 years vs the new minority majority. The next 40 years will be full of tension as the nation readjust to the power shift. For people who want change to happen sooner, be patient. In the arc of history, we are already changing very rapidly.

Reading: I read books. I get more recommendations for more books. I read more books.
Thinking: I listen to Piano Dreamer radio on Pandora, and I think.
Writing: I write blog posts inspired directly or indirectly by the books I read.

To those who have questioned my habit. Yes I do watch videos. I watch BWF badminton videos. I watch the shows that my family want to watch with me. That’s it.

Will you join this detox program and get back your attention span?

Tony Tam

Senior Principal Architect @ Splunk Founder of ImpactfulEngineer.org & SFBadminton.org