The Information Diet makes the case that it’s time we started being as selective with the information we consume as we are the food that we eat, then describes what a healthy diet and healthy habits look like.
About this Book
Our founder, Clay Johnson, wrote this book in 2011. It’s now 2022, and it’s every bit as relevant now as it was then. The central premise is that we have an industrialized agriculture system, and that system as a fiduciary responsibility to make very cheap, very popular calories. We also have an industrialized media system, and that media system has a fiduciary responsibility to make very cheap very popular information.
What kind of information gets produced as a result of this economic model? Affirmation based media. Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they’re right? The truth is boring. It’s dry, and especially when it comes to things like government, taxation, politics, and how the world works, it’s complicated and often requires some expertise.
But if we’re provided news and information that makes us feel good and entertains us the truth cannot compete. The book prescribes for the reader an information diet of mostly local information that is actionable and relevant to them, and asks the reader to move away from news that may confirm their beliefs. While it does offer some tools to help make this happen, many of those tools are out of date now – but the principle remains the same:
Read, Not Too Much, Mostly Facts.
Why is this on a website about interventions and coaching people in recovery?
The Information Diet is a book about looking at our media through the lens of public health. Rather than constitutional rights and moral issues, the book takes a look at media and it says “hey, what is this doing to our health?”
We think compulsive behavior is compulsive behavior. Drinking, using drugs, eating, sex, gambling, video games can all turn into compulsive and harmful behaviors. Why not outrage itself? Is the thrill of holding on to a belief that makes you feel powerful and then been validated for it not just as powerful as a shot of whiskey for some?
Are families being destroyed because of a loved one’s inability to quit alcohol on their own? Of course. Are they also being destroyed because of a loved one’s involvement in a conspiracy theory? When we hear things that confirm that we are right to be outraged, do we get the same cortisol/dopamine relationship we do when we are stressed and drink?
This is worth exploring, and that’s part of what’s led our founder, Clay Johnson, down this road.