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Stop Reading the News summary

Rolf Dobelli

How to Cope with the Information Overload and Think More Clearly

4.5 (355 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Stop Reading the News by Rolf Dobelli is a thought-provoking book that argues how news is irrelevant, inaccurate and causes anxiety, and suggests ways to avoid the news addictivity for a more fulfilling life.

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    Stop Reading the News
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    News attracted the author from an early age, and then took over his life.

    It’s almost impossible to escape the news – whether that’s the minute-by-minute updates that flash across our phones, a cab driver’s radio, or the giant screens in an airport lounge. The news follows us everywhere.

    In the author’s case, he actively sought out the news. Growing up in Lucerne, Switzerland in the seventies, the news came from the paperboy and on the radio early in the morning. Then, there was the TV news and current affairs shows in the evening. But this wasn’t enough for Rolf Dobelli – by the age of 17, he was thoroughly addicted to the news.

    The key message here is: News attracted the author from an early age, and then took over his life.

    The seventeen-year-old Dobelli spent every Saturday in the reading room at Lucerne’s library. There, he sat with the elderly men, in their old-fashioned horn-rimmed glasses and suits, as they leafed quietly through the weekend papers.

    By doing this, he hoped he could someday be as worldly and sophisticated as they seemed. He wanted no part in the banalities and gossip of everyday life in Lucerne. He wanted to feel like a high-flying intellectual – what interested him was world-historical events: leaders shaking hands, faraway disasters, political unrest on the other side of the world.

    Then, when Dobelli got his first job as a financial controller for Swissair, his newspaper reading increased exponentially. As he spent most of his time on a plane, he read all of the papers that the flight attendant brought round. And the ones he couldn’t read during the flight, he crammed into his briefcase and saved for later.

    With the advent of widespread internet use in the 1990s, this habit spiraled out of control. His computer screensaver was a display of the newest headlines, which scrolled past just like on the screens in Times Square. He subscribed to newspapers’ daily newsletters and set up push notifications so he wouldn’t miss anything. In this way, he felt as if he were connected to every corner of the earth.

    Then, one day, he suddenly noticed that he could no longer concentrate on books and longer articles. His mind gave up after just a few paragraphs without absorbing any of the content. And he began to suffer from anxiety. Dobelli realized that he must be suffering from information overload.

    What had all this news consumption brought him? Was he any wiser now? Was he any happier? Could he think more clearly? The answer to all of these questions was a resounding No.

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    What is Stop Reading the News about?

    Stop Reading the News (2020) shows us how we can live a calmer, healthier, and more thoughtful life if we simply stop reading the news. By practicing what the author calls radical abstinence from the news media, we can rescue our minds from the overload of information, and focus on what actually matters in life.

    Stop Reading the News Review

    Stop Reading the News (2019) is a thought-provoking book that challenges our obsession with the news and offers a fresh perspective on how we consume information. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a compelling argument for why frequently checking the news is detrimental to our mental health and overall well-being.
    • By outlining the negative effects of excessive news consumption, the book encourages readers to reassess their habits and seek alternative sources of information.
    • The author provides practical tips on how to break free from the news cycle and focus on more meaningful activities, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and balanced life.

    Who should read Stop Reading the News?

    • News addicts desperate to break the habit
    • Those looking to leave the news media and become long-form journalists
    • Anyone curious about technology and its impact

    About the Author

    Rolf Dobelli is an author and businessman who was born in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1966. He began his writing career in 2003 as a novelist, with the publication of Fünfunddreissig, but is best known for his nonfictional work, The Art of Thinking Clearly. In 1999, he co-founded getAbstract, a publisher of book summaries and article abstracts.

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    Stop Reading the News FAQs 

    What is the main message of Stop Reading the News?

    The main message of Stop Reading the News is to stop consuming news and focus on more meaningful information.

    How long does it take to read Stop Reading the News?

    The reading time for Stop Reading the News varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Stop Reading the News a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Stop Reading the News is a valuable read that challenges the way we consume information. It offers a fresh perspective and practical advice for a more intentional approach to news consumption.

    Who is the author of Stop Reading the News?

    The author of Stop Reading the News is Rolf Dobelli.

    What to read after Stop Reading the News?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Stop Reading the News, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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