The News Book Summary - The News Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The News summary

Alain De Botton

A User’s Manual

3.7 (28 ratings)
16 mins
Table of Contents

    The News
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    Political news headlines don’t engage readers because they fail to provide context.

    Does this sound familiar? You bring home a newspaper with every intention of reading it from front to back, yet you barely make it through a couple of articles before it ends up in the recycling bin. Well, don’t worry – you’re definitely not alone.

    Many readers today feel disengaged with the news, especially when confronted with headlines on political issues that seem obscure and complex.

    Take this BBC headline from 2013: “Tenant’s rent arrears had risen during a pilot benefit scheme.”

    If you made it past this headline, you would have discovered that the government began paying housing benefits directly to tenants instead of landlords, and that the tenants ended up spending these benefits elsewhere, and, in the end, actually had more trouble paying their rent: an interesting story.

    But the headline makes it sound very dull, and what’s even more troubling is that the small article that follows doesn’t even try to explain the issue by putting it into the context of social reform.

    To be engaging and digestible, serious issues need to be presented in a broader context. If only presented with a fragment of a complex subject, readers will simply not understand or be uninterested.

    It’s like asking someone to read a paragraph from a masterpiece of fiction without any context and then expecting them to understand why the passage is great.

    For example, at one point in the novel Anna Karenina, there’s a description of a man sitting in the waiting room of a lawyer’s office. On its own, the description is meaningless. The beauty and emotional pull are only understandable if you know that the man is waiting to see his lawyer because he wants to divorce his wife, who has fallen in love with someone else. And that, if the divorce is granted, his wife will be shunned and completely ostracized from Russian society.

    The news could take a tip from novels. Only by contextualizing and framing their stories, and thereby communicating what’s at stake and showing how the story fits into the grand scheme of things, will news outlets engage and inform readers.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The News?

    Key ideas in The News

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The News about?

    The News (2014) reads between the lines of the constant stream of today’s news – news to which many readers are becoming increasingly indifferent. This indifference isn’t so much the reader’s fault as the media’s. Constant competition in a crowded market results in news outlets failing to package stories in a way that’s appealing, engaging and, most of all, informative.

    Best quote from The News

    We cant expect the average news story to be written up with Shakespearean skill, but we might insist that it pay attention to universals.

    —Alain De Botton
    example alt text

    Who should read The News?

    • News readers who want to make better choices about what to read
    • Skeptics who think mainstream news is worthless
    • Journalists who want to write better articles

    About the Author

    Alain de Botton is a popular essayist who specializes in human culture, including love, religion, architecture and travel. In 2008, de Botton founded The School of Life, which focuses on exploring new avenues of education. His other books include Status Anxiety, Religion for Atheists and The Art of Travel.

    Categories with The News

    Books like The News

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    27 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial