In our book Abnormal Returns: Winning Strategies from the Frontlines of the Investment Blogosphere I discuss the value of a “news diet” for the vast majority of investors. This will not be easy for many investors who feel the need to remain glued to their screen lest they miss some morsel of information. Something else may be going on, maybe they are addicted to the news.
Kim Bhasin at Business Insider notes how it is that we get “addicted to information.” A quote from John Coates’ The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust (which is on our reading list) shows why this is the case:
What else besides drugs of abuse can create a dopamine-driven craving? If dopamine fuels a desire for information and unexpected reward, perhaps it also fills us with a burning curiosity.
“Perhaps curiosity itself, the need to know, is a form of addiction, making us race to the end of a good mystery novel, or driving scientists to work day and night until they discover insulin, say, or decode the structure of DNA, scientific breakthrough being the ultimate hit of information.
James Altucher writing at The Altucher Confidential tells us to “go on a news diet starting today.” Why? In short, much of news is created to try and scare you and the fact is there is little you can do to change it. Therefore a news diet removes these stressors from your life. Altucher writes:
For ten days don’t read any news. Whenever you feel the temptation to be “aware” of the outside world, try to be aware first of something inside of you. Instead of feeling sorry for some situation you have no control over, try to be grateful for a situation happening to you right now. Don’t give more power to the multi-billion dollar media corporations that are exploiting your evolutionary tendency to fear predators. If you really want to, then fine. But wait ten days.
Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it.