Podcasts and YouTube are the mental equivalent of eating McDonald’s every day (for most)


It's a miracle. It really is.

When I was born in 1981, people listened to audio on record players. Almost, no one had a desktop computer. Cable TV was just beginning to go mainstream.

Now, nearly all of us walk around with Internet-connected smart computers in our pockets that allow us to read, listen to, or watch the world's best knowledge whenever we want.

Hello golden age of learning! Here we are...

Not quite. As we all know, it hasn't happened that way.

Paradoxically, it feels like we're collectively becoming LESS intelligent rather more intelligent. It's an embarrassment of riches only paralleled by the food industry where too much food is now more likely to kill someone than starvation. Internet media has become more of a tool for misinformation, entertainment, and clickbait then it has been for information and enlightenment.

What's happening?

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

It's time to get real with ourselves with what we're participating in.

I think there are three main causes for the learning revolution that never was:

  1. Entertainment is being mixed with education. Youtube and podcasts highlight what's new, what's popular, and what people will click on. At the same time, the most valuable knowledge is often timeless, rare, and harder to learn. This is like putting vegetables at the back of your refrigerator and candy at the front. Let's just say that it's no surprise that the latest feuds with Trump, Kanye West, and name your outspoken celebrity are constantly front and center.
  2. The smartest content is often boring and hard. Many of the smartest people are not the most gifted at making their ideas easy to read, interesting, and immediately applicable. They have brilliant ideas, but those ideas require hard work to assimilate. Many books are filled with fluff and would be better as articles.
  3. Most people haven't ever been taught how to learn how to learn. As a result, when learning, people often lose focus, are consumed by information overwhelm, and quickly forget what they learn.

At the end of the day, there are many amazing podcasts and Youtube shows that do manage to be both entertaining, easy-to-consume, and transformative. So, I'm hopeful. But, I do wonder whether we're deluding ourselves that we're all collectively learning when we're actually not.

Do you agree or disagree? If so, where?

So what's the game plan to fixing this for ourselves? I've spent dozens of hours reflecting and researching an answer to this question. Then, I wrote Most People Think This Is A Smart Habit, But It’s Actually Brain-Damaging to share my deeper thoughts.