Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, Organized Executive, and Success.

November 2012


In This Edition:
1. The Year Almost Gone
2. Information Overload: Relentless But Manageable
3. “Information Explosion” Has No Meaning
4. You Call the Shots
4. Book Worth a Look
6. Parting Thought

The Year Almost Gone

Today, everyone seems so overloaded and overwhelmed. Considering everything written on time management, how can this be so? Here’s a viewpoint you might consider: mine!

Information Overload: Relentless But Manageable

Before he was 24, your grandfather probably acquired enough knowledge or training to make a good living for his whole life. Such a deal is not available to you. The speed at which new information and data are developed and disseminated transcends your ability to keep pace. Worse, what you needed yesterday may have little or no value today.

The volume of new knowledge published in every field is enormous and exceeds anyone’s ability to keep pace. Everyone today fears that they are under-informed.

* In its 140th year, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. added 942,000 items to its collections!

* Even our language keeps expanding. Since 1966, the English language has gained more than 66,000 words — equal to half or more of the words in most other languages.

“Information Explosion” Has No Meaning

The discharge of information spewing forth since the phrase “information explosion” was first coined dwarfs the original meaning. Within a few years, half of our technical knowledge will have been replaced.

Every other page in all the texts on AIDS, biomass, chemical dependency, diet, electronic funds transfer, fire retardation, gynecology, hydrogen fission, immunology, jet propulsion, kinetics, linear motion, meteorology, novas, obstetrics, pituitary functioning, quasars, relativity, sonar, telemetry, uranium, viruses, wellness, x-rays, yacht racing, and zoology, will be rewritten.

Information can only become knowledge when it’s applied. Before you can absorb and apply yesterday’s intake, however, the explosion of new information floods your receptive capacity. Such constant exposure to the daily information and media shower leaves each of us incapable of ingesting, synthesizing, or applying the data before tomorrow’s shower.

The eruption of information renders us over-stimulated. The more information you try to ingest, the faster the “clock races,” and your sense of breathing space is strained.

More News, More Information

Too much information violates our senses and even becomes harmful. As you receive more information, you experience stress, anxiety, and even helplessness. Your perception of breathing space is adversely and directly influenced by the more news, information and details that you ingest, or believe you have to ingest.

  • In 1302, the Sorbonne Library in Paris housed 1,338 books, most handwritten, representing nearly all of humankind’s accumulated knowledge spanning a few thousand years.
  • Worldwide, at least 730,000 books are published each year — more than 2,000 a day.
  • One edition of the Sunday New York Times contains more information items than the typical adult in 1904 was exposed to during his entire life.
  • More than 1,000 new magazines were launched in the U.S. in the last two years, and within two years, most of them will fail.
  • There are more than ten times the number of radio stations today than when television was first introduced.
  • All told, more books and articles are published in a day than you could comfortably read in the rest of your life.
Far too many legislators, regulators, and others entrusted to devise the rules which guide the course of society, take shelter in the information glut (or overload) by intentionally adding to it. We are saddled with 28-page laws that could be stated in two pages, and regulations that contradict themselves every fourth page.

You Call the Shots

As yet, few people are wise information consumers. Curiously, there is only one party who controls the volume, rate, and frequency of information that you’re exposed to. That person is you. The notion of “keeping up” is illusory, self-defeating, frustrating, and harmful. The sooner you give it up the better you’ll feel.

In ten or twelve years, smart homes with computers built into the walls will become affordable. Such computers will respond to voice commands, offer a random-access database, provide instant simulation via artificial reality, and free us to effectively use information, not be abused by it.

For now, we’re stuck in the mire of the over-information era, subject to the daily overglut. The best hope to hold off the din is to recognize all of its disguises. If we cannot apply, reflect upon, or effectively store information, then, more than ever, we need to guard against being deluded with excess data.

Make Information Choices

You can become your own information switchboard. Turn off your information receptors for several hours each day. Do not let new information invade your being if it doesn’t promise immediate benefits to you, your family, your community, or any area of your life — especially if it comes after hours.

Choose to acquire knowledge that supports or interests you, not that you happen to ingest, or think you have to ingest.

Book Worth a Look

In Praise of Slowness: How a World Wide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honare (Harper SF, 2004).

Honare says that the “slow philosophy” can be summed up in a single word: balance. Be fast when it makes sense to be fast, be slow when slowness is called for. Seek to live at what musicians call tempo giusto – the right speed. In Praise of Slowness documents how a creeping “slow revolution” in everything from food to medicine is making the case for deceleration in our everyday lives.

Parting Thought

Success equals a happy home life, financial security, abundant health, and the ability to stand for issues you believe to be important.