How to Stay Up-to-Date by Reading & Learning

At work and as adults, we are expected to keep abreast of important events and new information. However, amid the commotion of daily life, keeping up with the news and reading books can easily be forgotten. Moreover, it can be a struggle to develop a habit.

Fortunately, there are many ways to obtain information. The key is to find the best mix of articles and books to keep informed in the most effective way possible.

What to Read to Stay Sharp & Up-to-Date

[Photo: Mr. Cup Fabien Barral/Unsplash]

[Photo: Mr. Cup Fabien Barral/Unsplash]

News

The first piece to take care of is news, which means staying on top of the important events taking place locally, nationally and internationally. Industry news, as well as major trends in other industries that affect your own, are also vital.

There are many ways to keep abreast of the news. It can be done by going directly onto news websites, reading curated newsletters, following people on Twitter, downloading apps that filter news or following blogs with a focus on an industry. The format that works best is different for each person.

My favorite method is to subscribe to news digests from a range of newspapers, following Twitter, and curated newsletters for specific industries. Every morning I receive the top news from various sources and, by making sure I open every single news email, I do not miss anything.

[Photo:Branden Harvey/Unsplash]

[Photo:Branden Harvey/Unsplash]

Regardless of how the information is delivered, I recommend ensuring:

  1. Your sources are as diverse as possible. This means that they are based in different locations (both nationally and internationally preferably), with varying focuses and political ideologies. You want to make sure that your information is not unintentionally biased.

  2. Having at least one source from a reputable news agency such as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, or The New York Times.

  3. Reading about a variety of topics: although it is natural to want to focus on politics and business, arts and sports are also important. Articles about companies that are in different industries can offer concepts that can be applied to the work you are doing. Obituaries are also interesting reads because they are often inspiring mini-biographies.

  4. Having at least one digest: Sometimes you will have no time to explore. Just reading the digests, however, will give you a quick summary of everything you need to know for the day.

[Photo: John Mark Smith/Unsplash]

[Photo: John Mark Smith/Unsplash]

Books

Besides training at work and outside courses that may be of interest, the best way to continue a professional education, in my opinion, is by reading books. Books contain in-depth information on any given subject and are crucial to staying current.

The biggest obstacle often is getting into the habit. The way I got back into reading was by always having a book next to my bed and reading before falling asleep. I then set a goal of reading one book every two months. When it became more automatic, I started to increase the number. I now read one book a week.

The next issue may be finding the right books to read. Today though, there are many ways to find books:

  1. Look for a topic that you want to learn about, say marketing, and research the top books on that subject. Reviews from other readers can guide you in finding the one for you.

  2. Find a book guru. Bill Gates is famous for his voracious appetite for books. He regularly puts out recommended books in different disciplines.

  3. Follow suggestions from articles or blogs you read. Many times, they will mention new books that are relevant to your interests.

I found that once I started reading more and more, finding new books to read no longer became a problem. People often suggest new books to me or I will find new books based on the books I have read. Just through references, I have a queue of about 20 books at the moment.

[Photo: Benjamin Ashton/Unsplash]

[Photo: Benjamin Ashton/Unsplash]

Access to information is no longer a problem for our generation of professionals. On the contrary, given the deluge of information available, developing the ability to parse and absorb it for use in our particular context can be a distinct competitive advantage. With practice, this goal can be achieved and even mastered (also read Keep Growing: How to Implement What You Read).

How do you stay up-to-date? What are your favorite books?