Longform, “What I Read,” and a Book You Will Enjoy

Over at the Atlantic Wire, well-known public figures like Google CEO Eric Schmidt (here), NYT columnist David Brooks (here) and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan (here) admit what and how they read.

Read a few, and you will find out that David Brooks has not jumped onto the blog bandwagon (yet), alternates between center-left and center-right commentary on the same topic, and reads Jonah Lehrer regularly; that new-media kingpin Eric Schmidt still reads the old-media titans New York Times and Wall Street Journal in print and electronic form daily and is currently indulging in the Stieg Larsson series; and that everybody reads–or at least claims to read–the Economist.

Another thing sticks out from these confessions: most of the individuals, unlike most Americans, read long-form magazine articles. Maybe it’s just self-promotion from the Atlantic editors, but I think there’s something more to it: long-form magazine articles are the hybrid between summary news articles and full-length books about a subject. Many magazines like the Washingtonian, the National Interest, or the New Yorker require a paid subscription to access some of their articles, but that’s where a great site comes in: longform.org.

Longform is a clearinghouse for all genres of long magazine articles. Not only do they include the most recent articles, but they also feature archived pieces that are still interesting or relevant from time to time. Check out the “Best of 2010” to see what you missed in the past year–and maybe you will find yourself adding Longform to your current reading routine.

Now, here’s what I read:

I used to just skip from site to site, blog to blog: HuffPost to RealClearPolitics to Facebook to The Frontal Cortex. I spent most of the time reading headlines.

Now, I start out with my Google Reader. I subscribe to about 20 sites on the Reader, including Daniel Drezner (foreign policy), Greg Mankiw (economics), the Harvard Business Review (management and business), Evan Osnos’ Letter from China (all things China), and Yonah Freemark’s The Transport Politic (infrastructure and public transportation).




Letter from China

Transport Politic

I especially like David Brooks’ suggestion to consistently read stuff that you disagree with—or, at the very least, to read multiple sources about the same issue. Krugman and Mankiw usually disagree, as do Ezra Klein and Brooks himself.

As for actual books, the best book I read recently is The Big Short by Michael Lewis. I’ve been meaning to blog about it since January and haven’t gotten around to it, but this can be a reminder to get going on that soon.

Right now, I’m reading The River Why by David James Duncan right now. Another book by Duncan, The Brothers K, is my favorite book of all time, so I decided to give this one a try as well. If you grew up in Washington State or have a big family or like sprawling tales of dysfunctional families spread out over multiple decades of American 20th-century history, go rent or buy The Brothers K. I’ve recommended it to more people than all other books combined and the book has a .1000 batting average so far.

You Should Read This

What about you? What–and how–do you read? Any great sites or blogs that you have discovered?


1 Comment

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One response to “Longform, “What I Read,” and a Book You Will Enjoy

  1. I read The Big Short over spring break — picked it up at an airport, actually — and absolutely loved it. Can’t wait to read your post about it (and perhaps that can be motivation for you to finally write it? :D).

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