One of the most frustrating things you come across as a person who seeks knowledge is finding reliable information about the thing, you want to study.
No matter where you get your information from, there are three key questions that you have to answer before you start to look for information.
- How do you find the information you are looking for?
- Are you sure the information you found is relevant to your research?
- Is the information you found accurate?
Let’s start with 1, finding information.
Assuming that you use the Web as your primary tool for finding information. What then?
Depending on the kind of information you are looking for, you probably start your research by using Google or a similar search engine, or, if you already know a Blog or Website that addresses the topic, you go there directly. The latter is even better if the Blog or Website is written by an authority that has a name in this scene and good reputation.
That’s a good thing to look out for in general. Find the BEST person for each topic you’re interest in and learn from them. If there are several good sources, great, learn from all of them.
Second point: This is the hardest part because as I mentioned in the High-Quality information diet we like to hoard information and soak up as much as we can, but how do you figure out if the information is valuable to your research? Common sense and specification. You have to be very precise and pinpoint what you want and need to know.
Here’s a personal example: I am currently writing a book about neuroscience and how we can use it to improve ourselves. A lot of neuroscience doesn’t help me in any way to finish this book nor add value to it. I could tell you all you need to know about you Alzheimer patients and what the causes for Alzheimer are, but that wouldn’t be relevant at all. So use common sense and be as specific as possible to filter your information.
The third and last point: Evaluating the accuracy of the information you have found. Just because something shows up on the Web does not mean that it’s accurate. This can be less of a problem if you’ve found a reliable source and an authority figure that provides the information you seek.
However, newspapers, magazines, books, TV or radio all have some information that is true, and some that isn’t. Usually, the errors come about because the person writing the information down did not research the topic well enough, but errors happen no matter what.
How can you find out if the information you found is accurate? Unless you have first-hand experience with the information itself, you have to establish a level of trust in your sources.
Closing thoughts and How I Choose What to Read
The more research you do, the better you will become at being able to separate fact from fiction, not just on the Web, but from any informational source you use. But, no matter how careful you are, there is still the possibility, through no fault of your own, that you’ll rely on some incorrect information.
I follow and read people like Charlie Munger for example. He wrote about Psychology, Finance, Investment and much more. Robert Greene and Mike Cernovich are also great sources to develop mental models for understanding our world and it’s challenges.
Those three are authority figures in their respected niches and are very reliable when it comes down to it.
Additionally, like I do with Munger, Greene, and Cernovich, I follow many smart and interesting people whose filtration and curation skills I trust.
Whether or not you’re already an expert on your topic, it’s vital that you do all the necessary work to get accurate information.
As always thanks for reading and until next time.
P.S. If you liked this post then you’ll like my books as well. You can get them on Amazon.