Interesting Websites and Podcasts

Here are some interesting websites and podcasts that I visit or listen to frequently. I’ve separated them into four categories:

  • News
  • Personal Growth
  • General Interest
  • Travel

News

I try to find reliable sources of news so my head doesn’t fill with skewed information that fits someone else’s narrative and furthers their agenda.

Monocle Magazine Podcasts

Most days during my commute to work I listen to one of Monocle’s podcasts, mainly The Globalist, to keep up to date with global affairs or the shorter, House View.

Monocle have a range of shows exploring culture, business, news and opinion. Click here for their full guide. In the catch up section you’ll see their The Golden Age of Aviation series, which I thought was great.

I also subscribe to Monocle magazine.

The Economist

The Economist might be the best mainstream news outlet for unbiased fact-checked news. You’ll get much more out of reading this than you will any other newspaper. I read this weekly instead of a daily paper.

John Pilger

John Pilger is the type of journalist the world needs now as much as ever. He tells you what’s going on in a way the big news corporations never will. Reading his articles on big issues will help you develop a balanced and informed point of view.

At 80 years old, John has a lifetime of experience in the world and its recent history. As an independent journalist, his reports are uncensored and full of important details. Click here to visit his website where you can read his articles and sign up to his newsletter.

John has created a number of films that are worth watching. His latest is The Dirty War on the NHS. Publicity for its ITV showing was banned during the December UK elections. His films are all crowd-funded, so if you like his stuff please consider chipping in.

The Intercept

To Be honest, I don’t visit the Intercept that much, but I know the importance of having such a news organisation in existence. Headed up by Glenn Greenwald, the man behind the publication of the Edward Snowden files, The Intercept is, in their own words, “an award-winning news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Its in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis focus on politics, war, surveillance, corruption, the environment, technology, criminal justice, the media, and more. The Intercept gives its journalists the editorial freedom and legal support they need to expose corruption and injustice wherever they find it.”

Personal Growth

The way I see it is that the way you live your life should be greater and more important than anything you produce. You should try to live your best, most beautiful life while staying true to yourself, your desires, your integrity.

We’re all a work-in-progress. There’s so much we can learn to help us become the person we want to be. I should mention the Tim Ferriss podcast because I used to be a frequent listener, so go check that out on the off-chance you haven’t already. Here’s a couple of sites you might not know already:

Farnam Street

I’ve been receiving the Farnam Street’s newsletter ‘Brain Food’ since the start of 2014. Shane Parrish and the team behind Farnam Street are all about introducing you to the ways (mental tools and systems) you can master/improve how you approach and deal with life and goals. They also provide great book recommendations.

Farnam Street has a podcast called The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish. If you know the name of the intro music, please tell me.

The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness is, in their own words: “a one-stop resource for actionable advice that covers every aspect of a man’s life: character, career, relationships, fitness, style, skills, and much more. Through weekly podcasts and articles, AoM tackles subjects from the philosophical and serious to the practical and fun. AoM differentiates itself from other men’s lifestyle media outlets in providing content that is intelligent, thoughtful, thorough, eminently useful, and clickbait-free.”

It presents a lot of practical skills in one place that should appeal to every man, especially those in their late teens and twenties. Some examples: How to take care of rope; 6 ways to sharpen your pencils; How to change oil on a motorcycle.

They also have articles and podcasts on great men from history, like Jack London, Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt.

Be sure to check out their stuff. One of my favourite podcast episode is Podcast #225: The Real James Bond

General Interest

Stratechery

Stratechery: Strategic Technology – Ben Thompson looks at tech from a different angle. In his own words: “Stratechery provides analysis of the strategy and business side of technology and media, and the impact of technology on society. Weekly Articles are free, while three Daily Updates a week are for subscribers only.”

The associated podcast runs weekly and is called Exponent. You can listen to it here.

Ear Hustle Podcast

Ear Hustle is all about life in San Quentin State Prison. I found it through Monocle Magazine. It’s run by former and current inmates and artist Nigel Poor. The first episode I listened to is called Tell Christy I love her. I’d never heard anything like it before, a powerful real life story that could just as easily have been part of a film.

Ear Hustle takes you inside the prison, introduces you to a facet of society you might know little about and shows you the human side of incarceration.

Finances

At the start of 1998 I put all my savings into a stocks and shares ISA. By the end of 1998 I was pulling out 3/4 of the amount I’d put in. I had lost £250 – a lot of money to a 16 year old. I was not happy.

It took me almost 20 years to give the stock market another try. In August 2017, while staying in a flat on the outskirts of Bangkok, I listened to a few Tim Ferriss podcasts, watched some youtube videos of Warren Buffett, read chapters 8 and 20 of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor and read Tony Robbins’s Unshakeable.

I wish I had done all of the above much much earlier. I’m 38 now. If I did things back in 1998 the way I do now, learned from those people listed above, my savings would have doubled multiple times through compounding interest and by following the upward trend of the financial markets.

Mr Money Moustache

Anyone who wants to get their savings in order could do a lot worse than check out Mr Money Moustache and learn how he and many like him deal with money. This site focusses on frugality as much as what kind of savings account to open.

Monevator

Monevator is a UK equivalent to Mr Money Moustache. In finances there’s a lot of things to consider such as currency fluctuations and withholding taxes. So for UK residents it might be better to invest in the FTSE and opposed to the S&P 500. It’s a topic I need to research a bit more; I won’t wait another 20 years to do so.

In his own words, “Monevator is a personal blog about money: making, saving, growing, and sometimes even spending it.” The author is not “flogging a financial product or luring you into some cult pyramid scheme where you have to spend your Saturday nights posting coupons to all the Ts in the phone book.”

I recommend anyone in the UK interested in saving read the blog.

Travel

The man in seat 61

My preferred method of travel is by train. The Man in Seat 61 has helped me plan trips such as Paris to Moscow, Moscow to Beijing, Berlin to Amsterdam and my upcoming Amsterdam to Lisbon. If you like train travel, his site is a great resource.

P.S.

If you liked this article on interesting websites and podcasts, maybe you’ll enjoy other posts on my site. Check out my travel blogs or if you prefer something tangible to read, get a copy of my novel Vagabundo. Buying it will help keep it and this website alive.

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Self Improvement books I’ve read and recommend

Philosophical

  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  • The Meaning of Things by A.C.Grayling

Finance & Business

  • Unshakeable by Tony Robbins

Writing

Advice and Aphorisms

I don’t claim ownership of the advice and axioms presented below. They’re processed from whatever I’ve been exposed to. I try not to use direct quotes, but where I do, I’ll annotate. Updated infrequently. Some might be repeated because I forget what I’ve already posted.

Have fun.

Try hard.

Be nice to other people. And yourself.

Your time is very important. Use it to gain joy and wisdom.

When someone tells you a secret, they are relieving themselves of a burden and passing it on to you.

Miserable people (toxic) want to infect you with their misery. Be cautious of them. Seek out happy people instead.

When a piece of egg shell falls into an uncooked egg, fish it out using one of the shell-halves as a spoon.

To get the skin off a whole garlic, put it in a pot and shake it like a you’re a bartender with a cocktail shaker.

Ferment vegetables using salt and water.

When you have a sore stomach, eat a piece of fermented vegetable.

When arguing, step back and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Always ask yourself ‘why?’ Always consider what someone’s motivation is when they ask you do do something.

Try to limit synthetic stuff – drugs, plastics, et cetera. Find a natural alternative where possible. This includes clothing. Wear wool (non-mulessed). Go organic. Conventional (and GM) cotton is terrible for the environment.

Try to find common ground with people. To work in partnership is always better than to be in combat.

Communication is better than silence.

Be honest.

Ghee might be the healthiest cooking oil for high temperature cooking.

Use a cast iron skillet.

Don’t be burdened by having too many possessions.

Write. By hand.

To move your body is to celebrate it. The brain might be primarily intended to enable movement. Move often. Get a sweat going.

There are many truths.

The answer you are ultimately seeking more than likely doesn’t lie with someone else.

Spend time in nature.

if you think about work when you are in bed, you are probably stressed. Think of something else. For example, things you are grateful for.

Eat healthy, organic, wholefoods.

Be in competition with yourself, not others. Your best is always good enough, IF it’s really your best.

Your main priority should be to enjoy or ‘live’ the present. Don’t sacrifice your present for an uncertain future. Sacrificing your present also ruins your past, for your treasure chest of good memories will be sparse. But do plan for the future. Learn about compounding interest. Own what you can instead of renting from someone else.

You are never too old to do start something new. Unless you want to be pitch perfect. If you want your kids to be pitch perfect teach them before they are 4.

From birth to 7 years old is of huge importance for the formation of a child. Be careful in how you interact with them. Your goal should be to limit the damage. Any action or teaching you give them will stick like glue. J, I hope when you read this you have stopped biting your nails. You have me and your dad to blame for that habit. M, I hope you haven’t developed it.

Crying as a kid might help you get what you want. Crying as an adult never will. If you want something you need a strategy and tactics, or in other words, a plan and milestones.

Break a big, overwhelming problem into small manageable ones. Fix the small problems one at a time and the big one will disappear like an effervescent tablet dissolving in water.

Being selfish and disagreeable repels people. Nobody wants to be told they’re wrong. Be generous and diplomatic.

I think there are two types of happiness. The happiness that comes from enjoying your present moment, and the happiness that comes from working towards a goal. Balance them.

Don’t rush. Speed kills.

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Your granny told me: “If you’re soft the world will eat you.” Your dide told me: “Greed is the nature of the beast.”

Balance your ego. If your ego is too big you’ll be blind to your weaknesses (but others will see). If your ego is too small you’ll never realise your strengths (and nobody will know you have any).

Things are rarely black and white. More likely they are grey.

You’ll know when someone doesn’t value your time and effort. So don’t give it to them.

Your opinions are formed on what you have learned up to now. Do not let them set. Keep them flexible so they can change as your learning continues.

You have the right to live whichever way you want to as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. You have no right to tell someone else how to live if they are not hurting anyone else.

Be proactive.

Wherever possible give people solutions instead of problems.

Learn how to lose gracefully.

If you can’t adapt to changing environments you are doomed to fail.

Give people full attention when they are speaking to you. Don’t be messing around with your phone.

Sleep from 7-8 hours a night. Have a regular bed time. Put your phone to airplane mode when you do.

Eat breakfast within a couple of hours of waking.

When you have done something wrong to someone, apologise.

Break open a boiled egg from the round side. There’s an air pocket. It makes it easier to peel the shell off.

Try to get at least three different quotes for any work you need done.

Where do you spend most of your time? Does it bring value to your life? If not, figure out how to spend less time doing what doesn’t add value and more time doing what does.

Don’t force your beliefs on anyone else. They are free to believe what they want. At the moment, I’m vegetarian. I don’t go around telling people who eat meat that they should stop. It’s none of my business.

Cut out as much background noise as you can.

The free-thinker’s mind has no limits. Her thoughts can take her wherever she chooses and return her unscathed, and possibly wiser. The mind loyal to a religion, political party or single philosophy is not free. Its thoughts are held within a net. Yes, it can pass through it, but regardless of what it finds beyond, it will return with guilt. Be a free thinker.

When you think you only have two choices, aways try to come up with a third.

Your parents want what’s best for you, but how they express that might cause conflict when important decisions for your future have to be made; what school subjects will you choose? Will you go to university or not? Can you go travelling for a year or two? Ultimately those decisions belong to you. It is your responsibility to listen to your parents concerns and opinions, and use them along with your own acquired knowledge and considerations for short/medium/long term gains and losses, to come to the decision that satisfies you. You must live your own life, not someone else’s. (Read Kahlil Gribran’s The Prophet ‘on Children’)

No one should have to suffer for someone else’s ideology.

To criticise someone to their face is brave. To criticise them to their back is cowardly. Be brave.

Saying ‘Yes’ to one thing means you are saying ‘no’ to another. Make sure you give the thing you are saying ‘no’ to proper consideration (paraphrased Peter Mallouk from interview with Tim Ferriss).

No matter how far you travel, you can’t escape your own head. Sort your shit out regardless of where you are. Don’t expect your problems to go away because you’ve put some distance between yourself and where they started.

Control your fear by learning about what you’re afraid of, being logical and prepared.

Try to look at yourself objectively. Evaluate your actions, hold yourself accountable for your mistakes and make peace with yourself by reaching out to who you’ve wronged. Their reaction is not your concern.

When you want to build someone up, do it in a way that doesn’t knock someone else down.

When you’re feeling shy or awkward in a social situation, remind yourself that it’s not all about you, it’s about the other person(s) too. Go out of your way to make them feel comfortable and you might sort yourself out in the process.

I regret more the times I acted too ruthlessly than those when I acted too compassionately.

“Most of us, however, are specialists. Instead of a latticework of mental models, we have a few from our discipline. Each specialist sees something different. By default, a typical Engineer will think in systems. A psychologist will think in terms of incentives. A biologist will think in terms of evolution. By putting these disciplines together in our head, we can walk around a problem in a three dimensional way. If we’re only looking at the problem one way, we’ve got a blind spot. And blind spots can kill you.” Farnam Street

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