T-Shaped Information Diet

Just like how athletes eat a clean, healthy diet to compliment their training, being deliberate about what I read and watch is important for my mental fitness.

Last year, I started curating a reading list to be more deliberate about my information diet. One of my criteria was to read widely, so I chose books from a variety of different fields.

Yesterday, I read Nick DeWilde’s piece on the T-Shaped information diet and how we should consume information deeply in a few select areas while going wide in multiple areas.

Credit to Nick DeWilde’s newsletter, JungleGymCredit to Nick DeWilde’s newsletter, JungleGym

A T-shaped information diet gives you insight in the areas that are important to you while still maintaining the capability of a generalist.

Building a T-Shaped Information Diet

First, DeWilde recommends identifying what your important roles and responsibilities are. These are the areas to go deep in. For example, Product Manager [1] and Writer are two important roles in my life.

Next, audit your information sources (books, blogs, podcasts, YouTube Channels, Newsletters, Twitter Accounts, etc) and map them to the roles and responsibilities you have.

Then you rate each information source from a 1-10 based whichever attributes such as signal-noise ratio, insight density, etc. Remove any sources that rank below a 7-8 [2].

Finally, fill in the gaps of your information diet.


[1] A specialist Product Manager seems like an oxymoron.

[2] I’m deliberate when it comes to the books I read and Twitter accounts I follow but not so much with other information sources such as YouTube, Newsletters.

February 18, 2021

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