Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daily reading

The other day in class we discussed blogging and reading in general.

I addition to reading the local paper every morning (front to back, usually only skimming the fluff), two Caribbean daily papers, I also spend a bit of time on these sister sites:
These sites provide compilations of articles from other news sources, most of which are editorial in nature, so take each reading with that in mind. They do a good job of providing balanced coverage though, so you'll find issues discussed from all sides. It is critical that you understand both sides of any issue that you plan to study, so when you read, be sure to read from both sides.

As I mentioned the other day in class, I try to sense the degree to which a group of students has made up their mind about something, and do my best to provide the other viewpoint. For example, when teaching an EVS class, I'll often come off as seriously pro-market. Lots of environemental students show up already convinced that markets are inherently bad. Sounds silly right? But it is no sillier than business school students that show up 100% convinced that markets are inherently good.

You might not like it, but I want to take what you think you know and turn it on its head, even if only for a moment or two. Hopefully this approach forces you to think about how to study issues objectively and figure them out for yourself (my approach usually involves data), rather than relying on what someone else has told you.


  1. Speaking of reading and data, for any NBA fans out there, but sure to check out my brother's stuff at

    Here's a recent example:

    Yes, he gets paid to watch basketball.

  2. Thanks for the websites! I was actually just talking to someone today about the same issue. I think it's important to be challenged on your beliefs and to see both sides of an issue before taking a stand on something that you may not really know much about. It's helpful to know which sources to go to so you at least have a little less risk for being exposed to biased and distorted statistics. I think your method was very effective (it worked for me!) and it comes at just the right time. Not to get too deep, but most people our age are soul-searching and trying to find out where we really stand on issues and who we are and want to be. Approaching many things in life from an educational prospective usually gives a clearer picture. And if nothing else, knowledge of both sides of the argument helps you out when arguing and opponent.

    On another note, what's up with your super-family? Econonomists flying to Barbados, brothers that get paid to watch basketball, and brother-in-laws running 100 miles! Geesh! The story was really good though. The home-court advantage is something I believe I have heard professors talk about doing studies on. Did you give him the idea?


  3. Wow. I wish I had time to read like that. Of course, usually when I read every side of an issue I develop information paralysis. I mean, usually every argument has some merit-and forming an opinion with 500 conditional statements is pretty time consuming. I think I'm too open minded sometimes.

    But, I can usually handle just knowing what is going on and making my own uninformed decisions. My goal for the summer actually is to read more news. I used to love following the news--but in the past few years I've gotten so busy I don't know the big headlines anymore. I've paired down my schedule substantially for the summer, so I should have plenty of time to keep up with things.