Content for Covid

With no sports on television aside from Korean baseball, and the end of their Netflix queue quickly approaching, people are generally hungry for new content to consume.

Even I have joined not one, but two book clubs to expand into the fiction landscape which I intentionally avoided in the past.

That’s what’s so unique about this moment in time. Normally, people are interested in movie and tv show recommendations that are easy to turn to and usually fill the same narrative to which they’re accustomed. For example, if you liked Breaking Bad then you’ll like Narcos (don’t @ me).

Now, however, people are much more open minded about what they’re willing to watch, read, or listen to because there’s a shortage in “the next big show” being available. I think this is awesome. Let’s not forget we are still living in the age when all information is at our fingertips for free, and I’m hoping that being locked inside will allow people to expand their knowledge, learn a new skill or change their perspective on a topic. It doesn’t need to be big, but I’m hoping I can learn something new and I’m all ears for suggestions.

With all of this in mind, I thought I would share some of my favourite content that I’ve been following over the past few weeks, and include some of my all-time favourites for good measure. In return, I hope to receive some comments on this post with go-to materials and resources from all of you, which I can then check out!

One side note/ random stream of consciousness : as I was thinking about writing this post, I was going to start by saying “people have more time on their hands”. Really this isn’t true. We still have 24 hours in every day. What’s changed is how we choose (or are forced by law) to spend that time. Maybe there’s something to that. If I think about what the lockdown has “taken away” from me, it’s travel, restaurants and bars that come to mind. Has Covid given me more time? No. But by removing those things, it’s reduced the normally-present friction to read a new book, try a new recipe, call a friend, talk to my parents more often, and run more miles because there are fewer options bidding for those minutes. If I take an objective view of what I’ve gained vs. lost, many of the items in the gains list seem to qualify as more “important”. Anyway, something to consider as we monitor our time during Covid, and I’ll be watching how that time allocation changes if and when things begin to open back up. Ok back to my reccos:

Podcasts: first - if you’re not into podcasts, I highly recommend either for learning, insights, news, or entertainment. Similar to audiobooks, I find an added benefit of a good podcast is that it encourages you to get outside and walk, exercise, or do yard work. I often look forward to long walks, runs, or monotonous tasks like cleaning a bathroom just so I can catch up on an episode I’m excited about.

Books

  • Fiction: The Husband’s Secret. Good enough story line to keep you coming back but I don’t feel as though I’m part of this author’s target audience

  • Fiction: Where the Crawdads Sing - again, not my cup of tea, but a decent coming of age story

  • Non-fiction

    • Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian - a very raw documentation of his life, pretty startling at times (credit Dave Mowat)

    • The 12-week Year - Productivity book that’s a bit too system-oriented for me, but some great insights nonetheless (credit Yacine Bara)

    • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb - just finished this audiobook. Fantastic and simple insights on what are often considered complex topics (markets, probability). More people should read this, especially these days when many stats are being thrown at us in the news

    • David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell - another classic by the master who dives deep to uncover that underdogs actually use their commonly described disadvantages to their advantage

    • Atomic Habits by James Clear - one of the best books I’ve ever read offering science-backed methods for creating good habits and breaking bad ones. Simple and very practical.

Articles:

  • This NY Times OpEd on meat production I thought was very well laid out, particularly considering some of the injustice that’s happened during Covid

  • This NY Times piece is perhaps the best writing I’ve read in 2020 - a raw documentation of how Covid has impacted a restaurant owner, her business, and the neighbourhood just a few blocks from my apartment (credit Dan Rombough)

YouTube/Instagram/Blogs: I don’t subscribe to many channels but I do follow a couple good creators and use YouTube and blogs for some recipe inspiration once in a while

  • It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken - vegan blogger from Toronto with simple recipes. My faves have been the seitan chicken tenders and the ultimate vegan breakfast sandwich

  • Rainbow Plant Life - more vegan recipes and amazing food photography

  • Matt D’Avella - creativity, productivity and minimalism, really enjoy his videos

  • James Clear - habits, success, improvement, the best newsletter on the internet in my opinion

  • Triathlon Taren - a good friend and super successful YouTuber who helped me decide on my latest pair of running shoes!

I’m sure I’m missing some important conversations, articles, sites and accounts that influence my every day, but this list should get people going if you’re interested in something different. As I look at this list I can clearly see there’s a common theme around veganism, minimalism, productivity, and self improvement.

I’m really not trying to be “that guy” and as a result I’m even more excited and open-minded to hear some suggestions from the readers on blogs, articles, etc. to check out. Let me know what you’ve got, and please tell me if you decide to consume any of the above content.

Thanks for reading!

Mike