Key takeaways


  • Junk info is often false info, but it isn’t junk because it’s false. It’s junk because it has no practical use; it doesn’t make your life better, and it doesn’t improve your understanding. Even lies can be nourishing; the works of Dostoevsky are fiction, yet can teach you more about humans than any psychology textbook.
  • Meanwhile, most verified facts do nothing to improve your life or understanding, and are, to paraphrase Nietzsche, as useful as knowledge of the chemical composition of water to someone who is drowning.
  • outrage, for all its cheapness, is highly addictive and highly contagious, making it the weapon of choice for anyone who wants to be noticed in the online cacophony.
  • The vast majority of the online content you consume today won’t improve your understanding of the world or be of any practical use. But despite being “empty calories,” junk info still tastes delicious.