Do you remember that one, seemingly small tidbit of information that changed a significant direction of your life? It could have been the book recommendation from a stranger or the moral of a story told by a speaker at an event you went to last-minute. Perhaps it was more direct advice from a mentor. Most often, tidbits can be achieved through reading: book, newspapers, magazines, journals — heck, just about anything.   

Increasing “tidbits” increases the likelihood of deeper thought and better decisions. Here is a good example of a tidbit from an article in The Wall Street Journal titled: How to Turn Failure into Billions. It’s a good interview of Brian Koppelman who wrote Rounders and the TV show Billions. I’d never heard of Brian Koppelman but his podcast looks very good; the intrigue has moved Stitcher to my iPhone home page.

Anyways, in the WSJ interview, the last lines are short bullet points around who he is. It reviews things like what he does, his big break and more. The last bullet point focuses on his obsession. It states: ‘Morning pages, a daily exercise in Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way.” “When David Levien gave me that book, and then I started doing the exercises in it, it freed me from [my] perfectionism.”’

After reading the reviews, I immediately ordered the book and anxiously await the arrival.

This is a tidbit from a tidbit. Brian received a book that changed his life from a friend.

It may sound novel to write the more you learn or read…the better. But this is a different type of reading or listening or meeting. Everyone can have meetings or listen to podcasts or read books, but how you do it mixed with the intent (to your goals) is important.

Tidbits can change lives. The more exposure to positive tidbits, the better.

All of this brings me to a much larger question. In January this year, I saw an ad online and purchased the Wall Street Journal for 3 months. The special deal cost me $12. In April I was auto-enrolled to the monthly subscription of $40 for the paper.

Most mornings I don’t read it. The headlines I’ve already read on Twitter.

There are two valuable assets of the WSJ to me outside of the headlines. First, the Opinions section. But everyone has opinions and I can get ones just as good online. The fact those pieces have been reviewed and combed over by editors and others (presumably) give it more credibility. The Opinions piece sustained my interest for a few weeks but even then, grew stale. The second and more valuable are the tidbits. In the span of one daily WSJ newspaper, especially on the weekend, there are many tidbits that I would never come across. Brian Koppelman’s podcast is a good example. What’s even better is the recommendation of The Artist Way.

If I read the Artist’s Way and it changes my life as much as it has for Brian, well, $40 a month is very well worth it.

The tidbits are the real value of a newspaper.

Coming across information not in my regular flow is valuable. There is value to reading a well constructed story that would rarely show up on my Twitter feed. It’s important to constantly be exposed to intelligent thinking outside of my silo.

That is the real value. I honestly believe this is why so many people are looking at their phone all day; we are seeking valuable tidbits. 

But I’m still not sure it’s worth $40 a month, or if there’s a better way to get more, versatile tidbits for the monthly budget.

As the $40/month weighed on me in April, I cancelled it. As of now, the tidbits aren’t worth it. I’m still receiving the Journal through May. I’ll see what life is like without them for a month or so and re-evaluate.

In the meantime, I’ll be attempting to create as many more versatile tidbits as possible.

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