Three years ago, I used to read many books, magazines and reports to keep up with what was happening in the fields of economics, public policy and business management. These days, I find that I read fewer books and reports, and spend Saturday mornings catching up with blog feeds on my Google Reader.
If you follow blogs maintained by experts who write well and are passionate about sharing what they know with others, you find that their postings are short, insightful and often useful to do one's work better. In free time this Dasain, you may find it worthwhile to visit the following blogs to experiment with what you like, and to see which ones you want to add to your feed reader.
For economics junkies with wide-ranging interests in the arts, cuisine, current affairs and more (a sure-fire recipe for being a distracted PhD student!), marginalrevolution.com provides a daily smorgasbord of intellectually stimulating posts and comments in accessible language. Run by polymath Tyler Cowan and Alex Tabarrok, professors at George Mason University, this site is the destination if you want to learn why, among others, high brow game theorists were again awarded Nobel Prizes in economics last Monday.
If development economics, as it happens in countries similar to Nepal, is your interest, then you won't go wrong regularly visiting psdblog.worldbank.org, which has a collection of postings on how markets have or have not aided the world's poor.
To think about how to turn business ideas into workable processes, I turn to two masters: Guy Kawasaki and Tom Peters. Always entertaining to read, Kawasaki's blog.guykawasaki.com is billed as "a practical blog for non-practical people". His postings appeal to start-up technology entrepreneurs in search of funding. Peters, an ex-McKinsey consultant who shot to fame in the 1980s by co-writing In Search of Excellence, relentlessly preaches the mantra of "be distinct or extinct" in tompeters.com, where he gives away free wisdom-laden slides.
For advice on how to operate a business better, I find businesspundit.com a useful hub of articles, blog rolls and links. With postings on topics such as "How not to run a meeting?" the site is packed with tips for hurried and harried managers.
Given that two of the world's fastest growing economies are located on both sides of us, it'd be short-sighted not to keep tabs on what's happening in those giants. Indianeconomy.org, a group blog with a pro-market orientation, gets heated conversations going about India's growth and lack thereof. One thoughtful posting: "Why does India have such terrible politicians?" When it comes to China, links on chinalawblog.com give a front-row seat to help understand what it takes to get businesses up and running in China, not to mention, how to do business with the Chinese.
I also follow blogs on designs. The reason is simple. Competing on price and quality is what everyone does today. But to command a premium, what you produce must also be designed well. And so, to raise my own design IQ, I go through postings on core77.com/blog, and try to figure out what makes the products there "gasp worthy".
Running a business is only a small slice of life. Being happily productive every day is what probably matters more to people. The site happiness-project.com has test-driven both schmaltzy and serious happiness theories, and it offers advice on everything from avoiding office romances to filling up your life with simple acts of happiness.
Finally, for professionals looking for workable suggestions to increase personal productivity at work and home, there's no finer site than zenhabits.net.
These are just a few of the blogs I visit. Which are the ones you visit for knowledge, entertainment and practical advice? Please share.