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Lately, I’ve been on an idea tear with more ideas hitting my head than I could ever put into action. Admittedly, not all of these ideas are great, but I hit a bit of a slump over the last few months so I’m just happy to have the idea machine going again.

Ideas have been coming from anywhere and everywhere, but I’ve found a few specific places that I look frequently. I thought I’d share the outlets where I’ve had the most success. I’d love to hear suggestions from you though, particularly on podcasts and book recommendations.

Podcasts

I’m a huge podcaster, and I believe that their going to be a huge part of how we learn in the future. The fact that literally anyone can create a podcast to spread their message around the world is absolutely amazing. I’ve also found that they are a great way to drum up ideas as they tend to explore topics that you might otherwise have not heard of. Here are some of my favorites:

  • This American Life – Mainly for the storytelling component to see how they approach a topic from different angles
  • Serial – I’m interested in how they tell a story in consecutive episodes
  • Hardcore History – I love this podcast for two reasons: 1) Storytelling and 2) Hearing stories about specific portions of history
  • Tim Ferriss Podcast – I get just as much out of the book recommendations made on the show as I do from the actual show itself
  • Freakonomics – They approach problems in a very unique way, which helps me to take a different perspective when I’m writing/researching
  • RadioLab – This is similar to This American Life, but the stories are normally based around science
  • Longform – I use it to hear about the habits and workflows of journalists

Books

Writing lets me be a professional reader, so I do as little of it as I can get away with.

– Austin Kleon (via)

I have the same feelings as Austin Kleon in that reading/learning is the primary goal. Writing just helps me to share that knowledge with the world and gives me a reason to keep reading as much as possible.

I’ve been trying to finish a book a week, and as of right now, I’ve been pretty successful. The books I’m reading are collected here and range in topic from psychology to human performance to fiction. Where do I find books to read? Three primary ways:

  • Podcasts – If I hear a book mentioned in a podcast, I jot it down in the Reminders list on my phone to research later.
  • Book References – Normally, when I’m reading a book, I pick up other book references throughout the text. Alternatively, I just look up other books by the same author. I’ve found that Amazon also does a decent job of offering up book suggestions based on titles you’re currently reading.
  • Blogs – Occasionally, I’ll grab a book recommendation from a blog that I read.

Blogs

The three main blogs that I read religiously right now are Brain Pickings, Farnam Street, and James Clear. The former two interweave topics and ideas like no one else on the internet right now. They’re also fantastic for picking up book recommendations, particularly Farnam Street. James Clear is an absolute master at telling stories that illustrate larger life lessons.

Walking

It sounds silly, but I’ve been drumming up the majority of the ideas on walks. On a normal day, I’ll go on two walks that both hover around 30 minutes in an attempt to get in some activity outside of a workout. The walks also serve as a great way to break up my day. If I’m not listening to a podcast, I just let my mind wander. More often than not, I’ll have a handful of ideas come to me that I then toss in the Reminders app under “Blog Posts”. I cull that list every day and toss any good ideas into WordPress as a draft along with links and quotes that I find applicable.

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