I read less books last year than I normally do – which felt a bit disappointing – but it was largely because I spent so much time reading magazines (a magazine resurgence!) and listening to an ever increasing amount of great podcasts. So here’s the magazines I read regularly in 2014.
Hands down one of the best magazines available. Every week they produce a staggering amount of superb content, ranging from politics, to science, to technology. It’s a challenge to get through a whole one, and usually just picking bits and pieces is enough. If you could only read one magazine, this would be the best overall choice.
Harvard Business Review
It’s extremely high quality, and packed with great ideas. Some issues it focuses on topics which don’t interest me that much, but typically it’s close enough. In general this is a magazine to help you in your job – it’s a short cut to new thinking and ideas for knowledge workers in many fields. The HBR blog is also very good.
I don’t subscribe to this, but I always pick it up at the airport when I see it. Every quarter HBR releases a compendium of their best articles, some dating from years back. They focus each one on a particular topic, like Productivity, Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, etc. It’s always a solid read, and timeless – you never feel like you need to read it all now, it’s something to come back to when you need it.
I’ve never read this before 2014, assuming it just wouldn’t be that high quality. But I was quite wrong. It’s a fun read! A bit like The Economist light in many ways, but heavily leaning towards technology and business. They have good guest writers on particular topics, like Brad Stone writing about Amazon.
Sometimes a bit esoteric for my interests – I don’t always want to read about fringe science discoveries. But I like the stuff they do on Space, or the Brain – some good things to say about creativity and imagination in 2014, for example. They also drop in articles about talent and success, which cross over a lot with the business genre. Overall it’s pretty interesting.
I subscribed to this for two years upfront, mainly on the basis that it was a spin-off from The Economist. Unfortunately I just haven’t found it that interesting. It’s a little bit naval gazing, taking itself too seriously. But the latest edition had a good article about George Orwell, which I really enjoyed. Once in a while there is something decent in there, but overall it’s not something I will renew when the subscription expires.
Strategy & Business
I don’t actually subscribe, but I always get it from the airport when I see a new edition. I think it comes out in quarters like HBR OnPoint. I’ve found some of the content to be excellent, and the themes are always pertinent to my field of work – namely innovation. Pleasantly surprised to become acquainted with this one in 2014, will definitely continue to read.
I also subscribed to FastCompany and Inc magazines, and they are OK – but on the whole I find them a little vacant. FastCompany annoys me from time to time – they had an edition with Jony Ive on the front cover, with the tag line Inside the the Apple Design Lab – you would think this was an interview with Ive himself, given his big head on the front, but it was actually a bunch of anecdotes from people who have met Ive or worked with him at some point. That just seems misleading to me. In both magazines I find their online content to be much the same, but it’s easier to find relevant articles online, so I doubt I will continue the subscribe with them in print.
I also buy one off editions of The Atlantic on the Zinio iPad App. It’s always a quality publication, but to save some time I just get the editions that interest me most.