|Figure 1 - Read the Boxes|
Thursday, June 23, 2016
My full-time job is that of a security consultant, but I am also a hobbyist student of geopolitics. My favorite (or is that favourite) publication in this regard is The Economist published weekly. Unfortunately due to my consulting work along with other personal and professional obligations I often don't have the opportunity to really "read" the magazine from cover-to-cover. But, rather than place the magazine on my notorious "to be read" stack, I have established a technique I'd like to share on how I can take some quality time to glean the contents of the magazine and at least add quickly to my geopolitical knowledge.
PHASE I: THE CONTENTS (~ Page 5)
When I receive the magazine the first section I turn to is Contents. Here I read the different titles of the articles but I'm especially sure to read the side-boxes (see below) since they offer a good sense of the themes covered in this week's issue.
PHASE II: THE WORLD THIS WEEK (~ Pages 8-10)
This is the most interesting and most effective part of my time with The Economist. On these three pages, I get to view and digest the weekly cartoon and then get a good flavor of the world's news that I certainly don't obtain from the US television or newspapers. For instance, in this week's issue, there is news from Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Bangladesh besides the "normal" news sources of the US political scene, China, Paris and of course the UK.
PHASE III: LEADERS (~ Pages 13-17)
This part of the magazine is my favorite. Here you can gain a sense of the pros/cons, plusses/minuses of the issues raised by the editors of the magazine. I especially like the coverage of these editorial comments since they cover most of the world and, again, are not focused on the US. Yes, there are comments on US politics (e.g., the 2016 election, Orlando, etc.) but the other editorial coverage is in areas that I am not familiar or often exposed.
PHASE IV: SKIMMING THE PAGES
Finally, during my 15 minutes of quality time with the magazine, I'll skim through the different sections usually pausing on some of the editorials, reviewing any graphics/maps, and speeding through the different text boxes.
Of course, if I'm ready to get on a plane or have some added time then I'll be sure to read the magazine in more depth but my focal points will generally begin with my four phases above.
If you don't already subscribe to The Economist, I'd highly recommend you do. You'll find that the view offered is so much more superior than US television and is more portable than my other favorite reads The New York Times or Washington Post.