I love reading and learning about new perspectives and things. The web has opened up a world of great writers, bloggers and journalists. I want to share the mix of sources I follow – as everyone has a unique insight to this world. My essential reads list covers football, triathlon, running, economics, technology, travel and other random bits.
Before I start, I should say reading depends on a few factors, which probably influence your enjoyment with a piece. Whether it’s a book, a newspaper article, a handwritten postcard, an online blog, a web report or tweet, they all have valuable insights. My favourite way to source content is via the web, although I hate reading on screen, so I tend to print out articles and read them at home or when commuting.
Some friends know me for this – I’ll often had them a crumpled up print out and say “you should read this article on airports in Turkey” or “check out this race report from running around Mount Blanc”. My weekly routine is to check out which blogs or writers have published new stuff, I then copy it into a Word file and do a big print out.
The Guardian is my favourite newspaper for football. They have great writers like Sid Lowe who reports on La Liga in Spain. His articles are always insightful, often profiling an under the radar club, player or back story, rather than just the headlines of Real or Barca. He also has a great podcast, The Spanish Football Podcast, which is witty, very detailed and always worth a listen.
Other writers include Dion Fanning of Sportsjoe.ie, although he doesn’t write much. Henry Winter in the Irish Times each Saturday also gives a fresh take on hidden stories from across the English football leagues, focusing on the north. Guillem Balague also writes on Spanish football, although I prefer listening to him on the radio/podcasts, rather than in print.
Sean Ingle and David Conn also write for the Guardian and go deep on some topics, such as abuse in football, the politics and organisations behind clubs. Ken Early in the Irish Times is great for an alternative take on Martin O’Neill, Mourinho, Pep or John Delaney and the FAI.
I follow several Irish triathletes who write about their experiences of chasing their dreams. Most are amateurs, so balancing training with life. Aidan Callaghan from Donegal has a nice blog, as does Eoin Lyons and Rob from Wheelworx. I used to read DC Rainmaker a lot more for his travel and technology reviews. My club Belpark also publishes some long and funny race reports from club mates, who usually take on some crazy Ironman, and always have a story to tell, as the wheels come off the bus at some stage before, during or after.
The Irish Times has lots of good writers – Sonia O’Sullivan, Dave Hannigan and Ian O’Riordan are essential reading. My favourite running blog is by a Cork runner Donal Coakley – it’s short, sharp and witty, entitled “10 Things I Think About“. Eoin Keith periodically writes some good reports from his ultra-adventures, such as taking on the Barkley Marathon in Kentucky.
My swimming friend from Dingle, Nuala Moore, has great social media updates on her adventures in the seas of the world. Her achievements in ice water swims from Siberia to Alaska and South America are hard to fathom the how (of the body) and why (of the mind).
Bicycle Dutch paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to live and cycle in the Netherlands. He looks behind the town planning, amazing infrastructure like the 6,000 bike part in Utrecht Centraal Station, as well as just unusual or new commuter routes. It’s always interesting.
For provocative perspectives, I like to read Paul Kimmage, Ewan McKenna and Joe Brolly in the Irish Independent. Both get wound up about various aspects of the GAA, cycling, MMA and the travails of Irish sport, like the FAI and Keano saga. While I don’t always agree, they do challenge the status quo and offer fresh insight to topics that can be analysed to death.
Economics & Business
David McWilliams offers entertaining takes on economic or politics topics of the day. A quirky take on life and living frugally and environmentally friendly is given by MMM or Mister Money Moustache. He’s an American guy who lives by minimalist principles in everything he does. His goal is for everyone to be able to retire by 35, as you should be capable of earning enough money to support yourself from then on.
We waste so much in our daily lives now and we don’t even realise. High costs mean high incomes are needed to keep things moving. He doesn’t own a car, his house is small and basic, he shares office space with others, he recycles loads, he grows loads his own food, he lives sustainably. Even if some ideas are way out there, it does prompt you to reconsider some of the waste and excess in our capitalist world.
Ben Thompson has a good blog Stratchery on the strategy and industry trends amongst the big tech companies. He evaluates big moves of players like Google, Facebook, Apple, Uber and what’s behind the headlines. Karlin Lillington in the Irish Times writes a lot about technology and gives good views on data protection and privacy, explaining complex topics in simple language.
The Guardian has a good Travel section that I search when I’m looking for good info on a place I’m visiting. They have good food guides, adventure guides and other bits on places like the Canaries, Spain or Canada.