Reader’s Digest is a cheap publication that is not worthy of your attention.

It has degenerated into a cycle of the same four topics: dieting, mortgages, celebrities, and medication.

A magazine with a title like Reader’s Digest ought to have some kind of literary interest. It ought to introduce new ideas. It ought to improve your command of the language, and to inspire by some amount of genius, however small.

I wouldn’t be so bitter about it if the magazine didn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. You don’t ordinarily get annoyed with a saltine cracker, but you do if it sells itself as a goblet of grape juice.

(Trying to make the 68% vitriol quota for the year)

May 8, 2014 — Businessweek just posted an article about the similar decline of the Freakonomics franchise.

Note that both Freakonomics and Reader’s Digest have declined in the same way: by lapsing into a pattern of regurgitating things that have been public knowledge for a long time.

Further note: Businessweek’s news about Freakonomics is itself not new, just as the post above about Reader’s Digest is not new (and wasn’t even new when I first wrote it!).

Ergo, both the Businessweek article and this very post are examples of old news about old news.

Joel (Author) ·