How To Create a High Performance Information Diet

Strategists consume so much content. We ingest everything we can. We believe the more we learn, the healthier our performance.

But most of us aren’t healthy.

If we’re lucky, maybe 20-30% of our information diet is actually nutritious (i.e. quality research and analysis). The rest is crap.

Be honest: how much of your reading consists of fluffy articles, b.s. industry reports or low-context social posts? It’s highly processed, artificial information that’s full of empty calories.

But what if you could control your diet?

How much better of a strategist would you be if you were intentional about what went into your brain?

Poor information can ruin your career the same way poor food can ruin your health, and a brand strategist needs to be on an especially high-performance information diet if they want to own the playing field.

In this week’s article, my cofounder Jean-Louis Rawlence shares his powerful framework for ‘How To Create a High Performance Information Diet’ and the very specific ways you can get your health back on track.

You can and should change your information diet. It can unlock new levels of creativity and insight you simply didn’t have before, and it starts with an understanding of content as hormones.

Just like nutrients affect our body, information impacts our mental state through hormones like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, cortisol, and adrenaline. These hormones are the “macronutrients” of our emotional and perceptual systems. Create an imbalance and you’ll screw up your performance.

So what’s the ideal information diet for a brand strategist then?

You need to balance between the 5 major hormones, digest your insights through connection and community, and find your ‘scenius’ to find your genius.

Like a weightlifter’s carefully planned diet, you have to curate and practice self-discipline. The content that gives you the biggest dopamine hit isn’t always what’s going to make you better at your work, and it’s not just about who you follow but about having a thoughtful relationship with the content you consume.

When you clean up your information intake, you navigate the complex world of strategy with better insight and balance.

Because in our industry, you are what you eat.

Gen Z’s Slow Life Strategy

The 'slow life strategy' explains why some employers see Gen Z bringing their parents to job interviews and performance reviews. In fact, some firms have started sending recruiting materials directly to parents.

But the slow life strategy also answers a much bigger question that we asked ourselves all last month in Exposure Therapy as we explored our topic of Eternal Youth:

"If we're all going to live longer, how are we going to fill up those extra 20-30 years?"

We had the incredible privilege of posing this question to one of my favorite thinkers, researcher and professor Jean Twenge whose work is all over the news right now.

Dr. Twenge argues that instead of fitting multiple lifetimes into one (which was my hypothesis) all of her research points toward the slow life strategy where younger generations (both Gen Z and Millennials) will draw out the growth and milestones of a single life over many more years.

They’ll take longer to grow up and longer to grow old.

Economics of Splurging

Here's what we've been consuming.

The AI Revolution Is Already Losing Steam (Wall Street Journal): “The rate of improvement for AIs is slowing, and there appear to be fewer applications than originally imagined for even the most capable of them. It is wildly expensive to build and run AI. New, competing AI models are popping up constantly, but it takes a long time for them to have a meaningful impact on how most people actually work. These factors raise questions about whether AI could become commoditized, about its potential to produce revenue and especially profits, and whether a new economy is actually being born."

When Did Teen Boys Get a Nose for $300 Cologne? (New York Times): “Hannah Glover, a middle-school physical fitness teacher in Bluffton, S.C., has been shocked by how early the cosmetic products of adulthood have been gaining a foothold with her 11-to-15-year-old students. Boys in her class bring bottles of Gucci, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent cologne to school and show them off to their classmates, she said, while girls are obsessed with lip products and Sol De Janeiro moisturizers.”

Baby-boomers are loaded. Why are they so stingy? (The Economist): "Perhaps boomers will stop hoarding. Many are healthier than their predecessors, which has allowed them to delay retirement and accumulate more wealth... Governments have introduced anti-ageism legislation, encouraging older people into the labour force. Yet there could be deeper forces at play, making boomers reluctant to spend what they have earned, and in turn pressing down on interest rates and inflation. Three factors stand out: “bequest motives”, the covid-19 pandemic and worries about care."

The cult of Costco: How one of America’s biggest retailers methodically turns casual shoppers into fanatics (Fortune): “They’ve learned that it’s the unexpected finds—that La Mer jar, or dill-pickle-flavored cashew nuts, or trendy new Birkenstocks—that stoke obsession. The “treasure hunt” ethos also explains why Costco has no signs in its aisles flagging product categories; that absence forces shoppers to wander, increasing the chance of shopping serendipity. It pays off: Treasure-hunt buys represent about 15% of what Costco sells, but contribute disproportionately to customer loyalty."

How many American children have cut contact with their parents? (The Economist): "People are increasingly likely to reject relatives who obstruct feelings of well-being in some way, by holding clashing beliefs or failing to embrace those of others. Personal fulfillment has increasingly come to displace filial duty, says Dr Coleman. Whereas families have always fought and relatives fallen out, he says, the idea of cutting oneself off from a relative as a path to one’s own happiness seems to be new. In some ways it is a positive development: people find it easier to separate from parents who have been abusive. But it can also carry heavy costs."

Psych Studies

Quick hits of insight in socially acceptable places.

What You Make of It

Creative inspirations for the other side of your brain.

Luxury isn't about money, it's about distance.

When anyone can buy a small piece of Hermès and flaunt it like they've got it on social, people have to find new ways of signaling their status.

And they do that by creating distance: distance in time, culture, pace of life, quantity, conspicuousness or aesthetic.

Professor Silvia Bellezza's fantastic research on the distance model of status is still in my mind since she spoke to us at Exposure Therapy.

It's a single model that beautifully explains every single weird thing we see in the luxury market right now.

So the next time you see something luxury that doesn’t make sense to you - like 'why would somebody ever buy that?!' or 'who would want to wear that?!' - don't look at it in terms of money.

Look at it in terms of distance and it'll probably make sense.


Luxury isn’t about money. It’s about distance, Pt. 2 There are 6 forms of distance that luxury brands and consumers use to separate themse... See more


Jasmine Bina
Founder & CEO
Concept Bureau, Inc.