I normally hate to write uncritical posts which sound like commercials (unless they are about FON, of course), but I will this time. The Economist is simply the best magazine in the world.

My answer is yes (to the question if i was LOST in an uninhabited island and had only one magazine to read). And this would be the case even if I were lost with that hot babe from LOST. I still would want to read The Economist. Why? Here’s a list of reasons.

I am an internet entrepreneur, and although I read all my news of the internet, The Economist is the only print media I read, mostly because it is the only paper that stands the test of time. The editors of The Economist understand that news is not news because it is “new”, but because it is newsworthy and what they chose is worthwhile reading. Pick a 5 year old Business Week and a 5 year old Economist and see what I mean. Maybe it’s the magazine’s scope — so wide that it makes its writers excel in the craft of brevity, a skill us readers really appreciate.

Why can’t Business Week, Fortune, Forbes not achieve the same? I can think of two reasons. One is that their writers and editors are less talented. But the other, which is more likely, is that those magazines main objective is to explain why some companies make it and others don’t. The Economist’s objective is to explain why humanity makes it…or fails. And they are very good at that in spite of their conservative leanings.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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nicoguyon on March 15, 2007  · 

I totally agree, and I like the end of your post. The quality of The Economist’s articles doesn’t exist on blogs, but it will.

Andreas Ehn on March 15, 2007  · 

I share you’re taste in magazines, but conservative? Not so much in my opinion. They’re definitely fiscal conservatives (as in keep government expenses and taxes low), but on social issues, they tend to take the modern/progressive/liberal side. They’re pro gay marriage and support legalization of marijuana and prostitution for instance.

I’d say that they’re basically liberal in the classical sense.

The Wikipedia article is well written.

stefanos on March 15, 2007  · 

I second your opinion about the Economist being the best magazine in the world. I don’t always agree with it’s views, but I mostly do.
An interesting feature of the magazine is that none of their articles includes the author’s name, something that isn’t true for most major publications. This drives the point that whoever may have written a specific article is irrelevant, the view expressed is the view of the Economist.

oliver on March 15, 2007  · 

I completely agree with you The Economist is definitely one of the best magazine on the market. The articles are always very well written and propose a really honest analyze. Nevertheless I still didn’t forgive them the support they gave to G Bush for his election as the war in Iraq. As far as I remember they recognized to be wrong in their support concerning the war in Iraq which is definitely a proof of honesty

Martín Varsavsky on March 15, 2007  · 

Stefanos,

Yes, it must be tough to work for the economist though cause it does not give credit to its writers as others do

Martin Varsavsky on March 15, 2007  · 

Oliver,

that’s what I meant when I remarked on their politics. They sometimes suck!

Homo Viator on March 16, 2007  · 

For me the greatest point of differentiation between The Economist and its “competing” magazines derives from its art of analysis. I do not read The Economist for news. Most of the news it centres its articles around are old news by the time The Economist hits the shelves. I get the news almost instantaneously via CNN pipeline (Yes, I know the limitations of CNN, but I love to have their live streaming run, while I am working on the computer) or Spiegel.de. The Economist engages in something far more complex and valuable than just bringing you “noteworthy news.” It offers in-depth analysis and gives you a strong opinion of an expert. Have you noticed that articles in The Economist are hardly ever objective? Whether one agrees with the author’s opinion on a given subject or not, one is always intellectually stimulated. This is why i believe that The Economist will always prevail as a print issue. The boundaries of traditional media are shifting. These days we can get an up-close and instant video of today’s natural catastrophe or bomb attack on countless websites and blogs, filmed by amateurs with their cell phone cameras. While these dynamic changes will alter the way news is reported, they will never make in-depth analysis obsolete.

Marcos Martinez Sancho on March 16, 2007  · 

Martin,

I’d rather say that ‘The Economist’ advocates both fiscal conservatism and
a liberal agenda in social matters (sort of British Clintonianism, or
Blairism to be more accurate). Just read the last string of articles
they published on Spain’s Popular Party. Anyway, always a good read for the
weekend.

Saludos,

Marcos

andres werner on May 31, 2007  · 

I agree, BusinessWeek is the People magazine of business publications; not much better than gossip for the business community.

Julian Martinez on June 4, 2007  · 

I agree that its definitively best magazine, but they did annoy me with their constant support to the war in Iraq. I think that kept on writing pro-war articles to gain readers in the US. What do you think?

Martin Varsavsky on June 4, 2007  · 

Julian,

I think they were just wrong. And they know it.

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