For anybody who hasn't ever read The Economist, do the following
- Go to the newsagent (or whatever the locale specific term for a place the sells magazines and newspapers is) and buy this weeks issue;
- Read it from cover to cover.
Repeat this process until you're comfortable with the layout of the newspaper (in modern times we'd call it a magazine, but they self-refer to themselves as a newspaper); Google any words, terms, concepts you don't understand. Google map any country or city you don't recognise.
I can guarantee that reading the Economist weekly will dramatically increase your knowledge of the world in general as well as develop a good intuition of economics, business, and international politics.
It can be difficult at first because a lot of terms, especially those in the finance and economics section, aren't generally encountered during day-to-day living. Once you persist with it, however, it becomes addictive. I look forward to waking up on Friday morning to breakfast and a freshly downloaded issues of the Economist on iPad.
I used to be a bit cautious about talking with Professors, Bankers, CxOs, etc because I felt I didn't have much to say. Weekly doses of the Economist give you an enormous amount of subject matter, and confidence in potentially intimidating situations.
Meet somebody from London "I saw a picture of the new Shard building, looks pretty nice. Do you think there's a bubble in high rise property?" Meet somebody from Paraguay "Damn, what did you think of Lugo? Did he deserve what he got?" Even if it's small talk, it's a strong signalling mechanism that you know what's going on around the world.
It's also useful as a gauge for how the world (well Anglocentric world) sees your own country.