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4 min readJan 31, 2024

👋 Hi from the team at Medium

Last year, the amount of information on the internet hit 120 zetabytes. A zetabyte is about a trillion gigabytes, and a gigabyte is about 678,000 pages of text. Only a tiny fraction of that information is (a) any good, or (b) of the slightest interest to you. It can be hard to separate the zetabytes that matter from those that don’t.

Medium has always been a place where you can do that. Tens of thousands of times a day, someone uses Medium to share a kernel of wisdom or new perspective that makes sense of the world. Authors range from the 44th President of the United States to this intrepid data scientist who is taste-testing European vs. American M&Ms to… maybe even you, writing about whatever you know that the rest of us don’t (yet).

Now, we’re making finding the most useful ideas a little easier. Welcome to the Medium Newsletter.

The concept is simple: Real humans (hi!) who work at Medium share the best stories we’ve found each day, Monday through Friday. We want the Medium Newsletter to be a place where you can always find human wisdom, unfiltered expression, and nuance (not unlike the best of Medium itself). We’re hoping it will be a space that helps you become a smarter reader, writer, and thinker. And it will keep evolving with feedback from you (you can always email us at tips@medium.com).

Let’s get started: This month, one in five U.S. adults took part in Dry January, the annual tradition of resetting your body (and bank account) by asking the bartender for seltzer with lemon. (Also, the annual tradition of casually mentioning that you’re doing Dry January.) Roughly ~6% more people participated this year than last. (Lesser-known fact: Dry January originated as a way for the Finnish government to save money during World War II. “Raitis tammikuu,” or Sober January, was a national attempt at conserving resources to fight the Soviets.)

Based on those numbers, it seems we’re gradually waking up to the fact that alcohol isn’t that great for you (in any amount, at any age). In a five-part series on Medium last year, film producer David Grover tracked how his body changed when he stopped drinking regularly: He lost weight, his resting heart rate decreased, and his heart rate variability improved. “I’m not here to tell you how to live your life,” Grover writes, “but if you’ve thought about going a month without alcohol, I hope I’ve motivated you to press the button. You are the alchemist of your own body.”

Regardless of your relationship with alcohol, short-term challenges like Dry January can be useful ways to trick yourself into longer-term growth. This is the thinking behind everything from National Novel Writing Month to Hack Weeks. What can you try today that might trigger a change lasting for the rest of the week, month, and beyond?

And let us know: How did this newsletter land for you? What stories or topics would you like to see in the future? Email us: tips@medium.com.

What else we’re reading

From the archive

Eight years ago, VP of engineering and product at Facebook, Mark Rabkin, published “The Art of the Awkward 1:1” drawn from over a decade of conversations with direct reports. Rabkin’s first rule of leading 1:1s? Say something uncomfortable. “If it’s not a bit awkward,” he writes, “you’re not talking about the real stuff.”

Your daily dose of practical wisdom

To slow down your perception of time, swap your routine for a novel experience.

Written by Harris Sockel
Edited and produced by
Scott Lamb, Carly Rose Gillis, and Jon Gluck

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