What We’re Reading: Breaking the ice, understanding ‘internet brain,’ and an expert’s advice on building your career

A few Medium stories you may have missed recently

Medium Staff
The Medium Blog


Every day, thousands of writers turn to Medium to share their stories and ideas with the world — from data science deep-dives to humor, illustration, sports, and more. Here, anyone with an insightful perspective can potentially reach thousands (or millions) of people, helping us learn about ourselves and each other along the way.

We believe the best ideas can change who we are, and we know there are lots of those ideas waiting to be discovered on Medium. So, we thought we’d share a selection of perspectives that stuck with us recently — stories that deepened our understanding of the world, our jobs, our lives, or all of the above — handpicked by Medium staff. Hopefully, you’ll find a few new favorites you may have missed. We’ll share a roundup of stories like these semi-regularly here in 3 min read.

This week: Author Nassim Taleb shares why he writes; an entrepreneur tunes into her customers’ unspoken needs; a cartoonist riffs on the myth of Sisyphus; and much more.

Found a great story on Medium? We want to know. Share a link in the responses and tell us why you enjoyed it.

— Medium Staff

How I Write” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, essayist and author of ‘The Black Swan’

If you want to be read in the future, make sure you would have been read in the past. We have no idea of what’s in the future, but we have some knowledge of what was in the past.

Icebreakers You Can Steal For a Better Meeting (I Promise)” by Jackie Colburn, strategist and facilitator, in Better Humans

I know there’s a perception that [icebreakers are] old school, or fluffy, or even cheesy. But that’s only if you aren’t using them correctly. There’s actually an art behind employing the right icebreaker at the right time, and after 1000s of hours of group facilitation I can confidently say that they absolutely impact the group’s willingness to do the work that lies ahead.

Think introverted; act extroverted” by Shaziya Tambawala, UX and product designer, in Designing Atlassian

This might sound bizarre and feel dishonest but it’s a tried and true tactic to approach the fear of presenting. Think about personas — you’re putting on that character and building more empathy for yourself.

How My Dream of Becoming a Novelist Led Me Astray” by Jacqueline Dooley, essayist

What I learned, in the end, is that our art can look much different than we imagine and that’s okay. There are a million paths and a million dreams and no right or wrong way to discover them.

Internet Brain Is a Real Thing” by Brad Stulberg, bestselling author of ‘The Practice of Groundedness,’ co-creator of The Growth Equation and coach to executives, entrepreneurs, and MDs

For me, internet brain kicks in when I am regularly spending more than two hours online per day. This is precisely what makes book launches and periods of intense book promotion so hard. Internet brain is an occupational hazard.

Getty Images

The Problem-Pain Threshold: Just Because It Hurts Doesn’t Mean It Needs a Fix” by Saron Yitbarek, entrepreneur, founder of CodeNewbie, developer, speaker, and podcast host

It’s easy to assume that once you’ve identified the user’s problem, your job is done. You’re ready to build, get to work, create that magical solution that will get rid of your user’s problem. But it’s not that simple.

A Very Dangerous Data Science Article” by Keith McNulty, expert and author in applied mathematics, data science, and statistics

About four years ago an article was published in Harvard Business Review online called Prioritize Which Data Skills Your Company Needs with This 2×2 Matrix. Now, HBR is well known for its articles on business strategy, but it is not really a market leader in technical content, and this article certainly illustrates this.

Chaz Hutton

The Sisyphean Task of Drawing Sisyphus” by Chaz Hutton, writer and illustrator

The undisputed home of single-panel cartoons is of course, a largely unknown weekly called The New Yorker and having taken the time to look through their entire back catalogue (yes, I have the time; I’m a cartoonist) I can confirm that our old mate Sisyphus and his bestie The Boulder have been a comedic mainstay on the comedy-duo circuit for at least the last 3,000 years or so.

Living With Adult ADHD: Explained in Comics” by Ana Krajinovic, linguist, PhD, and comic creator

If I had to summarize my ADHD experience in one sentence it would be this: Chasing a life where everything you do is exciting and avoiding everything that could be even slightly boring. October is ADHD awareness month and I think it’s time I tell you how ADHD affects my everyday life — in comics (because who has the patience to read a text without pictures).

From the archive: “How to Think About Your Career” by Julie Zhuo, former Product Design VP at Facebook and author of ‘The Making of a Manager’

If you had asked 22-year-old me what my “career aspirations” were, I would have looked at you blankly and then casually changed the subject to what programs you’d recommend to model cute 3D bunnies for a video game, or whether the writers of Alias would be so devious as to ship Sydney Bristow and Sark.

“What We’re Reading” is a roundup of insightful stories from across Medium, which will appear semi-regularly in 3 min read. This edition was edited and curated by Harris Sockel at Medium. Found a great story? Let us know in the responses.