What we’re reading: Declutter your brain

A few Medium stories you may have missed this week

Medium Staff
The Medium Blog
4 min readApr 28, 2023


Image created by May Pang using Dall-E 2

There is a lot of advice out there about the best time to wake up, the best time to work out, and the best habits to develop. The advice is so abundant that, if you try to incorporate them all, your wires just might overload.

Sometimes you are the best judge of what works best for you. That’s what communication and connection coach May Pang discovered when she sampled — and rejected — several popular productivity methods. Her original habits were just fine, writes Pang, who says simplifying is really what helped her to declutter her brain.

“I watched with glee as my productivity continued to skyrocket with each conventional productivity rule I challenged that didn’t feel right for me,” Pang writes.

Sometimes simple works. We embraced that ideal here at Medium with changes that are coming soon to your reading experience. In our new update, we’ve reduced the visual clutter so that you can focus on the reading — or writing — experience. Most immediately you’ll see more abundant image sizing options return to our editing tool, and you will find a simpler way to view buttons (clap, share, bookmark) after you finish reading a post.

Writer Zulie Rane also offers a controversial suggestion for reducing your social media clutter: Stay active on only two sites. That’s it. Can you do it? Would you? Should you? If you feel strongly one way or the other, write about it and send me the link!

Thanks for reading and thanks for writing,
Adrienne Gibbs
Director, Creator Growth @ Medium

PS: Star Wars Day is May 4, so if nerding out in a galaxy far, far away is one of your obsessions, write about it and tag me in your comments. I’d love to read what you have to say.

Here’s what we’re reading this week…

Cleopatra VII: The Gift that Keeps on Giving” by Isis Naucratis, associate professor of Roman history at the University of Toronto, and an editor of ‘Everyday Orientalism’

Since the trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Queen Cleopatra documentary series was released, debates regarding who can claim the last Ptolemaic Queen of Egypt as theirs have been, once again, raging online.

Jean-Pierre LESUEUR (DarkCoderSc)

A Malware Retrospective: The Beast RAT” by Jean-Pierre LESUEUR (DarkCoderSc), security researcher and developer at Phrozen

In the past, malware (specifically between 1998 and 2009) was a far cry from the sophisticated threats we encounter today. The ethos of malware authors from that era was distinct from the current landscape; their primary objectives were to showcase their creativity and technical prowess through unique features and eye-catching designs.

Tucker Carson is Gone, but the Hate Remains” by Wajahat Ali, Daily Beast columnist and author of ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’

For the first time in his life, Tucker Carlson — the greatest modern ally of white nationalists, bigots, and conspiracy theorists — can’t whine against immigrants, Black people, feminists, or Muslims for his grievances. He can only blame his bosses.

‘Just Get a Babysitter’ — and Other Unhelpful Tips for Overwhelmed Parents” by Kerala Taylor, essayist

While “dinner and a movie” sounds low-key, it’s hard not to feel a little anxious. Since our date nights happen so rarely, and since we’re reliably at least 15 minutes behind schedule, time is tight and there’s no room for error.

Black Boys Can’t Make Mistakes in America” by Allison Wiltz, Editor-in-Chief of Cultured and founder of Writers and Editors of Color (WEOC) on Medium

Black boys can’t even ring the wrong doorbell in America without being met with cruelty and racism, and that’s a reflection of our society’s failure to confront racism and challenge racist beliefs.

MidJourney imagines a watercolor sketch of Rene Carmille, one of the first “ethical hackers” (via Robert Stribley)

Ethical Sabotage” by Robert Stribley, writer and creative director at Razorfish

What does the 1940s French Census under the Nazis have in common with an online form created by the state of Missouri in 2023?

From the archive: “When I’m Gone,” short fiction by Rafael Zoehler

I would always wait for the next moment, the next letter. The next lesson my father would teach me. It’s amazing what a 27-year-old man can teach to an 85-year-old senior like me.

Michelle Scorziello

Have You Unshackled a Verb Recently?” by Michelle Scorziello, writer and special needs teacher

Recommended by Maria Rattray in response to our last roundup: “This piece by Michelle Scorziello is a masterpiece of language dexterity. Go coin a word, or dare to use one that has slipped into obscurity. Your writing will be all the better for it.”

So much focus on the parts of words, I find myself toying with syllables, jigging them around. ‘Thinness,’ I say to myself. ‘Why not thinsome, thinity, thinious, thinacity?

What are you reading? Let us know in the responses. And if you’re inspired to write your own story, get started on Medium.

What We’re Reading” is a weekly roundup of insightful stories and perspectives from across Medium. Browse previous editions here.