What We’re Reading: Raising good humans, AI-generated twins, and new year’s resolutions that stick
It’s 2023, and we’re back with another edition of What We’re Reading — a handpicked selection of first-person perspectives, expert insights, and practical wisdom from across the Mediumverse.
In this edition: a screenwriter and mom learns to let go of perfectionism; the directors of Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence teach the art of self-awareness; National Novel Writing Month’s leader makes an impassioned argument for reading; and much more.
Found a story more people should be reading? Let us know! Share a link in the responses and tell us how it helped you learn something new or expand your perspective.
Happy new year, and happy reading.
“The Aura of AI-Generated Art” by Nettrice Gaskins, digital artist, academic, and cultural critic
The top image was created from image and text prompts in Midjourney. I wanted to experiment with the idea of ‘twins’: Can a machine create twins that look alike but are also different from each other?
“Raise Good Humans” by Mindy Stern, screenwriter and essayist, in Human Parts
Those words changed my parenting and my life. My parents never said them to me and I had never said them to myself: “Trust yourself to figure it out. You will be fine, trust that. Trust that you can handle whatever comes your way.”
“Struggling to Read” by Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month and co-founder of 100-Word Story
It turns out we are not only what we read. We are *how* we read. That’s because typically when you read, you have more time to think — you pause to comprehend and reflect — whereas reading on screens trains us to skim, exacerbating whatever attention span challenges we already have.
“What is the hardest thing in software development?” by Denilson Nastacio, operations architect and software engineer
Our knowledge comes from experiencing and interpreting the reality around us. With software, we build worlds, virtual ones. I don’t mean virtual worlds in the sense of meta-universes. I mean virtual worlds in our minds.
“There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Emotion” by Marc Brackett, Ph.D. and Robin Stern, PhD at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
From an emotional intelligence perspective, all emotions are information. They are cues, signals — telling us to approach or avoid, to stay or to go. Fear is neither a desirable feeling nor a pleasant one, but it gets you out of the way when a fly ball is coming at your head, or a big spider is crawling toward you.
“How senior product managers think differently” by Debbie Widjaja, product leader and coach, in IRL Product
You don’t always have to use the most advanced tool just to look smart, or to prove that you operate like a senior product manager. If the cost of thinking is higher than the cost of building, just build and ship it. The market will tell you if you’re right.
“Every Book I Read in 2022, With Commentary” by Elisa Gabbert, poet, essayist, and author of “The Unreality of Memory”
This got me thinking about a certain mode in literature that I love, a literature of desperation, where the “sentences” per se don’t really matter — it doesn’t matter if the sloppiness is Knausgaard’s or the translator’s, because the formal concerns are not sentence-level, the point is volume and speed, like a waterfall, or vomit, and any meaninglessness at the micro-level still serves the macro-level meaning: the whole point of a life story is that it must be told, now, before it’s too late, and the life story contains all of the life.
“20 Entertaining Uses of ChatGPT You Never Knew Were Possible” by Mark Schaefer, marketing strategy expert
You have a guest speaker coming to your event and you are going to want to ask questions from the audience…have ChatGPT pre-generate some of the questions for you. The moderator can say, “And here’s a question for you from our AI?”
From the archive: “The Slacker’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions That Stick” by Jake Knapp, designer and author of “Sprint” and “Make Time,” in Make Time
My New Year’s Resolutions used to fail every time. For example, I set a resolution to “Exercise more.” I vaguely imagined running marathons and wearing headbands. Then in January, I took a two or three long runs and forgot about the resolution. It was sorta like that every year. Then one year I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and was quite taken by this line: “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”