What We’re Reading: The psychology of self-esteem, game design for beginners, and the art of receiving feedback

A few Medium stories you may have missed recently

Medium Staff
The Medium Blog


We’re back with another roundup of knowledge and insights from across Medium. As ever, we believe the best ideas can change who we are — how we live, work, and understand the world. We also know many of those ideas are hiding beneath the surface of Medium. So, we’re spotlighting a small portion of the stories that resonated with us (and with many of you) recently. Hopefully, you’ll find a few new favorites. And in case you missed it, here’s our previous roundup.

In this edition: a former design VP at Facebook unpacks how to make decisions based on data; a clinical psychologist explains how humans build self-confidence; an artist urges us to follow our instincts; and much more.

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

— Medium Staff

Julie Zhuo

The Data-Informed Manifesto” by Julie Zhuo, former product design VP at Facebook and author of ‘The Making of a Manager’

Data does not substitute for a mission or a strategy. It cannot uncover a set of values. Metrics are merely proxies for what matters.

Four Fs That Make a Freakin’ Difference” by Steven C. Hayes, clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada

If you dig into the literature on self-efficacy, you will see that your actions affect your beliefs as much or more than your beliefs affect your actions. The late Al Bandura, father of self-efficacy, predicted this in his concept of reciprocal determinism. As a consequence, rather than focusing on only changing your beliefs, you are better served by focusing especially on changing your actions that feed that belief.

Running Twitter Isn’t Rocket Science. It’s Harder.” by Clive Thompson, tech, science, and culture writer

You’d need to have, or at least need to have staff who possess, a deep understanding of psychology, history, and philosophy. Political science and civics, too. A solid grounding in the sociology of groups large and small would also be crucial.

Ben Snyder

My kids designed a game and this is what I learned” by Ben Snyder, product designer, in UX Collective

When I explained to Owen that many folks might not be able to read rainbow-colored buttons, he argued that it was his game and he preferred the gradients.

How to Pull Off a Personal Annual Review” by Yi Shun Lai, diversity and inclusion educator, in Human Parts

It’s almost the end of the year. It’s nearing that time when we arbitrarily decide we’re going to turn over a new leaf; start a new great habit. But so many of us embark on this process without once considering our baseline — where we’re starting from. I want to introduce you to a process I’ve used the past couple of years, one I really like. It’s such a pain-free process, but it’s also a remarkably revealing look at what matters to you, and your life.

You Are Not Your Name” by indi.ca, writer, in Momentum

I have fallen into the self-colonized trap of shortening my own name, for other’s convenience. For white people’s convenience. We frequently apologize for our ‘long’ names like there’s something wrong. For my time in America, I went by the name Jit. Then in Canada, I went by Indi. I’ve only started using my longer name now, at age 40.

David Milgrim

Living and Dying in the Attention Economy” by David Milgrim, cartoonist

It’s easy to miss just how pervasive a deficit of attention and belonging can be in our own lives. We may believe that we’re simply in pursuit of money, position, or awards, but what we really need is just the assurance from our peers that lets us know we are liked, included, and safe.

The Art of Receiving Feedback” by Andrea Mignolo, coach, advisor, and designer, in method & matter

Imagine there is a plate between you and person sharing feedback. As they speak, imagine their words going onto the plate, where you can examine them. This visualization keeps the words external, allows you to see what is being shared, and to look at it more objectively.

How physics and a video game trick forever changed the NASCAR Championships” by Ethan Siegel, science communicator and astrophysicist, in Starts With a Bang!

On October 30, 2022 — in a scene that might seem to come straight out of a video game — NASCAR driver Ross Chastain did the seemingly unthinkable: he floored the accelerator through the race’s final turn, deliberately losing control of his vehicle in the process. Because of the specific way he executed this maneuver, however, he didn’t experience a catastrophic crash; he leapt up the leaderboard, climbing from 10th place to 5th.

From the archive: “The Crossroads of Should and Must” by elle luna, writer and artist

This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot…

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