The forest in the rain. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

What We’re Reading: What’s the most useful feedback you’ve ever received?

Medium Staff
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readSep 22, 2023


Dear Medium reader,

No matter where you sit on the manager-managed work continuum, Sundial co-founder, data scientist and author Julie Zhuo offers insight into making the most of it. In her piece on ego, management and work, she details a young Julie, constantly asking her manager for the same thing. She then writes: “Eventually, he said this to me: Focus foremost on making the company successful, and the rest will follow.”

Where do you sit with this advice?

Also, a few weeks ago The Edition editors asked you to write about happiness and what it means to you. A lot of you responded. Robin Christine Honigsberg penned a piece about what would make her happy: better relationships. “I have a family,” she writes. “They just want nothing to do with me.” Writer Barbara Roy juxtaposed the hardships of her grandparents with the memories of them being happy people. “Can a person suffer and be happy?” she writes. “Can a person be prosperous yet feel hopeless?”

And last, a reader named Arne responded via email to say this: “Happiness is making others happy… It is not about what you have or what you want to have (numerous studies have confirmed this), so it has to be a state. It’s a virtuous circle, in that others you make happy will most likely try to make you happy too.”

Between work, ego and happiness, this is all a lot to think about — and to write about. As always, if you have insights into any or all of these topics, tag me in to your Medium post. I’d love to read what you have to say.

See you on Medium.

Adrienne Gibbs
Director of Creator Growth @ Medium

Your Weekend Reads

The Disturbing Colonial History of Pumpkin Spice” by Thomas Smith, CEO of Gado Images

What most people don’t realize, though, is that there’s a dark colonial past behind this seemingly modern, carefree flavor. It includes slavery, corruption, and genocide. You may never look at a pumpkin spice coffee the same way again.

Mastering the Art of Rain Photography” by Anne Bonfert, photographer and skydiving instructor, in Full Frame

The land is still as the sounds are dampened. I can hear a few birds chirping in the forest. I’d love to catch a glimpse of them but don’t put my hopes up too high as I know they’re hiding too. From the rain. Rain isn’t sadness. It simply means the earth laughed so hard it cried.

When round meets spiky. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

The Top GIFs and Clips From the 2023 VMAs” by GIPHY, social internet giant and GIF search engine

TL;DR: a lot happened at this year’s VMA ceremony, which we covered live on the official VMAs GIPHY channel. Here’s a recap of the top GIFs and Clips from the 2023 VMAs.

GIF from the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards

Why a Titanium iPhone 15 Pro is a Bigger Deal Than You Think” by The Useful Tech, Apple enthusiast, in Mac O’Clock

So, the fact that titanium is not just a strong material but also a great blend of beauty, durability, and practicality is more than enough to make it the primary choice of the upcoming pro iPhones, don’t you think?

I Went Viral This Summer and I‘ve Been an Anxious Mess Ever Since” by Bernie’s Daughter, writer, podcaster, and daughter comedian Bernie Mac

I brace myself for a scathing comment each time I receive a notification from my social media accounts. The flames of my anxiety are fanned each time I don’t receive it. As far as I’m concerned, people love to prop you up so that they can knock you back down. I’d rather stay down so that they can eliminate the middle step.

Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

How to Build Intentional UX in an Era of Persuasive Technology” by Emily Yorgey, UX/UI designer, in UX Collective

The question that tugs at my conscience is this: Where does persuasive UX end and manipulative UX begin? And therefore; how do we achieve long-term user engagement without it being exploitative?

What have you been reading this week? Let us know in the responses.

Inspired to write? Get started.

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