What We’re Reading: Your recommendations from across Medium
Storytelling tips, a child actor’s secrets, a marriage in transition, and more
Every day, thousands of writers turn to Medium to share first-person perspectives, practical wisdom, poetry, illustration, and more. Here, anyone with a powerful story to tell can potentially reach thousands (or millions) of people, helping us learn about ourselves and each other.
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. This week, we’re sharing recommendations from readers, writers, and publication editors across the platform — including some of your responses to our previous roundups. Hopefully, you’ll find a few new favorites.
Read on for: a veteran game designer’s masterclass in storytelling; a humor writer roasting Airbnb; an entrepreneur’s honest take on startup life; and more.
As always, we want to know what you’re reading. Found something great? Share a link in the responses and tell us why you enjoyed it.
— Harris Sockel and the team @ Medium
“The Secret Ingredient to Telling a Good Story” by GB ‘Doc’ Burford, narrative designer and game design consultant
A lot of people want stories to be, essentially, mathematical formulas: plug this value into this formula, get an expected result. Unfortunately, stories are emotional tools that humans created for emotional reasons. Feelings aren’t super rational, and hoping to simplify the act of storytelling into plugging and playing won’t work. It’s an entirely gut-driven process, and that means the only way to get truly good at it is to just… develop the gut.
“Grinding Isn’t the Key to Success, But a Good Therapist Might Be” by Louis Byrd, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Zanago
Is grit necessary for success? I used to think so, but not anymore. It took an anxiety attack, a bout of high-functioning depression, and seeking the help of a therapist for me to realize how damaging my acceptance of “grit” had been to my mental well-being.
“Relax in Our Fragile Airbnb” by James Klein in humor publication Slackjaw
Recommended in Yapjaw, Slackjaw’s newsletter, as one of the publication’s most-read stories of 2022.
Now that you’re here, it’s time to relax. Smell the air. Breathe the sun. Pick the dust from your teeth. You are about to experience the unique solitude of the California desert, with only the cactus, the wind, and the other hastily built rental properties around you.
“The Second-Fastest Land Animal Still Runs From Ghosts” by Joelle Marlin, nature lover and paleoartist
Recommended by fantasy writer E. Ardincaple in a response to our previous roundup: “A favorite writer I’ve recently discovered on here is Joelle Marlin — she often writes about prehistory with a focus on prehistoric animals, and she does an excellent job sourcing her articles and adding visual interest with her own art and AI art!”
There’s a surprising Pleistocene holdover still running around the American West […] The pronghorn can run so fast today because they are still adapted to fleeing the American cheetah. In effect, they are running from ghosts.
“Your Job Isn’t Meant to Make You Happy. Let’s Find Fulfillment Outside of Work.” by lisa Schmidt, professional coach
Expecting our jobs to be elixirs for the soul is pointless and sets a lot of us up for disappointment, or a never-ending search for an imagined dream job. Conversely, being realistic about what a job can do for your desire for meaning is critical, unless part of you is secretly happier when feeling disgruntled.
“Did Star Trek Predict the Future of UX?” by Daley Wilhelm, fiction writer turned UX writer, in UX Collective
Obviously, our technology has surpassed that of the 20th century. How close are we to the 24th-century tech as shown in Star Trek? Certainly when it comes to space travel and medical miracles, we’re a couple centuries off. But what about the everyday stuff — voice user interfaces and graphic user interfaces?
Andor takes every major complaint I have historically had about the Star Wars series and addresses them head-on. It depicts fascism not as the actions of one or two evil Chessmasters but as a banal system uplifted by government and corporate bureaucrats falling over themselves to be cogs within it.
“Married and Transgender: When One Partner Transitions, The Other Does Too” by Kathryn J Redman in Prism & Pen
Recommended by Prism & Pen editor James Finn in his weekly newsletter, The Digest: “Despite Christian business owners scheming to mistreat their trans employees, transgender people carry on with lives of love and dignity. In this story, a late-transitioning trans woman lets us peek into her loving marriage.”
I knew I was transitioning my body to match my heart and mind. But for my wife, I forced a transition of her heart and mind about me. I knew she had the harder job. Reflecting on it now, I think there were many factors that contributed to our survival as a couple.
Recommended by writer and editor Sally Prag in the Age of Empathy newsletter: “There really have been some beautiful, some heartfelt, and some extremely powerful essays published here during December, even into the quiet times. Or perhaps more so, with time for greater introspection. Here are some that really stood out.”
Being a cute kid who looked 5 years younger than he was got him in the door. There’s been a lot of right kid at the right place child actors. What set my father apart from the cattle call kids was he could act.