Top Medium Stories By Year

Michael D
Startup Grind
Published in
12 min readFeb 5, 2017


Medium is brimming with amazing content. I’ve read stories that taught me something new, changed my mind, made me laugh out loud, and brought tears to my eye.

To celebrate Medium, I decided to make a list of the most recommended stories by year.

The first reason is that I want to revisit phenomenal stories written in the past. The algorithmic feed does a good job of resurfacing older stories, but it’s not 100% foolproof.

The second reason is I wanted to see if Medium changed over time. To do this, I looked at the 50 most recommended stories of every year.

If there’s enough interest in this list, I’ll continue to update it over time.

Without further ado, here’s the Medium Hall of Fame!


Here’s to a great year! It can only get better from here right? right??

1. Something is wrong on the internet

James Bridle

2. Our redesign of Medium’s Claps…and why they may not have chosen to do it this way.

Jason Li

3. The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment

Anne Victoria Clark

4. How I (re)built the Medium clap effect — and what I got out of the experiment.

Ohans Emmanuel

5. NEO versus Ethereum: Why NEO might be 2018’s strongest cryptocurrency

Noam Levenson

6. Advice From A 19 Year Old Girl & Software Developer

Lydia Hallie

7. We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made.

Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton

8. How I Hacked 40 Websites in 7 minutes

Georgios Konstantopoulos


Luke Trayser

10. You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.

Tony Robinson


The year of Trump, Simone Biles, Pokemon Go, Zika, the Warriors’ bittersweet season, Lemonade, Brexit, scary clowns, and the end of Brangelina </3

1. 13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful

Zdravko Cvijetic

2. This Is Your Life in Silicon Valley

Sunil Rajaraman

3. How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016

Jose Aguinaga

4. What it’s like to be that fat person sitting next to you on the plane.

Your Fat Friend

5. The Two Minutes It Takes To Read This Will Improve Your Writing Forever

Josh Spector

6. Design Better Forms

Andrew Coyle

7. Fuck You Startup World


8. Get your Paytm KYC done, store up to Rs. 1 Lakh and avail other benefits


9. How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist

Tristan Harris

10. History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump

Tobias Stone


This year was defined by the victory of same-sex marriage, the [2015] Fight of the Century, Justin Trudeau, the Syrian Crisis, and Amy Schumer

1. The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New

Kristyna Z.

2. Living and Dying on Airbnb

Zak Stone



4. When I’m Gone

Rafael Zoehler

5. Why Product Thinking is the next big thing in UX Design

Nikkel Blaase


Aaron Bleyaert

7. 7 Rejections

Brian Chesky

8. Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce

Andrew Wilkinson

9. 10 Interview Questions Every JavaScript Developer Should Know

Eric Elliott

10. I sat down with a millionaire who operates 10 businesses while sailing around the world with his family

Dave Schools


In 2014, we got Ellen’s Oscar selfie, the Ice Bucket Challenge, Ebola, Pharrell’s hat, a vanished airliner, Kim Kardashian’s behind, and Frozen

1. Machine Learning is Fun!

Adam Geitgey

2. 10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings

Sarah Cooper

3. Today I Learned Something about My Boyfriend That No Girl Should Ever Have to Discover

andrew costa

4. How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up

Ali Mese

5. Sex Is Sex. But Money Is Money.

Svetlana Z

6. How to Be Polite

Paul Ford

7. 7 Rules for Creating Gorgeous UI (Part 1)

Erik D. Kennedy

8. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Be More Productive, Backed by Science

CamMi Pham

9. Stock photos that don’t suck

Dustin Senos ✌️

10. The Crossroads of Should and Must

elle luna


The top topics of 2013 include Pope Francis, Harlem Shake, the Boston Marathon bombings, the royal baby, the Snowden Leaks, and Miley Cyrus

1. Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito:

Jack Dire

2. The Evolution of a Software Engineer

Sean Hickey

3. ABC: Always Be Coding

David Byttow

4. McDonald’s Theory

Jon Bell

5. Transitional Interfaces

Pasquale D’Silva

6. The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism

Maia Szalavitz

7. A Manager’s Manifesto

Julie Zhuo

8. Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code

Cecily Carver

9. A Product Manager’s Job

Josh Elman

10. Creative People Say No

Kevin Ashton


When it all started…

1. Welcome to Medium

Ev Williams

2. Formula for Entrepreneurial Success

Ev Williams

3. What I Learned Building Medium (So Far)

Ev Williams

4. The Spark File

Steven Johnson

5. Twitter Bootstrap


6. The only metric that matters

Josh Elman

7. (tie) Why I love Twitter and barely tolerate Facebook

Matt Haughey

7. (tie) The importance of selling your vision

Kevin Rose

7. (tie) The abundance of slowness

Matt Steel

10. Being Obvious

Biz Stone

How Medium evolved over time


To look at how Medium changed over the years, I compiled the 50 most recommended stories of every year from 2013 to 2016.

Most popular topics

Stories about tech, entrepreneurship, design, and life lessons/self improvement have consistently dominated. It’s pretty interesting to see the rise of stories about politics in 2016, and the gradual decline of stories about culture and humor.

However, tags aren’t always an accurate way of categorizing stories. This is just a casual look into what some of the most popular are on Medium over the years.

Average length in minutes

The average length of highly recommended stories hovers around 7 minutes. That hasn’t changed over Medium’s lifespan. 2014 was a bit of an anomaly though…maybe everyone just felt like waxing poetic that year.

How many stories are part of a publication?

Most of the top stories are in a publication, and that number has increased year over year. No surprises there — publications expose your stories to massive audiences. Writers piggyback on these audiences to help their stories go viral. Expect the number of top stories added to publications to keep rising.

Top publications

The top publications are pretty diverse, with Other being the largest category every year. It’s pretty interesting to see the rise of The Mission and Free Code Camp in recent years. The Startup has also been a consistent performer, showing up every year except 2015.

This article is updated as of January 2017. My lists for 2012 and 2013 might not be 100% accurate since Medium didn’t have the “Top Stories” page back then. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.

How I found the 50 most recommended stories of every year

On September 10 2014, Medium added the “Top Stories” page. I searched through all the “Top Stories” pages for every date up to the present and compiled all the stories into a list.

Between May 2013 and September 2014, Medium had a “Top 100” stories page for every month. I compiled all the stories in those pages into my list as well.

It was pretty hard to find the most recommended stories before May 2013. I looked through popular collections, frontpage picks, and publication archives to find the earliest top stories.

Shout out to Dave Schools’ article from 2015, which gave me the idea to do this in the first place.