Top Medium Stories By Year
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. You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry.
A post is making rounds on social media, in response to the Women’s March on Saturday, January 21, 2017. It starts with…medium.com
2. Trial Balloon for a Coup?
3. The Immigration Ban is a Headfake, and We’re Falling For It
When I read about the incredibly active first week of the Trump administration, I struggle with two competing…medium.com
4. To Christy on Facebook, who doesn’t need the Women’s March
In response to the millions of women who marched yesterday, there’s a Facebook rebuttal going around by a woman named…medium.com
5. Renewing Medium’s focus
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
”Somebody once told me the definition of hell:medium.com
2. History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump
PS: December 2016. I reference this article is here, as 2016 comes to a nasty end.medium.com
3. Fuck You Startup World
4. The Two Minutes It Takes To Read This Will Improve Your Writing Forever
You’re busy, so I’ll keep this quick.medium.com
6. How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization
7. Let Me Remind You Fuckers Who I Am
8. How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes.medium.com
9. Dear Democrats, Read This If You Do Not Understand Why Trump Won
Trump Is What Happens When You Nominate A Cheater and Live In An Echo Chamber — Please Learn From Thismedium.com
10. What are people working on in coffee shops?
This year was defined by the victory of same-sex marriage, the  Fight of the Century, Justin Trudeau, the Syrian Crisis, and Amy Schumer
1. The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New
There is absolutely no excuse for you not to master a new skill, expand your knowledge, or eventually boost your career…entrepreneurs.maqtoob.com
2. 8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.
3. When I’m Gone
Death is always a surprise. No one expects it. Not even terminal patients think they are going to die in a day or two…byrslf.co
4. HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT IN 4 EASY STEPS
I’ve spent the past year losing 80 lbs and getting in shape. A lot of people have been asking me how I did it…medium.com
About 12 years ago, I co-founded a startup called Basecamp: A simple project collaboration tool that helps people make…m.signalvnoise.com
6. Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce
How Slack stole a multi-billion dollar market by becoming everyone’s favorite sassy robot sidekick.medium.com
7. 7 Rejections
On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to 7 prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were…medium.com
8. I sat down with a millionaire who operates 10 businesses while sailing around the world with his family
This is what he told meentrepreneurshandbook.co
9. There is something extraordinary happening in the world
Most of us haven’t quite realized there is something extraordinary happening.medium.com
10. +300 Awesome Free Things for Entrepreneurs and Startups
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. How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up
Finally the SMS arrived:medium.com
2. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Be More Productive, Backed by Science
Work Hard, Work Smartmedium.com
3. Stock photos that don’t suck
A list of places to find the best free stock photos
Finding great stock photos is a pain.medium.com
4. Advice from 30 year old me to 20 year old me
5. 10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings
Here are my ten favorite tricks for quickly appearing smart during meetings.medium.com
6. The Crossroads of Should and Must
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 …medium.com
7. 7 Rules for Creating Gorgeous UI (Part 1)
8. How to Be Polite
9. How a Password Changed My Life
10. Junior Designers vs. Senior Designers
The top topics of 2013 include Pope Francis, Harlem Shake, the Boston Marathon bombings, the royal baby, the Snowden Leaks, and Miley Cyrus
1. McDonald’s Theory
I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas.medium.com
2. The Evolution of a Software Engineer
3. Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito:
Have you ever been to Earth?
On Earth, we use the word “burrito” to describe a tortilla filled with things you eat.medium.com
4. A Manager’s Manifesto
5. Transitional Interfaces
Designers love to sweat the details. Much time is spent pixel-fucking buttons, form styles, setting type, & getting…medium.com
6. Creative People Say No
A Hungarian psychology professor once wrote to famous creators asking them to be interviewed for a book he was writing.medium.com
7. How To Be Happy
8. (tie) Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code
And what I’ve learned from teaching othersmedium.freecodecamp.com
8. (tie) ABC: Always Be Coding
8. (tie) Postmortem of a Venture-backed Startup
When it all started…
1. Welcome to Medium
2. Formula for Entrepreneurial Success
3. What I Learned Building Medium (So Far)
As of November 2012
We’re now eight months into building Medium, having started in earnest in February of this year.medium.com
4. The Spark File
Looking back at all the tools and techniques that I've developed over the years as a writer, it occurs to me that most…medium.com
5. Twitter Bootstrap
6. (tie) Why I love Twitter and barely tolerate Facebook
For the past decade, I’ve tried every new social media product to come along but I find myself returning to the two…medium.com
6. (tie) The importance of selling your vision
As the founder of Digg it was my job to drive the product vision through design, development, and finally into the…medium.com
8. The only metric that matters
I've been lucky to be part of the early growth of several really interesting and now important networks including…medium.com
9. The abundance of slowness
Learning to value smart work over hard work requires a paradigm shift, but pays dividends.medium.com
10. Being Obvious
Great ideas are Obvious in retrospect.
The Obvious Corporation is more of a philosophy than a company or product.medium.com
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.
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.