The Reading List – December 2019

Merry Christmas and happy holidays one and all! If you’re still in the office, then hopefully you have a depleted workload and your colleagues are too hungover to notice you scrolling through our end of year reading list. We’ve made this an extra long one as a special holiday treat just for you. Enjoy honorary Octopedes.       

The Deep Sea (Neal Agarwal, Neal.fun)
Ocean fans will absolutely love this scroll-able bit of content. It gives amazing perspective of the ocean depths and the creatures who live there, but it’s also a great idea for a web page that uses layout and formatting to its advantage.  

The surprising psychology behind being rich (Sophia Ahmadi, animated by Anne Calandre, BBC Reel)

This BBC video looks to explain how wealth affects our psyche. Chris Ryan, the author of ‘Civilized to Death: the price of progress’, argues that the greater the wealth differential, the lesser the empathy that the wealthier person appears to feel. For example, more expensive cars are less likely to stop for an old lady crossing the street. Yikes. 

52 things I learned in 2019 (Tom Whitwell, Medium)

Tom Whitwell created this list of 52 totally random, really interesting things you can learn before the year is out. For example, did you know that Baijiu is the world’s most popular spirit, with 10bn litres sold each year, almost entirely in China. The second most popular spirit in the world is vodka, with just 5bn litres sold.

WWF footprint calculator

Looking for a little self-improvement in 2020? Why not start with your environmental footprint. This questionnaire by non-profit World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) lets you calculate the impact that your day-to-day actions have on the planet. It helps those of us looking to cut back where we can, or at least be more aware, this new year.

Airbnb wants to inspire Chinese youths to retrace their traditional roots (Shawn Lim, The Drum)

In this beautifully made video, Airbnb asks Chinese youngsters to reconnect with their roots. The brand is diversifying into experiences as well as accommodation, and the Lost & Found campaign, created by Mother, showcases some of the 40 cultural heritage experiences available in the Chinese cities of Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Qiandongnan.

Tinder reveals the top trends for dating bios in 2019 (Laura Abernethy, Metro)

It’s the answer to the question you didn’t know you had: what were Tinder’s top trends in 2019? This list includes popular themes from Tinder-based chats and profiles, including Greggs, Lizzo and veganism. There’s also been an uptick in LGBTQ users: 30% more people used the More Genders feature this year and use of the rainbow emoji was up 15% globally, though that may have had something to do with the Pride anniversary.

How YouTube Is Damaging Young Creators’ Minds and What We Can Do About It (Christopher Bingham, Medium)

What’s it like to be a YouTuber? This essay looks at the potential fallout, from censorship to navigating the algorithm and the toxic relationship between YouTube and creators. Christopher Bingham advocates following your creative vision, and advocating for greater transparency. 

For more great reads, check out November’s reading list