The 2018 List

2018 was full of lessons. One of the biggest was to never be shy about telling someone their work inspired you. It’s a simple, yet completely under-utilized tactic. Throughout the year I heard stories of my blog being helpful to people in their own journey. Sounds silly, but unless someone tells you, the person on the other side may never know. These stories touched me, so I made it a point to be better about sharing what’s helped and inspired me. Sometimes this may mean sending an email to say thanks (with no expectations of a response), or sharing a discovery online with an @ tag. So simple, but goes so far.

Inspired by Barack Obama’s annual lists, I decided to cook up my own. (You can see his list on Instagram.) This is by no means everything I consumed, just the stand outs. Here they are in no particular order.


  • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
  • Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton
  • Becoming Michelle Obama
  • DO/Story by Bobette Buster
  • DO/Listen by Bobette Buster
  • The User’s Journey by Donna Lichaw
  • The Culture Map by Erin Meyer
  • Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
  • Practical Design Discovery by Dan Brown
  • Atomic Design by Brad Frost
  • Content Design by Sarah Richards
  • Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz
  • Radical Candor by Kim Scott
  • Mismatch by Kat Holmes
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow


  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor (documentary)
  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg (documentary)
  • Le Grand Bain (to be released as Sink or Swim in English)
  • BlackKklansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • A Star is Born
  • The Good Place
  • Hamilton  (West End)
  • John Paul Gaultier FREAK SHOW (Folies Bergere)


  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Michelle Obama
  • Kara Swisher
  • Erika Hall
  • Bobette Buster
  • Adam Grant
  • Jocelyn Glei
  • Amélie Lamont
  • Dana Chisnell
  • Lin Manuel-Miranda
  • Kat Holmes
  • Jared Spool
  • Deesha Dyer
  • Stacey Abrams
  • Marie Forleo
  • Everyone on Queer Eye
  • Wendy MacNaugton
  • John Maeda
  • Lauren Collins
  • Atul Gawande
  • Kylian Mbappé
  • Chromat


  • Hurry Slowly with Jocelyn Glei
  • Design Matters with Debbie Millman
  • Letters from a Hopeful Creative with Jen Carrington and Sara Tasker
  • Marie Forleo
  • Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
  • Beautiful Anonymous with Chris Gethard
  • What’s Wrong with UX with Laura Klein and Kate Rutter
  • Good Company with Grace Bonney
  • Raise Your Hand and Say Yes with Tiffany Han
  • Work Life with Adam Grant
  • How I Built This with Guy Raz
  • Mixed Methods
  • Radical Candor with Kim Scott and Russ Laraway
  • Wireframe with Khoi Vinh
  • Voice of Design with Mule Design
  • The Design of Business, the Business of Design
  • Nouvelle Ecole


  • Hamilton soundtrack on repeat

5 lessons I learned this year

  1. Gratitude goes far. Tell people that you appreciate the work they do. 
  2. Work smarter, not harder. Step away from the computer.
  3. When you don’t know how to do something, learn it.
  4. Have confidence in the work you do. (It may take seeing someone else doing it sub-par to fully appreciate what you do well.)
  5. Don’t try to do it alone.Build your support team.

Image is my 2018 best nine on Instagram: @pretavoyager. I’ve shared many links that refer to the names on the list above in past newsletters — check out the archives + sign up! For more lessons, check out my new-ish biz blog. You may enjoy this post with tips for coming up for a word of the year. Thanks so much for being part of my journey ✨


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