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Every time a Reader finishes an article, it gets boosted in the universal algorithm. On a daily basis, articles compete for the coveted AOTD (Article of the Day) trophy and once a year we announce the ultimate winners, the Articles of the Year.

As we did last year, we broke the list into three sections (based on length, shown as estimated reading time) and cut it off after the top 5 in each category. Without further ado, the winners:

Short (15 mins or less)

Fuck the Bread. The Bread Is Over.

Sabrina Orah Mark in The Paris Review

What does it mean to be worth something? Or worth enough? Or worthless? What does it mean to earn a living?

The real Lord of the Flies꞉ what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months

Rutger Bregman in The Guardian

When a group of schoolboys were marooned on an island in 1965, it turned out very differently to William Golding’s bestseller, writes Rutger Bregman

The restaurant owner who asked for 1-star Yelp reviews

Zachary Crockett in The Hustle

How one small business owner flipped the online review ecosystem on its head.

How to identify The Most Important Thing

Alex Danco

As we go through life, we encounter situations from time to time where we need to make a decision about something complex. Planning a product development roadmap? Navigating a tricky interpersonal …

I have the coronavirus. So far, it isn’t that bad.

Carl Goldman in The Washington Post

When I left home for a cruise in January, I never imagined that I’d catch a novel virus and be confined for more than 24 days.

Medium (15-30 mins)

‘It’s bullshit’꞉ Inside the weird, get-rich-quick world of dropshipping

Sirin Kale in WIRED

In Bali, western immigrants are selling products they’ve never handled, from countries they’ve never visited, to consumers they’ve never met

How to Remember What You Read

Farnam Street

The benefits of reading are negated if you don’t remember what you read. This article discusses a tested system to increase retention.

I Think You’re Fat

A.J. Jacobs in Esquire

This story is about something called Radical Honesty. It may change your life. (But honestly, we don’t really care.)

The Agonizing Last Words of Programmer Bill Zeller

Joel Johnson on Gizmodo

Bill Zeller was a talented programmer whose work we’ve featured on Lifehacker. He took his own life on Sunday and left an explanation that I think it’s important you read.

The Children of Pornhub

Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times

Why does Canada allow this company to profit off videos of exploitation and assault?

Long (30 mins or more)

My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore?

Gabrielle Hamilton in The New York Times

Forced to shutter Prune, I’ve been revisiting my original dreams for it — and wondering if there will still be a place for it in the New York of the future.

How the Pandemic Will End

Ed Yong in The Atlantic

The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.

Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong

Michael Hobbes in The Huffington Post

For decades, the medical community has ignored mountains of evidence to wage a cruel and futile war on fat people, poisoning public perception and ruining millions of lives. It’s time for a new paradigm.

To Run My Best Marathon at Age 44, I Had to Outrun My Past

Nicholas Thompson in WIRED

After 20 years of long-distance competition, I ran my fastest. All it took was tech, training, and a new understanding of my life.

The Dead Zone

Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker

Malcolm Gladwell on the Spanish-flu epidemic of 1918, which reached virtually every country, as the First World War came to an end, killing between twenty and forty million people.

Congratulations to all the winners! And double congratulations to WIRED and The New York Times for winning twice in one year.