youtube star john green

(P1) There’s this thing that really smart people do to themselves, where they convince themselves that they’re not as good as their peers and that their success really comes down to luck and faking it.

(P2) This feeling is called Imposter’s Syndrome. It’s particularly RAMPANT in the geek/hacker world, where intelligence of all kind is REVERED, genius coding is idolized, and famous genius coders have reputations for being insult-SPEWING dudes who DON’T SUFFER FOOLS GLADLY.

(P3) Many tech professionals are WORKING THEMSELVES INTO THE GROUND, feeling that in order to keep up the FACADE of being smart and skilled, they need to worker longer and harder.

(P4) So, here’s an interesting INSIGHT: Even some of the most successful people suffer from Impostor’s Syndrome. Since we first reported on Imposter Syndrome in the tech industry, we’ve noticed more BRAVE SOULS going public about their own battle.

(P5) On Thursday, another one confessed: author and YouTube star John Green.

(P6) Green is the author of best-selling novels “Looking for Alaska,” “Paper Towns” and “The Fault in Our Stars.”

(P7) Green is also known for his popular YouTube channel with his brother Hank, and his educational video channels Crash Course and Mental Floss. ALL TOLD, the Greens have a following of 10 million people across all their channels.

(P8) This guy has Imposter’s Syndrome? Yes.

(P9) When a recent grad student asked him if he ever had WRITER”S BLOCK and worried that he’d never write again, Green replied:

(P10) “I mean, I haven’t published a novel for three and a half years, so….yeah. I feel this way all the time. I have on COUNTLESS occasions felt that I am LITERALLY the worst writer on Earth, and that I am a complete FRAUD. I feel like a fraud all the time, and I still don’t feel like I know how to write a novel, and at this point I doubt I ever will. The only way through it for me is to take pleasure in the process of writing, or to find value in it. Even when I suck. Even when there’s no way anything I’m writing will ever see the light of day. The act of trying to write for an audience must feel valuable in and of itself, or else I am DOOMED.”

(P11) As another Imposter’s Syndrome sufferer once advised: The trick to making these terrifying feelings of INSECURITY go away, even temporarily, is to talk about it and discover you are not alone.

(P12) Which means if we’re all really “faking” our way to success, maybe even greatness, how fake can we really be?

WORDS: 430



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you follow any video channels on YouTube or elsewhere on the Internet?
  3. John Green’s video style is based partly on SELF-DEPRECATING humor. Do you think he is being serious when he says that he feels like a fraud?
  4. Many people say that in business, you sometimes have to “FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.” Have you ever had this experience?
  5. In what area of your life do you feel that you have made the most improvement?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Doesn’t suffer fools gladly
  • Work yourself into the ground
  • Brave soul
  • All told
  • Writer’s block
  • Self-deprecating
  • Fake it till you make it

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