The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Bella Finca dark roast coffee, grab a seat in the massage chair, and get ready for our longer form weekend reads:
• The Untold Story of How Jeff Bezos Beat the Tabloids When a gossip rag went after the CEO, he retaliated with the brutal, brilliant efficiency he used to build his business empire. In an exclusive excerpt from the new book Amazon Unbound comes an unrivaled tale of money, sex, and power. (Businessweek)
• ‘I’d Never Been Involved in Anything as Secret as This’ The effort to track and execute Osama bin Laden, which took place 10 years ago this weekend, was the most closely held operational secret in modern American history—a highly sensitive, politically fraught and physically risky mission that involved breaching the sovereign territory of a purported U.S. ally to target an icon of international violence and terror. The plan to kill Osama bin Laden as told by the people in the room. (Politico)
• The Lithium Gold Rush: Inside the Race to Power Electric Vehicles The fight over the Nevada mine is emblematic of a fundamental tension surfacing around the world: Electric cars and renewable energy may not be as green as they appear. Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people. A race is on to produce lithium in the United States, but competing projects are taking very different approaches to extracting the vital raw material. Some might not be very green. (New York Times)
• Imagining the Next 100 Years in Business, Science, and Investing A hundred years ago, when Clarence Barron founded Barron’s, it was impossible to imagine the world we inhabit today. The birth of television was six years in the future. Computers, smartphones, the internet, the Dow Jones industrials at 34,000—all would have seemed preposterous to Clarence and his contemporaries. How should investors think about the next 100 years? How should they prepare for the next five or 10? Here’s our centennial conversation. (Barron’s)
• How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously For decades, flying saucers were a punch line. Then the U.S. government got over the taboo. The idea that aliens had frequented our planet had been circulating among ufologists since the postwar years. In the summer of 1947, an alien spaceship was said to have crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. Conspiracy theorists believed that vaguely anthropomorphic bodies had been recovered there, and that the crash debris had been entrusted to private military contractors, who raced to unlock alien hardware before the Russians could. All of this, ufologists claimed, had been covered up by Majestic 12, a clandestine, para-governmental organization convened under executive order by President Truman. (New Yorker)
• The Day the Fire Came: A tale of love and loss on the Panhandle plains. After sending his March 1 email about the midlatitude cyclone, Todd Lindley, the National Weather Service meteorologist, could think about little else. He kept his eyes glued on his computer screens as the storm system, which was still 15,000 to 20,000 feet in the atmosphere, raced over the Pacific Coast. He studied the movement of the cyclone’s “low-level thermal ridge,” and double-checked the temperatures and relative humidity that were forecast for March 6. The day was definitely going to be hot and dry. The entire southern Great Plains was turning into a tinderbox.(Texas Monthly)
• The Antidemocratic Turn: Incumbent leaders and ruling parties are corrupting governance and spreading antidemocratic practices across the region that stretches from Central Europe to Central Asia. These actions are opportunistic, but are often cloaked in an ideological agenda. And as they become increasingly common, they are fueling a deterioration in conditions that will have global implications for the cause of human freedom. Attacks on democratic institutions are spreading faster than ever in Europe and Eurasia, and coalescing into a challenge to democracy itself. (Freedom House)
• Why it’s nearly impossible to buy an original Bob Ross painting During his lifetime, Ross produced tens of thousands of paintings. Yet, only a handful of his works have popped up for sale in recent years. When they do appear, they often fetch $10k+ and attract dozens of bids. Why is the work of one of history’s most prolific and accessible artists so scarce on the open market? To find out, I spoke with art gallery owners, auctioneers, art collectors, ex-colleagues who worked with Ross, and the president of Bob Ross, Inc. — the company that preserves his legacy. (The Hustle)
• The clockwork universe: is free will an illusion? The difficulty in explaining the enigma of free will to those unfamiliar with the subject isn’t that it’s complex or obscure. It’s that the experience of possessing free will – the feeling that we are the authors of our choices – is so utterly basic to everyone’s existence that it can be hard to get enough mental distance to see what’s going on. A growing chorus of scientists and philosophers argue that free will does not exist. Could they be right? (The Guardian)
• Two Assholes Lost in the Woods: An Oral History of ‘Pine Barrens’ The men who venture deep into the Garden State’s tree-covered expanse, Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri and Christopher Moltisanti, learn no lessons. The fate of their target is never revealed. And the episode’s B- and C-plots, one involving Tony Soprano’s tumultuous love life, are far more consequential to the overall narrative than the two wiseguys’ misadventure. Twenty years after it aired, David Chase and Co. look back on one of the wildest, boldest, funniest episodes of ‘The Sopranos’ ever made (The Ringer)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business podcast with Michael Lewis, the poet laureate of finance. We discuss his latest book, The Premonition, A Pandemic Story. He is the author of Undoing Project, Moneyball, Flashboys, Big Short, and so many others. The The Premonition describes how the United States was the best prepared nation in the world for a pandemic, yet allowed a variety of its institutions to fail.
The energy sector becomes a leading consumer of minerals as energy transitions accelerate
Source: International Energy Agency
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.