The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Danish blend coffee, grab a seat by the firepit, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• How Four NFT Novices Created a Billion-Dollar Ecosystem of Cartoon Apes Bored Ape Yacht Club became internet rock stars by making NFTs of grungy simians that aren’t just viral images — they’re tickets to a whole new lifestyle (Rolling Stone) see also The 10,000 Faces That Launched an NFT Revolution When two Canadian coders started an online project called CryptoPunks, they had no idea they’d spark a hyped-up, blockchain-fueled cultural juggernaut. (Wired)
• Is Venture Capital the Secret Sauce of the American Economy? The U.S. is home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest companies. How did that happen? The answer may come down to two little letters: V.C. Is venture capital good for society, or does it just help the rich get richer? (Freakonomics)
• The Power Grid Is Just Another Casino for Energy Traders When GreenHat Energy collapsed after blowing millions speculating on power prices, it became plain: Energy traders are essentially gambling, and ratepayers back every bet. (Businessweek)
• The Untold Story of Sushi in America In the beginning, it was a simpler time — 1980, when few Americans knew the meanings of toro and omakase — and there was only the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, speaking to dozens of his followers in the Grand Ballroom of the New Yorker Hotel. In the beginning, God did not create a sushi company. The sushi came later. So did the unraveling of a controversial religion and the lawsuit for control of its mysterious assets. (New York Times)
• The Incredible Tale of the Greatest Toy Man You’ve Never Known He brought Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Cabbage Patch Kids to our living rooms. He made and lost fortunes. Can Al Kahn stay in the game? (Inc)
• Where Did All the Public Bathrooms Go? For decades, U.S. cities have been closing or neglecting public restrooms, leaving millions with no place to go. Here’s how a lack of toilets became an American affliction. (Bloomberg)
• What lies beneath: the secrets of France’s top serial killer expert An intrepid expert with dozens of books to his name, Stéphane Bourgoin was a bestselling author, famous in France for having interviewed more than 70 notorious murderers. Then an anonymous collective began to investigate his past. (The Guardian)
• E-Bike Vigilantes Mount Up With a global boom in electric bikes and a corresponding increase in theft, writing off the losses isn’t the only option. (Bloomberg)
• Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology Even in a polarized era, deep divisions in both partisan coalitions. (Pew Research Center)
• What happened to Eric Clapton? The guitar legend has long been inscrutable, but his covid turn has friends and fans puzzled like never before. (Washington Post) see also Chevy Chase is 74, sober and ready to work. The problem? Nobody wants to work with him. The 74-year-old comedy star is sober and ready to work. The problem is nobody wants to work with him (Washington Post)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Robin Wigglesworth, the FT’s global finance correspondent based in Oslo, Norway. He focuses on the trends reshaping markets and investing, from technological disruption to quantitative investing. His new book is Trillions: How a Band of Wall Street Renegades Invented the Index Fund and Changed Finance Forever.
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.