The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Danish coffee, grab a seat on the deck outside, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• How Shein beat Amazon at its own game — and reinvented fast fashion By connecting China’s garment factories with Western Gen-Z customers, Shein ushered in a new era of “ultra-fast” shopping. (Rest of World)
• The ESG Mirage: MSCI, the largest ESG rating company, doesn’t even try to measure the impact of a corporation on the world. It’s all about whether the world might mess with the bottom line. (Businessweek) see also Tips From CIOs and Managers to Avoid Greenwashed Investments Questions to ask when building your theses. (Chief Investment Officer)
• Umami Exists and MSG is its Messenger Umami is a class of molecules that hit mGluR1 receptors in your mouth so that you get a meaty, savory taste. It’s a basic taste in the same way the other four are: The particular ingredient has been identified in food and the taste receptor has been identified in your mouth. Some don’t believe in umami, but you still experience it unless you are missing the receptors for some reason, which would constitute a minor disability. (Atoms vs Bits)
• The Great Inheritors: How Three Families Shielded Their Fortunes From Taxes for Generations In the early 1900s some of the wealthiest Americans claimed their fortunes would never last through the generations. A century of tax avoidance later, the dynasties are going strong. (ProPublica)
• The American Addiction to Speeding How we became obsessed with driving fast, no matter the cost. (Slate)
• Inside Tesla as Elon Musk Pushed an Unflinching Vision for Self-Driving Cars The automaker may have undermined safety in designing its Autopilot driver-assistance system to fit its chief executive’s vision, former employees say. (New York Times)
• What Big History misses Sweeping the human story into a cosmic tale is a thrill but we should be wary about what is overlooked in the grandeur (Aeon)
• “Corrosive Communities”: How A Facebook Fight Over Wind Power Predicts the Future of Local Politics in America Wind energy companies lease land from individual owners and pay royalties based on the electricity generated by the turbines they build there. A township trustee was pressuring the planning commission to approve a development for his own profit. Other members of the Facebook group saw it this way, too. The comment section filled up with dozens of residents — dozens being a significant number in a township with a population of roughly 2,500 — outraged over this “vested interest.” (Buzzfeed)
• Rothko at the Inauguration: A story of America in three scams. Knoedler wasn’t the largest or the wealthiest gallery in New York. It wasn’t Gagosian, or Pace. But it was a fixture, in the city and the scene. “It was absolutely top tier, but a little bit like a dowager lady,” said Pepe Karmel, an art historian at NYU. Knoedler had been the gallery of choice for the robber barons of the 1920s. It exhibited and sold works by the likes of Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet. “Everything they did was first rate and top drawer,” Karmel, said. “It was a key part of New York City history.” That’s what made the sudden closure so strange. (Hazlitt)
• Why Did the Women’s Tennis Association Risk Everything for Peng Shuai? The WTA decided to do what the NBA, Nike, Microsoft, Starbucks, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs and innumerable other global businesses vastly greater in size, power and revenue have not. It has to do with tanks in Shenzhen, mariachi bands in Guadalajara and a legacy passed down by players for 50 years. (Sports Illustrated)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Michael Mauboussin, who runs consilient research at Morgan Stanley’s buyside firm, Counterpoint Global. Mauboussin (and his co-author, Alfred Rappaport ) revise and update their book Expectations Investing: Reading Stock Prices for Better Returns.
Equities have historically done well leading into first Fed rate hike
Source: NDR Research via Liz Ann Sonders
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.