Financial Times4 min read
How Hidden Fees Are Making Middle-class America Poorer
Devin Fergus begins his book with a quote from the St Louis Federal Reserve: “How you finance an asset can be as important as the asset.” How true. While Land of the Fee bills itself as a look at the rise of predatory fees charged by the financial in
Financial Times8 min read
Junichiro Koizumi: ‘I’m Not Strange. I’m Extraordinary’
Tokyo eats lunch early, but I know I have a problem when Junichiro Koizumi asks to meet me at 11.30am. Our rendezvous is at the Aqua Lounge on the top floor of the luxurious Imperial Hotel, where he has booked a private room. Since the lobby is packe
Financial Times5 min read
Who Could Fund Elon Musk’s Tesla Buyout?
As pressure mounts on Tesla founder Elon Musk to detail his plan to take the company private, the Financial Times looks at the potential sources of funding. Thanks to its near-$100bn Vision Fund, Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank is linked to most tech deals.
Financial Times5 min read
Musk’s Dream Of Taking Tesla Private Bumps Up Against Reality
Elon Musk’s email to employees was very clear on why he wants to remove Tesla from the public markets. It was very light on details about how he plans to do it. The quarterly earnings cycle “puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may
Financial Times4 min readPolitics
Why Is America So Bad At Cyber Wars?
While fighting al-Shabaab in 2011, Kenyan army officer Major Emmanuel Chirchir noticed that the Somali-based Islamist group was using donkeys to transport weapons. He dispatched a message via Twitter, warning the local Kenyan population: “Any large c
Financial Times6 min read
Christoph Blocher: ‘The Swiss Have To Stay Out Of The EU’
Christoph Blocher’s hilltop home above Lake Zurich is the best known private residence in Switzerland. The modern, cream-coloured mansion, with manicured lawns and a glimmering 21-metre outdoor pool, features in campaign videos for his ultra-conserva
Financial Times4 min read
Ursula Von Der Leyen, Germany’s Unflappable Defence Minister
Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defence minister, says she’s getting used to Donald Trump’s tantrums. “We know now how this president operates,” she said on German television after this week’s Nato summit. His tweets are designed to cause “agitation
Financial Times4 min read
My Close Encounter With An Airport Security Robot
Last week, when I was travelling through Terminal B in New York’s LaGuardia airport, something similar to a Dalek — those terrifying robot-like creatures from the famous TV series Doctor Who — came whizzing towards me, right up to the luggage belt. T
Financial Times9 min read
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s Richest Man, On His ‘Crazy’ $12bn Project
As a rule, I don’t get worked up over oil refineries. But the one gradually taking form on 2,500 hectares of swampland outside Lagos, Nigeria’s Mad Max commercial capital, is so big, so audacious and so potentially transformative that it is like Afri
Financial Times4 min readPolitics
Why The World Cup Is Bigger Than Putin
My flight back to Moscow was full of police officers, who had been working at the match I had seen. One of them had taken my prized window seat. I didn’t dare challenge him, so I squeezed in between him and a policewoman. The policeman smiled, shook
Financial Times9 min readTech
Jaron Lanier On Fighting Big Tech’s ‘Manipulation Engine’
Jaron Lanier arrives a little late for our lunch at a Peruvian restaurant in London’s Fitzrovia, having been distracted by a Ukrainian shepherd’s flute. As excuses go, that one is certainly novel. His polite minder had warned me of the delay, explain
Financial Times3 min read
Swearing: Big, Clever And Bloody Hilarious
As a child, I was routinely told that swearing was not big or clever or funny. I knew even then that this was wrong. For a start, it had to be big because only adults were allowed to do it. As for not clever, well here the argument ran that you only
Financial Times4 min read
Gareth Southgate, A Coach To Banish England’s Football Demons
Wembley Stadium, London, 1996. Gareth Southgate gathers the ball, places it on the spot, then backs away. England’s central defender is taking a penalty kick during a shootout against Germany in the European Championship semi-final. He wants the ord
Financial Times4 min read
Facebook’s Fight Against Fake News
A couple of years ago, Greg Marra, product management director at Facebook, spent most of his time figuring out how to make the site’s News Feed more enticing. No longer. These days, Marra is engaged in a cyber version of cat-and-mouse, frantically t
Financial Times8 min readBusiness Biography & History
Lex In Depth: Why WeWork Does Not Deserve A $20bn Price Tag
Artfully lit offices, fruit-infused water and Instagram-perfect wall murals have helped turn co-working space provider WeWork into a $20bn company before it has even turned a profit. The next step may be a stock market listing. But the cost of WeWork
Financial Times9 min read
Nestlé: Betting On Big Brands
Mark Schneider pours a can of cold brew Nitro Nescafé coffee in the company’s head office overlooking Lake Geneva, Switzerland. He points out the distinctive cream “head” on the dark liquid. “You see that foam building up!” he exclaims. Testing new p
Financial Times4 min read
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s homespun firebrand
Six years ago, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was watching a documentary about his wafer-thin defeat in the 2006 Mexican presidential election with Elena Poniatowska, one of the country’s foremost leftist intellectuals. The film, 0.56%, followed him on
Financial Times9 min read
The Secret Barrister Blows The Whistle On British Criminal Justice
The Secret Barrister is a few minutes late for our rendezvous at the back of Tommi’s Burger Joint in Marylebone, central London, so I kill time by forming a mental identikit of my mysterious dining companion. He or she — I still do not know which — h
Financial Times4 min readTech
Big Tech’s New Idea: Read Some Books
A couple of weeks ago, I unexpectedly received a hefty pile of books, dispatched from the office of Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. An accompanying note explained that Gates had selected the tomes as his favourite summer reads – and was keen to sen
Financial Times4 min read
Risk? It’s Probably That Thing You’re Ignoring
Nearly 100 years ago, a US fire-safety inspector called Benjamin Lee Whorf noticed something odd about the way factory workers handled oil drums. The workers had been trained never to smoke near the drums to prevent explosions, yet accidents kept on
Financial Times9 min readTech
SoftBank: Inside The ‘Wild West’ $100bn Fund Shaking Up The Tech World
In the summer of 2014, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son attended a wedding on the coast of southern Italy that would change his company forever. But not in the way it seemed at the time. The Japanese billionaire was among a select group of celebrities
Financial Times4 min read
Valley Of The Giants
Few mergers in recent memory have been as contentious as the AT&T/Time Warner deal that was approved last week by US district court judge Richard J Leon. As the judge put it in his 172-page opinion: “If there ever were an antitrust case where the par
Financial Times9 min read
‘Le Cost Killer’: The Relentless Drive Of Carlos Ghosn
I am staring at the peeling walls and worn wooden chairs and wondering about Carlos Ghosn’s taste in restaurants. The multinational car mogul whose empire straddles the world from France to Japan has held parties in Marie Antoinette’s palace in Versa
Financial Times4 min readBiography & Memoir
Kim Jong Un, The Young Despot Turned Diplomat
Donald Trump described him as “very talented” and a “worthy negotiator”. Others see him as a would-be reformer — a Mikhail Gorbachev figure, poised to pull his cloistered nation into the 21st century. And then there are the established truths: Kim Jo
Financial Times5 min readPolitics
Chinese Artist Declares ‘Mao Is Dead But His Era Is Not Over’
Gao Zhen’s airy warehouse loft apartment in Beijing’s hip 798 Art District is filled with artwork spanning a lifetime. Unfortunately, none of it can be shown publicly in China. For decades, Gao, 62, has made internationally exhibited art — often in c
Financial Times4 min readPolitics
Trump, Oprah And The Era Of Pick ‘N’ Mix Politics
A few weeks ago I was passing through Dulles airport, outside Washington DC, when I spotted a rack of T-shirts on sale. Each of them carried a gigantic “O” — emblazoned in red, white and blue — and the words: “Speak Your Truth: Oprah 2020.” Welcome t
Financial Times11 min readSports & Recreation
World Cup: Why Millennials Will Transform Football’s Greatest Event
Ned Newell-Hanson, a 26-year-old Londoner, watches football obsessively but avoids paying for it. Some of his happiest moments are watching Chelsea games on his mobile, ideally on his balcony with a glass of wine but if necessary on a bus, hours afte
Financial Times9 min read
Sayaka Murata: ‘My Parents Don’t Want To Read My Books’
Sayaka Murata is seated on a plum-velvet banquette in what must rank as Tokyo’s most intentionally elegant restaurant. She is straight-backed, speaks with a sing-song cadence and is dressed in the prim blouse and cardigan of an off-duty Mary Poppins.
Financial Times7 min readPolitics
Inside The Chaos Of Donald Trump’s Trade Wars
Steven Mnuchin was having a tough day. For several months the Treasury secretary had tried to co-ordinate the US side in trade negotiations with China. But on May 29, he found himself explaining to Liu He, the Chinese vice-premier, why President Dona
Financial Times5 min read
CryptoKitties, CryptoPunks And The Birth Of A Cottage Industry
Seth Spalding, a portfolio manager at investment firm Passport Capital and a former vice-president of investment bank Goldman Sachs, is amassing an art collection. But you will not find paintings at his home in San Francisco, or sculptures in storage
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