Financial Times4 min readCelebrity Biography & Memoir
Donald Glover, The Performer Holding A Mirror To America
A black man dances bare-chested in a huge warehouse in streaming white light. He folds his body into a strange, balletic pose, withdraws a pistol from a back pocket, and shoots a blindfolded man in the head. This, the shooter turns to tell us, is Ame
Financial Times16 min readTech
‘We Don’t Take Cash’: Is This The Future Of Money?
The Watch House, a stone’s throw from Tower Bridge in London, plays the part of the hipster café very well. Sourdough bread is stacked on shelves, baskets brim with oranges and avocados, and tables are abuzz with young professionals on laptops and a
Financial Times6 min readPolitics
Tech, Trade And Their Discontents
Amid all the recent headlines of tech trade wars, I’ve been thinking about two conversations I’ve had with Chinese elites. One was with the venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, who launched Google in China before setting up his own investment firm. We spok
Financial Times4 min readPolitics
Oleg Deripaska, Russian Oligarch Under Siege For Putin Ties
When Oleg Deripaska hosted a party for participants in the World Economic Forum at his Davos chalet in January, he met his guests’ every expectation. “I had heard that his bash was the wildest in town, and it was,” said a young European banker who at
Financial Times8 min read
South Africa: How Cape Town Beat The Drought
It doesn’t look much like victory — the scorched rocks, bone-dry corpses of long-dead trees and the hot white sand stretching into the distance speak more of a scene of desolation. This is no desert. It is a dam, set in the middle of fruit orchards a
Financial Times4 min readBusiness Biography & History
Reed Hastings, The Netflix Chief With A Global Vision
The dozens of teenage fans amassed outside a hotel in Rome this week might have been waiting for a glimpse of a visiting pop star or Hollywood actor. Instead, they were there for the stars of an original Spanish language Netflix series. Set in Barcel
Financial Times8 min readBiography & Memoir
Novelist Leïla Slimani: ‘Knowing How To Talk Is A Great Power’
Of course the restaurant doesn’t have my reservation, but a table is found on the enclosed veranda. Mere minutes after the agreed time — early for Paris — Leïla Slimani strides into the Marco Polo restaurant. Everyone had warned me she was beautiful.
Financial Times4 min readEntrepreneurship
How Big Tech Brought Back The Barter Economy
Seven years ago, after the financial crisis, anthropologist David Graeber published a provocative book. Debt: The First 5,000 Years challenged how economists think about debt, credit and barter. Graeber argued that economists tended to assume financi
Financial Times10 min readPolitics
The Quiet Revolution: China’s Millennial Backlash
Faye Lu, a Beijing-based businesswoman, chose the Chinese new year after her 30th birthday to come clean to her family. At the biggest social gathering in the Chinese calendar, she prepared a New Year’s Eve feast for her parents and 20 relatives — mo
Financial Times8 min readTech
Start-up Republic: Can Iran’s Booming Tech Sector Thrive?
It carries at least 1m passengers every day, has an 85 per cent share of its local market and people speculate about its billion-dollar unicorn potential. Yet most people outside of its home market will not have heard of Snapp. It does not operate ou
Financial Times4 min readTech
Mark Zuckerberg, A Tech Visionary Tripping Up On His Own Success
Mark Zuckerberg has always displayed a messianic sense of his own destiny. He once predicted that enlightened governments, prodded by a populace empowered by his company’s social networking tools, would champion a connected future in which Facebook w
Financial Times9 min readPolitics
Healthcare: Cancer Breakthrough Leads China’s Biotech Boom
A few days before Craig Chase was discharged from the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Hospital in Nanjing, his doctor told him something he never expected to hear: his cancer had been cured. “His English was not so good, so he used Google Translate. When
Financial Times9 min read
The Dawn Of The Superstar Lawyer
Scott Barshay had just closed out the finest year of his career. The acclaimed corporate lawyer had advised on roughly $300bn worth of transactions in 2015, most notably AB InBev’s $103bn takeover of rival brewer SABMiller. In the process he generate
Financial Times4 min read
Martin Sorrell, WPP’s Adman Under Fire
In 1985, the son of the managing director of Wire & Plastic Products recorded his first impressions of the man who was to turn the humble maker of wire baskets into a marketing and media colossus. Martin Sorrell and his business partner were “impress
Financial Times10 min readPolitics
Anthony Scaramucci On Bannon And Back-stabbing In DC
It has taken a Herculean effort to pin down Anthony Scaramucci. Our lunch was originally scheduled for last November. Then Scaramucci stumbled on an old tweet by the FT’s editor, Lionel Barber, which compared the language he used to that in The Sopra
Financial Times4 min readPolitics
Don’t Get Distracted. John Bolton Is A Huge Threat
On October 7 2001, I was chugging through Vermont in a Greyhound bus when the driver spoke into his microphone: “Well folks, we’ve just got word that they’re bombing Afghanistan.” The American “war on terror” had begun. A woman at the back shouted, “
Financial Times14 min read
Max Schrems: The Man Who Took On Facebook — And Won
Long before the Big Tech backlash, before politicians feared the power of tech leaders and before Facebook users questioned giving up their personal information in exchange for photo updates from former schoolmates, Max Schrems saw the danger of digi
Financial Times4 min readSociety
Why Tech Titans Need An Empathy Handbook
Thirty years ago, an anthropologist called Lucy Suchman set out to study a problem that bedevils a great deal of offices: why do so many employees struggle with technology? Suchman spent several months watching how workers interact “in the wild” (aka
Financial Times10 min readBiography & Memoir
Les Wexner, The Man Behind Victoria’s Secret
There was a time when Les Wexner, a shopkeeper in dowdy Columbus, Ohio, would slip out from his clothing store to sit down for a burger at lunch. He was en route to becoming a billionaire, the man who would revolutionise women’s underwear with Victor
Financial Times6 min readCelebrity Biography & Memoir
Sam Neill: ‘I Dodged A Bullet With James Bond’
It’s pouring with rain, and Sam Neill is chasing a white duck around a lake on his vineyard home near Clyde in New Zealand. “Come on Charlie, I know you missed me,” shouts the actor and winemaker, who has just returned from Australia, where he spends
Financial Times10 min readBiography & Memoir
Writer Jan Morris On Reporting From Everest And Changing Sex
To write any book aged 91 is noteworthy; to publish one that critics deem worth reading is remarkable. Yet halfway through our lunch, Jan Morris — the Flaubert of the jet age — casts doubt on the whole endeavour. “Was it God who said ‘three score yea
Financial Times4 min readPolitics
Gina Haspel, The Undercover Spy Picked To Head The CIA
When the US proclaimed a global war on terror after the September 11 2001 attacks, the concerted effort to track down jihadis preoccupied everyone in the administration including Gina Haspel, the long-time undercover CIA agent whom Donald Trump picke
Financial Times15 min readPolitics
Can America Fix Its Prison Crisis?
On a hot afternoon last September, Rickey Hawthorne walked out of the gates of the United States’ largest maximum-security prison for the last time.  He had arrived at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as Angola, in 1977 — a lanky 19-yea
Financial Times7 min read
Facebook Looks To Change The Tune With Move Into Music
The most-shared piece of content on Facebook last year was not a fake news article, Kremlin-connected advert or conspiracy theory about the Pope — topics which have dominated debate over the social network’s place in society.  Rather, it was a link t
Financial Times7 min read
How Technology Is Changing The Way We Grieve
In the early hours of one New Year’s morning, still intoxicated from the previous night’s celebrations, I texted my dad: “I love you.” When I woke up and glanced at my phone, there had been no response. Perhaps no surprise; my father had been dead fo
Financial Times10 min readPolitics
Trump Confidant Chris Ruddy On The President’s ‘Inner Democrat’
You don’t just roll up for lunch at Mar-a-Lago. It’s a private members club. And also, most winter weekends, it is the residence of the president of the United States. As a result, Chris Ruddy suggests we meet at my hotel in West Palm Beach, so he ca
Financial Times5 min read
Own A Japanese Island For The Price Of A Tokyo Apartment
Masashi Sada, a honey-voiced folk singer, fell in love with his island before he even saw it. “I’d just had my first solo hit (“Amayadori” in 1977) when a friend who worked at a TV station in Nagasaki called and asked if I’d like to buy an island,” s
Financial Times7 min readSociety
The Utopia Project: Can Silicon Valley Fix The Future?
An increasingly common refrain of our times is to argue that the internet revolution has been betrayed, and to agitate for renewed struggle to reclaim the lost utopia. A powerful new technology that promised to liberate knowledge, enrich democracy an
Financial Times4 min readPolitics
Benjamin Netanyahu: A Fighter Defending A Legacy From Flames
The first time Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly burnt by his love for cigars came in May 2005. Walking into a cabinet meeting with a lit cigar, the then finance minister turned a corner in the Knesset and ran into a group of his colleagues talking to
Financial Times8 min readTech
Driverless Cars: Mapping The Trouble Ahead
When a self-driving car looks at the world, there are many things it sees. It has radars that measure distance to the next car, it has cameras that take in colour images of the street and its Lidar sensors send out laser pulses that gauge the surroun
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