Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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Health Care

US cancer death rate sees largest-ever single-year drop, report says by Jacqueline Howard (CNN)

For a 26th year in a row, deaths from cancer dropped 2.2%, spurred by falling lung cancer death rates; treatment improvements across surgery and radiotherapy are the key to the general results in that area. [Link]

Crispr puts first human in-body gene editing to test by Hannah Kuchler (FT)

The precise method of gene editing has been around since 2012 but its first use in human beings is starting this year, as a treatment designed to restore sight is tried. [Link; paywall]

Elite Whimsy

How Carlos Ghosn Became the World’s Most Famous Fugitive by Matthew Campbell, Brian Bremner, Kae Inoue, and Ania Nussbaum (Bloomberg)

A tick-tock of the surprisingly easy escape staged by former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn in his efforts to escape the Japanese justice system. [Link; soft paywall]

Iran’s Cyber Attack on Billionaire Adelson Provides Lesson on Strategy by Alyza Sebenius, Kartikay Mehrota, and William Turton (Yahoo!/Bloomberg)

In retaliation for a provocative comment made by Sheldon Adelson in 2013, Iranian intelligence deployed malware to the billionaire’s casinos in an attack that cost tens of millions of dollars to fix. [Link]


Dinner Bell vs. Doorbell: When Mom and Dad Cook, the Kids Send for DoorDash by Heather Haddon and James R. Hagerty (WSJ)

A developing front in the battle between parents and teenagers is the dinner bell: where once the stovetop gave parents a modicum of control, the ubiquity of new delivery services gives kids options that didn’t exist before. [Link; paywall]

Apple Airpods: iPhone Accessory Or The Next Big Thing? (Kevin Rooke)

The wireless headphones originally launched in 2016 have ramped up sales to roughly 60 million units representing as much as $12bn in revenue, almost 5% of the total for iPhone revenues; that’s more revenue than Adobe, NVIDIA, AMD, Spotify, Square, Twitter, Snap, or Shopify and just short of Uber top line numbers. [Link]

Admit It: You Have a Box of Cords You’ll Never, Ever Use Again by Katherine Bindley (WSJ)

An ode to the inevitable, massive, and utterly incomprehensible pile of cords that sits in the bottom of at least one closet in almost American home. [Link; paywall]


Lawmakers Refused to Increase an Infamous Prison’s Funding. Then, Chaos Erupted. by Jerry Mitchell (ProPublica)

Mississippi prisons have been underfunded for years, but in 2020 the combination of underpaid and understaffed workers, unsafe conditions, and large prison populations have reached a boiling point. [Link]


Four CEOs Found the Secret to Thriving During the Retail Apocalypse by Anders Melin and Jeff Green (Bloomberg)

Leadership teams at Ulta, Grocery Outlet, Wingstop, and Domino’s have helped steer their corporations through a collapsing traditional retail environment. It’s telling that two of the companies serve food rather than selling goods. [Link; soft paywall]


XFL Rule (XFL)

A fascinating set of rule changes for the new football league that promise to make the game of football more exciting, faster, and fairer for teams on the field. [Link]


How Jeffrey Gundlach’s Predictions for 2019 Turned Out by John Gittelsohn (Bloomberg)

The famed bond investor wrongly predicted EM outperformance, large dollar declines, no major change in energy prices, and a huge junk bond selloff in his outlook last year. [Link; soft paywall]


Economists Question the Benefits of Targeted Tax Breaks by Richard Rubin (WSJ)

A new paper suggests that while tax giveaways do help job growth in specific industries, they don’t tend to have large spillover effects that are often hoped-for by policymakers. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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