We’re back after a holiday hiatus! Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads, our Saturday morning summary of interesting things we’re reading this week. The links are mostly market related, but there will be some other interesting subjects covered as well.  The links are in no particular order.  We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

Why a simple spreadsheet spread like wildfire by John Naughton (The Guardian)

The Book of Genesis for Excel, the most important tool we use here at Bespoke. [Link]

Every Single VIX ETP (Long and Short) Lost Money in 2015 by Bill Luby (VIX And More)

Volatility is extremely challenging to trade, and the stats for returns on CBOE Volatility Index-linked products in this digestible post are a classic example of why that is. [Link]

Arab Shiites Are Caught in Iranian-Saudi Strife by Yaroslav Trofimov (WSJ)

An important read on the minority Shi’ite populations around the Middle East that are being forced – sometimes unwillingly – into the arms of Iran as Sunni majorities flex their muscles. [Link, paywall]

Zuckerberg’s hypocritical war on net neutrality in India by Kadhim Shubber (FT Alphaville)

A critical and well-argued post that the vagaries of net neutrality are important to understand; they may have out-sized implications for those around the world still not connected or in the process of gaining internet access. [Link, registration required]

This guy had a great year betting against a favorite tool of mom-and-pop investors by Renae Merle (Washington Post)

A recap of a strategy that focuses on taking the other side of trades that often sucker less sophisticated investors: leveraged ETFs. [Link]

FCC Auction Promises Bonanza for Small TV Broadcasters by Thomas Gryta (WSJ)

A rundown of some of the winners in a new effort to free up airwaves for high speed wireless coverage needed to support modern cellphone data. [Link, paywall]

Malthusian pressures (as outcome of rent-seeking) by Vincent Geloso (Notes On Liberty)

A thought-provoking post that theorizes resource constraints are either exacerbated by or directly caused by non-economic income or “rent seeking” behavior throughout society; deeply relevant in the context of the current very anti-Malthusian crash in commodity prices. [Link]

From Oil Glut to Shortage? Some Say It Could Happen by Georgi Kantchev and Bill Spindle (WSJ)

Oil prices are catalyzing massive disinvestment around the world, and with little spare capacity for traditional “swing” producers, could a large gap in the opposite direction of the recent price (and ongoing) price crash be looming? [Link, paywall]

Byron Wien Announces Predictions for Ten Surprises for 2016 by Byron R. Wien (Blackstone)

Wien isn’t always on the money (that’s why they’re ‘surprises’ after all!), for instance predicting that high yield would be the best performing asset class in 2015, but his massive breadth of experience and careful thinking make these a must-read. [Link]

Who is Driving the Recent Decline in Consumer Inflation Expectations? by Olivier Armantier, Wilbert van der Klaauw, Giorgio Topa, and Basit Zafar (NY Fed Liberty Street Economics)

An excellent (as usual from Fed staff economists) investigation of the demographics of inflation expectations, and which consumers are driving widely-reported declines. [Link]

The chronicler of Indian food by Chandrahas Choudhury (Al Jazeera)

The first of two Indian cuisine-related links from us this weekend, a nice investigation of one of the most important figures in the global scene. [Link]

The great British curry crisis by Malcolm Moore (FT)

While we here at Bespoke share a solid appreciation for good tikka or a nice spicy vindaloo, nothing comes close to the passion that British residents have for the food, which is under threat from a variety of new factors. [Link, paywall]

Animal Planet Found a Way to Make This Year’s Puppy Bowl Even Better by Julia Zorthian (Time)

Dog lovers (which, we’ve mentioned previously, applies to us) always enjoy the half-time of the Super Bowl, when Animal Planet hosts a rambunctious romp for a heard of youthful pups; this year’s edition will feature new virtual reality technology. [Link]

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