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.

Labor Market

Target Agrees to Review Screening of Job Applicants Amid Claims of Bias by Colin Moynihan (NYT)

Amidst a tight labor market, Target is showing a willingness to loosen its policy of conducting background checks dating back 10 years or more and refusing to hire candidates with infractions as light as misdemeanors. [Link; soft paywall]

Teacher Strikes Are Spreading Across America With No End in Sight by Josh Eidelson (Bloomberg)

Amidst stagnant pay and benefits, teachers in at least three states are demanding more pay. The paucity of strikes in recent years makes these work actions all the more interesting. [Link; auto-playing video]

Bob Davis Stories

The Architect of Trump’s Threatened China Trade War by Bob Davis (WSJ)

A profile of US Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer, the attorney and long-experienced trade negotiator who is forging the Trump Administration’s escalating protectionist policy. [Link; paywall]

The Future of America’s Economy Looks a Lot Like Elkhart, Indiana by Bob Davis (WSJ)

Rising house prices, signing bonuses in fast food, booming truck sales, and workers skipping college to assemble RVs are all characteristics of the boom in Elkhart, where unemployment has gone from 20% to 2% and worker shortages are forcing wide-ranging recruitment efforts. [Link; paywall]


Yale Endowment’s Casting Call Says ‘All Inquiries Are Welcome!’ by Janet Lorin (Bloomberg)

Yale’s legendary endowment office has an open door policy, inviting pitches from all manner of investors. [Link; auto-playing video]

Wall Street’s Big Banks Are Waging an All-Out Technological Arms Race by Hugh Son and Dakin Campbell (Bloomberg)

The story of electronic equities trading’s rise, which fueled a big payoff in the post-crisis world of a more algorithmic environment for big buyers and sellers of stock. [Link]

Pop Culture

‘We Played Prince Before Anyone Else’: How A Small Radio Station Changed American Pop Music by Zach Schonfeld (Newsweek)

Long Island radio station WLIR helped fuel the rise of new wave rock, helping forge a middle path between punk and disco. [Link]

Joaquin Phoenix by Will Farrell (Interview Magazine)

A free form phone interview of the eccentric actor by a comedic legend is just as fun, insightful, and revealing as you might expect, with a healthy dose of hilarious banter and anecdotes making the whole thing a really fun read. [Link]

Life, Online

Max Schrems: the man who took on Facebook – and won by Hannah Kuchler (FT)

A profile of the man that brought the fight over privacy to the social media giant, long before headlines about election influence, Cambridge Analytica, or concerned interviews by Mark Zuckerberg. [Link; paywall]

The joys of online syntax by Marie Le Conte (Chatham House)

An investigation of the trials and tribulations of communicating in short bits and bytes that lack context and even have a language entirely their own. [Link]

Real Estate

Manhattan Home Sales Tumble Most Since 2009 as Buyers Walk by Oshrat Carmiel (Bloomberg)

A small buyer’s strike is emerging in Manhattan real estate markets, where tax deduction limitations and higher borrowing costs have crimped activity. [Link; auto-playing video]


A Betrayal by Hannah Dreier (ProPublica)

After risking his life to work with authorities in the fight against MS-13 and turning away from the violence of that gang, a young man was rewarded with deportation back to a country where he will be murdered for his heroism. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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