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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Smartphones are driving Americans to distraction (The Economist)

After sharp declines from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s, road deaths have started to rise again with smartphones and the distracted driving they create a prime culprit. [Link; soft paywall]

New Research Confirms That Ride-Hailing Companies Are Causing a Tonne of Traffic Congestion by Bryan Menegus (Gizmodo)

Ostensibly, ride-sharing could reduce the number of cars on the road by improving utilization rates, but the new demand for transportation they create could also be driving an increase in the number of vehicles on the road. New research suggests it’s the latter. [Link]

Tech Tracker: Burger King to deliver to L.A. motorists stuck in traffic by Nancy Luna (Nation’s Restaurant News)

Hungry but stuck in traffic? Burger King initially tested delivery of fast food to drivers stuck in traffic via motorcycle in Mexico City, and is now bringing the service to Los Angelenos. [Link]


The Spectacular Implosion of Dr. Cho’s ‘Nefarious Network’ by Sheridan Prasso and Benjamin Robertson (Bloomberg)

A shadowy network of entities controlled by a Hong Kong doctor has come crashing down, giving rare insight into the hidden world of stock manipulation in the city’s equity markets. [Link; soft paywall]

Boeing MAX: A Tale of Two Crashes by Mariano Zafra, Robert Wall, Elliot Bentley, and Merrill Sherman (WSJ)

A remarkable and beautifully executed visualization of the crashes caused by faulty software included in the Boeing 737-MAX planes which killed hundreds of people. [Link; paywall]

Weird History

‘Kisse myne arse’: Doctor’s notes reveal bizarre medical cases from 400 years ago by Leslie Katz (CNET)

Doctors’ notes from 17th century England were recently digitized and put online for the review of the public and are full of amusing anecdotes from the various patients. [Link]

Blow up: how half a tonne of cocaine transformed the life of an island by Matthew Bremner (The Guardian)

The story of a drug smuggling operation gone awry and the sudden arrival of a tidal wave of pure cocaine in a small island in the Azores, and how it wreaked havoc on the locals. [Link]

Social Studies

When Mike Bezos came to America by Neal Karlinsky (Amazon)

How the father of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ended up in the United States after the Cuban Revolution. [Link]

SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background by Douglas Belkin (WSJ)

The SAT is a gateway to elite educational institutions in the United States, and its administrator (the College Board) is trying to level its playing field and remove the effects of bias from results. [Link; paywall]

‘I Don’t Want to See Him Fail’: A Firm Takes a Chance on Ex-Inmates by Ruth Simon (WSJ)

A tight labor market is creating opportunity for released inmates, but those opportunities create difficult situations for employers who are invested in both human beings they employee and the businesses they run. [Link; paywall]


The Best Ideas Are the Ones That Make the Least Sense by Rory Sutherland (Entrepreneur)

A catalogue of some of the most ridiculous – but profitable – exercises in marketing that consumers have ever been offered. [Link]

NBA Is the Real Loser After Failing to Send Zion to New York or L.A. by Scott Soshnick (Bloomberg)

Huge media markets in New York and Los Angeles had a shot to land the unique talent of Duke freshman Zion Williamson, but the out-of-the-way New Orleans Pelicans were the ones to land the number one pick. [Link; soft paywall]

Climate Change

Louisiana Unveils Ambitious Plan to Help People Get Out of the Way of Climate Change by Christopher Flavelle and Mira Rojanasakul (Bloomberg)

Southern Louisiana is sinking, forcing the state to plan for a future where the sea gradually forces residents out of its path. [Link; soft paywall]

Economic Research

Multinationals, Offshoring and the Decline of U.S. Manufacturing by Christoph E. Boehm, Aaron Flaaen, and Nitya Pandalai-Nayar (NBER)

A new set of research suggests that multinational firms have been an especially potent force for job losses via offshoring in the US manufacturing sector. [Link]


How the Promise of a $120 Billion Uber I.P.O. Evaporated by Mike Isaac, Michael J. d la Merced, and Andrew Ross Sorkin (NYT)

An inside line on how Uber went from an estimated $120bn worth to a bit more than half of that in public markets post-IPO. [Link; soft paywall]

Uber CEO to employees: Our stock could still be the next Facebook or Amazon by Brian Sozzi (Yahoo!)

After the largest decline in dollar value for any IPO in the US since the 1970s, Uber management sought to shore up internal morale with a letter begging employees to keep the faith. [Link; auto-playing video]


Podcast Growth Is Popping in the U.S., Survey Shows by Jaclyn Peiser (NYT)

Edison Research reported that one in three people in the United States listen to a podcast at least once per month, strong growth versus one in four last year as the audio format gains steam. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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