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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Microsoft says it will not enforce non-compete clauses in U.S. employee agreements by Akash Sriram (Reuters)

Microsoft will do away with noncompete clauses in the contracts of all but the most senior executives in the wake of research showing that noncompetes serve to suppress employee pay. The software giant also signaled it would “not resist” unionization efforts by employees. [Link]

A Full Return to the Office? Does ‘Never’ Work for You? by Emma Goldberg (NYT)

After spending two years taking care of all their responsibilities without leaving their homes, white-collar workers are calling management’s bluff when it comes to full-time returns to the office. [Link; soft paywall]

Who Killed the Phillips Curve? A Murder Mystery by David Ratner and Jae Sim (FEDS Notes)

The authors argue that labor market policies rather than aggressive monetary policy defenses of inflation targets have led to a disconnect between the unemployment rate and inflation. [Link; 36 page PDF]

Texas Tea

The world must brace itself for a further surge in oil prices by David Sheppard (FT)

Oil is continuing to rip as price forecasts soar amidst solid demand and no hope of any relief for the tight supply of crude around the world. [Link; paywall]

The Option To Write Options – A Suggestion For SPR Rulemaking by Skanda Amarnath, Arnab Datta, and Alex Williams (Employ America)

A change in Department of Energy administrative rules offers the opportunity to intervene more intensively in the oil market in order to make sure producers have confidence in a long-term floor for prices that will incentivize capex. [Link]


Rural America Reels From Violent Crime. ‘People Lost Their Ever-Lovin’ Minds.’ By Dan Frosch, Kris Maher, and Zusha Elinson (WSJ)

While cities have gotten most of the attention for recent increases in violent crime off of record lows, murders and other forms of violent crime are also soaring in rural areas across the country, suggesting common narratives for the causes that are unique to cities are likely misplaced. [Link; paywall]


Manhattan landlords are rejecting single tenants who don’t make over 160k by Tiffany Ap (Quartz)

A one bedroom apartment in Manhattan carries a median asking rent of $4k per month, meaning that with the standard margin of safety for landlords nobody making under $160k per year can rent the median apartment on the market in the city. [Link]


How AI Could Help Predict—and Avoid—Sports Injuries, Boost Performance by Eric Niiler (WSJ)

Very precise measurements of individual players’ joints are nearing the level of accuracy that could allow real-time prevention and prophylaxis against serious player injury. [Link; paywall]


Low, Fast And Dangerous: A Firsthand Account Of Ukraine’s Secret Helicopter Rescue Missions by Howard Altman (The Warzone)

An incredible oral history of helicopter flights that served to resupply and evacuate Ukrainian troops pinned down for a month at Mariupol’s giant Azovstal steel plant. [Link]


Could China’s population start falling? by Xiujian Peng (BBC)

Years of suppressing birth rates in China has taken birth rates from 2.6 35 years ago to a 1.15 in 2021, lower than the US or Japan and so weak that the Chinese population will almost certainly start shrinking over the next year or so. [Link]


Highflying Tiger Global Humbled by Unraveling of Giant Tech Bet by Eliot Brown and Juliet Chung (WSJ)

One of the biggest winners of the post-global financial crisis boom in the technology industry was the monster Tiger Global complex. In 2022, though, the massive hedge fund is struggling with a legendary string of losses. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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