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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7 Ways Covid Has Changed Our World by Aaron Back (WSJ)

A series of articles detailing the 7 ways that COVID has changed the world: exurban growth, shopping habits, vaccine hesitancy, remote learning, the big business potential of vaccines, bigger government spending, and life insurance are the big ideas. [Link; paywall]

The Case Against the Covid-19 Lab Leak Theory by Lindsay Beyerstein (The New Republic)

A detailed takedown of the loose punditry which has surrounded the so-called lab leak hypothesis, which posits COVID originated in a Chinese lab rather than a vector from the natural world as other coronaviruses have. [Link]

Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines Likely to Produce Lasting Immunity, Study Finds by Apoorva Mandavilli (NYT)

While we will only know with the passage of time, initial studies assessing how long mRNA-based COVID vaccines protect recipients are very positive and indicate the shots could generate a lifetime of functional immunity. [Link; soft paywall]

Big Spending

Southwest Offers Workers Double Pay to Avoid July Travel Snags by Alison Sider (WSJ)

The airline is ramping up pay to make sure it has sufficient staff on hand to process the huge swell of customers which are drowning airports and flights with post-COVID demand for travel. [Link]

Tesla is well on its way to smashing last year’s sales record by Tim Levin (Business Insider)

Tesla delivered 201,250 vehicles to customers during Q2, by far its best quarter and putting it on track to easily hurdle its record 2020 sales pace of over 500,000 cars. [Link]

Global App Spending Approached $65 Billion in the First Half of 2021, Up More Than 24% Year-Over-Year by Stephanie Chan (Sensor Tower)

With consumer spending booming, mobile apps are increasingly grabbing share with a huge increase in the number of dollars spent on purchases of apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions. Apple’s App Store is about twice as large as Google Play. [Link]


The deep roots of China’s financial conservatism (Andrew Batson)

High inflation during China’s civil war and the success of the communist government in taming it after defeating the nationalist opposition has deeply colored the fiscal and monetary perspectives of Chinese policymakers. [Link]


Inner Game with Steven Cohen (Stray Reflections)

A recorded Zoom seminar with Steve Cohen of Point72 Asset Management, focused on his process and the inner approach which has led to his success. [Link]


What Peter Thiel’s Roth IRA Means for Yours by Laura Saunders (WSJ)

The revelation that billionaire Peter Thiel has managed to generate a Roth IRA balance of about $5bn is a catalyst for tax reform that cuts off the popular tax minimization strategy. [Link; paywall]

Older Americans Stockpiled a Record $35 Trillion. The Time Has Come to Give It Away. by Ben Eisen and Anne Tergesen (WSJ)

Wealth concentrated in the hands of aging Baby Boomers that will transfer to younger generations over coming years numbers in the tens of trillions of dollars, but the real big inheritances won’t kick off until the 2030s. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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