My own 2017 jealousy list

Bloomberg editors compile an annual link-wrap – the “jealousy list” – of pieces published elsewhere that they wish we’d written. I thought that’d be a fun exercise to try myself so here are a dozen picks.

1. The High Street Abduction (BBC)
A tick-tock account of what followed a child abduction in Newcastle in April, 2016.

2. The Rise and Fall of a K Street Renegade (WSJ)
Tragic tale of a D.C. corporate lobbyist who couldn’t keep up with his own greed. The amount of colour – $2000 bottles of wine –  is engrossing.

3. Is the Chicken Industry Rigged? (Bloomberg)
There are *at least* two very fun finance things about this story. First, chicken LIBOR! Second, the vexing question of whether a souped-up industry newsletter (that’s Agri Stats) can be so good that its subscribers violate antitrust laws.

4. My Double Life as a KGB Agent (Guardian)
“It’s as if they had spent time looking at fish swimming in an aquarium, and now they are training you to be a fish,” Barsky says. “But they don’t actually know what it’s like to be a fish.”

5. The pragmatic case for moving Britain’s capital to Manchester (Economist)
A rare take that totally transformed my view.

6. The Exquisitely English (and Amazingly Lucrative) World of London Clerks (Bloomberg)
“Many barristers regard clerks as their pimps. Some, particularly at the junior end of the profession, live in terror of clerks. The power dynamic is baroque and deeply English.”

7. The Secret Plan for the Days After the Queen’s Death (Guardian)
To get these kind of details before the event, which few insiders have any motive to discuss, is so impressive.

8. Anthony Scaramucci Called Me (New Yorker)
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.” The short-lived WH Press Secretary’s fit of bitchy profanity was toe-curlingly joyful.

9. The Sorrow and the Shame of the Accidental Killer (New Yorker)
A gentle profile of individuals who carry with them the grief they’ve caused to others. I also like the discussion of “moral luck,” citing Jeff McMahan‘s notion that “people who are not culpable can nevertheless be responsible.”

10. Inside London’s Booming Secrets Industry (FT)
Investigating the (private) investigators. “Its services range from tracing fraudsters’ assets to darker arts that include hacking, infiltration, honey traps, blackmail and kidnapping.”

11. A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore (Washington Post)
The Post, New York Times and New Yorker have exposed a torrent of allegations against powerful men in the media, arts and politics this year. The Post was subject to an undercover sting operation seeking to discredit its revelations about Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate. Its failure vindicates the quality of the Post’s reporting.

12. The 100 greatest nonfiction books in English (Guardian)
These were drip-fed by author Robert McCrum through 2017. I like the list because enough titles are familiar to flatter the ego while the unfamiliar blurbs make for delightful discoveries.

Bonus pick because it’s Christmas: the Economist myth-busting the cliche that economists disapprove of all non-cash gifts.


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