Recommended Reading 2020
Table of Contents
I enjoy reading about a variety of topics, especially on long train rides and on lazy Sunday mornings. In “Recommended Reading”, I regularly collect articles that I have read on Pocket and found inspiring. The list below covers the year 2020.
In English #
- How the 2010s changed interior design (Curbed): a quick overview of the main interior design trends in the last decade
- Fitbit’s 150 billion hours of heart data reveal secrets about health (Yahoo! Finance): resting heart rate measurement is for me the key feature of fitness trackers - very interesting to see some basic aggregated data
- The New Trophies of Domesticity (The Atlantic): conspicuous consumption in the kitchen (written & read before the Coronavirus pandemic)
- DrDrunkenstein’s Reign of Terror (Slate): Magnus Carlsen breaks with chess traditions (written & read before “The Queen’s Gambit”)
- Why You Can Smell Rain (Pocket / The Conversation): about the chemical/phsyical aspect of the scent of rain
- Tony Allen: Afrobeat’s Master on Hugh Masekela, Damon Albarn and Friction with Fela Kuti (The Guardian): one of the rare interviews with Tony Allen before his death
- A Sudden Bankruptcy of Mobility Capital? The Paradoxical Effects of Pandemics on Human Movement (nccr - on the move blog): an academic blogpost, developing the concept of “mobility capital” and applying it to the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic
- The Phases of Remote Adaptation (gitlab): gitlab decided to be a fully remote company (before the Coronavirus pandemic) and describes the learnings during the process
- How to Work From Home (The Verge): “However you connect, don’t let email be the only way you interact with colleagues.”
- The new food: meet the startups racing to reinvent the meal (The Guardian): “Contrasting clean meat with factory farms is also crucial, says Friedrich. “People are eating meat today with their eyes squeezed shut. Nobody wants to even think about slaughterhouses,” he says.”
- To Survive Amazon, Direct-To-Consumer Startups Will Become Luxury Brands (medium): Clever discussion of Amazon‘s power, how this is a threat to direct-to-consumer startups and what they could do to prevent being crushed by Amazon.
- Inside the Flour Company Supplying America’s Sudden Baking Obsession (medium): “But in early March, Ely noticed a change in the questions. Partly it was an increase in the sheer number of calls, a jump that seemed more sudden and pronounced than the normal mild pre-Easter build-up. But even stranger was how many of the callers seemed, well, clueless. How do you tell if bread is done? Do I really need yeast? And strangest of all: What can I use instead of flour?”
- The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months (The Guardian): “These days, ‘Ata is considered uninhabitable. But “by the time we arrived,” Captain Warner wrote in his memoirs, “the boys had set up a small commune with food garden, hollowed-out tree trunks to store rainwater, a gymnasium with curious weights, a badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent fire, all from handiwork, an old knife blade and much determination.” While the boys in Lord of the Flies come to blows over the fire, those in this real-life version tended their flame so it never went out, for more than a year.”
- The New Astrology (aeon): Comparing Economics and its disguise of poor theories behind elaborate mathematic models with astrology in ancient China.
- Why is the Modern World So Ugly? (The School of Life): “But modernity introduced glass and steel, out of which large and imposing structures could quickly be formed, and it suggested that it would be as daft to have local architecture as it would be to have a local phone or bicycle design. The argument once again forgot about human nature. When we say that a building looks like it ‘could be anywhere’, we’re not praising its global ambitions, we’re expressing a longing for a building to remind us of where on earth we are.”
- Edward Hopper and American Solitude (The New Yorker): “But in Hitchcock’s work, and in Hopper’s, especially, the unnerving relation of the far to the near is often reversed, and what’s mysterious, if not sinister, becomes identical with our point of view. What are we doing here, seeing that? Voyeurism—the saddest excitement—may be suggested. The emotional tug of many of Hitchcock’s characters and all of Hopper’s requires their unawareness of being looked at. To see them is to take on a peculiar responsibility.”
- The History of Search Engines (Carl Hendy): on the history of the internet
- How One Man Created The Biggest Virtual Pub Quiz In The World (Esquire): a phenomenon during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic
- ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’ – How and Why We Copy the Choices of Others (Pocket / The Conversation): An interesting way of looking at signalling in choices - conveying both social cues and uniqueness at the same time.
- How Nespresso’s Coffee Revolution Got Ground Down (Pocket / The Guardian): Excellent long read on the history of Nespresso, making several interesting points about its marketing. “Under Gaillard, Nespresso would be transformed from an office coffee company into a luxury brand, the look and feel of which would be as much a part of the product as the beans themselves. “I wanted to create the Chanel of coffee, and decided to keep it chic and bobo,” he said in a 2010 interview. The idea was to keep it to “the level of people who have a doorman”. He told me he took inspiration from the wine industry. “The coffee was good and easy to make, but how do you spread the luxury feel?””
- How a Single Mom Created a Plastic Food-Storage Empire (Pocket / Mental Floss): On Tupperware, reinventing the use of plastic, reinventing its use in kitchens and reinventing a woman‘s role in the workforce.
- Order force: the old grammar rule we all obey without realising (The Guardian): on a peciuliarity of the English language, related to the order of adjectives
- Designing Bread for Online Grocerieus (medium): I’m deeply fascinated by the Dutch online grocer Picnic and how they re-think conventions for traditional food retail
- How The First 15 Minutes Of Amazon’s Leadership Meetings Spark Great Ideas And Better Conversations (Forbes): having been in too many meetings, I’m always curious to look left and right for clever alternatives to the “default” format
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Great Equalizer (The New Yorker): “Born the year Eleanor Roosevelt became First Lady, Ginsburg bore witness to, argued for, and helped to constitutionalize the most hard-fought and least-appreciated revolution in modern American history: the emancipation of women.”
- Germans embrace fresh air to ward off coronavirus (The Guardian): “In Germany, windows are designed with sophisticated hinge technology that allows them to be opened in various directions to enable varying degrees of Lüften. Since it has become known that 90% of Covid-19 patients pick up the virus indoors, the practice has come into its own.”
- The Rising Trend Of Cookie Artists Across The Country (Rachael Ray): cookie baking as a phenomenon of the Coronavirus pandemic
- The Making of a Classic: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Beervana): on an important chapter of the US craft beer scene
- The Short Tenure and Abrupt Ouster of Banking’s Sole Black C.E.O. (The New York Times): a story about race and power in Switzerland
- The Husband-and-Wife Team Behind the Leading Vaccine to Solve Covid-19 (The New York Times): On Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci who grew up in Germany as children of Turkish migrants and developed the Biontech mRNA vaccine against the Coronavirus
- Inside the Great NBA Bubble Experiment (GQ): About basketball, wine and race during the 2020 NBA bubble in Disney World Florida. “When people ask me what the bubble was like, I tell them it felt like summer camp, except most of the campers were multimillionaires and a considerable percentage of them were seven feet tall.”
In German #
- Außer Konkurrenz (brand eins): Ein Porträt über Vaude
- Wirklich richtig echt? (brand eins): Wie Banksy Kryptographie nutzt, um anonym zu bleiben und trotzdem seine Werke zu authentifizieren
- Wann, wenn nicht jetzt: 60 Stunden lang „The Wire“ nachholen (fm4): True that.
- Tony Allen: Der uns zum Tanzen brachte (Die Zeit): Ein Nachruf auf Tony Allen.
- Im Auge des Sturms (brand eins): Öffnungszeiten von Fast-Food-Restaurants als Mikro-Indikator für die lokalen Auswirkungen von Naturkatastrophen. "„Anfangs hatten wir nur eine Ersatzspeisekarte, inzwischen haben wir mehrere – je nachdem, ob das Restaurant ohne Strom, Gas oder Wasser auskommen muss“, sagt der Einkaufsleiter Monty Baldwin."
- Jäger des verflixten Dönerlogos (FAZ): Ein Logo, das wohl fast jeder in Deutschland kennt, aber bei dem der Hintergrund im Dunkeln bleibt.
- Das obere Prozent (Die Zeit): Sehr interessante Einblicke, extrem relevant und mit einem cleveren methodischen Ansatz.
- Eine Zweck-WG fürs Wassernetz (Süddeutsche Zeitung): Wie die Wasserwerke der Stadt Bamberg auf die erste Welle der Coronavirus-Pandemie reagiert haben
- Gender Pay Gap - Die Lohnlücke in den Köpfen (Süddeutsche Zeitung): “Mich hat überrascht, wie groß dieser Unterschied ist, obwohl die Studierenden noch kaum Berührung mit dem Arbeitsmarkt hatten”, sagt Ökonomin Pinger. “Und es ist erstaunlich, wie nah die erwartete Lohnlücke an der echten liegt.”
- Cholera-Pandemie: Die Geister des Dr. Snow (Die Zeit): Ich kannte schon länger die Grundzüge von Snow und den Cholera-Brunnen, aber die Details seiner Arbeitsmethoden und Aufzeichnungen waren mir neu und sind faszinierend nah an moderner Empirie.
- Mental Load: Ist es radikal, sich Gedankenarbeit zu teilen? (SZ Magazin): Aus der Kolumne “Freie Radikale” von Teresa Bücker. “Die britische Soziologin Ann Oakley hat mit ihrer Pionierarbeit »Soziologie der Hausarbeit« schon 1974 eine Studie vorgelegt, in der sie analysierte, wie Hausfrauen sich für ihre Hausarbeit belohnten, weil es sonst niemand tat. Die Eigenheit von Hausarbeit sei es, meinte Oakley, dass Hausfrauen ihre eigene Chefin seien und sich Selbstbelohnung organisieren müssten. Dafür würden sie Maßstäbe und Routinen einführen, die eingehalten werden müssen, die Frauen würden dann jedoch die Anforderungen an ihre Arbeit mit der Zeit immer höher setzen, damit der psychologische Belohnungseffekt eintrete.”
- Corona-Impfstoffentwicklung: Der Erste seiner Art (Die Zeit): Eine gute Zusammenfassung der Wirkungsweise von neuartigen mRNA-Impfstoffen
- Jutta Allmendinger: “Der Heiratsmarkt bezahlt Frauen besser als der Arbeitsmarkt”: Ein Interview mit Jutta Allmendinger über traditionelle Geschlechterrollen in Arbeits- und Familienpolitik