Oh God 16 More Longreads You Don’t Have Time To Read, With Love From Benj

Benji Lanyado
3 min readOct 20, 2020

I like reading long articles and then summarising the ones I think are best, here on this Medium blog. I can’t remember why. This one’s quite Covid-ey, sorry. Previous instalments: 1 2 3 4.

Image: George Natsioulis / Picfair

The Virus Should Wake Up the West, Bloomberg

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge on what the Coronavirus crisis has revealed about about the state of The State in the west. Spoiler alert: not in great shape; China on the march. [Caveat: blew me away in April but haven’t re-read since so might be bollocks now, but probably isn’t.]

The neoliberal era is ending. What comes next?, The Correspondent

Rutger Bregman on how the ideas “lying around” become more absorbable during crises. From Keynes to Friedman to Piketty and now, in the middle of the biggest societal shakeup since the second world war, Mazzucato (maybe). [This one I’ve re-read a few time since now and still holds up.]

Can “Athletic Intelligence” be measured?, New York Times

Devin Gordon introduces AIQ — Athletic Intelligence Quotient — modelled by a US company who claim they can predict how likely an athlete is to succeed, and how. Featuring cool illustrations from Karan Singh.

‘Queer Eye’, Jordan Peterson, and the battle for depressed men, openDemocracy

Adam Ramsay’s beautiful piece explores how political extremism feeds on an epidemic of disconnected, immobilised, depressed men.

History Will Judge the Complicit, The Atlantic

Anne Applebaum examines the various motivations of Trump’s collaborators and compares them with Stasi-era collaborators in USSR-era Eastern Germany.

Sweatpants forever, New York Times

Fascinating piece on the unsustainable practices and subsequent unravelling of the fashion industry in the run up to the Covid crisis. Brilliant interactive design from Shannon Lin.

Andy Khawaja: ‘The whistleblower’, The Spectator US

Paul Wood’s wild story on Saudi billionaire Any Khawaja, who claims to have sold a payments gateway to the Trump 2016 election campaign in order to disguise hundreds of millions of dollars in Saudi & Emirati money as small donations.

Iceland’s Big Bitcoin Heist, Vanity Fair

When Bitcoin mines came to Iceland, a local burglar syndicate started prospecting for warehouses full of computers … by tracing local electricity grid spikes. Mark Seal’s brilliant retelling of a very modern crime spree.

The French economist who helped invent Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax, The New Yorker

Benjamin Wallace-Wells meets Gabriel Zucman, a peer of Thomas Piketty, whose work focusses on tax evasion and the principle of nations taxing wealth, not just income.

Blockchain, the amazing solution to almost nothing, The Correspondent

Jesse Frederik’s superb deconstruction of why Blockchain, the much-vaunted digital ledger technology that aims to solve almost everything, is really mostly bullshit.

The Future of America’s contest with China, New Yorker

Evan Osnos examines the emerging global contests between China and the USA, from all perspectives — political, economic, cultural, social, and even sporting.

The untold story of Stripe, the secretive $20bn startup driving Apple, Amazon and Facebook, Wired

Stephen Armstrong chronicles the rise of the Collison bothers, the Irish entrepreneurs behind Stripe — the payments platform increasingly underpinning global online commerce.

The Unravelling of America, Rolling Stone

Wade Davis’s brutal diagnosis of America’s decline, signalling the end of a century of hegemony and the tragic passing of a torch to totalitarian China.

The Escape Artist, Vanity Fair

May Jeong profiles the extraordinary Michael Taylor — a former US marine who exfiltrated Nissan CEO from house arrest in Japan while hidden in a cargo box.

Can Biden’s Center Hold?, The New Yorker

Evan Osnos’s epic profile of the Democratic presidential nominee, from his tragic beginnings in Washington to his emergence as a compromise candidate primed to take on Donald Trump.

The Vanishing, Vanity Fair

Bianca Bagnarelli tells the story of a Canadian Blockchain millionaire who “died” mysteriously in India in 2018, taking hundreds of millions of investor funds with him.



Benji Lanyado

Founder of @picfair, developer, recovering journalist (NYT/Guardian/FT)