Enjoy the best longform journalism. Every Sunday.

How Domino's Pizza Reinvented Itself by Bill Taylor for Harvard Business Review.

The week's best reads, carefully curated by Don Van Natta Jr. and Jacob Feldman. Today's guest editor is Maggie Haberman.



   SUNDAY — December 4, 2016   

EDITORS' NOTE: To start December off strong, we've brought in The New York Times' Maggie Haberman to guest edit this week's edition. She recently covered the Presidential campaign, as well as the early stages of Donald Trump's transition before his inauguration. Prior to the Times, Haberman was a national political correspondent for Politico, where she covered the 2012 and 2014 elections. She began her career at the New York Post, and also worked for four years at the New York Daily News. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children. Take it away, Maggie...


After a year in which petty politics were inescapable, Twitter was the preferred platform of the Republican presidential nominee and controversies burned fast, bright and then out, as Ben Smith of BuzzFeed would say, it is a pleasure to put the iPhone down and sift through stories with some heft.  


And at a time when news comes in incremental bursts, longform has once again become the best way to describe a richer narrative, tell a deeper story, with texture and detail and touch that can range from footprint-heavy to light as the brush of a fingertip. I've tried to compile a list on topics that interest me (politics, social activism, criminal justice), topics that are familiar to me (grappling with childhood illness, autism) and topics that are more accessible to the boys in my house than to me (the lure of the N.F.L.). 

Geek Love

By Kevin Patterson

 (~15 minutes)

Technology has served as a door to escapism for teenagers across the globe. In Canada, years ago, the precursor to modern-day geekdom—Dungeons and Dragons—was how one man’s twin brother, discovering he was gay, found self-acceptance. Being a nerd “taught him how to shed his self-consciousness,” Kevin Patterson writes. “How not to hate himself for loving men.”
Bernie Sanders on Donald Trump's Victory, Identity Politics, and the Failures of the Democratic Party

By Jason Zengerle

 (~10 minutes)

The always-excellent Jason Zengerle sits down with the senator from Vermont with the familiar crest of fluffy white hair, who talks candidly about the difference between his large rallies and the ones Donald Trump held, as well as what he got right – and, conversely, what Hillary Clinton did not – about an election that was waged along the lines of class as well as race. His formula is simple: “You have to stand for something,” he says. 

The Case Against Cats

By Britt Peterson

 (~10 minutes)


“Cats—however cute—are lethal and heartless.” Britt Peterson makes an impassioned argument against the variety of pet that has starred in seemingly endless viral videos and holiday cards. That case seems simple – cats are feral, hard to clean up after, dirty, fond of leaving mouse carcasses in unexpected places. And yet, he notes, people often choose cats over dogs.

How to Hide $400 Million

By Nicholas Confessore

 (~45 minutes)


Divorce is messy enough when it doesn’t involve multimillion-dollar efforts at subterfuge. In this meaty piece, Nicholas Confessore examines the divorce of Sarah Pursglove and Robert Oesterlund as a window into the hazy world of money hidden in a tangle of offshore accounts. 

Can Oakland, A New Capital of Legal Weed, Undo the Injustices of the War on Drugs?

By Alex Halperin

 (~20 minutes)


Alex Halperin examines the disconnect in the haven for the legalized pot industry in Oakland, California and its largely white entrepreneurs, and the mostly black and Hispanic community of people who have suffered under harsh anti-drug laws. 
How Domino's Pizza Reinvented Itself

By Bill Taylor

(~5 minutes)


The co-founder of Fast Company magazine found himself riveted at a recent C.E.O. summit in Michigan by a presentation on how Domino’s went from a sagging company to a souped-up start-up.
Confessions of an Instagram Influencer

By Max Chafkin

 (~15 minutes)  


Max Chafkin, a writer, went on assignment and cracked the code of how to contrive your way to influence amid the still lifes of Instragram, the social media platform that is an antidote to the bile of Twitter. 
Gerald McGrath's Return Game

By John Glennon

 (~15 minutes) 


Mental illness is pervasive, and still so stigmatized that it can ruin a career. Gerald McGrath went through a low and managed to come back from it. 
Nigel Farage on the Story Behind His Friendship With Trump

By Sam Knight

 (~15 minutes) 


Nigel Farage, the scourge of the “stay” movement in the U.K. and the Zelig of the Trump campaign, explains how he came to know the 2016 Republican presidential nominee and pose in front of his gilded penthouse doors shortly after election day.
What I Found at Standing Rock

By Bronson Koenig

 (~10 minutes)

The Wisconsin hoops star and Native American traveled to North Dakota to experience the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to work with some of the children whose land is being threatened. This is well worth your time this weekend. 

Hooked for Life

By George Dohrmann

 (~40 minutes)

Besieged by concerns over its treatment of players and the lack of attention to the devastating effects of head injuries, the N.F.L. is looking for a way to draw in a new wave of super-fans – very young super-fans. 
The Last Diplomat

By Adam Entous and Devlin Barrett

 (~10 minutes)

A fascinating, disturbing and timely tale of an old-school diplomat who found herself in the midst of an F.B.I. swarm.
The Power of Will

By Billy Baker

 (~60 minutes)


Over five chapters, Billy Baker tells the story of efforts to cure Will, an infant afflicted with a pervasive cancer, and the doctor who stumbled on a potential cure. Will’s parents steel themselves to push forward, despite terrible odds, in a reminder of the simple power of pushing toward the next sunrise.
"Gosh, It's Beautiful"

By Justin Heckert

 (~15 minutes)


"It isn't a good game. It's a boring game." It's also singularly elusive prey for legions of arcade aficionados and video game historians. Justin Heckert writes for about how the thirty-year-old Stadium Events cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System became the most sought-after virtual trophy.
Luke's Best Chance

By Paul Solotaroff

 (~30 minutes)


The autism diagnostic rate has made a staggering climb in the last thirty years, and Paul Solotaroff’s son is among them. He looks with grace and humanity at what happens to a group of kids – primarily boys – as they grow into adulthood without social instincts to guide them. 

Cuban Rebel Is Visited in Hideout (1993)

By Herbert L. Matthews


The Castro romance was unavoidable given the despotic ways of Fulgencio Batista, the corrupt Cuban dictator against whom the future dictator waged a guerrilla war. When Castro was rumored to be dead, New York Times correspondent Herbert L. Matthews traveled to the Sierra Maestra mountains to file an exclusive story about the leader's rag-tag force. This laudatory and romantic Page One piece—some would say gullible—helped forge the Castro myth, which makes it a historic document. Matthews depicted Castro as a noble nationalist and mere socialist, and as Castro was revealed to be a hardcore communist the Times and its reporter were denounced for being taken in. 


Jack Shafer writes about media for Politico.

"Gosh, It's Beautiful."

None of this would've happened had Jennifer Thompson not gone thriftin'. This was in April 2013, and she was browsing clothes and $1 DVDs at the Steele Creek Goodwill in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, when she noticed it behind the glass counter. The video game title sparked a memory, a Yahoo article about the rarest games in the world. Jennifer carefully drove her '99 Honda Accord across the street to McDonald's, just to use the restaurant's Wi-Fi to make sure she hadn't been wrong. She then crossed the street again and purchased the game for $8 from the $30 she had in her bank account, praying the clerk wouldn't recognize what it was and stop her.


Confessions of an Instagram Influencer

"You sell part of your soul. Because no matter what beautiful moment you enjoy in your life, you’re going to want to take a photo and share it. Distinguishing between when is it my life and when am I creating content is a really big burden."

—Marcel Floruss


100 Outstanding Audio Stories of the Year

By The Editorial Team

 (~5 minutes)


This is an exhaustive list of some of the best storytelling of the year, ranging from the disappearance of the Malaysia Air Flt. 370 to transgender children navigating a brutal and frightened society. 


How "A Christmas Story" Went From a Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition

By Sam Kashner

 (~25 minutes)


“You’ll shoot yer eye out, kid!” became an unlikely battle cry for children hoping for an elusive, dangerous Christmas present from Santa, thanks to the durability of “A Christmas Story.” Sam Kashner lovingly reconstructs the making of the off-kilter, beloved holiday film based on monologues by the writer Jean Shepherd. 


From The Wall Street Journal:
"According to the nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 represented 24.3% of the entrepreneurs who launched businesses in 2015, up from 14.8% in 1996."

From Tim:
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks;
as entrepreneurs they are NOT hicks.
We all know the score;
we've been there before—
and never will trust a quick fix. 

Tim Torkildson is a retired circus clown. His work has appeared in The New York Times and The Huffington Post. He is currently re-inventing the limerick, one anapest at a time.

Post-Election College Paper Grading Rubric

By Daveena Tauber

 (~5 minutes)

"Under the new grading criteria, the 'excellent' and 'poor' categories will be replaced by 'winners' and losers.'"

Bahamas - Lost In The Light

Lost in the Light

By Bahamas

Read Later
Founder, Curator: Don Van Natta Jr.
Producer, Curator: Jacob Feldman
Senior Editor of Recycling: Jack Shafer
Senior Limerick Editor: Tim Torkildson

Contributing Editors: Bruce Arthur, Alex Belth, Sara J. Benincasa, Sara Blask, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Chris Cillizza, Rich Cohen, Pam Colloff, Maureen Dowd, Brett Michael Dykes, Lea Goldman, Maggie Haberman, Reyhan Harmanci, Virginia Heffernan, Jena Janovy, Bomani Jones, Peter Kafka, Mina Kimes, Tom Lamont, Glynnis MacNicol, Drew Magary, Jonathan Martin, Betsy Fischer Martin, Ana Menendez, Kevin Merida, Eric Neel, Anne Helen Petersen, Joe Posnanski, S.L. Price, Albert Samaha, Bruce Schoenfeld, Joe Sexton, Rachel Sklar, Dan Shanoff, Ben Smith, Wright Thompson, Pablo Torre, Kevin Van Valkenburg, John A. Walsh, and Seth Wickersham

You can read more about our staff, and contact us (we'd love to hear from you!) on our website: Help pick next week's selections by tweeting us your favorite stories with #SundayLR.

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