Feeling Weird About Being a Video Game Millionaire

For The New Yorker's Elements blog, Simon Parkin talks to some of the beautiful weirdos whose indie video games made them millionaires, often overnight. A lot of them feel really conflicted about it. Or depressed! Or afraid. Or just guilty.

Open Offices: Pros and Cons (Mostly Cons)

All these studies cited on the New Yorker's Currency blog yesterday that suggest we'd all work better behind closed doors definitely resonate. But practically (architecturally?) speaking, how would that even work? Don't all roads lead to cubicle?

If You Only Read One 10-page New Yorker Profile Of A Country’s Richest Woman Today…

Let it be this one about Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Is she an heiress? Inarguably. And yet she has, by hard work and guile and historic luck, multiplied the value of the business she inherited several hundred times over. The “h”-word seems to be partly a gender thing. The male scions of Australian family fortunes, such as Lachlan Murdoch (the eldest son of Rupert), are not routinely described in the press as heirs. Rinehart is the only woman among the rough lot riding the mining boom at tycoon level, and none of the others probably have to read much in the papers about how they really should be able to afford a hairdresser or a personal trainer.

Oh but there is so, so much more.

Justin Bieber’s Manager Is Rich, Kind of a Genius

Justin Bieber's manager is a rich, smart guy.

Mavis Gallant’s ‘Hunger Diaries’

Beloved short story writer and Canadian ex-pat Mavis Gallant died on Tuesday at 91, at her home in Paris. Mavis left her job as a journalist and moved to Paris to write when she was 28 years old. She published her first short story in the New Yorker when she was 29, and then traveled around Europe writing fiction. Word is, though, she always dreamed of being a pregnant blogger who was rejected from all the MFA programs she applied to. I know! I was as surprised as you are.

Dress Like You’re Too Cool For The Job You Have

While we were away on holiday hiatus, the New Yorker ran a story that is relevant to our interests (jobs, casual dress, the rich and powerful, using casual dress to trick people into thinking you're rich and powerful). Called "Why Mark Zuckerberg Gets Away With Hoodies," Matthew Hutson walks us through recent studies showing that "deliberate nonconformity shows that you can handle some ridicule because you’ve got social capital to burn." I buy it.

Life on a Boat in the Arctic (Oh and Also Our Planet Is Melting)

Keith Gessen’s New Yorker cover story about a ship carrying iron ore from Murmansk, Russia to China via the Northern Sea Route is a must-must-must-must-read.

Here’s a fun bit of information about working on a ship: “Most of the men were on six-month contracts, with monthly pay ranging from eleven hundred dollars, for the mess boys, to around ten thousand dollars, for the captain and the chief engineer—pretty good money in the Philippines and Ukraine.”

And here’s a fun bit of information about what we’ve done to our planet: “The thickness of the ice … is also decreasing, from an average thickness of twelve feet in 1980 to half that two decades later. The primary cause of this decline is warmer air temperatures in the Arctic, an area that has been more affected by global warming than any other place on earth.”

The article is subscription-only online, so you have some options if you aren’t already subscribed: 1. Get a login from a friend (in these trying times, etc.). 2. Go buy a hard copy for $6.99 (THIS IS WHAT I DID)  3. Subscribe! It’s $60 a year. For a magazine you get every week that PAYS WRITERS TO GO ON BOATS TO THE END OF THE WORLD. They also have cartoons.

Never Let Go of Your Titanic Obsession

Perhaps you read the lede to Daniel Mendelsohn's New Yorker article about America's obsession with Titanic and wondered: How can I be a member of the Titanic Enthusiasts of America, and more importantly, what will it cost me?

Duh, Amazon is Bad For the Book Business

George Packer has a really long, really gossipy and great story about Amazon in the New Yorker right now. It is DARK, or it is dark if you love books and care about literary culture and are scandalized by things like this, even if you already knew it, but just to see it spelled out so clearly, my god.

Zadie Smith On Tipping Your Delivery Person

Zadie Smith has a charming little essay in the New Yorker -- is that the most insufferable phrase I've ever typed? -- about ordering delivery in London vs. New York. Of course, the focus is on tipping, a topic that just may never get old. As far as I am concerned Zadie Smith can write charming little essays about whatever she wants and I will read them.

Complaints from Billionaires

The New Yorker has a great piece about billionaires who feel victimized and vilified by President Obama, focusing on Leon Cooperman, a hedge fund founder who has compared the president to Hitler on more than one occasion.