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Sitdown Sunday 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web…

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The man who broke Atlantic City
Mark Bowden on the gambler who took three huge casinos for $15million – and how he did it (Atlantic).

Arrayed on the table before him were the four eights. He was allowed to double down — to double his bet — on any hand, so when he was dealt a three on the first of his hands, he doubled his bet on that one, to $200,000. When his second hand was dealt a two, he doubled down on that, too.

2. Giving up on our home
Aimee Phan on what happened when she couldn’t pay the mortgage, and why home ownership may be over for most (Guernica).

She couldn’t stand the idea of her daughter as a common renter, her eldest child not owning her own home. “Your cousin bought a new four bedroom house, three thousand square feet in San Jose,” she told me over the phone.

3. Becoming the Messiah
Chris Nashawaty on the religious tourists who come to believe they’re Jesus (Wired).

He felt it, resonating in his chest. It was like his body had become a giant tuning fork or a dowsing rod. Taking a cue from the sign of the cross that Catholics make when they pray, Hodge decided that if the vibrations came from the right side of his chest, it was the Holy Ghost communicating with him.

4. Why some countries go bust
Adam Davidson on a man with a simple explanation for why some countries go bankrupt while others flourish (New York Times).

This mind-set changes only when farmers are given strong property rights and discover that they can profit from extra production. In 1978, China began allowing farmers to benefit from any surplus they produced. The decision, most economists agree, helped spark the country’s astounding growth.

5. Aboard the private jets of the deep
Philip Bethge on the latest toy for the super-rich: a private submarine (Der Spiegel).

Passengers on this 65-meter (210-foot) submersible yacht can travel in comfort both above and below water. Its luxury berths easily hold 20 guests. The manufacturer promotes the Phoenix 1000 as a the unique “opportunity to explore the depths of the world’s oceans.”

6. An oral history of The Sopranos
Sam Kashner meets the men and women behind the mob drama that changed TV, and hears its story in their words (Vanity Fair).

After we shot the pilot, David said, “Well, that was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, no one will ever watch this show, but you guys have been great.” And that was the end. Or so we thought.


In October 2000, Bruce Feiler wrote for Gourmet about how to bribe your way into the most exclusive restaurants in the world.

“This is one of our best tables,” she adds. Suddenly I’m Frank Sinatra. I’m King of the Strip. I exude aftershave and savoir faire. Call it the fedora effect. My girlfriend looks at me in a way she hasn’t since I surprised her by uncharacteristically demolishing a friend on the tennis court.

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