A Reading List of #LongReads in 2014 — From Chris Rock to Jerry Jones and Silicon Valley to Rio de Janerio Continuing the theme of year-end lists, here is an eclectic and certainly incomplete list of interesting, long reads. From pop culture (Chris Rock, Chevy Chase, Dave Chappelle) to pizza founders (Mike Ilitch and Tom Monaghan) to sports (World Cup, Jerry Jones, Ray Rice) to business (Las Vegas, Uber, education) and more.

If you read my other list (My Favorite Products of 2014 — from apps to gadgets), you will notice the inclusion of Nuzzel and Pocket. There are many other ways to find and save great content (and so much comes from the general combination of email, Twitter and Facebook) - but that's what works for me. And producing a list like this becomes rather easy when you open up Pocket and can see a year's worth of favorites!

It is also worth noting another method - which I mistakingly failed to include in my 2014 Favorite Products: curated email list. MediaRedef, The Skimm, and Quartz are three I read daily. And they are loaded with great, smart, curated content.

chris rock Chris Rock Talks to Frank Rich About Ferguson, Cosby, and What ‘Racial Progress’ Really Means (Vulture) What’s killing comedy. What’s saving America.

Celebrate Dave Chappelle's New One-Man Show by Reliving the Funniest Night on Earth It was a routine Wednesday at the Comedy Cellar in N.Y.C....until Dave Chappelle dropped in for a surprise set. The unicorn of comedy then proceeded to invite a few famous audience members onstage for what morphed into a kind of roast/toast/love-in/improv session—and an instant classic in the annals of funny. On the eve of Chappelle's five-night run at Radio City this month—his biggest professional moment in more than a decade—we asked the guys who were there that night (including the unicorn himself) a simple question: How the hell did this happen?

The Conjuring of the Mirage (VegasSeven) 25 years ago, Steve Wynn was busily creating a new kind of resort. This is the tale of the alchemy–and the crazy risk–that changed the Strip forever.

Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney (NYTimes) It’s later that night, and we’re driving down Connecticut Avenue after seeing the latest from Disney (and Pixar), “Brave.” I think I understand now, from a deeper place, how Owen, and some of his Disney Club friends, use the movies and why it feels so improbable. Most of us grow from a different direction, starting as utterly experiential, sorting through the blooming and buzzing confusion to learn this feels good, that not so much, this works, that doesn’t, as we gradually form a set of rules that we live by, with moral judgments at the peak.

One Startup’s Struggle to Survive the Silicon Valley Gold Rush (Wired) Nick and Chris no longer cared about “killing it.” They were too honest and too tired for that language and that posturing. At this point they just wanted to survive. They had about a month to raise $1 million or they would no longer be able to make payroll.

Rice case: purposeful misdirection by team, scant investigation by NFL (ESPN) “Outside the Lines” interviewed more than 20 sources over the past 11 days — team officials, current and former league officials, NFL Players Association representatives and associates, advisers and friends of Rice — and found a pattern of misinformation and misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL since that February night.

jerry jones

Jerry Football (ESPN) In the owner's suite, on his private jet or among Dallas' beautiful people, JERRY JONES seems a happy man. But what he really wants, he cannot have.

A Deeper Look at Uber's Dynamic Pricing (Bill Gurley) Fundamentally, most critics of Uber’s pricing model fail to recognize that Uber is a true marketplace. The majority of leading Internet marketplace companies use dynamic pricing as a solution when confronted with a scarcity of supply.

How much my novel cost me (Medium) Writing my first book got me into debt. To finish the next one, I had to become solvent

How David Letterman Reinvented TV (RollingStone) A backstage and in-depth look at how a gap-toothed failed morning-show host and a ragtag band of misfits and rejects changed television forever


When “Purple Rain” Came Falling Down (Medium) At the apex of his success, Prince made a high-profile decision that damaged his reputation for years

Finding a Video Poker Bug Made These Guys Rich—Then Vegas Made Them Pay (Wired) At 12:34 pm, the Game King lit up with its seventh jackpot in an hour and a half, a $10,400 payout. Now Williams knew something was wrong: The cards dealt on the screen were the exact same four deuces and four of clubs that yielded Kane's previous jackpot. The odds against that were astronomical. Williams called over the executive in charge of the Silverton's slots, and they reviewed the surveillance tape together. The evidence was mounting that Kane had found something unthinkable: the kind of thing gamblers dream of, casinos dread, and Nevada regulators have an entire auditing regime to prevent. He'd found a bug in the most popular video slot in Las Vegas.

The Birth of the $60 Billion Videogame Industry (Medium) Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros., and Sega’s war on Nintendo

The Anonymous Bestseller (Medium) Hugh Howey might be a bestselling author, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. And that’s how he likes it.

In Naples, Gift of Coffee to Strangers Never Seen (NYTimes) “It’s a simple, anonymous act of generosity,” said Ms. Cozzolino, 37, an employee of a medical device company. “As a Neapolitan who tries to restrict herself to four coffees a day, I understand that coffee is important. It’s a small treat that no one should miss.”

The Rio the World Cup Didn't Show (ESPNFC) Every second in Rio, she said, 4,700 gallons of sewage spills into the ocean. Up and down the coast, open pipes along the beach just dump the waste right into the water, and on bad days, locals call the visible stain of human waste the “black tongue.” The amount of feces in the water, she said, is 195 times what the U.S. considers acceptable, and 78 times what Brazil considers acceptable, and while this is profoundly disgusting — Leona stopped swimming when she learned the numbers — it is also cosmically perfect. There is the Rio that visitors see, whether swimming in the water or watching a soccer tournament on television, and then the real Rio, beautiful but flawed, hiding in the cliché.

college A brash tech entrepreneur thinks he can reinvent higher education by stripping it down to its essence, eliminating lectures and tenure along with football games, ivy-covered buildings, and research libraries. What if he’s right?

The Future of College? (Atlantic) A brash tech entrepreneur thinks he can reinvent higher education by stripping it down to its essence, eliminating lectures and tenure along with football games, ivy-covered buildings, and research libraries. What if he's right?

The Overprotected Kid (Atlantic) A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.


Wes Welker Will Not Be Denied (ESPN) Wes Welker became one of the most dominant receivers of his era because of an unfailing belief in his abilities. In the wake of three concussions in 10 months, is that same self-confidence now putting his future at risk?

Twilight of the Pizza Barons (Business Week) Dominos and Little Caesars pizza founders' contrasting legacies


The Down And Dirty History Of TMZ (Buzzfeed) How a lawyer from the San Fernando Valley created a gossip empire and transformed himself into the most feared man in Hollywood, all by breaking a few long-held rules and, as rumor has it, lording over a notorious vault full of secrets.

50 Cent is My Life Coach (GQ) For years now, the man who wrote Get Rich or Die Tryin' has been getting very rich indeed—off record sales, energy drinks, self-help books, exercise routines, headphones, you name it. His newest product? A comeback record, Animal Ambition. You see, 50 Cent is healthier than you and wealthier than you, but he also believes you can get there, too, if you follow his advice. GQ's Zach Baron spent a month as the hip-hop mogul's prized pupil, making vision boards, hitting the gym, and reorienting his consciousness, to see if he could get a little bit more like 50

Together We Make Football (Grantland) On the NFL’s dark, intractable history of domestic violence

9 Exits On America's Football Highway (ESPN) A 540-mile stretch of I-20 in Texas reveals the state of football in the football state.

An Oral History of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (RollingStone) From freak snowstorms to the comedic cyclone that is Chevy Chase, the cast and creators reveal the secrets behind this beloved holiday-movies classic

The Quaid Conspiracy (Vanity Fair) Written in 2011 - but I discovered this recently... and have read & shared it many times since... pretty remarkable read They’re spending nights in their car, on the run from the same shadowy cabal—“the Hollywood Star Whackers”—who may have killed Heath Ledger, possibly sabotaged Jeremy Piven, and could now be targeting Lindsay Lohan. No, this is not the plot of Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Randy Quaid’s latest movie. It is what he and his wife, Evi, swear is really happening to them. With the Quaids in Canada, the author probes their nightmare reality, which has alienated friends and family, and turned the couple into outlaws.