The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for June 2, 2012

From the return of behavior modification to Obama’s blueprint for crushing Romney, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

06.02.12 8:45 AM ET

The Perfected Self
David H. Freedman, The Atlantic

B. F. Skinner’s notorious theory of behavior modification was denounced by critics 50 years ago as a fascist, manipulative vehicle for government control. But a new wave of smartphone apps is giving them an unlikely comeback.

Hope: The Sequel
John Heilemann, New York

Inside Obama-campaign headquarters, the president’s senior strategists are confident they have demographics, history, and the better candidate on their side. But just to make absolutely sure they’ll beat Mitt Romney, they’re planning to ditch their hopey-changey past and double down on Rovean ruthlessness.

Will Craig Venter’s Bugs Save the World?
Wil S. Hylton, The New York Times Magazine

Some will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA.

How Germany Conquered Amazon
Michael Naumann, The Nation

The lone Western country with a thriving bookstore culture.

How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us
Gail Collins, The New York Review of Books

The people picking the nation’s textbooks think “evolution is hooey.” So why are they so powerful?

The Beach Boys’ Crazy Summer
Andrew Romano, Newsweek

He heard voices, did drugs, and fell apart. Can the band’s reunion tour help put Brian Wilson back together again?

For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.com.