Best Business Longreads

From the man driving the art world madness to J. Crew’s attempt to conquer the United Kingdom, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of November 30, 2013.

12.01.13 10:45 AM ET

Nick Paumgarten – New Yorker

The recent sale of a Francis Bacon triptych for $140.2 million had a lot of tongues wagging, but even more heads shaking. How is art, and 20th century art in particular, being valued at such astronomical values? The answer may be the work of one man--David Zwirner.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07:  David Zwirner and Yayoi Kusama speak during the Yayoi Kusama "I Who Have Arrived In Heaven" Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Art Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

Andrew Toth

T.A. Frank – The New Republic

Denigrating Washington, DC in a political speech is as ubiquitous nowadays as “God Bless America.” And while politicians may see room for political points in Americans’ disgust with politics in Washington, TV producers see only green.

Adam Davidson – New York Times Magazine

Anger and disgust with rising inequality in New York City helped propel progressive Democrat Bill de Blasio to a landslide win over Republican Joe Lhota in November’s mayoral election. And a series of new residential skyscrapers popping up in Manhattan seem to be fingers in the eyes to those who care about inequality in the Big Apple. But, what if there is little a mayor can actually do to combat the statistically widening gap between rich and poor?

Emma Rosenblum – Bloomberg Businessweek

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Despite some cultural affinity, a lot of British and American brands have struggled to cross the pond. But J. Crew, with its elite popularity (Michelle Obama and Anna Wintour) and unique price point (above Zara, below designer goods) thinks it can make a splash.

Kelefa Sanneh – New Yorker

There have been a lot of predictions regarding the sweeping global changes new technologies would bring about. From revolutions in authoritarian countries to more telecommuting, the benefits to society were supposed to be profound. And yet in entertainment, a multi-billion dollar industry that was supposed to be transformed, blockbusters still rule.