Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.
Having done the “3 Great Stories” segment every week since starting this block in February, I now face the challenge of picking my favorites.
But I have picked them, and here they are.
I will post my three favorite audio/video stories of the year next week. This week, without further ado, I present my three favorite written pieces of 2013, along with what I wrote about them back then, with minor edits for clarity:
#3) After Bloomberg (8/20/13, The New Yorker): He is routinely mocked for being bland and boring, but New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg is sneakily candid. He regularly weighs in on national topics and critiques the President, among other leaders, and yet he does not get the notoriety for outspokenness that a Chris Christie might receive.
In his final year of office, one would expect, his candidness will lead to numerous in-depth retrospectives — hopefully as memorable as this one.
Ken Auletta of the New Yorker produces this 8,000-word gem about Bloomberg, and it is special because it blends the mayor’s own words with the appropriate context and commentary. Auletta writes with an obvious point of view, but he generally uses it to color Bloomberg’s words, not overpower them. This paragraph is a perfect example:
I asked Bloomberg if he could imagine joining the President’s Cabinet. In theory, he said, “it would be fascinating to be Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, jobs like that. Secretary of the Treasury, you want someone who’s a real economist”—and someone “who is maybe less opinionated.” Bloomberg thinks of himself as a team player, as long as it’s his team.
#2) Let’s get ready to rumble (9/19/13, McSweeney’s): This story — written by an author with a pseudonym, J.K. Appleseed — takes you behind the scenes of the Apple Store, from the eyes of an employee.
This is an exposé of the most enjoyable kind.
I really do not want to spoil much, because the whole thing is such a wonderful read, but Appleseed basically offers a jewelry store’s worth of gems about Apple’s behind-the-scenes ethos and employee policies.
I know Apple most likely did not sanction or support such a piece, but company officials should not be too upset at the article’s contents. If anything, readers learn exactly why Apple has seen such success in the last decade; its leaders pay so much attention to the human experience — and not just with their products.
#1) The Saudi marathon man (4/17/13, The New Yorker): Amy Davidson chronicles the story of a Saudi Arabian who was incorrectly targeted as a person of interest in the bombing of the Boston Marathon. In doing so, she offers a poignant look at how one life was affected by the targeting of police and the massive coverage of media. Davidson leaves us with more questions than answers, such as this one at the article’s end:
And yet, when there was so much to fear that we were so brave about, there was panic about a wounded man barely out of his teens who needed help. We get so close to all that Obama described. What’s missing? Is it humility?
Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at email@example.com.