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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 15 November, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Inside Gwyneth Paltrow's 'ridiculous' Goop health summit

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

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. Inside Goop

Gwyneth Paltrow Goop Event Gwyneth Paltrow Source: Jordan Strauss

Gwyneth Paltrow’s company Goop makes a lot of money selling a certain lifestyle to people. It recently held a summit where attendees got to find out more about what it espouses. Maureen Callahan went… and found things were just a little over the top.

(NY Post, approx 12 mins reading time)

Yet it’s one with Paltrow’s trademark snobbery and class consciousness: Although all attendees were promised post-summit drinks — “Let’s face it,” Paltrow’s editorial director Elise Loehnen told Vanity Fair in April, “everyone’s going to need a cocktail at the end of the day” — those who paid just $500 were hurried out of the venue as a voice came over the loudspeaker, asking everyone else to join Gwyneth and her friends for a cocktail in the garden.

2. What makes us happy?

Researchers at Harvard have spent over 70 years look at what makes people happy, examining 268 men’s lives over the decades. Here’s what they found out.

(The Atlantic, approx 67 mins reading time)

The study began in the spirit of laying lives out on a microscope slide. But it turned out that the lives were too big, too weird, too full of subtleties and contradictions to fit any easy conception of “successful living.” Arlie Bock had gone looking for binary conclusions—yeses and nos, dos and don’ts. But the enduring lessons would be paradoxical, not only on the substance of the men’s lives (the most inspiring triumphs were often studies in hardship) but also with respect to method: if it was to come to life, this cleaver-sharp science project would need the rounding influence of storytelling.

3. Baking saved my life

German television host Enie van de Meiklokjes bakes with children Source: DPA/PA Images

A really lovely, heartwarming article about how baking helped a woman named Elisabeth Mahoney through grief – and how she now helps others.

(The Guardian, approx 15 mins reading time)

She decided to leave her job as a journalist and to make bread and deliver it, with a few bread accessories: soup, jam. She wanted to keep everything small, in order to keep it affordable, but also because it reminded her of her mum. When Mahoney was 46 – the same age as Betty when she had her – she launched One Mile Bakery. It was an instant success; the demand almost overwhelming, she remembers. Within a couple of months, she needed help and recruited someone who had been on her one-day baking course (a cyclist: much quicker than her at deliveries.)

4. A man with a plan that could derail Apple

Ireland takes centre-stage here as Vice looks at a man named Allan Daly, who objects to Apple’s plans to build a billion-dollar data centre in the west.

(Vice, approx 17 mins reading time)

The August meeting was cordial, Daly said, but he came away knowing Apple would not concede an inch to any objections from him or other local people who had questions about the development’s viability. “They were very nice, but it was very clear that if they were going to do anything, it was going to be on their terms and with their timing,” he told me when I met him at the same hotel in May, in his first interview about the case. “They were adamant that the approach they were taking was 100 percent renewable anyway, so anything else they were doing was above and beyond.”

5. Obama vs Putin

US President Obama Attends Annual UN General Assembly - NYC Source: Utrecht Robin

This fascinating, in-depth article looks at Barack Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Vladimir Putin’s election assault.

(Washington Post, approx 45 mins reading time)

In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.

6. Ken has a manbun

The Ken doll has undergone a massive makeover – now he can have cornrows, or have different skin colours, or even a manbun. Caity Weaver visits the design centre to find out how it all went down.

(GQ, approx 21 mins reading time)

Even if you never played with Ken, his tiny footfall has reverberated through your life; he charges in early in the formative years of the fairer sex, setting an impossible standard for males against which you will be judged forever. Ken is the first man—or, technically, eunuch—many little girls will ever see nude. Consequently, he teaches young ladies that men are meant to have bodies like Olympic water-polo players.


Fan of true crime? Here’s a story from 2006 set in Italy, about a man who would kill couples while making love in their parked cars.

(The Atlantic, approx 63 mins reading time)

It was an extraordinary story, and I would—to my sorrow—come to share Spezi’s obsession with it. We became friends after that first meeting, and in the fall of 2000 we set off to find the truth. We believed we had identified the real killer. We interviewed him. But along the way we offended the wrong people, and our investigation took an unexpected turn. Spezi has just emerged from three weeks in prison, accused of complicity in the Monster of Florence killings. I have been accused of obstruction of justice, planting evidence, and being an accessory to murder. I can never return to Italy.

 More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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