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The Playlist

From WeWork to Theranos to Uber, many tech start-ups have been given the Hollywood treatment this year. Now it’s Spotify’s turn. The Swedish-language, six-episode Netflix series The Playlist details the fantastic rise of the small Stockholm-based music-streaming service. Each episode is from the perspective of a different key player, opening with the company’s founder, Daniel Ek (Edvin Endre), a gifted coder with only a high-school education. It doesn’t take long to understand how Ek goes from a poorly dressed nerd with a questionable hairline to a billionaire with a slick persona. We learn about how record companies made deals and are reminded of how illegal download sites such as Pirate Bay once threatened to obliterate the entire music-streaming industry. We meet the whip-smart lawyer who wrangled the music labels to come on board, and a coder who designed the back end as if conducting a symphony. There may not be the inherent drama of Elizabeth Holmes’s story or the “cult of personality” that came with Adam Neumann, but it’s nonetheless a fascinating look into a company that revolutionized the way we listen to music. ( —Bridget Arsenault


Lost Objects

Orson Welles made a masterpiece out of the lost object when he locked onto Rosebud in Citizen Kane. The director knew that the stories of our lives are found in the small details, and that the most meaningful objects of all are not simply “misplaced things” but vessels that contain entire worlds. Which is why this book is such a pleasure to read. Or, really, to listen to, as each of the writers here spins an intimate, one-page mini-movie that sticks in your mind as much as their lost object has stayed locked in their memory. From Seth Mnookin recalling a .22-caliber handgun he lost track of while strung out on heroin to Neil LaBute pondering what became of a strange yet cherished link to his childhood (a pickled octopus), these micro-tales are the best of the short confessional. They leave you with that same wonderful feeling you sometimes get on one of those special nights in the corner of a bar with a few friends, each of you spinning out an answer to a question dropped on the table, each of you looking to top the other. ($40, —Michael Hainey



I hesitated to buy a rice cooker for two years because it seemed like a total waste of money and counter space. But I kept thinking about it. Although it’s nearly impossible to bungle making rice entirely, I was always slightly overcooking mine. It wasn’t inedible; it just could have been better. I bought the Zojirushi electric rice cooker, and it quickly became one of my best kitchen purchases. It’s so easy to use, a monkey could make perfectly cooked basmati rice. Just add a scoop or two of rice, four to six cups of water, and press the large orange Cooking button. Best of all, you can leave the house as it cooks without worrying your home will burn down. (139.99, —Jensen Davis


Yoox Net-a-Porter for the Prince’s Foundation

As a means of preserving artisan craft in the fashion industry, Yoox Net-a-Porter has teamed up with King Charles’s the Prince’s Foundation to create the Artisan Project, an initiative that supports eight graduates of fashion and textiles programs in Italy and the United Kingdom. Professionals from brands including Gabriela Hearst, Giuliva Heritage, Mother of Pearl, and Nanushka mentor these talents (including Isabelle Pennington-Edmead, Arianna Safayi, and Adam Benbarek) through the 10-month paid training program. This week marks the culmination of their graduates’ efforts, which brings us the debut of the Artisan Project’s capsule collection. The pieces are inspired by King Charles’s beloved gardens at Highgrove House, and 50 percent of the proceeds from their sale will be donated to the Prince’s Foundation. Our current favorite: the Blanket Coat, made of contrasting checks inspired by the patterns on the garden’s Wall of Gifts, a display of architectural stones. ($770, —Ashley Baker


Alix of Bohemia x Cabana

Two things we love: Alix of Bohemia, and Cabana (both the magazine and its e-commerce offerings). So the news of their capsule collection piqued our interest, and prepared us to empty our pocketbook. Designer Alix Verley-Pietrafesa specializes in small-batch, hand-embroidered jackets with plenty of attitude and cachet, and her 16-piece collection for Cabana has seven seriously good ones, along with two vests and an alluring assortment of blouses. Made of printed cotton, this Fiorella Lapis jacket will be our first acquisition because of its romantic embroidery, saturated colors, and adorably folksy (in a good way) cut. But, rest assured, more will follow. ($1,950; —Ashley Baker


Obsessions: Wild Chocolate

There is chocolate and then there is wild chocolate. Apparently, Godiva’s assortments and Hershey’s Kisses are insipid approximations of the chocolate that is made with wild cacao beans foraged in the Amazonian forest—chocolate that can do for the palate what ayahuasca does to the brain. Or so says Rowan Jacobsen, an adventurous food writer who recently blew the whistle on Big Truffle. Jacobson is the host of Obsessions: Wild Chocolate, a podcast about his rollicking, dangerous trip up the Amazon to find the precious bean that once served as currency in the New World. (Montezuma II reportedly kept a million cacao beans stashed in his safe.) Listeners don’t have to love chocolate to enjoy the close calls, mishaps, and exotic eccentrics Jacobsen encounters along the way—think Fitzcarraldo meets Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. But fanatics should know that one of Jacobsen’s comrades, Luisa Abram, a Brazilian cacao hunter and chocolate-maker who works with Indigenous cacao growers, has partnered with a Swiss confectioner to bring three varieties of wild Amazonian chocolate to the U.S. market. (Listen: Eat: —Alessandra Stanley

Issue No. 173
November 5, 2022
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Issue No. 173
November 5, 2022