Jared B. Keller is an associate editor at The Atlantic, and one of the keepers of The Atlantic’s Tumblr. We asked him to choose the 5 articles he finds himself recommending over and over again, and here they are:
Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond by Edward Jay Epstein (The Atlantic, 1982) - ”An unruly market may undo the work of a giant cartel and of an inspired, decades-long ad campaign.” This is one of my favorite Atlantic articles of all time. Edward Jay Epstein traces the myth of the rare diamond through the history of De Beers and one of the greatest marketing campaigns ever.
The Behavioral Sink by Will Wiles (Cabinet, 2011) - ”How do you design a utopia?” Will Wiles details John B. Calhoun’s 1972 development of his Mortality-Inhibiting Environment for Mice: a practical utopia built in the laboratory. In the experiment that would inspire “The Rats of NIHM,” Calhoun followed the grisly, Malthusain rise and fall of the Heaven he built for mice.
Happiness is a Worn Gun by Dan Baum (Harper’s, August 2010) - Many knee-jerk opponents of gun rights have never handled a gun before, so what happens when one liberal wears a concealed weapon? This Harper’s article is is a classic read about Baum’s psychological transformation as a concealed gun owner.
A Matter of Optics by Warren Breckman (Lapham’s Quarterly, “The City,” Fall 2010) - Cities, like schools, prisons, or barracks, are institutions of power and representation. “Rulers of cities have always had an interest in visibility, both in representing their power and in controlling people by seeing them”
As We May Think by Vannevar Bush (The Atlantic, 1945) - “In this classic paper by Dr. Bush calls for a new relationship between thinking man and the sum of our knowledge. He urges that men of science should then turn to the massive task of making more accessible our bewildering store of knowledge.”