FT Big Read

FT Big Read

United Kingdom

An audio version of the best of the Financial Times's Big Reads — in-depth reporting from FT correspondents around the world. Listen to longform stories that explore and explain key themes in world news, science and business. Produced by Anna Dedhar.


Social media: Talking down the jihadis  

Tech groups and digital media stars are taking the initiative in challenging terrorist propaganda from groups like Isis, say Madhumita Murgia and Hannah Kuchler. They are using 'counter speech' to fight extremists' propaganda with their own chosen tools of persuasion — such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google

Germany: Berlin's battle with gentrification  

A property boom and an influx of new residents have put pressure on the city's affordable rental market, says Guy Chazan. The big fear of officials is that the German capital will see a housing crisis like London's

Gig economy: Corporate consultants break free  

A growing number of business advisers are seeking the flexibility and creativity of working for themselves independent of the big brands, says Andrew Hill, the FT's management editor. But the disruptive edge where McKinsey meets Uber has perils as well as attractions

UK politics: Can Theresa May pull it off?  

Post-Brexit vote, the UK's new prime minister faces the challenge of negotiating the country's exit from the EU while navigating its biggest political upheaval in a generation, say George Parker, Alex Barker and Kate Allen. With her speeches at the Conservative party conference, she has the chance to assert her authority

Trump vs Clinton: Fighting over Florida  

The sunshine state is a key battleground, and it is one that Donald Trump must win to clinch the US presidential election, says Sam Fleming. Victory in the biggest swing state hinges on whether older white voters or the rapidly growing Hispanic population hold more sway

France: Islam vs secularism  

The burkini bans are not the first time the country has been divided over religious dress, says Anne-Sylvaine Chassany. In 1908 the Catholic soutane was at the centre of a clash as the hijab and niqab are today, highlighting the tension between hardline and liberal secularism, dividing Muslims and threatening national unity

Banks: Too dull to fail?  

Regulators have pushed the banking sector to behave more like the most humdrum utilities in a bid to end the 'too big to fail' culture. Now with valuations and profit levels converging, Patrick Jenkins assesses what the shift means for the sector

Motor industry: Auto charge  

The number of electric cars topped 1 million last year, boosted by government subsidies, and they could make up a quarter of the world’s automobiles by 2040. How will this shift in the auto industry affect oil demand — and price, ask Pilita Clark and Peter Campbell

Pensions: The dark future  

A dramatic decline in bond yields has added to the pressures of longer lifespans and falling birth rates to create a looming social and political pensions crisis, say John Authers and Robin Wigglesworth. In this report they examine the outlook for retirees. You can also listen to John and Robin discuss the pensions squeeze at podcast.ft.com.

Goldman Sachs: Turning to Main Street  

After years of flat revenues, executives are hunting for new income streams, says Ben McLannahan. Can the Wall Street bank be a friend to the consumer and small businesses?

Chinese M&A: Beijing's Berlin spree  

Midea's €4.5bn purchase of robot maker Kuka was the largest ever Chinese takeover of a German company, and the latest in a string of deals that have made Germany the top target in Europe as Chinese investors seek innovative engineering and technology, says Guy Chazan. But it has raised concerns in Berlin for the country's strategic industries

US economy: Where have all the entrepreneurs gone?  

There is a dearth of new business start-ups across much of America, famously the home of capitalist mojo, says Sam Fleming. Domineering incumbents, too much red tape and an unwillingness to risk failing are all blamed for a worrying trend that is hurting productivity and depressing dynamism, Sam reports.

Xi Jinping’s China: Power play  

Xi Jinping, China’s leader since 2012, came from humble beginnings. How has he grown to have such power in such a short time and what does he want to do with it? James Kynge, the FT’s Emerging Markets Editor, talks to Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese politics at King's College, and Tom Mitchell, FT Beijing Bureau Chief.

Digital advertising: Battling the bots  

Online fraud from software masquerading as genuine consumers is forecast to cost marketers up to $7bn this year — but the industry is finding such crime very hard to combat and even to detect, says Robert Cookson

Italian banks: Rome and Brussels on collision course  

The Brexit shock not only sent Italian bank shares sliding and raised doubts over reform of the industry. It also sharpened the conflict between Rome and the EU over state aid rules and put the political survival of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at risk, say Rachel Sanderson, Alex Barker and Claire Jones

Corruption: Moving money out of purgatory  

The likes of the US, UK and Switzerland are extending their reach as global policemen to track, recover and return stolen assets. Some groups estimate that as much as $1tn a year is stolen from developing nations. But in the crackdown on kleptocracy, Kara Scannell reports how authorities have faced difficulties in returning illicit assets to citizens

Brexit and the City  

What will Brexit mean for the City of London? Whatever terms Britain manages to negotiate with the other 27 member states, countries across the EU are eager for a bigger bite of the financial services sector that the City enjoys the lion's share of today, say Financial Editor Patrick Jenkins and FT reporters. The big question is which rivals are likely to benefit most

Volvo: Geely's gamble  

Six years after the deal that is still seen as a test case for Beijing's industrial ambitions, the Swedish carmaker is back in profit, say Richard Milne and Christian Shepherd. But there are still challenges for the marque and its Chinese owner as Volvo tries to catch up with its rivals

Beam Suntory: A volatile blend  

Suntory's $16bn takeover of US spirits maker Beam in 2014 catapulted the Japanese group to number 3 in the global spirits markets. The tie-up was not without its problems, and Kana Inagaki explains how Beam is trying to overcome the differences in the Japanese and American corporate cultures.

Finance: McKinsey's rich network  

Three decades ago the management consultancy set up a private hedge fund for its partners and alumni in a bid to keep staff tempted by the financial rewards of banking and private equity. But some experts warn of possible conflicts of interest, say Harriet Agnew and Miles Johnson

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