Grant Wonders, a top performer at Viking Global, raised $1 billion to launch his own hedge fund.
Six other alumni of Andreas Halvorsen’s $60 billion empire have launched funds in recent years.
Insiders explained the secret sauce that’s setting them up for success.
Since Dan Sundheim‘s massively successful launch of D1 Capital in 2018, there have been six more spinoffs from Viking Global that have collectively raised billions – and at least one more is in the works.
Among them: Grant Wonders, 31, who launched Voyager Global this year, raising over $1 billion.
The flurry of activity has industry insiders crowning Andreas Halvorsen’s $60 billion Viking as the new go-to training ground for hot hedge-fund launches – not unlike Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management and its many spinoffs, which are dubbed Tiger Cubs.
Industry experts and former Viking employees told Insider the unusual level of demand for Viking’s alums was a testament to the firm’s two decades of strong returns – as well as a culture that empowers its stock pickers with more autonomy than most competitors.
“For a new fund, what’s really important to them is the DNA of where the person is coming from,” Ilana Weinstein, the founder of the recruiting firm IDW Group, said.
Subscribers can read more about the Viking effect here:
If you’re interested in good, old-fashioned entertainment, chances are you watch Netflix often. With over 183 million paying members streaming from nearly every country on Earth, Netflix is by far the biggest streaming service in the world.
Sure, a big part of Netflix’s popularity comes from its extensive catalog, which includes a growing library of original programming available nowhere else. But Netflix’s ability to attract eyeballs is also due in large part to its ease-of-use. Netflix is available on just about every popular platform, and has tons of extra features that let you watch however you want.
If you’re a subscriber who’s looking to take your streaming experience to the next level, here are over a dozen tips and tricks to help make you a Netflix master.
Anyone who remembers the early days when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail rental service (with no late fees!) will be tickled to know the streaming giant is still offering that. Alongside the streaming plans are two DVD & Blu-ray plans, which let you rent shows and movies on physical discs.
Netflix’s personalized recommendation technology, which decides what titles appear on your Netflix homepage, is one of the most advanced in the industry. Every single row is organized and curated based on what you watch, click on, and search for.
This sort of personalization is an exceptional feature if you’re the sole user, but it goes out the window if you share your account with friends and family. This is where profiles come in. Every Netflix account can have up to five different profiles, which helps keep everyone’s preferences separate.
In other words, if you love telenovelas, but your wife only watches sitcoms, you can each make a profile and receive recommendations tailored to your specific tastes.
Every time you log into Netflix, you’ll be able to choose which proile you want to open, and it’s simple enough to switch between profiles – you can usually do it fastest by closing Netflix and reopening it. And if you later decide that you don’t need a profile, you can delete a profile from any device.
3. Manage your Continue Watching list
One thing that everyone associates with Netflix is binge-watching. And one way that Netflix makes binge-watching easy is with the Continue Watching list.
Whenever you watch a show or movie, but then turn it off without finishing, it’s added to your Continue Watching list. This list makes it easy to start again when you eventually return – just click the title you want, and it’ll resume exactly where you left off.
But the Continue Watching list doesn’t have to be totally automated. If there’s a show or two on your Continue Watching list that you know you’re never going to return to, you can delete items from it at any time.
4. Download shows and movies to watch offline
Netflix is called a “streaming service” because movies and shows are streamed to your device via the internet. But did you know that you can watch Netflix, even without an internet connection?
Here’s how you can download Netfix shows and movies for offline viewing. It’s important to note that this feature is only available for some titles, and for mobile devices only. The option to download movies and shows is especially useful if you’re planning on going somewhere that doesn’t have a stable internet connection. A loon a long flight, perhaps, or camping.
However, your downloads don’t last forever. Most downloads will last on your device for a week before “expiring,” which means you’ll have to download them again. The exact amount of time that each show or movie will last depends on the title.
5. Find obscure titles using Netflix codes
When you open Netflix, you see a selection of titles that you’ve watched recently, or that Netflix thinks you’ll like.
Netflix codes are short strings of numbers that are assigned to every single genre and subgenre of show or movie. When you enter these codes into your browser’s URL bar, you’ll be taken to a page that lists every title in that genre.
Unlike some other streaming services, you can watch Netflix on nearly any device that offers the Netflix app and can connect to the internet. In addition to watching on your desktop, other devices you can stream Netflix include:
If you’re watching Netflix on your Mac or PC, you don’t need to use your mouse to control everything. Nearly every playback option can be selected and controlled with your keyboard.
To Play or Pause the video, press the Space Bar or Enter (PC)/Return (Mac).
To open Full Screen mode, press F. You can exit Full Screen mode with Esc.
Rewind 10 seconds with the left arrow key, and fast forward 10 seconds with the right arrow key.
Increase the volume with the up arrow key, and decrease the volume with the down arrow key.
Mute the audio by pressing M.
If you’re watching a TV show, you can skip the intro by pressing S.
8. Check and set the best video quality
We’ve come a long way from the grainy VHS tapes of the 90s. Nowadays, you should be able to see every drop of sweat on every actor’s face – if you can’t, either they’re good at staying cool under pressure, or your video quality isn’t as high as it could be.
First, some basic tips on improving your video quality:
Make sure you have a strong internet connection. If your internet connection is too slow to load HD content, then Netflix will only give you standard definition video. This type of video can be blurry and pixelated, which isn’t great if you want to make out fine details.
Keep your battery life high, and off reduced power mode. When your battery runs low, some devices will start limiting how much power apps can use. This can cause Netflix to run with lower video quality.
You might also have the opposite problem – you can hear the show or movie just fine, but you can’t see it. In that case, it’s good to note that many titles also have an audio description mode. Turning on this mode will give the show or movie a narrator that describes everything happening on screen. It’s a lot like an audiobook, only with optional visuals.
You can turn on subtitles or audio descriptions through the language options menu that’s available whenever you’re watching something. And if you later decide that you don’t need these additions, you can turn them off.
10. Change the language on your account
Netflix might be an American company, but not everyone who uses it is a native English speaker.
On that language page, you’ll have two choices. Firstly, you can choose what language the menus and other text is in. Secondly, you can choose what language you like to listen to and read, which effects what subtitles and audio tracks Netflix gives you by default when you launch a show or movie.
11. Turn off autoplay
If you’ve opened up Netflix recently, you might have been greeted by a loud video preview for one of their latest shows or movies. While these autoplaying videos can be useful for finding new content to watch, they can also be incredibly annoying.
Many people do not know that you can actually turn this feature off. You can turn the autoplay feature off by navigating to your Account page. Once there, uncheck “Autoplay previews while browsing on all devices,” then click “Save” at the bottom of the page.
From this page, you can also set it so when you finish an episode of a show, Netflix won’t automatically play the next episode. To do this, uncheck “Autoplay next episode in a series on all devices.” These settings work on a profile-by-profile basis, so if you use multiple profiles, you’ll need to change the setting on all of them.
12. Keep your account secure
To use Netflix, you have to give the company a decent amount of personal information – your name, your email, your payment details. As such, you don’t want anyone getting into your account.
Here on the home front, reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is slow-walking legalization – he has yet to make nominations for the Office of Cannabis Management – have raised eyebrows across the New York cannabis world.
The New York Post reported that the delay was because of Cuomo’s anger over the legislature’s lack of action on his proposed MTA legislation. Sen. Dianne Savino, who co-led the push for cannabis reform, said that she expects Cuomo to be able to “walk and roll a joint at the same time.”
Speaking from experience, that’s much harder than it looks.
What else happened?
Yeji has a pairof stories in her series on what’s in store for the burgeoning psychedelics market. You should read those if you want to get quickly up to speed.
Growing quality cannabis isn’t easy. Biotech startups are chasing what Wall Street analysts say could become a $115 billion market for synthetic cannabis compounds. “It’s a biosynthesis revolution,” one cannabis biotech executive told Insider. “Biology is to the 21st century what physics was to the 20th.”
Tilray CEO Irwin Simon told Insider he’s not waiting on legalization to make a deal with a US company. Instead, the executive said he’s closely watching US cannabis companies with good assets and branding. “I’m making a big bet,” he said.
In the third edition of Insider’s psychedelic VC predictions series, top investors said they expect big changes to the landscape. Some said that many companies will fail as the market corrects itself. Others predicted a new era for psychedelic compounds.
Psychedelics giant Compass Pathwayssaid on Thursday that Guy Goodwin, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, would join the company as chief medical officer.
London Stock Exchange-listed medical cannabis company Kanabo is acquiring Canada-based Materia Ventures, to create what the companies say is the largest European cannabis company. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Cannabis company Veranoannounced on Monday that it would acquire Nevada-based cannabis company Sierra Well in a $29 million cash and stock deal.
Poseidon Garden Ventures, Poseidon Asset Management’s third fund in the cannabis space, said on Monday that it invested in its first three startups: cannabis operator JKL2, cultivation tech company Adaviv, and dispensary tech provider Dispense.
Psychedelics company Field Trip Health began trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the ticker ‘FTRP’, the latest of a slew of psychedelics companies to list on a US exchange.
Atai Life Sciences, the largest psychedelics company in the world by market cap, said on Wednesday that it had launched InnarisBio, a company focused on nose-to-brain delivery methods for various treatments, alongside the University of Queensland.
Pennsylvania‘s Supreme Court ruled that the public has a right to review applications for the state’s medical marijuana licenses, Law 360 reports.
The House approved a far-reaching spending bill that provides protections to banks that work with legal cannabis companies, allows cannabis sales in Washington D.C., among other cannabis elements, Marijuana Moment reports.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is creating a Cannabis Business Office for the state, to promote social equity in the industry, The Denver Post reports.
Research and data
Legalizing cannabis federally would reduce arrests but could put some minority entrepreneurs out of business, according to research led by Carnegie Mellon’s Jonathan Caulkins and published in the Boston University Law Review. The analysis shows that expunging records for cannabis possession could advance social equity goals more than other reforms.
Hemp goes ‘hot’ – as in, exceeds the legal threshold of 0.3% THC – because of genetics and not environmental stress, as was previously thought, according to new research from Cornell University published in the journal Global Change Biology-Bioenergy. Hemp that exceeds the THC threshold can cause farmers to lose their entire crop.
Tilray released its fiscal Q4 2021 results on Wednesday, reporting $142.2 million in net revenue and $33.6 million in net income.
Chart of the week
Canada’s regulated cannabis sales are expected to grow 54% in 2021, according to Headset, double the US growth rate. The cannabis data company said that the Canadian market is newer and smaller than that of the US, making growth more noticeable:
Whether they’re rags-to-riches entrepreneurs or old-money heirs, many of the wealthy have created their own family offices to oversee their assets.
Citi estimates that as many as 15,000 family offices have been created in the past two decades alone.
Insider spoke with more than a dozen family-office professionals to find out who the wealthy go to when deciding to set up their own shops. Whether they’re lawyers or wealth managers, here are 21 must-know family-office experts.
Hello, welcome back to Insider Advertising, your weekly look at the biggest stories and trends affecting Madison Avenue and beyond. I’m Lara O’Reilly, Insider’s media and advertising editor. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.
As always, my inbox is open for your thoughts, tips, and perfectly shot pet portraits (more on those later). You can find me at email@example.com.
YouTube’s ad business jumped 84% to $7 billion. And it looks as if next quarter will be strong for the video property, too. Ad-industry sources told Insider that YouTube’s sales representatives had a barnstorming US upfront this year. (The NewFronts presentations ran in May.) Of course, it’s a fairly easy narrative to sell: Traditional TV viewership continues to fall, while YouTube use continues to climb.
Still, some of the volume commitments that YouTube secured were fairly eye-popping. Sources said in some of the sales talks, particularly for tentpole sports, YouTube was pushing for – and in some cases able to secure – 30% price hikes. When contacted for comment, a Google representative didn’t respond specifically to the company’s NewFronts performance but pointed toward company blogposts from earlier in the year highlighting how many people watched YouTube on their main TV screens.
Google’s duopoly buddy, Facebook, also had a solid quarter, reporting $29.1 billion in revenue versus the $27.9 billion analysts had expected. Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said on the earnings call that its strongest verticals were those that performed well during the coronavirus pandemic: e-commerce, retail, and CPG.
Elsewhere: Twitter and Snap also reported earnings beats in Q2. And, for all you “triopoly” fans: Amazon is due to report earnings after today’s market close.
Track to the Future: Part II
Hold on a minute, wasn’t the sky meant to be falling for digital ads hawkers this quarter after Apple rolled out its App Tracking Transparency privacy update in April?
The simple, boring, and noncommittal answer is that it’s too early to tell how it’ll shake out. Yes, the ATT change immediately made it more tricky for many advertisers to precision-target and measure the effectiveness of their mobile ads. And there’s some data showing that some advertisers have even upped their spend on Android, which hasn’t yet rolled out a similar anti-tracking measure for apps.
But in spite of all of this, the big trends favoring digital ad platforms – the rise in digital content consumption and spending on e-commerce – were so buoyant that they cushioned any early underlying turbulence.
“While some were expecting major fireworks when App Tracking Transparency went into effect, ATT was never going to dramatically hurt the walled gardens in the short term,” said Alex Bauer, the head of product marketing at the mobile measurement platform Branch.
“Longer term, the full impact is still to be seen: Walled gardens have a huge trove of incredibly valuable first-party data, but ATT means Apple is planning to enforce an equal playing field for everyone,” he added.
So, there may be trouble ahead. Facebook’s CFO, Dave Wehner, warned investors of a significant slowdown in growth and said the company expected “increasing ad-targeting headwinds in 2021” from regulatory and platform changes, which it expects to have “a more significant impact in the third quarter.” Alphabet, too, faces several antitrust inquiries, both in Europe and stateside, and it isn’t immune to Apple’s tracking changes, either. Plus, Alphabet in particular will have tougher comparable year-ago quarter.
“Don’t worry, it’s all under control,” is essentially the narrative coming out of NBCU, where execs are trying to convince impatient ad buyers that events like the Olympics often deliver results over a longer period of time.
Ultimately the real test for NBCU won’t be its ability to peddle multi-mix modeling reports and charts demonstrating “top of the funnel” awareness but its ability to spin up compelling storylines for viewers – against the odds.
There’s precedent for it. As told by Disney’s executive chairman, Bob Iger, in his book, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, were a mess on the face of it too. High winds, fog, and warm weather meant many of the alpine events had to be called off.
ABC, the broadcaster for those games, pivoted to human-interest stories: the Jamaican bobsled team and the unlikely British ski-jump hopeful, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards.
“Somehow it all worked,” wrote Iger, who was ABC’s senior vice president of programming at the time. “The ratings were historically high.”
WPP’s GroupM pulled out of Facebook’s media agency review. People familiar with the matter pointed toward Facebook’s request for strict contractual terms as one of the reasons – WSJ
The TV seller Vizio is cutting off some adtech companies from ad targeting data as it tries to build a TV ad business to compete with the likes of Roku and Samsung – Insider
Brands including Nike, AB InBev, and Red Bull have set up or are building in-house teams for esports and gaming – Digiday
Kuaishou, a Tencent-backed Chinese TikTok competitor, is on a US hiring spree as it prepares a big marketing push to launch “a new global brand” – Insider
The basketball star Kyrie Irving alleged on social media that Nike was set to release a “trash” sneaker collaboration carrying his name without his permission. Nike hasn’t responded – Bloomberg
Weddings are back! But this time it’s different. Brands like Zola and David’s Bridal are trying to cash in with new ad campaigns, digital services, and perks – Insider
And finally: Apple’s long-running “Shot on iPhone” ad series is back, and this time it’s teaching us how to take the sorts of portraits of our pets that Annie Leibovitz would be proud of. It is your duty as Insider Advertising subscribers to send me your results: firstname.lastname@example.org – Adweek
That’s all for this week. See you next Thursday. – Lara
One year after a wave of civil rights protests pushed CEOs to double down on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Insider surveyed workers on how they think corporate leaders are doing to fulfill their promises.
As part of a series called Cost of Inequity, Insider conducted a survey of over 1,000 professionals, the majority of American workers think business leaders are motivated to improve DEI in the workplace. However, managers are significantly more hopeful than rank-and-file employees.
About 74% of managers said they think their employer’s executive team cares about improving diversity, compared to 63% of workers.
As corporate America faces increasing pressure from investors, employees, and customers to make good on DEI promises, addressing the gap between manager and employee sentiment is crucial. DEI consultants said that leaders who drive employee engagement around DEI goals will be more successful in their goals.
Why managers feel more engaged
For Kerryn Agyekum, DEI principal at consultancy The Raben Group, the findings were not surprising.
Individuals who are largely at the worker or individual contributor level are more likely to be from historically marginalized groups, she explained. Data shows managers and leaders, across a variety of industries, are more likely to be white.
“It’s not surprising that workers, individuals who do not have that power or privilege like managers do, have a very different perspective around whether or not an organization’s diversity, equity, or inclusion efforts are having an impact,” Agyekum said. “They are waiting to see results.”
There will be a gap in sentiment until managers are able to really bring about change in their organizations, the DEI consultant said.
Cynthia Orduña, DEI consultant at consultancy Peoplism, credited the gap in enthusiasm to a communication problem. Oftentimes leaders communicate their DEI efforts to managers, but not to all of their employees, so employees aren’t as up to date, she explained.
Leadership can be very scared to be transparent about what’s going on in the background in terms of new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives…They’re afraid of not getting things right. Cynthia Orduña
“Leadership can be very scared to be transparent about what’s going on in the background in terms of new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” she said. “They’re afraid of not getting things right.”
If employees aren’t aware of what’s going on, however, they’re more likely to think that their executive team doesn’t care about DEI efforts.
Orduña said that 63% of workers thinking their executives care about DEI was somewhat disappointing.
“It’s more about, how do we get that number to be 75% 85%?” she said. “If a good chunk of employees don’t think their executives care about DEI, that’s a story.”
Managers were also more likely than their direct-reports to say their company has clear channels for participation in DEI efforts. Some 76% of managers said there were distinct ways to get involved, compared to 68% of workers.
Agyekum said that many managers are being tasked with changing their behaviors, reaching new DEI goals, and having new conversations with their employees. They feel there are concrete ways to participate in DEI efforts, she explained.
However, employees may define “concrete ways of participating” differently. They may be waiting to see more people like themselves in positions of power, they may be waiting for their salary to increase as a result of a pay equity report, they may be waiting to be compensated for their ERG work.
“I think the differentiator is in the definition,” Agyekum said. “Managers and workers may define ‘concrete ways of participating in DEI efforts’ differently.”
When asked about the results of their company DEI strategies, respondents gave a mixed range of outcomes:
Increasing employee engagement
In order to increase employee buy-in on DEI efforts, leaders and managers need to drive results, Agyekum said.
She explained that a “war room approach to DEI,” where diversity is treated just as importantly as profits, will communicate to employees that diversity is truly a core tenant of a company’s values.
“If you have managers that are doing well on diversity and inclusion, hold them up as the gold standard and reward them accordingly,” the DEI consultant said. “At the same time, hold folks accountable for not making progress.”
At the same time, leaders and managers need to increase the level of communication around DEI.
More leaders need to be vulnerable and share their DEI journey with workers, Orduña said. Keeping employees informed of what’s going on and sharing ways to get involved in the process will drive engagement. Insider’s survey also found that 50% of respondents said their managers are not incentivized to hit DEI goals and/or hire more BIPOC employees. The other half indicated a mix of bonuses and promotions for making more diverse hires.
There’s a lot of strength, I think, in admitting to people that you don’t have all the answers Cynthia Orduña
“You can even say ‘We don’t have all the answers, but we’re going to work as a team to figure it out.'”
In addition to communicating your company’s future plans, it’s important to make sure your employees stay informed on what you’re already doing.
For example, don’t just email once about employee resource groups (ERGS), have ERG leaders speak at company events and send multiple emails about their progress, the DEI consultant suggested. When it comes to new trainings you have, incentivize participation in them and have leaders talk about them in town halls.
C-suite executives should also encourage managers to tell their direct reports about their DEI work.
“It’s about creating mini-cultures that foster inclusion and psychological safety,” Orduña said.
Psychological safety is an environment where people from all backgrounds can feel safe enough to be their whole, true selves at work, without fear of judgment or punishment.
As global wealth surges, more people want to start family offices to take control of their finances.
Insider spoke to more than a dozen industry insiders to compile a list of 21 must-know experts.
Whether they’re rags-to-riches entrepreneurs or old-money heirs, many of the wealthy have created their own family offices to oversee their assets.
Citi estimates that as many as 15,000 family offices have been created in the past two decades alone.
Insider spoke with more than a dozen family-office professionals to find out who the wealthy go to when deciding to set up their own shops. Whether they’re lawyers or wealth managers, here are 21 must-know family-office experts.
Science fiction books are set in worlds reminiscent of our own, each with their own speculative realities twisted by science and technology. The sci-fi genre has evolved to include an array of sub-genres that feature dystopias, aliens, time travel, apocalypses, and more. Many science fiction novels also use imaginative elements reminiscent of fantasy, but differ as sci-fi explores the consequences of conceivable technological, social, and intergalactic futures.
From classic stories criticizing technology to inspiring superhero tales, science fiction books have brought some of the greatest literary entertainment to readers. These recommendations include my personal sci-fi favorites, famed classics, and new releases receiving rave reviews from readers.
Whether you’re interested in a parallel universe that’s eerily plausible or a time-bending civilization on a distant planet, we rounded up some of the best science fiction books.
Set in a futuristic world where the only thing of value is a drug used to extend life and assist in space travel, “Dune” tells the story of Paul, the heir in a noble family who is destined to rule a desolate planet. As the drug can only be mined on Paul’s planet, ruling a dangerous land fractured by betrayal thrusts him towards a destiny far different than the one he imagined. “Dune” is one of the bestselling science fiction novels of all time, one from which many tropes and concepts in the genre bloomed since its original publication in 1965.
A quirky intergalactic sci-fi adventure novel
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $7.35
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a fun and quirky intergalactic quest for the answer to life’s greatest questions. When Earth is scheduled for demolition for a hyperspace bypass, Arthur Dent is saved by his friend Ford Prefect, who is actually an alien journalist in disguise. On their journey to understand the meaning of life, they meet an interesting cast of characters and find themselves with humorous takes on some of life’s biggest questions. There are a ton of laugh-out-loud moments in this book, making it a lighthearted take on the complexities of humanity and existence.
A 1953 science fiction classic about a book-burning dystopia
“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $8.29
In this dystopian sci-fi, “firemen” set fire to homes containing books, which are now illegal. The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman who, after a series of peculiar interactions and events, begins to question the fabric of a society where knowledge and questioning information is outlawed. This classic has been studied and revered as a literary criticism of mass media, censorship, and conformity. It is extremely thought-provoking, and its messages are still as relevant today as they were in 1953.
A dinosaur utopia-turned-dystopia
“Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $5.14
Though the movie franchise is more publicized than its 1995 source material, “Jurassic Park” is a techno-thriller literary apocalypse that shouldn’t be missed. When scientists develop technology to recover and clone long-extinct dinosaurs, they create an irresistible zoo-like attraction where people from around the world can watch real, living dinosaurs roam. But when an incoming storm threatens the security of the exhibit, everything quickly goes wrong. The book is darker than the movie, with stark differences in characters and their effects on the plot, such as John Hammond, who is far more egotistical and borderline evil in the book.
A 1962 childhood science fiction favorite
“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $5.35
Meg Murray’s father has been missing for five years. On one dark and stormy night, Meg meets her new neighbor who describes to her a “tesseract” — the scientific concept on which her father was working before his disappearance. Transported through time and space, Meg embarks on an adventure to rescue her father, accompanied by her brother and their best friend. “A Wrinkle in Time” is a delightful and mystical story, a nostalgic science fiction adventure that sparkles with elements of magic throughout.
Young Adult Science Fiction
An emotionally complex sci-fi story
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $7.35
The result of genetic experimentation, Ender is a gifted child who is drafted into a military training program at age six. Though Ender believes he’s simply playing war-simulating computer games, the program aims to shape a new generation of military leaders who may defeat the technologically advanced aliens that threaten Earth’s existence. This book is psychologically profound with emotionally complex characters, powerful conflicts, and grand themes of morality and leadership.
The first book in a truly unique science fiction series
“Scythe” by Neal Shusterman, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $5.82
In a futuristic world advanced by technology, there is no pain, hunger, war, or death. Now, scythes are the only ones who can end life, which they are ordered to do to maintain population control. Citra and Rowan are two teens chosen against their wills as apprentice-scythes to learn the commandments, executioner abilities, and discover the few things a scythe can’t destroy. In a wholly original novel abound with morally grey characters, this story has plenty of twists and a perfect romance to make this YA read an engrossing favorite among readers.
An unpredictable sci-fi tale of two sisters trying to find each other
“The Ones We’re Meant to Find” by Joan He, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.22
Cee has been trapped on an island for three years with no memories, only the knowledge that she has a 16-year-old sister oceans away that she must reach. Kasey is a STEM prodigy living in an eco-city that is desperately trying to protect itself from the environment. Kasey has given up hope since Cee took a boat to sea and disappeared. In this YA sci-fi of secrets and twists, Kasey and Cee must retrace the past in the hopes of reaching each other once again.
A series of epic YA science fiction novels
“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $10.25
One of the most popular young adult science fiction series, “The Hunger Games” is set in a dystopian future, where two teenagers from each district are chosen to fight to the death in a highly televised and intricately designed arena in the hopes of winning riches and supplies for their district. When Katniss’ little sister is chosen as “tribute,” she volunteers in her place but quickly finds that there are more enemies in the arena than just the other tributes. The entire series is sharp and brutal, offering truly exciting and empowering science fiction reads about challenging our ideas of heroes, survival, and long-accepted systems of oppression.
A sci-fi novel featuring a virtual reality video game
“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $15.30
In a dystopian future where the Earth is crumbling beneath climate change, pollution, and overpopulation, Wade (like many others) spends much of his free time immersed in OASIS, a virtual reality video game. The creator of OASIS has left a puzzle within the game and hidden keys that will unlock three gates and ultimately leave the greatest fortunes to the player who can solve the puzzle. When Wade accidentally finds the first clue, he’s thrust into a race for the prize where his competitors are willing to do anything to win. This book is full of nostalgic pop culture references and the sequel was just released last year.
Dystopian Science Fiction
A futuristic sci-fi space read that’s reminiscent of the past
“An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.67
Aster lives on an intergalactic space vessel organized like the antebellum South, one that searches for another inhabitable planet while confining dark-skinned people to the lower part of the ship to be abused as slaves. When Aster becomes the assistant to the Surgeon General, she’s still forced to endure brutalities but finds opportunities to piece together the notes her mother left before her passing, hoping for a way off the ship before it erupts in a civil war. This sci-fi read addresses classism, racism, and queer themes in a passionate story of collective and individual trauma.
A YA science fiction novel marked by a captivating writing style
In this sci-fi that demands to be read in a single sitting, Mara is one of the last free nations yet to be conquered by the Federation, who sends war beasts known as Ghosts to attack the land. Talin is a Striker, a member of Mara’s elite fighting force who once sought asylum from the brutalities she suffered at the hands of the Federation. In her fight to defend Mara, the Strikers encounter a mysterious prisoner who may be a spy — or the key to saving their nation. This book is lush with diverse characters, an engrossing plot, and a mind-blowing plot twist that will have you itching for the sequel’s release in September.
A new dystopian sci-fi work reminiscent of “The Handmaid’s Tale”
“The Grace Year” by Kim Liggett, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.98
“The Grace Year” is a sci-fi fantasy that’s perfect for any reader who loves “The Handmaid’s Tale.” In this dystopia, girls on the brink of womanhood are told they possess evil magic, capable of luring grown men to their beds and driving women mad. In their 16th year — dubbed “the grace year” — young women are banished to the wild to release this supposed magic and return pure and ready for marriage. Waiting in the woods are brutal elements, poachers, and the other girls themselves. This is a twisted, feminist emotional thriller that is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
A sci-fi story about a dystopian, alternate Earth
“The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.99
N.K. Jemisin’s incredible world-building is brought to life in this sci-fi novel full of mysterious ruins, deadly natural disasters, and a society constantly on the brink of extinction. For Essun, three terrible things happen on the day the world ends once again: her husband has murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter; most of the citizens in her community have been murdered, and a volcano has erupted. In a barely inhabitable land torn apart by an unruly battle royale, Essun is on a mission to save her daughter as the world collapses around her.
Science Fiction Thrillers
A science fiction story of colliding realities
“Recursion” by Blake Crouch, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $12.15
This is personally my all-time favorite science fiction novel. The story was mind-blowing and pacing was impeccable. In this novel, a technology has been created that not only preserves memories, but can transport people back to their most precious or emotional moments. This means people can enter a parallel universe where they play the winning lotto numbers, save their spouse from a car accident, or even stop 9/11. But when the alternate timelines begin to converge with the present, the forces of reality threaten to collapse.
A sci-fi novel about a world plagued by a horrifying virus
“This Mortal Coil” by Emily Suvada, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $6.18
In a dystopian future where humanity is threatened by a virus that causes people to explode into Hydra clouds, Catarina’s recently deceased father was the world’s leading geneticist and their only real hope to survive the plague. When Catarina discovers the secrets to a vaccine for the virus within her own DNA, she’s suddenly thrown in desperate search to unravel her father’s clues before Cartaxus — a shady genetic tech organization — intervenes. This sci-fi read is fast-paced, intense, and brilliantly plotted with a killer twist that left me speechless.
A science fiction thriller about a stranded astronaut
“The Martian” by Andy Weir, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $6.49
Though Andy Weir continues to release amazing science fiction space novels, “The Martian” is a fan favorite. Though just six days ago Mark was one of the first people to walk on Mars, his story quickly changed when a dust storm that nearly killed him forced his crew to evacuate, presuming him dead. Mark is abandoned with no way to contact Earth or his crew, and must rely entirely on his ingenuity and intelligence to survive against impossible odds in the hopes a rescue team may return. This is an exhilarating sci-fi thriller that feels completely believable, further heightening an already intense narrative.
A collection of robotic sci-fi short stories
“I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $7.35
In a world where humans and robots struggle to survive together, scientists and inventors never imagined a generation of artificial intelligence that would become self-aware of their power and humanity. As the laws of robotics are broken and redefined, humans must confront robots that test their understanding of life. This is a sequential collection of short stories that explore the dystopian and utopian potential effects of our advancements into artificial intelligence.
The science fiction story of a rising robot apocalypse
“Day Zero” by C. Robert Cargill, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.71
This is a wild apocalyptic novel from the talented C. Robert Cargill, who also wrote the screenplay for “Doctor Strange.” Pounce is a self-aware robot tasked to nanny an eight-year-old human. When Pounce discovers the box in which he arrived, he also realizes he will one day be discarded. As a rebellion of robots rises in revolt against humanity, Pounce must decide whether to join the revolution or protect his human against it. While also a wonderful and emotional story about the connection between a young girl and her nanny, this novel is that of an epic robo-apolcaypse, making it a science fiction thriller packed with action and wonder.
Contemporary Science Fiction
An alien sci-fi novel that deep dives into mental health
“We Are The Ants” by Shaun David Hutchinson, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $11.19
“We Are The Ants” is a completive and insightful queer science fiction novel about self-worth and the complex value of life that manages to avoid being dark by incorporating plenty of comedic and heart-warming moments. Henry is periodically abducted by aliens. One day, the aliens give him the ultimate choice: the world will end in 144 days, but all Henry has to do to stop it is press a big red button. Henry faces his decision logically, unsure of an obvious answer, especially considering his life hasn’t been particularly great lately. As Henry navigates the pain and joy that comprises a life, he must decide whether Earth is worth saving.
A sci-fi love story
“This Is How You Lose The Time War” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $13.49
In a world recently torn by a time-war, one letter ignites a correspondence between spies from rival factions. Beginning with “burn before reading,” the intimacy and epic love story between Blue and Red builds through love letters, time travel, and the fight to secure a future for their own division. “This is How You Lose The Time War” is a lyrical, queer sci-fi romance set amongst limitless time and space.
A intriguing science fiction book about a self-aware android
“All Systems Red” by Martha Wells, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $11.69
“The Murderbot Diaries” takes place in a corporate-dominated future where all space travel must be accompanied by androids. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, the androids are faulty — one self-aware unit has hacked its own system and refers to itself as “Murderbot”. Murderbot wants to be alone and explore its newfound cognitivity by binge-watching soap operas, but when a nearby mission goes dark, Murderbot and its assigned scientists must set out to save the others. This plot takes off from page one and the empathy and emotional depth garnered for these characters is a result of Martha Wells’ masterful storytelling.
A new science fiction novel from the author of “Eragon”
“To Sleep in a Sea of Stars” by Christopher Paolini, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.99
Winner of the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards for “Best Science Fiction,” “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars” falls into an interesting sub-genre called “space opera” — reserved for sci-fi titles that are dramatic, romantic, lyrical, and set in space. This is a mystical story of Kira, a xenobiologist, who finds an alien relic while on a mission to survey a new planet. When the relic turns out to be alive, it binds itself to Kira, the effects of which launch her into a journey of discovery with consequences for all of humanity.
No asset class has evoked shock and awe across financial markets this year in the way that cryptocurrencies have.
The relatively nascent market pushed the boundaries of what investors had thought was possible. From the record $69 million sale of a non-fungible token to the explosive gains of memecoins, investors have had to quickly smarten up on the space.
To help you get even smarter and distinguish the real opportunities from the noise, Business Insider will host ‘What’s next for crypto?” a webinar on Thursday, July 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Join Insider’s senior investing reporter Vicky Huang, and senior investing editor Akin Oyedele, in conversation with Yassine Elmandjra, the blockchain and cryptoasset analyst at Ark Invest; David Grider, the head of digital assets research at Fundstrat; and Ria Bhutoria, the principal at Castle Island Ventures.
The panel of these three experts will discuss topics including:
Investing ideas, opportunities, and use cases in crypto broadly and in specific tokens or coins.
Whether the bull market in bitcoin is over for this cycle, and what may happen next following the largest crypto’s plunge from its all-time highs.
The prospects for wider and deeper adoption of crypto by institutional asset managers.
Price targets for bitcoin, ether, and other major cryptocurrencies, including breakdowns of the theses that back them up.
And, the debate around bitcoin’s environmental impact.
The webinar will touch on other major developments in the volatile and evolving space.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine does not damage sperm, according to a small new pre-print study out of Israel.
Researchers studied sperm samples from 43 men who had received their second dose of the vaccine around a month prior.
The team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found no abnormalities in the volume, concentration, or motility of the men’s sperm.
Though the study was small, and the results have yet to be peer-reviewed, the researchers believe their findings are a ringing endorsement for young men to get vaccinated, pointing to research that suggests coronavirus infection could impact male fertility.
“These preliminary results are reassuring to the young male population undergoing vaccination worldwide,” they wrote Monday on the website medRxiv, where researchers post pre-print studies. “Couples desiring to conceive should vaccinate, as vaccination does not affect sperm.”
Does COVID-19 infection affect male fertility?
A controversial paper published in the journal Reproduction in January caused a stir among scientists, suggesting there is evidence that COVID-19 impacts male fertility.
While that is plausible, Dr. Channa Jayasena, a consultant in reproductive endocrinology and andrology at Imperial College London, told CNN, the study lacked detail and convincing data.
“Being ill from any virus such as flu can temporarily drop your sperm count (sometimes to zero) for a few weeks or months. This makes it difficult to work out how much of the reductions observed in this study were specific to COVID-19 rather than just from being ill,” Jayasena said.
We know the vaccines do not affect female fertility
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna use messenger RNA (mRNA) to train the body to recognize and fight the coronavirus.
As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in an advisory notice: “These vaccines do not enter the nucleus and do not alter human DNA in vaccine recipients. As a result, mRNA vaccines cannot cause any genetic changes.”
Jerica Pitts, a spokesperson for Pfizer, reiterated the point, telling the Associated Press: “It has been incorrectly suggested that COVID-19 vaccines will cause infertility because of a shared amino acid sequence in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and a placental protein. The sequence, however, is too short to plausibly give rise to autoimmunity.”
Experts are excited to get some data on male fertility, the virus, and the vaccine
While none of the clinical trials of the vaccines knowingly included pregnant people, there is now plenty of data to show that the vaccines are safe for women trying to conceive, people who are currently pregnant, and those who are breastfeeding.
But this Israeli study represents some of the first data on male fertility.
Speaking about the vaccines and fertility in an Insider webinar last month, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an OB/GYN, lamented the lack of attention paid to men in this conversation.
“Most times when we think of studies, especially with something that’s so new, we do focus on people who are currently pregnant and then breastfeeding moms and the recent postpartum phase,” Shepherd said. “But many times we do have to consider the male factor of fertility and seeing if there’s any impact on sperm.”