Best Lead of the Month
'Last summer in Seattle, Starbucks opened 15th Avenue and Tea, an unbranded café featuring “small batch coffees sourced from individually owned farms” and a variety of fussy brewing methods designed to appeal to those connoisseurs who believe a cup of $4 coffee ought to be at least as complicated to make as a Big Mac. Live music is provided by a small-batch indie rock piano band sourced from a tiny town in Wisconsin. There’s an in-house “tea master,” and occasional outbreaks of poetry. Starbucks is 39 years old now, and like a lot of 39-year-olds, especially those who’ve experienced great success in their salad years but are beginning to wonder if they’ve lost their touch, it’s having a bit of an identity crisis.'
--from a splendid little piece in the libertarian movement's bible, Reason magazine, on the Starbucks chain's mid-life crisis. The San Francisco-based writer of the piece, Greg Beato, always seems to have his name attached to good writing in various venues. Our runner-up this month goes to this quietly fine New York Times piece about how Einstein's manuscripts that revolutionized physics are now on display in an Israeli museum. You can check out our earlier thoughts on Starbucks here, and review prior best leads here. And finally, class, we're granting extra credit for the first reader who can recall why we pay so much attention to lead paragraphs.