The Atlantic Daily: Inside 10 Downing Street With Boris Johnson

The British prime minister knows exactly what he’s doing, one of our writers argues. Then: How did a meditation app become a billion-dollar business?

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The Atlantic

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You might think that you know Boris Johnson. But the British prime minister can still be a difficult read, our staff writer Tom McTague argues in our latest magazine cover story.

“For three decades, we’ve followed his writing, his ambition, his outrages, his scandals,” Tom writes. “Yet the truth, for a professional Boris-watcher such as myself, is maddeningly elusive.”

In advance of this week’s G7 Summit, hosted by the U.K., we’re looking at three ways to try to understand Johnson, as explained by Tom:

1. He believes in the power of storytelling.

“Johnson very clearly appreciates the importance of shaping perceptions. To him, the point of politics—and life—is not to squabble over facts; it’s to offer people a story they can believe in.”

2. He’s relentlessly optimistic.

“Whenever you talk to Johnson, you bump up against an all-encompassing belief that things will be fine.”

3. He likes mess.

“The world is messy, and Johnson likes mess. He believes the key is to adapt. He has spent a lifetime turning ambition, opportunism, and ruthless self-promotion into extraordinary personal success. Why can’t a country do the same?”

Read the story.


What to read if … you’re trying to keep up with the new coronavirus mutations:

Coronavirus tests will need to be updated to catch new variants, my colleague Katherine J. Wu reports. Luckily, work on that is already underway.

Today’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Read a poem: This week, we recommend W. S. Merwin’s “Unknown Bird.

Tonight’s break from the news:

Calm, the meditation app, monetized doing nothing.

For the first half of 2021, Lori Gottlieb’s column will be on hiatus while she writes her next book. During that time, Rebecca J. Rosen, the column’s editor, will revisit some of Lori’s best work.

This month, we’re rereading four of Lori’s columns on grief.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.