Inside The Atlantic's May 2014 Issue

The May 2014 issue of The Atlantic is now available online—with features, dispatches, and essays summarized and provided below:

Cover Story: The Confidence Gap

A growing body of evidence shows that, at work and in life, confidence matters just as much as competence when it comes to getting ahead. The problem, argue the broadcast journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in The Atlantic's May 2014 cover story, is that women are less self-assured than men—and that this persistent disparity between the genders is what keeps women from achieving at the highest levels. Women often hold themselves back: compared with men, they don't consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they'll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities. Kay and Shipman outline the science and culture behind this predicament, and how to rectify it. The authors also chat withAtlantic National Correspondent Hanna Rosin about "why men assume they're so great" in a video at Read more

Segregation Now ...

In an exposé, The Atlantic, teaming with ProPublica, finds that many schools across the nation are quietly resegregating. As mandates to integrate schools are lifted, poor black students are being sequestered into schools of their own through gerrymandering, white flight, and in some cases, the actions of the cities' black elites—essentially re-establishing the divide of decades past, with similarly devastating effects. ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones heads to Tuscaloosa and finds that its school district, once the model of racial integration, has moved back in time, such that "nearly one in three black students attend a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened." Meet students and staff at Tuscaloosa's Central High School, in a short documentary at The Atlantic's Video Channel. Read more

The Pope in the Attic

It has been more than 600 years since we last had a living ex-pope. An autoclaustrato, Pope Benedict now lives a quiet life in Rome just a few hundred yards from the papal apartments, and must watch as Pope Francis, the successor he enabled, dismantles much of his legacy. In an in-depth profile, Paul Elie talks with those who work closely with both Popes about how Benedict's exit and Francis's rise is spurring even greater tensions between a traditional Church and a progressive world. Read more

The Money Report:

Africa's Tech Edge: The mobile-money service M-Pesa has revolutionized the transfer of money in Kenya. Dayo Olopade explains why Africa is years ahead of Silicon Valley in this area—and the benefits that companies in the U.S. may want to cash in on. Read more

The Pirate Economy: Since the early 2000s, robbery off Africa's eastern coast has gone berserk. The Atlantic's Joe Pinsker charts the costs of piracy, from the private security hired to defend ships, to the markup pirates pay on the stimulant khat. Read more

Where the Card Sharks Feed: After the Justice Department targeted online-poker operators, many amateurs, known to poker pros as "fish," have been wading back into casinos—where they are becoming easy bait for sharks. David Samuels watches this play out hook, line and sinker, from one of the hottest new poker rooms on the East Coast. Read more

From Dispatches:

  • We Need More Secrecy: NSA leaks have sprouted a global conversation on intelligence gathering. In David Frum's first piece for the magazine as anAtlantic senior editor, he argues that transparency is the enemy of liberty, and that the secrecy of the United States' efforts not only protects us, but allows us to form relationships with other countries. Read more
  • Me Talk Office One Day: Associate Editor Emma Green takes a look at the origins of workplace jargon in this month's Wordplay. From the techies to the consultants to the work-life balancers, Green lays out who "unplugs," "leans in," and "synergizes" around the watercooler, and why this culture of office-speak represents a lot more than you might think. Read more
  • In this month's Study of Studies, Associate Editor Sarah Yager researches embodied cognition: the many surprising ways our senses unconsciously influence Your Gullible Brain. Read more
  • Start the Presses!: The media world is having a renaissance, with established media companies thriving and start-ups disrupting the industry. Justin Fox reminds us that this investment is nothing new: pre-1950s journalists used similar tactics to keep their publications afloat, but for them, the tactics were fleeting. The question is, will it last? Read more
  • The Infiltrator: The onetime Delta Force commander Dalton Fury has had an unlikely career: from hunting Osama bin Laden to writing counterterrorism thrillers to breaking into nuclear-power facilities (with much success). Tina Dupuy sits down with the the pseudonymous Fury to learn about his incognito life. Read more

The Culture File & Essay:

  • Reading the Beatles: Forget the recent spate of books on the Fab Four, says Contributing Editor James Parker. The only volume you need was published 40 years ago. Read more
  • Our Nudge in Chief: The Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein believes laws and public policies should help save us from our irrational impulses. David Cole outlines how, and why. Read more
  • The Disillusionist: Edward St. Aubyn, who can make words do just about anything, can't help mistrusting precisely that power. Charles McGrath reviews the new novel from the author, who turns his personal stories into a hilarious, disturbing literary romp. Read more
  • A Chekhov From China: Yiyun Li's latest novel, Kinder Than Solitude, maps new extremes of loneliness. Senior Editor Ann Hulbert offers this review. Read more
  • The Way We Look Now: The modern style of clothes emerged in the Depression, and so did the focus on the figure beneath the fabric—with a startling result: as Americans' wardrobes became more similar, bodies diverged along class lines. Deborah Cohen has our Essay. Read More

Finally, the back-page Big Question asks: What was the worst business decision ever made? The business heavyweights Donald TrumpTyler and Cameron WinklevossGretchen MorgensonJim Cramer, and others name the biggest tanks. Read more

These articles and more are featured in the May issue of The Atlantic, available today, April 17, 2014, on and The Atlantic's mobile apps, and on newsstands next week.