By alphabetic coincidence, today’s list of book picks includes two on economic issues — but also two books perfect for airplane reading.

Laurent Jacque suggests When Genius Failed:  The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management, by Roger Lowenstein.

Michael Klein also points us toward books that can help us understand the current economy.  He wrote:  “I hesitate a bit to recommend anything on the financial crisis, since it is such a fluid situation, but a good background to it can be gained by reading  Financial Shock: Global Panic and Government Bailouts — How We Got Here and What Must Be Done to Fix It, by Mark Zandi.  Also, at this time when finance is seen as a problem, it is useful to remember how well-functioning financial markets can help, so I also recommend Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists by Raghuram G. Rajan and Luigi Zingales.”

Julie Schaffner offers the first of the airplane-worthy picks for today:  Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, which tells the story of Paul Farmer.  (Dr. Farmer also has local roots.)

Peter Uvin, who also offered picks last year, offers an engaging summer read, What is the What, by Dave Eggers.

Finally, alphabetically last but not least, Alexandros Yannis makes two suggestions:  Democracy: A History, by John Dunn, and Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, by Tony Judt.

As I said in the first picks post, there’s something here for everyone, even if you want to rest your brain this summer.  (Though I also hasten to add that NOTHING is required and brain-resters need not worry.)  I’d love to hear your reaction to the list.  Post your comments — which books have you read?  Any that you particularly recommend to fellow students?  Chime in!

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4 Responses to Last of the professors' book picks

  1. Ina Spaho says:

    I second Rebecca’s suggesstion. The story of Ayaan Hirse Ali is very inspiring. To add on, I would recommend Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma. The author offers cultural as well as analytical insights into the existence of radical Islam in Europe.

  2. Rebecca Cranston says:

    I loved “What is the What.” For those that like personal tales like this, try “Infidel” by my personal hero, Ayaan Hirse Ali.

  3. Thanks, Chris. And here’s a link to a book description to get blog readers started.

  4. Chris says:

    I recommend two books, “What If” and “What If 2”, both edited by Robert Cowley. They are collections of essays written by different scholars surrounding key events in history and how the world could have been different. A sample of the topics covered are the death of Socrates before he becomes a philosopher, Jesus not being crucified, and the Mongol conquest of Europe. The essays are only 15-20 pages long, making these books a light read and providing diving boards for further reading of history.

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