Currently viewing the tag: "2015 Summer reading"

The final collection of books that professors suggest incoming students MIGHT want to look at this summer comes from Prof. Shultz and Prof. Pfaltzgraff, the core members of the International Security Studies faculty.  Together, they have selected:

The Revenge of Geography, by Robert D. Kaplan

World Order, by Henry Kissinger

Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice: The need for an Effective American Foreign Policy, by William C. Martel

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement in a Complex World, Stanley McChrystal

“International Security Studies: Looking Back and Looking Ahead,” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff and Richard H. Shultz, Jr.  (This article in Fletcher’s student-run journal shares the history of the Security Studies program at Fletcher, dating back to 1971.  Good background for incoming students.)

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman

The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO, James Stavridis (the dean of The Fletcher School)

And that wraps up the reading list for Summer 2015!  No matter whether you’re an incoming student or someone who stumbled accidentally on the Admissions Blog, I hope you found a book, article, or video that is worth exploring this summer.  And if you want to review all the posts, you can find them here.

I’m coming to the end of the oh-so-optional summer reading list.  Here’s this week’s installment.

Prof. Papa, F03, F10 (a graduate of Fletcher’s PhD program) wrote, “This is a super-exciting time for sustainable development and global governance because of major geopolitical and environmental challenges, which we will cover in my course Sustainable Development Diplomacy.  Two brand new books can put students on the frontiers of the current debates:  Want, Waste or War? The Global Resource Nexus and the Struggle for Land, Energy, Food, Water and Minerals, by Philip Andrews-Speed, Raimund Bleischwitz, Tim Boersma, Corey Johnson, Geoffrey Kemp, and Stacy D. VanDeveer Routledge; and The BRICS and the Future of Global Order, by Oliver Stuenkel.”

For Fletcher’s Processes of International Negotiation course, Prof. Babbitt suggests the classic, Getting to Yes.

Prof. Trachtman, accepting my invitation to make us aware of professors’ own writing, points us to his The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue and Win, which he wrote based on his teaching experience and believes will be “excellent preparation for law courses.”

Prof. Lavdas also pointed us toward a book that he co-authored, the timely Stateness and Sovereign Debt: Greece in the European-Conundrum.

Finally, Prof. Mankad recommends Resonate by Nancy Duarte, as well as This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Womenby Jay Allison and Dan Gediman.

It’s Monday, so it must be time for another set of book suggestions from Fletcher faculty members.

From Prof. Conley-Zilkic at the World Peace FoundationRegarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag; The Garden of Evening Mists: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Tan Twan Eng; and The Blood Telegram, by Gary Bass.  With her focus on mass atrocities, Prof. Conley-Zilkic’s suggestions will always be meaningful, but also unsettling.

Prof. Everett wrote, “I would like to suggest The Prize by Daniel Yergin, which is a great read and will introduce students to the long historical connection between the oil industry and geopolitics.”

Prof. Hannum, one of the law professors who provided their picks, suggested The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day, by David J. Hand.

And Prof. Klein notes, “For background reading, I would suggest Alan Blinder’s book on the financial and economic crisis, After the Music Stopped.”

Continuing to aim for suggestions in a mix of fields, here’s the latest installment of the (utterly optional) summer reading list, provided by Fletcher professors.

The first suggestion comes from an unexpected place.  After last week’s posts ran, I received a note from Erin Coutts, the Outreach Coordinator for the Tufts Global Development and Environment Institute.  She had bumped into a tweet of one of the book lists and wanted to add a suggestion.  She wrote:

Jeffrey Ashe, a Research Fellow at Tufts’ Global Development And Environment Institute, has recently published In Their Own Hands: How Savings Groups are Revolutionizing Development, a history of community finance and financial empowerment.  Kim Wilson, a Fletcher Lecturer in International Business and Human Security and co-editor of Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings, called the book “essential for any practitioner interested in helping the poor transform small amounts of money into meaningful ways of changing their lives.”  In the book’s forward, Frances Moore Lappee proclaims that the stories in this book bury the myth that poor people have too little to save and that financial independence begins with a loan.

I’m happy to spread the word about a book by a Tufts professor, and I appreciate that Erin reached out to tell me about it.

Prof. Schaffner recommends The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Community on the Brink of Change, by Roger Thurow, noting that it “follows four real farm families in western Kenya through a year of hunger and hope.  It’s a great introduction to the difficult choices faced by poor rural households (something development economists think about a lot), which engages the heart as well as the mind.”

And, our last suggestion for today comes from Prof. Henrikson, who writes, “I would recommend:  Robert M. Gates, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.  The book is a remarkably candid reflection on American leadership, government and politics, written from a personal perspective and from deep knowledge of the affairs of the world.  It shows realism at its best, with humanism (and not simply power) at its center.”

I’m going to end my week the same way as I started it — with summer reading suggestions from the faculty.  In response to my request, the law faculty provided the most, and most varied, choices.  Here is Prof. Glennon’s list — so interesting! — ranging from weighty to light:

Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari (Prof. Glennon’s top pick.)
The Law of Nations: An Introduction to the International Law of Peace, edited by Sir Claud Humphrey Waldock and James Leslie Brierly
Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, by Rebecca Goldstein
The Essential Holmes, edited by Richard A. Posner
“Melian Dialogue,” in Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, (translated by Rex Warner)
A Man for All Seasons, by Robert Bolt
West with the Night, by Beryl Markham
Imperium, by Robert Harris
The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind—and Changed the History of Free Speech in America, by Thomas Healy
The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America, by Louis Menand
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

Perhaps you’ll want to dive into Thucydides on the beach, or read Catch-22 on your way to work.  But it’s summer, and you might enjoy Prof. Knudsen’s suggestion: John Oliver on social responsibility in fashion (April 26, 2015).  She notes, “This is maybe on the light end — but definitely interesting as a bit of preparation for my Corporate Social Responsibility in the Age of Globalization seminar.”

Incoming students often ask us for a pre-Fletcher reading list, but, frankly, we don’t have one.  In fact, there is no reason at all why incoming students should worry about completing preparatory reading.  (Brushing up language and quant skills is a different matter.)  Nonetheless, it’s not like you shouldn’t or couldn’t do a little prep.  Or maybe you’d simply like to let experts in various fields point you toward their favorites, saving you the time and trouble of reading everything out there and making your own choices.

Whatever your reasons for wanting a reading list, and whether you are an incoming student or considering applying in the future, I am happy to help.  As in past years, I asked our professors for suggestions, but I made the request very broad, so that I wouldn’t be supplying a tedious list of text books.  Here are the ideas that I offered in my request for suggestions:

  • A book that you assign for your class and that incoming students might benefit from reading at a leisurely pace in the summer;
  • A book that provides good contextual explanation of your field;
  • Fiction or popular non-fiction that provides context for your field;
  • Articles or blogs that incoming students may not already know about;
  • A newly published book of your own that provides general context.

Today I’ll share the first batch of suggestions, covering much of the territory (from politics to business) of the Fletcher curriculum.

From Prof. Ladwig, the 2014-15 European Union Fellow in Residence: The Foreign Policy of the European Union, by Stephan Keukeleire and  Tom Delreux.  Prof. Ladwig notes, “I would recommend one particular book — not because it is about a subject I could be perceived to be selfishly promoting, but because it simply is the authoritative and well written book on foreign policy and one of its key players.”

From Prof. Salacuse:, a lawyer by training who has done a great deal of work on negotiations: Thirteen Days in September — Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David, by Lawrence Wright.  Prof. Salacuse notes, “For students interested in international conflict resolution, the Middle East, or just international relations generally, I would strongly recommend this book, for a readable, day-by-day account of what transpired at the Camp David negotiations in 1978, leading to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.  It nicely captures all the frustrations and successes of those talks and the impact of the three protagonists’ personalities on the process.”

And from Prof. Jacque, who guides students to an understanding of international finance, several selections from diverse genres: Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Piketty; Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis; The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; and his own Global Derivative Debacles: From Theory to Malpractice.

I’ll be back with more suggestions throughout this month.

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