Currently viewing the tag: "Supplementary reading"

Who reads a lot?  Students read a lot!  So, on behalf of the blog, Kristen invited students to suggest winter reading for all of us.  The list below is a mix of books connected to specific classes, along with books that would appeal to someone with Fletcher-ish interests.  And here’s the list, with the name of the student doing the recommending in “Fletcher orange.”

Ankit: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
“This book provides a riveting account of a South African childhood at the time of apartheid and beyond.  A must-hear audiobook for anyone remotely interested in that era in South Africa.”

Meera: The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene: An Intimate History, both by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Emperor of All Maladies is a surprisingly gentle and empathetic discussion of the history of cancer and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011.  The Gene: An Intimate History discusses the discovery of the gene and the history of genetics.  Again, highly recommended for non-scientists interested in science-y things.”

Filip: The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court, by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong
“The book is an amazing read for people interested in how judges really decide cases.  In a time when the Supreme Court had to decide cases related to abortion, the death penalty, and Watergate, it shows how many judges make a decision based on their personal preferences first, and only then start looking whether they can couch their decision into a legalistic framework.”

Jared: Submission: A Novel, by Michel Houellebecq
“Taking place in 2022, a political satire where a traditionalist and patriarchal Muslim party aligns with the socialist party to win the French presidential election.”

Utsav: The Zero Marginal Cost Society, by Jeremy Rifkin
“This book changed the way I think about technology, society, and emerging trends important for humanity’s future.  What was also amazing is that the author is a Fletcher alumnus  (F68) and has the same birthday as mine, 26th January!”

Julio: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard
“If you like history, and particularly ancient history, you’ll love this book.  It takes you on a journey through Roman history in a really amenable way while based on the latest research and findings.  I particularly love how it allows you to peek into Roman daily life though anecdotes and stories, and how it connects the politics of Ancient Rome with today’s world politics.”

Protiti: This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel
“It’s a feel-good romance where the woman is actually in control, not a damsel in distress.”

John: Alamut, by Vladimir Bartol
“This is, perhaps, my all-time favorite.  Written by a Slovenian in 1938, it serves as an allegory for the absolutist fascist state of Mussolini.  It is set in 11th century Persia and details the story of Hassan ibn Sabbah, the leader of the hashishin cult, from which we derive our English word “assassin.”  The book is also loosely the basis for the Assassin’s Creed video game series.  Aside from the elegant writing and capturing imagery, the reader will be struck when they realize their empathy is directed as the 11th century equivalent of modern suicide bombers.”

Kelsey: “Leasing the Rain,” by William Finnegan
“This article is from a 2002 issue of the New Yorker, but is very Fletcher-y (especially for MIBs/business MALDs).  It’s about how privatization can go terribly wrong when community stakeholders are not engaged.”

Claudia: Havana: A Subtropical Delirium, by Mark Kurlansky
“I just finished reading Havana and it was great!  Lots of history but a very easy, engaging read.”

Iain: Dune, by Frank Herbert
“A 1965 science fiction classic that I finally read for the first time this semester.  Life on the desert planet of Arrakis touches on so many dynamics that are relevant to international politics today, from climate change and resource scarcity to inequality, great power relations, religious fervor, and guerrilla warfare.”

Colin recommends a few books:
Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers, by Richard Neustadt and Ernest May
“The core text of The Historian’s Art, this book has changed how I view ‘time as a stream’ and make decisions.  In a tweet, don’t rush into anything … and be very careful with analogies!”

The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker
“The single most influential book I’ve read at Fletcher (and not for class).  The subtitle says it all: this is ‘the definitive guide to doing the right things well.’  Fletcher folks can do many things well, but choosing which are the right ones to focus on can be challenging.”

The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman
“Or any of her books, for that matter.  Tuchman is a splendid writer, and each of her books memorably and cogently address important events that formed the world we live in.”

The Leader’s Bookshelf, by James Stavridis
“As soon as I decided to come to Fletcher, I started reading what the dean was writing.  Here, he writes on reading — a passion of his, and a key skill for any Fletcher student.  From this book, I learned a lot about how to read (and picked up a few suggestions on what to read).”

Laura: The Arrival, by Shaun Tan
“It’s a beautifully illustrated wordless graphic novel that captures the experience of displacement and immigration.  Anyone who has felt like ‘a stranger in a strange place’ will be able to connect with the story and artwork.  Can’t recommend enough, and neither can Amazon.”

Greg: Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam, by Mark Bowden
“Written by the author of Black Hawk Down, this is a meticulously researched, well-rounded, and vivid description of arguably the most important battle of the Vietnam War.”

Hiram: Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“Though well-known in some national security circles, it’s a book I wish more people read — people in economics and STEM in particular.  It presents a deeper and more multidisciplinary way of thinking about risk, and even when readers disagree on some particulars, they will learn from it and do their jobs more conscientiously.”

Oleksandr recommends two books:
The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam
“The Korean War, with its causes and consequences, is crucial to understanding the Korean Peninsula today, and why the Asia-Pacific looks the way it does.  David Halberstam, who wrote The Best and the Brightest while toiling as a visiting professor at Fletcher, delivered yet another page-turner.”

Shoe Dog: a Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight
“Phil Knight takes readers back to the days when he himself was a young graduate of a small business school (Stanford) with no clue nor vision for what to do next.  His journey is both fascinating and inspiring.”

Ryan: The Taking of K-129: The Most Daring Covert Operation in History, by Josh Dean
“I actually bought this book a few weeks ago to use as a source while writing a Fletcher term paper on U.S. covert operations decision-making at the Presidential level during the Cold War, but I accidentally ended up reading it in 24 hours — it didn’t necessarily expedite the paper-writing process, but I was hooked from page one.”

Jonathan: Windfall, by Meaghan L. O’Sullivan
“It’s a very new book that observes that: 1) fracking has created a boom in cheap, cleaner fossil fuels; 2) this unconventional oil and gas revolution is putting tremendous economic and political pressure on OPEC countries/Russia; 3) climate change is demanding cleaner technologies still.  Given those observations, O’Sullivan argues that the ‘energy abundance’ will have massive geopolitical implications, causing civil strife and destabilization in legacy producer states and economic booms in states that embrace unconventional production and clean energy technology.”

And several students suggested a book by a member of the student community: Heil Hitler, Herr Göd: A Child’s WWII Memoirs from Occupied Austria, by A. P. Hofleitner
It’s about his grandfather’s experience as a child in Austria during WWII.

So there it is — more reading than any of us will do during the winter, but plenty to pick from if you’re interested.  Happy reading!

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I’d like to draw your attention to the Fletcher Forum website, which includes several articles posted in recent weeks.  (Forum writers and editors never rest!)

Click through the photos on the front page, and you’ll find:

The Peace Corps We Deserve, by Emily Cole

It Still Takes a Network:  Defeating the Progeny of al-Queda in Iraq, by Travis Douglas Wheeler

How the Internet Became a Focal Point for Espionage, by James Lewis

Though summer reading is no more required this week than it was last week, I wanted to share some recent books by members of the Fletcher community, both faculty members and graduates.  I can’t ensure that the list is comprehensive, but with topics from brand management to grand strategy, the new publications provide a nice picture of the breadth of interests at Fletcher.

Books by faculty

Kelly Sims Gallagher, The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology

William Martel, Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice: The Need for an Effective American Foreign Policy

Robert Pfaltzgraff (with Jacquelyn K. Davis), Anticipating a Nuclear Iran

Joel Trachtman, The Future of International Law: Global Government

Jeswald Salacuse, Negotiating Life: Secrets for Everyday Diplomacy and Deal Making

Jeswald Salacuse, The Three Laws of International Investment: National, Contractual, and International Frameworks for Foreign Capital

Books recently or soon-to-be published by recent graduates

Benedetta Berti, Armed Political Organizations: From Conflict to Integration

Aiyaz Husain, Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy and Affinity

Alison Lawlor Russell, Cyber Blockades

And two others

Though this news is a little less new, I also wanted to note that MALD graduate Tara Conklin had a novel on The New York Times best seller list — The House Girl.  It debuted at #29, in fact!

Finally, a less recent graduate, Bill Richardson F’71, has published How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator.  Prof. Salacuse also wrote a review essay of the book for Negotiation Journal.  Check it out for a nice description of Ambassador Richardson’s career.

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Freed of the obligation to write term papers and exam essays, do students avoid the pen or keyboard during the summer?  No, they do not.  In fact, they create their own writing assignments.  As the semester came to a close, I asked students to send me links to their blogs.  Later, Ameya (a soon-to-be second-year student) sent around a longer list.  The following, for your reading pleasure, are links to the Fletcher student blogs I’ve now learned about.  If the writers told me the objectives for their writing, I have included their notes.  I’ve read some posts on each of the blogs and overall they include a combination of professional and personal observations.

Some of the students are actually alumni now, while others are in the summer between their first and second years of study.  The list is essentially alphabetical, until you reach the bottom.

Madeeha Ansari, writing about (among other things) writing.

Anisha Baghudana is writing about doing e-commerce stuff in Nairobi.

Erik English notes that his blog from Qorax Energy in Somaliland is “semi-work-related.”

Mark Hoover is in Burkina Faso, and provides helpful maps.  Mark had revived a blog that he started during a previous stint in Andorra.

Anna McCallie is in Amsterdam.  She writes about almost everything besides her work, which is more confidential and less blogable.

Cassandra Pagan has been writing about her delayed departure and subsequent experiences in Afghanistan.

Owen Sanderson is with Ushahidi in Nairobi.

Franziska Schwarzmann blogs about “coping with intercultural experiences and learning.”  She wrote primarily in German during her first year, but is now mixing German and English, for the benefit of her Fletcher classmates, so that they “know where I am and learn about Europe and how it feels to be back in Europe after a year in the USA.”  I especially enjoyed her end-of-year post and the video she put together about her first year at Fletcher.

Braden Weinstock told me that he is writing posts for the blog hosted by the Blakeley Foundation, which has supported his internship with a fellowship.  When I checked the front page of the Blakeley Foundation’s blog site, I realized that all the posts there are written by the Fletcher students supported by the Foundation.  Those who identified themselves are Chuck Dukmo, Manisha Basnet, Anisha, Owen Sanderson, and Heather LeMunyon.

Leon Whyte is spending the summer at the U.S. Army War College.  He said he uses the blog “to collect the writings that I have done in class, and to write about international affairs and about what it is like to be a graduate student at Fletcher.”

Two students are writing as part of their internships with the Advocacy Project in Nepal:  Katerina Canyon  and Katie Baczewski.  Ameya pointed out that Fletcher is the only school with two Advocacy Project Fellows!

One student is writing under a pen name, but was still o.k. with having his blog included in this list.  Just know that there isn’t really a student called Seth the Multicoloured Pancake.

Ameya, in his list, also pointed us back toward several favorite blogs.  Regular Admissions Blog readers have surely checked the blog of our writer Roxanne, but if you haven’t done so in a while, you’ll want to check back in.

And another student blog that was previously featured here is Shruti’s analysis of the recent election in India.

Those are the blogs I can point you toward right now.  If I hear of others, I’ll post the links.  Meanwhile, I hope you’ll enjoy this very varied writing about students’ diverse summer experiences.

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