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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