What Are Faculty Reading This Summer?
Harvard Business School faculty share their summer reading lists, including a range of books on trade routes, travel, human behavior, healthcare in the 21st century, and even life on Mars.
30 Jun 2016  

For Harvard Business School faculty, summer marks the perfect time to catch up on reading for work and for pleasure. Below, five faculty members share what they’re looking forward to delving into over the next few months.

Rohit Deshpande – Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing
First, I’m interested in “The Light of the World: A Memoir” by Elizabeth Alexander. I greatly enjoy her poetry; she read her work at President Obama’s first inaugural and is now at the Ford Foundation. The book is a love story about her life with her husband who was a painter. Next, I’ll be rereading “Beloved” by Toni Morrison after hearing her deliver, magisterially, the Norton Lectures at Harvard this spring. Finally, I’ll be reading “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World” by Peter Frankopan to understand the ancient trade route’s contemporary relevance in this the “Asian Century.”

John Macomber – Senior Lecturer of Business Administration
I’m excited about “Connectography” by Parag Khanna. Khanna is a global thinker. This work advances the premise that the physical, economic, and cultural connections between cities are more important than traditional national boundaries—or ephemeral digital connections. For my research on finance and economic development in cities, this is a compelling presentation of maps, data, and interpretation. In light of the recent Brexit vote and upcoming US elections, the idea that connections determine the future—and that borders determined the past—is also a conversation starter, at the very least. I’m also excited about “Dark Star Safari” by Paul Theroux. Theroux is a travel writer and in this account he tries to make his way from Cairo to Capetown over land using public transportation. The route includes not only Egypt but Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and more. In preparing for my Immersive Field Course: Africa, this evocative account of life far away from big cities, fancy hotels, and dedicated drivers is a real eye opener.

Michael Norton – Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration
I’ll be reading three very different books, but each with sharp and surprising insights into human psychology and behavior: They are: “My Struggle, Book Five” by Karl Ove Knausgård, “This is Your Brain on Sports” by Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers, and “The Mind Club” by Dan Wegner and Kurt Gray.

Ariel Stern – Assistant Professor of Business Administration
I have just started reading “The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age” by Robert Wachter. So far the writing is great and captures both the promise and complexity of U.S. healthcare in the 21st century. After that, I will be reading “Mastering 'Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect” by Joshua Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke.

Matthew Weinzierl – Associate Professor of Business Administration
Let me put the “Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars” trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson on the list. For folks fired up by Elon Musk's plans for Mars colonization, these are sophisticated imaginings of what that might look like over the near term and long run. I'm also reading Amartya Sen's “The Idea of Justice,” a masterwork by one of the most important philosophically-minded economists of all time.


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