Faculty Summer Reading 2018


ABBYE ATKINSON, Assistant Professor

The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran.  A compelling account of the difficult odds that black banks have faced as purported institutions of wealth accumulation in the black community.
The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives by Lisa Servon.  Based on her own experiences working in fringe-lending institutions, Servon gives a first-hand, counter-narrative about their value and challenges in under-banked communities.

ROBERT BARTLETT, Faculty Co-Director

An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets by Donald Mackenzie.  A fascinating and provocative account of how financial models have come to shape the world they were designed to explain.
Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin. A fresh account of the transformative years of the Bay Area economy (1969-76) – a period that witnessed the emergence of five new industries that helped make Silicon Valley what it is today. 

AARON EDLIN, Professor of Law and Economics

Radical Markets Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society by Eric A. Posner & E. Glen Weyl.  If you want to fantasize about a very different world and vision of markets read Posner and Weyl’s new book. The rewards will be rich if you are willing to play the game or ask yourself: “Why Not?”. The book stretched me to recapture the intellectual curiosity I had at 20.

JUSTN McCRARY, Professor of Law

A Man For All Markets by Edward Thorp.  If you like autobiography and think markets are interesting, this book is a gem. Thorp made a killing counting cards and eventually in markets.
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami.  Lyrical and poignant, like many of Murakami’s other books, but less fantastical and perhaps more focused on loneliness.


Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.  A fun and cautionary tale about empirical work relying on human responses.

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami.  A captivating collection of short stories about men who find themselves alone.



Born to be Good by Dacher Keltner.  Keltner is Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley and founder of the Greater Good Science Center. He deploys the latest scientific findings to answer age-old questions: How can we be happy? How can we be good?


Capital Moves: RCAs Seventy Year Quest For Cheap Labor by Jefferson Cole.  Think outsourcing is about Asia or Mexico? Think again. RCA over seventy years ago began the hollowing out of Camden by outsourcing to Indiana during the Great Depression to avoid unionization. I assign this book to my undergraduate course – From Wall Street to Main Street. 
Hoosiers (1986) by David Anspaugh and Angelo Pizzo.  Though it is a movie, watch (or rewatch). Hoosiers is not just the ultimate tale of redemption, but also about good management.

ADAIR MORSE, Berkeley-Haas Professor

Napoleon, A Life by Andrew Roberts.  What I liked about this book (especially the first half) was the continual insights about how Napoleon transformed much of Europe out of serfdom and set up institutions and, of course, the legal code. I missed this history entirely in my school text reading on Napoleon.

Ireland, A Novel, by Frank Delaney.  I highly recommend this novel, it conveys a lot of the history of Ireland in tidbit stories. It was such a pleasure to read.


FRANK PARTNOY, Professor of Law

We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler.   I was impressed by how it weaves together so many interesting vignettes about the history of corporate constitutional rights. How many business books are reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review?
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner.  I just finished a few chapters. This is a ferocious book about poverty and despair among the inmates at a women’s prison. I don’t know where it’s headed, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t been there, and it’s been a fascinating and wild ride so far. 
An SAT for CEOs (article in The Atlantic by Frank Partnoy).  I hope UC Berkeley alums don’t find themselves having to take these kinds of tests anytime soon.

ADAM STERLING, BCLB Executive Director

Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper.  Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with news of blockchain, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies. Nathaniel Popper, who now covers crypto full-time for the New York Times, wrote a fantastic book on the unique personalities driving the development of the technology. Although published in 2015, this book is still one of the best ways to introduce yourself to the wild world of crypto. 

To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild.  Written by UC Berkeley professor Adam Hochschild, this stunning book tells the history of World War I through the eyes of the individuals that supported, and opposed, the war.