BCLB Summer Reading 2019



The Culture of Markets by Frederick F. Wherry. Wherry, an economic sociologist, gives a compelling account of how culture affects the working of markets.

ADAM BADAWI, Professor of Law

Money Changes Everything by William Goetzmann. This is a fascinating look at how elements of modern finance and investment have been with us since the earliest days of civilization. This book covers an immense span of history, but manages to keep a tight focus on the development of monetary technologies.

The White Van, by Patrick Hoffman. This is a literary crime novel with a noirish streak. Its gritty look at the seedier side of modern-day San Francisco is a fun, if dark, escape.

bartlett, robertROBERT BARTLETT, Faculty Co-Director

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by BCLB Executive Board member Scott Kupor. Fresh, fun, and incredibly substantive-this new book is my #1 recommendation for anyone looking for an entertaining and comprehensive view of how the venture capital ecosystem works. It will also be required reading for students in my fall VC finance class!

MARK BRILLIANT, Associate Professor of History

The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation by Miriam Pawel. Pawel is a a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who is currently a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Her book offers a panoramic history of California told through the lens of the Brown family, whose very different scions – Pat and his son Jerry – governed California for six terms in the past sixty years (Pat from 1959-1967 and Jerry from 1975-1983 and 2011-2019).

RICHARD BUXBAUM, Professor of International Law (Emeritus)

The Faces of Justice by Sybille Bedford.  A book especially useful for our parochial JD cohort; as for the LLM cohort, all except the Austrians will find it interesting (even if dated).






The Brewer’s Tale, A History of the World According to Beer by William Bostwick. This book starts with the oldest setup, “A guy walks into a bar” and then proceeds to guide you through a historical journey of beer. It takes you from Mesopotamia to Oregon’s Rogue River, from Monastic Cellars to Worlds Fairs, and Martin Luther’s revolution to England’s industrial revolution – as the poor man’s bread became an artisanal commodity.  

JONAH GELBACH, Professor of Law

Heat by Bill Buford. This book chronicles writer Bill Buford’s wild ride into the New York culinary scene and beyond. The story opens when Buford befriends a local chef, and his love for food and cooking take Buford on a fascinating and beautifully chronicled trip. I hunger for Tuscany and Italian food every time I think about the book. I’m hungry now….

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter. This murder mystery’s protagonist is a Black law professor who grew up in a wealthy and mostly Black part of Washington, DC, around whose social and professional circles much of the story turns, although there’s a strong dash of Martha’s Vineyard in the dish. Emperor of Ocean Park is the first novel by Stephen L. Carter (from whom I had the privilege to take Evidence in law school). The story is a great yarn, spun out gradually but engagingly, and it gives readers much to think about. Plus, there are two more novels in the trilogy it started.

CATHY HWANG, Visiting Professor of Law

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. A dystopian novel about life after a catastrophic economic collapse. It’s spooky, fascinating, thought-provoking, and thoroughly enjoyable.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. A darkly comedic novel set in an idyllic English town after the unexpected death of a town councilmember. A book about local politics, town secrets, and the problems of income inequality, written in J.K. Rowling’s signature whimsical voice.


Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow.  The definitive biography on the business legend and still the nation’s most savvy and successful businessperson.
The Path to Power by Robert Caro.  The first of Caro’s epic and masterful LBJ biography.  These books are about the use and obtainment of power.  The first is also a memory of how poor the United States was in the 1930s and a reminder of how lucky we all are to be living in this time of riches.

FRANK PARTNOY, Faculty Co-Director

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. We at BCLB are so proud to have done three events with John, including a one-on-one at our annual financial fraud conference before we screened The Inventor, Alex Gibney’s film about Theranos. I’m not sure whether Elizabeth Holmes is best played by Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Lawrence, or herself, but the definitive version was written by John.

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. When I asked my own reckless daughter, age 19, which book I should read this summer, she recommended this biography.

DANIEL RUBINFELD, Professor of Law

The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age by Tim Wu is an interesting read. 

ADAM STERLING, BCLB Executive Director

Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright. I had the privilege of interviewing author Tom Wright at the annual Berkeley Center for Law and Business financial fraud conference. Billion Dollar Whale is a stunning account of one of the largest financial frauds of the century (with appearances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Britney Spears, and more).