Education and Skills

The books you should read, according to professors from Princeton, Harvard and Yale

A woman with a book sits on a bench at the departure area at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt November 14, 2012. Frankfurt airport's new Mandarin-speaking personal shopper service is just one example of how leisure and travel firms in crisis-struck Europe are trying to tap into the seemingly inexhaustible spending power of Chinese tourists. Value-added tax (VAT) refund data shows that Chinese travellers, who could overtake Germans as the world's biggest spenders on foreign travel this year, top the tax free shopping leaderboard in European cities like Paris, London and Frankfurt.  Picture taken November14, 2012.  REUTERS/Lisi Niesner  (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS TRAVEL) - RTR3AXH4

When asked, professors at America's most prestigious colleges — those in the top 10, according to US News & World Report — shared with Business Insider the single book they think every student should read in 2017. Image: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Abby Jackson
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Education and Skills?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Education is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Education

College professors dole out an incredible amount of required reading to their students.

But what if they could only choose one book?

When asked, professors at America's most prestigious colleges — those in the top 10, according to US News & World Report — shared with Business Insider the single book they think every student should read in 2017.

The topics of the books spanned issues from politics to social science to Shakespearean literature.

Read on to see what professors from schools like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale think you should read this year.

Jill Abramson, Harvard: 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics,' by Richard Hofstadter

Abramson, a former executive editor of The New York Times and current Harvard English lecturer, recommends students read Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," first published in 1964.

Abramson says the book is "everything you need to know about the root of Donald Trump's rhetoric and fake news."

James Berger, Yale: 'Orfeo,' by Richard Power

James Berger is a senior Lecturer in English and American Studies at Yale University. He recommends the 2014 novel "Orfeo," by Richard Powers.

He implores students to read the book, explaining that:

"It is a story of music and genetics in our contemporary age of terror and surveillance. An idiosyncratic retelling of the Orpheus myth, an elderly avant garde composer who feels he has tried and exhausted every possible musical experiment, returns to his first love, biology, and seeks to inscribe a musical score onto the mutating DNA of bacteria. Yup.

"But his efforts are mistaken to be acts of bioterrorism, and so he flees into the 'underworld' of contemporary America, returning also to the various Euridices of his past. Amazing book —and you'll learn a hell of a lot about music, science, politics ... and even about Life!"

Eric Maskin, Harvard, and Maurice Schweitzer, UPenn: 'The Undoing Project,' by Michael Lewis

Eric Maskin is a Harvard professor and received the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Maurice Schweitzer is a professor of operations, information, and decisions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Both chose Michael Lewis' "The Undoing Project."

David B. Carter, Princeton: 'The Strategy of Conflict,' by Thomas Schelling

David B. Carter is a politics professor at Princeton University. He recommended "The Strategy of Conflict," by Thomas Schelling, especially given the author's recent death. He said:

"'The Strategy of Conflict' is both probably the best book ever written about conflict and still very useful and important for understanding strategic interaction among states (and individuals).

"It also happens to be a very well-written and readable book. I read it as a junior in college and it was instrumental in getting me interested in international relations more generally, and in understanding conflict behavior and strategy in particular. I know it is an old book, but think it is something that anyone would benefit from reading."

WJT Mitchell, U Chicago: 'A Theory of the Drone,' by Gregoire Chamayou

WJT Mitchell is an English and Art History professor at the University of Chicago.

He recommends a book by French philosopher Gregoire Chamayou called "A Theory of the Drone," which attempts to understand how drones have revolutionized warfare.

Mitchell describes the book as:

"A very intelligent assessment of the new conditions ofdrone warfare in their implications for just war theory and notions of military valor."

Kenneth Warren, U Chicago: 'Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life,' by Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields.Racecraft

Kenneth Warren is an English professor at The University of Chicago.

He recommends "Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life," by Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields saying, "given the resurgence of questions about race in American society I think everyone should take a look at the 2014 book."

Harold Bloom, Yale: Shakespeare

Harold Bloom, an American literary critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, kept it short and sweet saying students should read, "all of Shakespeare."

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Education and SkillsArts and CultureBusiness
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

AI is changing the shape of leadership – how can business leaders prepare?

Ana Paula Assis

May 10, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum