BOOKS BEYOND THE SYLLABUS:
RECOMMENDED PROFESSIONAL READING


Professor Walter A. Effross
Fall 2000
Washington College of Law
American University


Although I don't endorse every opinion expressed in them, I suggest that law students might find the books below, most of which are available in paperback, useful in their continuing professional development.

The Office Life
Meetings
Legal Writing
Organization
Corporations and Business Law- Books
Corporations and Business Law- Periodicals
Computers/Internet
Psychological/Spiritual
Law Firms and the Future of the Profession
Great Books
Miscellaneous
One Final Item




The Office Life
  • Moran, Richard- Never Confuse a Memo with Reality, And Other Business Lessons Too Simple Not to Know (HarperBusiness 1993)
  • Moran, Richard- Beware Those Who Ask for Feedback, And Other Organizational Constants (HarperBusiness 1994)
  • Moran, Richard- Cancel the Meetings, Keep the Doughnuts, And Other New Morsels of Business Wisdom (HarperBusiness 1995)
  • Moran, Richard- Fear No Yellow Stickies (Fireside/Simon & Schuster 1998)


Each of these small books contains about 360 brief suggestions, as varied as "When you're working on the computer, save the document you're working on frequently," "Always carry a cheap, thin calculator," and "Never go to more than two meetings a day or you will never get anything done." Each is the kind of thing that a friend or mentor might tell you an entire story to illustrate. Some of the material you'll disagree with and some you'll think is obvious. But some of Moran's points you will probably find to be valuable new material, or at least useful reminders. Highly recommended.

Other books of the same type include:

  • Blitzer, Roy- Office Smarts: 252 Tips for Success in the Workplace (Globe Pequot Press 1994)
  • Ireland, Karin- The Job Survival Instruction Book: 365 Tips, Tricks, and Techniques to Stay Employed (Career Press 1994)
  • Pollar, Odette- 365 Ways to Simplify Your Work Life (Dearborn Financial Publishing 1996)


A similar approach to advice on personal financial transactions can be found in

  • Dunnan, Nancy- Never Call Your Broker on Monday, And 300 Other Financial Lessons You Can't Afford Not to Know (HarperCollins 1997)

You might also find it useful to keep a dictionary (I recommend the latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary), a recent almanac, and a road atlas (I recommend the most recent edition of the AAA North American Road Atlas) in your office. Another good thing to have handy, especially in case of fast-breaking news, is a small radio.


Meetings

  • 3M Meeting Management Team, How to Run Better Meetings: A Reference Guide for Managers (McGraw Hill 1979). Covers all aspects of planning meetings; emphasizes the preparation of effective visual presentations.

  • Doyle, Michael and David Strauss- How to Make Meetings Work (Jove 1976). From the point of view of the person running the meeting.

  • Kieffer, George David- The Strategy of Meetings (Warner Books 1988). Not only how to run meetings but how to participate effectively in them.

  • Robert's Rules of Order

    There are available a number of practical guides, some with helpful charts and diagrams, to the implementation of these procedural rules for meetings. As a lawyer, you are likely to be involved in governing a meeting, or attending a meeting that is being governed, according to these rules- in either situation, a good knowledge of the rules will be invaluable.


Legal Writing

  • Burnham, Scott- Drafting Contracts, 2nd ed. (Michie 1987). An extremely useful compendium of advice for any lawyer drafting any type of contract. The first section concerns the substantive law of contracts, including: offer and acceptance, consideration, indefiniteness, enforceability, capacity, parol evidence, interpretation, mistake, force majeure, promise and condition, modification and discharge, warranties, damages, and third parties. The second section addresses "How the Principles of Drafting Are Exemplified in Contracts" and includes chapters on: the framework of a contract; operative language; the language of drafting; plain language; and drafting with a computer.

  • Dworsky, Alan L.- The Little Book on Legal Writing (2d ed.) (1992) (Fred B. Rothman & Co., Littleton, CO 80127). Covers, among other topics, "Plain English," "Style," "Usage [of particular words, "Spelling [of particular words]," "[Preparing] Case Briefs," "[How to Refer to] Cases and Courts," "[How to Refer to] Names [of Parties]," "Citations," "Quotations," "Authority," "Office Memoranda," "Questions Presented," and "Argument." 142 pages.

  • Strunk, William Jr. and E.B. White- The Elements of Style, 3d ed. (Macmillan 1979). The classic, applicable to all types of writing.

  • Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms (Merriam-Webster)
  • Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms (Smithmark Reference)

    These books emphasize the distinctions among such "synonyms" as "law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, [and] canon." I prefer the Merriam-Webster edition, but the Smithmark Reference one, created in cooperation with the Merriam-Webster editors, may be easier to find.

  • The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (Merriam-Webster 1989)

    Originally published under the title of Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, this book presents an alphabetical list of words, expressions, and grammatical concepts, accompanied by commentary on and examples of preferred usage. A useful tool and entertaining gift for those who want to write more precisely.

  • LeClerq, Terri- Expert Legal Writing (University of Texas Press 1995). Useful instruction on areas ranging from grammar to organization. Contains a list of reference books for legal writers.

  • Goldstein, Tom and Jethro K. Lieberman- The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well (University of California Press 1989). One of the many other good books on this topic.

Organization

  • Dorff, Pat- File. . . Don't Pile!: A Proven Filing System for Personal and Professional Use (St. Martin's Press 1983)
  • Dorff, Pat, Edit Fine, and Judith Josephson- File. . . Don't Pile! For People Who Write: Handling the Paper Flow in the Workspace or Home Office (St. Martin's Press 1994)

    Even if you don't follow the complete system recommended, the books will give you many good organizational ideas. The first, and the more general, of these books addresses organization from a homemaker's perspective. The second, which is focused on the operations of a professional writer or journalist, may be more directly useful to you.

  • Drucker, Peter- The Effective Executive (HarperBusiness 1966)A classic work by one of the foremost experts on management.

    "To be reasonably effective it is not enough for the individual to be intelligent, to work hard or to be knowledgeable. Effectiveness is something separate, something different. But to be effective also does not require special gifts, special aptitude, or special training. Effectiveness as an executive demands doing certain-- and fairly simple-- things. It consists of a small number of practices, the practices that are presented and discussed in this book."

  • Gleeson, Kerry- The Personal Efficiency Program: How to Get Organized to Do More Work in Less Time (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1994). One of the best books that I've seen in this category. Gleeson places much emphasis on doing things as soon as possible, rather than letting them pile up. Easy to say, but sometimes hard to do.

  • Lakein, Alan- How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life (Signet 1973). One of the classics in the field. Particularly strong on how to assign priorities to pending tasks.

  • Mayer, Jeffrey- If You Haven't Got the Time To Do It Right, When Will You Find The Time to Do It Over? (Simon and Schuster 1990). A compendium of useful organizational tips.

  • Mayer, Jeffrey- Time Management for Dummies (IDG Books 1995). Repeats some of the material in his earlier book, and adds new advice.

  • Ravdin, Linda- "How to Have a Successful Law Practice and a Life: 61 Ideas" The Practical Lawyer- Vol. 42, No. 1 (January 1996)- p.39. An article full of advice for the "solo lawyer or small firm practitioner" on organizing your practice and balancing it with your personal life.

  • St. James, Elaine- Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter (Hyperion 1994) One of the major books in the life-simplification movement, which, perhaps not coincidentally, gained prominence about the same time as corporate downsizing did. I personally think that Ms. St. James makes some good points, although some of her suggestions seem to be inapplicable, if not downright dangerous, to lawyers. (#9- "Stop Buying Clothes That Need to be Dry-Cleaned"; #27- "Cancel Your Magazine Subscriptions"; #28- "Stop the Newspaper Delivery.")

  • Savage, Peter- The Safe Travel Book: A Guide for the International Traveler (Lexington Books 1988- revised and updated 1991). A safety/security manual intended for the "business-class traveler accompanied by a working companion or spouse who might never have set foot in a foreign land. The voyage may include side trips to out-of-the-way places as well as trips to major airports and cities. The book was also written with lone women travelers and travelers with children in mind." Covers trip planning, documentation, what to take, packing, preflight and in-flight tips, arrival in a foreign airport and hotel, daily security planning, checking out, and returning home.

  • Scott, Dru- How to Put More Time in Your Life (Signet 1980). A collection of tips, strategies, and techniques for working efficiently and effectively.


Corporations and Business Law- Books

  • Adler, Bill Jr., and Julie Houghton, America's Stupidest Business Decisions: 101 Blunders, Flops & Screwups (William Morrow 1997). Short, instructive accounts of major business mistakes of well-known companies.

  • Bandler- How to Use Financial Statements: A Guide to Understanding the Numbers (Irwin Professional Publishing 1994). A simple, step-by-step explanation of financial statements, their uses and interpretation, and the accounting techniques used in their preparation. 147 pages.

  • Barrett, E. Thorpe- Write Your Own Business Contracts: What Your Attorney Won't Tell You (The Oasis Press, Grants Pass, Oregon- (541) 479-9464 2nd ed. 1994). "This book consists of a practical discussion of business contracts interspersed with examples of typical contracts, examples of bad contracts, and the author's suggested alternatives. . . . 'Good' and 'Bad' examples are distinguished . . . . "

  • Bradford, C. Steven and Gary Adna Ames- Basic Accounting Principles for Lawyers (Anderson Publishing 1997). A useful 126-page discussion, intended to be "interesting and understandable for law students who have no desire to become accountants. . . This is not a treatise on accounting but a relatively short introduction to the essentials."

  • Burrough, Bryan and John Helyar- Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco (Harper & Row 1990). An extraordinary account of the 1988 fight to control Nabisco, written by two of the Wall Street Journal reporters who covered these developments. Almost every page has a good story, anecdote, quote, or other piece of information about corporate law and culture, investment banking, boardroom battles, management's fight to retain control of a company, and the role of lawyers. The major figures in this story (helpfully listed in a four-page introduction on "The Players") really come alive in the text.

  • Hillman, William C. - Commercial Loan Documentation (Practising Law Institute- periodically revised). A very straightforward guide to the language and legalities of commercial (rather than consumer) lending, with much attention to drafting issues. Chapters include: The Loan Agreement; The Promissory Note; The Security Agreement; The Financing Statement; Pledges; Real Estate Mortgages; Special Forms of Collateral; Guaranties; and Subordination Agreements. Should be of immense value to associates practicing in this area.

  • Klein, William A. and John C. Coffee, Jr.- Business Organization and Finance: Legal and Economic Principles (5th ed.) (Foundation 1993). "The principal objective of this book is to explain, in simple terms but not simplistically, (a) the basic economic elements and legal principles, as well as the language, of business organization and finance; (b) the interrelationships between and among the economic elements and legal principles; and (c) the practical importance of a basic understanding of those elements, principles, and interrelationships. . . . [W]e have tried to make it understandable for a person with no background whatsoever in business, in accounting, in economics, or in law." Chapters include: The Sole Proprietor; Partnerships; Corporations; Basic Corporate Investment Devices; and Valuation, Financial Strategies, and Capital Markets.

  • Manning, Bayless and James J. Hanks, Jr.- Legal Capital (3rd ed.) (Foundation 1990). "[S]pecifically written to be understandable not only by the accounting maven but by the reader who has no accounting background." Examines the development of legal capital doctrine and "addresses the massive body of law regulating asset contributions by shareholders and asset distributions to them." 209 pages.

  • Posner, Richard A. and Kenneth E. Scott- Economics of Corporation Law and Securities Regulation (Little, Brown 1980). Judge (then-Professor) Posner and Professor Scott collected and edited a number of scholarly articles that interpret corporate and securities law through an economic analysis. Chapters include: The Theory of the Firm, The Economics of the Corporate Firm, The Corporation's Social Responsibility, Fiduciary Law and "Competition in Laxity," Insider Trading, Modern Finance Theory and the Efficient Market Hypothesis, and others. Rewarding, but not light, reading.

  • Romano, Roberta- Foundations of Corporate Law (Oxford 1993). "This book of readings seeks to provide an accessible introduction to the enduring policy debates in corporate law as well as the intuition for the fundamental economic concepts of the new learning that informs the debates. In addition, a concerted effort has been made to provide a realistic sense of the institutional landscape, which is foreign to many students, by extensive referencing of the burgeoning empirical research on corporate governance." Professor Romano selected and edited some of the leading recent scholarship on such topics as: theories of the firm and of capital markets; limited liability and the corporation; state competition for corporate charters; the structure of corporate laws; financing the corporation; boards of directors and fiduciary duties; shareholder voting rights; the market for corporate control; takeover defenses; and securities regulation.

  • Siviglia, Peter- Exercises in Commercial Transactions (Carolina Academic Press 1995). Questions, and proposed solutions, concerning the drafting of a variety of agreements, including employment contracts, shareholder agreements, and partnership agreements.


Corporations and Business Law- Periodicals

  • New York Times (on Mondays, Business Section focuses on High Technology issues)
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post "Washington Business" Section (especially Mondays)
  • Business Law Today (magazine) & Business Lawyer (law review) (both published by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association)
  • Business Week
  • Fortune (focuses on management issues)
  • National Law Journal (weekly; reviews developments in all areas of law)

Note that every spring Fortune, Forbes and Business Week publish lists of the most successful companies, as well as articles that interpreting the year's trends as reflected in these lists.


Computers/Internet

  • Allison, G. Burgess- The Lawyer's Guide to the Internet (ABA 1995). A fantastic guide to the Internet, assuming no computer knowledge. Includes extensive lists of law-related material available through the Internet.

  • NetGuide Publishing LLC, Surf Less Find More: Law (Summer 1999). A handy, relatively inexpensive, spiral-bound pamphlet listing Web addresses for: MegaLaw Sites; Finding Experts; Finding Firms/Attorneys; Federal Law Resources; State Law Resources; Practice Areas; and General Internet Research.The company is located at: Box 525, 267 Kentlands Boulevard, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, or at netguidepublishing@usa.net.

  • Rose, Lance- NetLaw: Your Rights in the On-Line World (Osborne 1995). One of the best single-volume guides to emerging issues in the law of cyberspace.

  • Whatever application programs you use, I suggest that you keep handy one or more books that explain in depth and in an understandable way the operation of the programs' advanced features.

  • A useful and inexpensive computer magazine is Smart Computing in Plain English (formerly PC Novice.) Each monthly issue contains articles on Windows, computers and their components and peripherals, Internet and Web use, and tips for using popular computer programs. (1-800-733-3809)

Psychological/Spiritual

  • Carnegie, Dale- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (Pocket 1944). By the author of How to Make Friends and Influence People. Practical and popularized advice on dealing with the timeless problem of stress, though now somewhat dated in its examples and context. Includes such chapters as, "Four Good Working Habits That Will Help Prevent Fatigue and Worry." Might help you counsel clients.

  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper & Row 1990). Explores "the concept of flow-- the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it." Aims, in this context, "to present examples of how life can be made more enjoyable, ordered in the framework of a theory, for readers to reflect upon and from which they may then draw their own conclusions."

  • Frankl, Victor- Man's Search for Meaning (Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster 1959). This unusual book contains three parts: a harrowing account of the author's experiences in a concentration camp, a discussion of the psychotherapeutic school of "logotherapy" that he subsequently founded, and an essay on retaining one's optimism while recognizing suffering in the world. In a foreword, Frankl notes that when he wrote the book in 1945 he had "wanted simply to convey to the reader by way of a concrete example that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones." He sums up his philosophy:

    "Don't aim at success- the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run- the long run, I say!- success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it."

  • Hyams, Joe- Zen in the Martial Arts (Bantam 1979). From a journalist, screenwriter, and former student of Bruce Lee, a collection of anecdotes and reflections whose value extends beyond the martial arts. For example: "doing nothing can sometimes be more valuable that doing something"; "[i]nstead of trying to do everything well, do those things perfectly of which you are capable"; how to do "Zen breathing."

  • A similar account, though heavier on the autobiographical component, is Chuck Norris's The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems (Little, Brown & Company 1996).

  • Kushner, Harold- When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough (Pocket 1986). By the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Examines, in the context of the Book of Ecclesiastes, "giving your life meaning, feeling that you have used your time on earth well and not wasted it, and that the world will be different for your having passed through it. It is a book written by a man arrived at middle age, telling you some of the things that I know now that I wish I had known when I was younger."

  • Ringer, Robert- Looking Out for #1 (Ballantine 1977). A best-seller in its time, this book got a lot of bad press from those who took its title to indicate that the author was counseling aggressive and unmitigated selfishness. However, no less an authority on human nature than Ann Landers contributed a blurb to the cover of the paperback edition. Ringer focuses, through discussions of his own financial and personal highs and lows, on the virtues of being prepared and self-reliant.

  • Ringer, Robert- Million Dollar Habits (Ballantine 1990). Continues the themes of the previous work by identifying, in the context of Ringer's own experiences, good habits involving realism, attitudes, perspectives, living in the present, morality, human relations, simplicity, self-discipline, and decisiveness. The chapter entitled, "The Present Living Habit" presents five questions to which "[y[our answers. . . are critical to your ability to live in the present, as well as to your chances of achieving long-term, positive results": (1) What Do I Enjoy?; (2) What Am I Good At?; (3) What Do I Want Out of Life?; (4) What's the Price?; and (5) Am I Willing to Pay the Price?


Law Firms and the Future of the Profession

  • Caplan, Lincoln- Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire (Farrar Straus Giroux 1993). A detailed profile of the history and culture of mega-firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom and of its role in and reaction to the rise in corporate mergers and acquisitions. Chock-full of valuable lessons, great quotations, and revealing anecdotes. Highly recommended.

  • Dorsey, The Force (Random House 1994). This book "is based on my experiences during a year I lived with a group of top Xerox salespeople in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. . . . I wanted to tell in vivid terms the story of how a top salesman- along with his team- attains certain goals over the course of a sales year, and what impact this effort has on the personal lives of the people involved." Although this book does not directly concern law firms, its discussions of the psychology of motivation and salesmanship and of the relationship between professionals and their clients should be instructive.

  • Eisler, Kim Isaac- Shark Tank: Greed, Politics, and the Collapse of Finley Kumble, One of America's Largest Law Firms (Penguin 1990). Great lessons, quotations, and anecdotes, but mostly of the "how-not-to" variety. Eisler's chronicle of the rapid rise and rapid decline of this firm raises a number of concerns about law firm culture, legal ethics, and legal professionalism in general.

  • Goulden, Joseph C.- The Superlawyers: The Small and Powerful World of the Great Washington Law Firms (Weybright and Talley 1971). Obviously dated now, but an interesting profile of "some of the more interesting and important Washington Lawyers and their firms- what they've done, what they (and others) think of themselves, how they go about their business, what impact they've had upon our national life, the challenge they face from the newly powerful public-interest bar."

  • Greene, Robert M.- Making Partner: A Guide for Law Firm Associates (ABA 1992). A short and straightforward collection of advice on how to manage your career as an associate. Recommends finding out about your firm's structure and operation, organizing your time and projects, staying informed of current legal developments ("Knowledge is your stock in trade."), and taking time for a personal life. One unusual feature is an appendix on a "To-Do List for the Partnership Sweepstakes," with a year-by year set of recommendations for associates.

  • Kronman, Anthony- The Lost Lawyer: Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession (Harvard University Press 1993). By the Dean of Yale Law School. Designed "to make the ideal of the lawyer statesman fresh and appealing to a contemporary audience. . . by explaining, in new but simple terms, the timeless value of the virtue that it honors and the crucial role this virtue plays in the practice of law." Describes "the intellectual and institutional forces that are now arrayed against the ideal of the lawyer-statesman and that together have caused its decline."

  • Linowitz, Sol- The Betrayed Profession: Lawyering at the End of the Twentieth Century (Charles Scribner's Sons 1994). An attempt "to set forth with accuracy and honesty what I have seen going on in the practice of law for over five decades and to offer some suggestions as to how we lawyers might rekindle pride in our profession and restore the practice of law to the respected position it once occupied."

  • Pollock, Ellen- Turks and Brahmins (American Lawyer Books/Simon & Schuster 1990). A fascinating chronicle of New York law firm Milbank, Tweed's "awakening: how a group of close-knit men fought [in the mid-1980's] to keep their business afloat. . . . The firm's client base was expanded. The lockstep compensation system was modified so that big business producers could be adequately compensated. Rainmakers were lured away from other firms. . . . The partners were forced to rethink their never-before-questioned belief that partnership was for life. . . . These decisions were based mostly on financial realities, with scarcely a nod to the loyalties that had long glued the partnership together." Pollock carefully portrays the way in which the firm's culture changed to accommodate these new realities.


Great Books

  • Fadiman, Clifton- The Lifetime Reading Plan (World Publishing Company 1960). (May be available in a newer edition) Brief profiles of 100 classics of Western literature, many of which you may already have read. The author notes that "This is not in any absolute sense a list of the 'best books.' There are no 'best books.'" But it's an interesting start.

In this vein, you might also enjoy:

  • Adler, Mortimer- The Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Modern Thought (Macmillan). From the chairman of the Board of Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, essays on the development of 102 "great ideas" (such as "War and Peace," "Love," "God," and "Truth") through the masterworks of Western literature.

  • Denby, David- Great Books: My Adventures With Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World (Simon & Schuster 1996). From the former film critic for New York magazine, a chronicle of how "[i]n the fall of 1991, thirty years after entering Columbia University for the first time, I went back to school and sat with eighteen-year-olds and read the same books that they read" in the university's famous Literature, Humanities and Contemporary Civilization courses. "This book is an account of my year as a second-time student. I have written it the way it happened to me, as a journey sometimes perilous, sometimes serene, and as an introduction to the great stories and momentous ideas I consumed with such hunger in middle age."

  • Eastman, Arthur, et al- The Norton Anthology of Poetry (W.W. Norton & Co. Inc. 1970-new edition recently issued) The best of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Wordsworth, Dickinson, and many others.


Miscellaneous

  • Bradbury, Ray- Dandelion Wine (Bantam 1957). A sparkling novel about time, change, memory, freedom, and their place in the life of 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding, growing up in the fictional Greentown, Illinois in the summer of 1928. Not science fiction at all, but more like a form of poetry. One of my personal favorites.

  • Carroll, Lewis (Martin Gardner, ed.) - The Annotated Alice (Random House 1960). Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, accompanied by informative notes on the logical and historical references of Carroll's droll prose and poetry. His logical absurdities may help you to look at situations and statutes in a new way.

  • Grove, Andrew- Only the Paranoid Survive (Currency/Doubleday 1996). An extraordinary and thought-provoking analysis by the Chairman of the Board and former Chief Executive Officer of Intel, of how to recognize and react to "strategic inflection points" that affect your industry, company, or career. In a sense, Grove elaborates on Kenny Rogers' famous lyrics in "The Gambler": "You've got to know when to hold 'em/ Know when to fold 'em/ Know when to walk away/ Know when to run . . ." Although the examples generally concern Intel's experiences with technological changes in the computer industry, the last chapter, which specifically addresses "Career Inflection Points," is certainly very relevant to lawyers. You might find this chapter alone worth the price of the entire book.

  • Hesse, Herman- The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) (1943). In the original German, Das Glasperlenspiel) Various translations available, including one by Theodore Ziolkowski, published by Henry Holt and Company in 1969. An account of an elite monastic subculture, Castalia, whose adepts weave together concepts from any and all disciplines in the "playing" of the most comprehensive intellectual enterprise imaginable.In the words of a Master player to a young initiate,

    "Perhaps you yourself have notions about the Glass Bead Game, expecting more of it than it will give you, or perhaps the reverse. There is no doubt that the Game has its dangers. For that very reason we love it; only the weak are sent out on paths without perils. But never forget what I have told you so often: our mission is to recognize contraries for what they are: first of all as contraries, but then as opposite poles of a unity. Such is the nature of the Glass Bead Game. . . .

    "Each of us is merely one human being. . . But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery. Remember this: one can be a strict logician or grammarian, and at the same time full of imagination and music. One can be a musician or Glass Bead Game player and at the same time wholly devoted to rule and order. The kind of person we want to develop, the kind of person we aim to become, would at any time be able to exchange his discipline or art for any other. He would infuse the Glass Bead Game with crystalline logic, and grammar with creative imagination."

  • Kaufman, Andrew L.- Cardozo (Harvard University Press 1998). An impressively well-researched biography by a scholar who concludes that the judge (b.1870-d.1938) "enhanced his fame with a memorable literary style and a personal kindness, courtesy, and gentleness that led many to describe him in later life as a saint. Cardozo was no saint, though, for his life included the toughness of his many years as an ambitious lawyer, and his character contained such human failings as vanity and prejudice; however, he was a good man with extraordinary talents. . . . Cardozo helped to modernize the law and to provide a structure for other judges to modernize it further; he illuminated the tradition and craft of judging; and he practiced that vocation supremely well." Find out the true story behind Palsgraf, Meinhard v. Salmon, and other casebook classics.

  • Kelly, Kevin- Out of Control (Addison Wesley 1994). The author, who is also the Executive Editor of Wired magazine, discusses in great and fascinating detail his thesis that "the more mechanical we make our fabricated environment, the more biological it will eventually have to be if it is to work at all. Our future is technological; but it will not be a world of gray steel. Rather, our technological future is headed toward a neo-biological civilization." Includes chapters on "network economics," "e-money," "artificial evolution," and "post-Darwinism." A great companion to Waldrop's Complexity (see below).

  • Kelly, Kevin- New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World (Viking 1998). An extension of many of the ideas in Out of Control to the operation of business in the age of the Internet. Published in October 1998 and certain to be on the "must reading" list of many managers and executives.

  • Merton, (Father) Thomas- The Way of Chuang Tzu (Penguin 1965). A poetic rendering of remarks attributed to the Taoist sage (c. 200 B.C.) about the wise person's harmonious and intuitive path of action through a world of verbiage, extremes, and opposites. "Chuang Tzu is not concerned with words and formulas about reality, but with the direct existential grasp of reality in itself [as] presented in a parable, a fable, or a funny story about a conversation between two philosophers." A small sample:


Ch'ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.

His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.
. . . .

Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.

  • O'Shea, James and Charles Madigan, Dangerous Company: Management Consultants and the Businesses They Save and Ruin (Penguin 1997, 1998). The fascinating "first detailed examination of this industry, the closest look to date at what goes wrong in a consulting arrangement, what goes right, and what makes the difference." Presents various case histories, both good and bad, of business managements' use of consultants, and concludes with a list of ten guidelines for the successful employment of these outsiders.

  • Pirsig, Robert M.- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Bantam 1974). This book is very hard to categorize, and probably no attempt will do it justice. The narrator alternately: describes his motorcycle journey with his emotionally troubled young son and two friends; reconstructs his intellectual pursuit of the definition of quality, through Greek philosophy, Kant, and Eastern thought; and pieces together memory fragments of "Phaedrus," his younger self who grew so obsessed with the philosophical search that he ultimately had to undergo electroshock therapy. The book contains fascinating meditations on quality, philosophy, rhetoric, academic life and interactions, the motorcycle as an example of a mental system, and the process of thinking in general. The apparently-autobiographical account was enormously popular in the 1970's.

  • Pirsig's sequel, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals (1992), about the author's sailing trip with an emotionally disturbed woman, further delves into issues of quality but also takes side-trips into such topics as the nature of "cool."

  • Servan-Schreiber, Jean-Louis- The Art of Time (Addison-Wesley 1988). Meditations on time, its passage, its appreciation, and its use.

  • Waldrop, M. Mitchell- Complexity (Touchstone 1992). Explores, using very little mathematics, the new mathematical discipline that addresses the marketplace, the human brain, the evolution of species, and other "complex, self-organizing, adaptive systems [that] have somehow acquired the ability to bring order and chaos into a special kind of balance. This balance point-- often called the edge of chaos-- is where the components of the system never quite lock into place, and yet never quite dissolve into turbulence, either. The edge of chaos is where life has enough stability to sustain itself and enough creativity to deserve the name of life. . . . The edge of chaos is the constantly shifting battle zone between stagnation and anarchy, the one place where a complex system can be spontaneous, adaptive, and alive." Poetic and scientific at the same time. Mind-expanding. May make you think differently about life.

  • Weisberg, Richard- Poethics (Columbia University Press 1992). The author, a professor at Yeshiva University's Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, collects here a number of his articles on reading law as one would read literature, and on the lessons to be learned from the portrayal of lawyers and law in literary works. He sums up his conclusions: "[s]tories about law- whether or not from the established [literary] canon- provide a unique source of understanding, likely to bring a greater ethical awareness to late twentieth-century legal communication. No bad judicial opinion can be 'well written.' No seemingly just opinion will endure unless its discursive form matches its quest for fairness. 'Objective' treatment of corrupt legal materials is itself corrupt, however seemingly benign. Good writing ennobles, and- in the case of legal writers- it brings great professional satisfaction and the restoration of law to our culture's center stage. And finally: law and literature, for all their disparities, are one."

    Weisberg's empirical and textual studies of the legal community in Vichy France (1940-1944) detail the catastrophic human consequences of lawyers' divorcing their technical capabilities from a larger sense of justice: "a loose system of institutionally acceptable professional rhetoric caused (as much as did the terror or influence of German occupation) the definition, identification, and eventual destruction of tens of thousands of Jews. . . . Vichy lawyers generated rhetoric that directly led to the concentration camps. . . . Their willingness to draft laws in a manner often exceeding the German conquerors' demands set precedents even the Nuremberg laws and Nazi courts had not imagined; their subsequent zeal in interpreting that legislation, unconstrained by traditional (textual) French notions of egalitarianism and personal freedom, exemplifies the risks to professional communities of theories privileging situation over standards."

    On a lighter note, the author contends in other sections of the book that "sympathetic fictional lawyers all fall into one of three categories: they have no law practice worth mentioning; or they lose the cases on which they are working in the novel; or they lose their lives altogether without solving anything"; discusses the works of Shakespeare, Melville, Dickens, and Faulkner; evaluates the canon of the "Great Books"; defends the Law and Literature movement against Judge Richard Posner's criticisms; and recommends that lawyers, to retain their "professional bliss," use the active voice in their writing and "read at least one novel a month."

    Every lawyer should find something of lasting value in this book.


One Final Item


Cardozo, Benjamin- "The Game of Law and Its Prizes"
In Selected Writings of Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (ed. Margaret Hall) (Fallon Publications 1947)

The text of his address at the seventy-fourth commencement of the Albany
Law School, on June 10, 1925.

Some excerpts:

[A lawyer] must be historian and prophet all in one-- the qualities of each united in a perfect blend-- who would fulfill that task completely. . . . Here is a game, a puzzle, a conundrum, to mystify and pique. Here is a task, a summons, a vocation, to rouse and stir and quicken. Give what you have, whether what you have be much or little. You will be sharers in a process that is greater than the greatest of its ministers. . . .
. . . . The process of justice is never finished, but reproduces itself, generation after generation, in ever-changing forms, and today, as in the past, it calls for the bravest and the best. . . .

I come back to my metaphor of a game, a game which exacts skill but which, like every game worth playing, exacts something more important, and that something is the sportsman's spirit, which is only another word for character. This is the chief thing, more important far than skill, for skill without this will be palsied and perverted. Play the game like sportsmen, or give it up at the beginning, and choose some other calling, which, if its aims are less exalted, will at least spare you the reproach of insincerity, since its members will not have pledged themselves to be votaries of justice. . . .

. . . . There may be hours of discouragement and rebuff. When the course is run, we shall see them in their true perspective. We shall know in the end that the game was worth the effort.
"Most of the troubles of life," says the French philosopher, "would be avoided if men would only be content to sit still in their parlors." Ah! but they will not, even those of them who have the parlors, and that is their glory, if it is also their undoing. The ceaseless drive is there; the lure that prods and teases; the shining, if shifting, goal, which, like the lighthouses of today, may summon with a revolving light, but ever swings full circle, a beacon to the wandering traveler.

This is no life of cloistered ease to which you dedicate your powers. This is a life that touches your fellow men at every angle of their being, a life that you must live in the crowd, and yet apart from it, man of the world and philosopher by turns.

You will study the wisdom of the past, for in a wilderness of conflicting counsels, a trail has there been blazed.

You will study the life of mankind, for this is the life you must order, and, to order with wisdom, must know.

You will study the precepts of justice, for these are the truths that through you shall come to their hour of triumph.

Here is the high emprise, the fine endeavor, the splendid possibility of achievement, to which I summon you and bid you welcome.

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