Here is what we are reading over our spring break:
1. Peter Thiel (with Blake Masters), Zero to one: notes on startups, or how to build the future. We teach business law and are currently writing several chapters of a textbook on “startup law” for the Chicago Business Press, so Thiel’s book is a must-read for us.
2. Nathan Oman, The dignity of commerce: markets and the moral foundations of contract law. This tome can be summed up in four words: “Shylock, meet Adam Smith.” In other words, this beautiful book addresses some fascinating philosophical questions, such as: why does the law enforce (some) promises, and how do markets end up promoting morality? P.S.: We will be blogging about this book in the days to come.
3. Jane Jacobs, Systems of survival: a dialogue on the moral foundations of commerce and politics. This book received some negative reviews (such as this particularly ill-informed and nasty one) when it was first published in 1993, but in our view Jacobs’s thesis is essentially correct. That is, aside from panhandling, there are two ways you can make a living: you can either trade or take.
4. Louise Harmon & Deborah Post, Cultivating intelligence: power, law, and the politics of teaching. At bottom this book, which is billed as the “post-modern version of The Paper Chase,” explores a key question in legal education: is law school just a trade school, or is law school really about the larger world of ideas? (We met Professor Post at a conference in Los Angeles recently, so we are especially looking forward to this read.)
5. Richard Dawkins, Brief candle in the dark: my life in science. This is the second volume of Dawkins’s memoirs. (Will there be more installments, or is Professor Dawkins done for now?) Although we reject Dawkins’s gratuitous and ungracious anti-Islamic asides, we strongly recommend the chapter on “evolutionary economics.”