Reading List

Across Harvard's campus, students and faculty are enjoying the refreshing energy that comes with a long-awaited spring and looking forward to a summer of renewal and new adventures. Along with their research, travel, and internships will come the opportunity to catch up on summer reading. As a member of our most loyal community of donors, the 1636 Society, we thought that you might like to know which books our faculty would recommend. Below you will find a list of top picks from administrators and faculty members across academic departments. We hope that you will enjoy their selections and this unique connection to Harvard.

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner
Yiling Chen, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science

Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation
Alan Burdick
Frank Doyle, John A. Paulson Dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; John A. & Elizabeth Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences

The Sympathizer: A Novel
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Drew Faust, President and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University

Nutshell
Ian McEwan
Alan Garber, Provost of Harvard University; Mallinckrodt Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America
Alex Kotlowitz
Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government; Professor of African and African American Studies; Harvard College Professor

The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery
Sarah Lewis
Jill Johnson, Dance Director, Theatre, Dance & Media; Senior Lecturer, Department of Music; Artistic Director, Harvard Dance Project

In Defence of the Enlightenment
Tzvetan Todorov
Robin Kelsey, Dean of Arts and Humanities; Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, Department of History of Art and Architecture

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer
Mario Small, Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology

Just Mercy
Bryan Stevenson
Mike Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences
 


2016 Recommendations

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science
Dani Rodrik
Pol Antràs, Robert G. Ory Professor of Economics

Moby Dick
Herman Melville
Joyce E. Chaplin,  James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History, Chair, American Studies

Superforecasting
Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
Frank Doyle, John A. Paulson Dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and John A. & Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Just Mercy
Bryan Stevenson
Drew Gilpin Faust, President and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Haruki Murakami
Alan Garber, Provost of Harvard University and the Mallinckrodt Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
Simon Winchester
Frank Keutsch, Stonington Professor of Engineering and Atmospheric Science and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi
Rakesh Khurana, Danoff Dean of Harvard College, Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School, and Professor of Sociology

Between the Woods and the Water
Patrick Leigh Fermor
Martin Puchner, Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature

The Expatriates
Janice Y. K. Lee

Machines of Loving Grace
John Markoff
Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences

After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene
Jedediah Purdy
Sunil Amrith, Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies and Professor of History
 


2015 Recommendations

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease
Daniel Lieberman
Randy Buckner, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; Director of the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Caroline Elkins, Professor of History and African and African American Studies; Director of the Harvard Center for African Studies

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University; Lincoln Professor of History; author of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility
Jonathan Sacks
Alan Garber, Provost of Harvard University; Mallinckrodt Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
Evan Osnos

Being Mortal
Atul Gawande
Evelyn Hu, Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and of Electrical Engineering

Stoner
John Williams
Bret Johnston, Senior Lecturer on English; Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser Director of Creative Writing

Gilead
Marilynne Robinson
Sean Kelly, Teresa G. and Ferdinand F. Martignetti Professor of Philosophy; Chair of the Department of Philosophy

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
Robert D. Putnam
Rakesh Khurana, Dean of Harvard College; Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development; Professor of Sociology; Co-Master of Cabot House

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce
Harry Lewis, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights
Kenji Yoshino

The Keeper of Lost Causes
Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Origin Mystery Trilogy
A. G. Riddle
Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences



2014 Recommendations

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
by Liaquat Ahamed
John Campbell, Morton L. and Carole S. Olshan Professor of Economics

The New York Times: Disunion: Modern Historians Revisit and Reconsider the Civil War from Lincoln's Election to the Emancipation Proclamation
edited by Ted Widmer
Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University and Lincoln Professor of History

Dignity: Its History and Meaning
by Michael Rosen
Alan Garber, Provost of Harvard University, Mallinckrodt Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Harvard School of Public Health

Brother, I'm Dying
by Edwidge Danticat
Claudine Gay, Professor of Government and African and African American Studies

From the Ruins of Empire
by Pankaj Mishra
Rakesh Khurana, Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School, Master of Cabot House, and Incoming Dean of Harvard College

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
by Robin D. G. Kelley
Vijay Iyer, Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts

The Time of Our Singing
by Richard Powers
Jennifer Lewis, Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering

The Black Tower
by Louis Bayard
Daniel Lieberman, Edward M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and Harvard College Professor

Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
Cherry Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin
by Jill Lepore
Donald Pfister, Interim Dean of Harvard College, Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany and Curator of the Farlow Library and Herbarium

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Michael D. Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences
 


2013 Recommendations

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, Lincoln Professor of History, and author of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.

Persuasion
by Jane Austen (Harvard University Press Annotated Edition)
Alan Garber, Provost of Harvard University, Mallinckrodt Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

The Ghost Map
by Steven Johnson
Alyssa Goodman, Professor of Astronomy and Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Goodman’s research and teaching interests span astronomy, data visualization, and online systems for research and education.

Middlemarch
by George Eliot
Stephan Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Greenblatt also served as chair of Harvard’s Task Force on the Arts in 2008.

A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life
by Deval Patrick
Evelynn M. Hammonds, Dean of Harvard College, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies. Hammond’s work focuses on the intersection of scientific, medical, and socio-political concepts of race in the United States. Her most recent book is The Nature of Difference: Sciences of Race in the United States From Jefferson to Genomics.

Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison
James Kloppenberg, Charles Warren Professor of American History and author of Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope and the American Political Tradition. Professor Kloppenberg teaches courses on European and American thought, culture, and politics from the ancient world to the present.

The Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson
Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper ‘41 Professor of American History, Harvard College Professor, and staff writer for the New Yorker. Her newest book, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin about Benjamin Franklin’s sister, will be published this fall.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Robert Lue, Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Director of HarvardX, Professor of the Practice of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Lue’s research group focuses on defining and assessing how large research universities such as Harvard can more effectively foster new generations of scientists as well as science-literate citizens, thereby revolutionizing the way life sciences are taught and learned at Harvard.

The University: An Owner’s Manual
by Henry Rosovsky
Xiao-Li Meng, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Statistics. His research spans statistical theory, computation,  and methods in various fields, including applications to astronomy, environmental studies, health and medical sciences, among others.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald
Matthew Nock, Professor of Psychology and 2011 MacArthur Fellow. Nock focuses his research on advancing the understanding of why people behave in ways that are harmful to themselves, with an emphasis on suicide and other forms of self-harm.

Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese
Kay Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Chair of the Committee on Ethnic Studies. In addition to longtime interests in musical ethnography and music and memory, Shelemay’s current research is on Ethiopian music and musicians in their North American diaspora.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sandberg
Michael D. Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Dean Smith has established a shared faculty commitment to excellence in teaching, nurtured the development of the new School of Engineering and Applied Sciences , cultivated and expanded undergraduate research and other opportunities for active learning, forged new partnerships to advance online learning, and re-envisioned the undergraduate House system for the 21st century.