The Above The Regulation Employees Picks For Summer season Studying

The dog days of summer are upon us, and if you’re lucky, you may even have a vacation on the horizon. 

Looking for some reading material to take along? Your friends at Above the Law have got you covered.

From ConLaw to Formula One, here’s what’s on our nightstands.

Natalie Bahmanyar, Research Project Manager

War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow — Though it came out a couple years ago, the themes of this book are arguably more relevant than ever. I’ve always enjoyed Ronan Farrow’s writing, and the narrative he presents in this book is fascinating. Plus, a little light reading about the death of diplomacy is exactly what you want at the end of a long day with everything going on in the world, right?

Jeremy Barker, Director of Content Marketing

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo — The ultimate beach read is based on the true story of a summer where the northern Jersey Shore was terrorized by a rogue great white. It’s a compelling look at science, the media, and societal panic in the early 20th century, and an inspiration for “Jaws.”

Time Smart by Ashley Willans — Full of deceptively simple insights, this is a practical guide to being deliberate about valuing your time. The discussion of “confetti time” alone has been subtly life-changing. True to its mission, it’s a quick read focused on tangible results. 

Brian Dalton, Breaking Media SVP, Editorial Director

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book; one can only reread it.” I’m old enough to agree with Nabokov on this one. Some old favorites I revisit:

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh — Among the two funniest books ever written.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis — The other one of the two.

Cultural Amnesia by Clive James — A liberal arts education that you can keep in your bathroom.

Olga Mack, Contributor

The Ascent of Information: Books, Bits, Genes, Machines, and Life’s Unending Algorithm by Caleb Scharf is a fascinating, thought-provoking read. Scharf suggests that information is alive. It has goals. It has needs. It can control our behavior. It can influence our well-being. It’s an evolving organism. How do we as lawyers make sure it is an asset, not a burden? How can we advise our clients to share a bright future for everyone? It is a must-read for anyone contemplating the future of law and the role of lawyers in the increasingly data-driven world. 

I can’t wait to start reading Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights by Erwin Chemerinsky. Like many lawyers and people, I have been asking why and how we got here. Where did law fail us? And, how can the law help us address the challenges? So,  I am looking forward to deep analysis and suggestions from the constitutional law expert. 

Joe Patrice, Senior Editor

How to Build A Car by Adrian Newey — Famed Formula 1 car designer Adrian Newey revisits specific cars he’s designed throughout his career. As a sport, F1 provides the most compelling balance of individual skill on the part of the driver and technical and strategic knowhow on the part of the teams building and tweaking the vehicles. It’s a fascinating year-long arms race, and Newey walks through his decades on the front lines of it.

The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans — and How We Can Fix It by Dorothy Brown: That’s right, a tax law book for summer reading! Because that’s the kind of person who works at Above the Law. I’ve written before that taking Income Tax is my number one recommendation to law students choosing classes because I walked out amazed at how the tax code subtly (or not-so-subtly) controls how America operates. Professor Brown examines how the tax code maintains and in a lot of cases exacerbates racial inequality in the United States. 

Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan — Regular Thinking Like A Lawyer listeners know that Elie and I hold Mike Duncan in the highest possible regard as a podcaster. The guy elevated the podcasting game back when he was working as a fishmonger. Now he’s a NY Times bestselling history author and his latest book delves into one of the most amazing figures in modern democracy. Talk about originalism … Lafayette was there.

Kathryn Rubino, Senior Editor

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams — What can I say, ATL editors are suckers for thrillers revolving around SCOTUS clerks. 

Song In A Weary Throat by Pauli Murray — From Biglaw to activist, Murray’s memoir is a must read.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate — Taking inspiration from a real life scandal, this work of fiction is perfect suited to be devoured on a beach somewhere.

Liza Sokol, Senior Audience Development Manager

Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola — I’m a sucker for a good romance and Babaloa’s book takes classic stories and updates them through a modern lens.

Ashley Spector, Director of Business Development 

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff: I’m a NEW MOM. (Editor’s note: Congratulations, Ashley!)

Chris Williams, Social Media Manager and Assistant Editor

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman — It is the most beautiful, lucid book involving Philosophy and Physics that I have ever touched. Lightman riffs off Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and Nietzsche’s stuff on the Eternal Recurrence in a way lay folks can appreciate. It’s just so humbling to see someone construct sentences as well as Lightman does in this little book.

Spinoza: Practical Philosophy by Gilles Deleuze — This is the only book I’ve read that made me cry from joy. It’s a secondary source on Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics. One day I will work up to reading the Ethics proper, but it’s written in the form of long logical axioms, proofs and corollaries that are boring to waddle through. A quote in the prologue of the book describes Spinoza’s philosophy as being swept up by a wind, and I felt that for the first time when the chapter on Blessedness hit me months after I read it. 

Coldness and Cruelty by Gilles Deleuze — This book is a literary look at the writings of Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The thing I found cool about it was that there was an ongoing discussion of how both authors approached ethical relationships and law in their writings: contract in Masoch and a fiercely pervasive and egregious lawlessness in Sade. I was in undergrad when I first read it and I wonder what it will be like to re-read it as a freshly minted lawyer. 

Jonathan Wolf, Contributor

I’m reading Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe, first of all, because anything written by Patrick Radden Keefe is worth a read. Also though, there is probably not one American who hasn’t been affected in some way by the opioid epidemic. This book is a deep exploration of the family dynamics, the personal shortcomings, and the greed, that put it all in motion.

I’m also reading The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age, by Edmund Blair Bolles. This book is a good reminder that 1) things everyone supposedly knows turn out to be wrong all the time, and 2) there are always many ardent defenders of the old wrong ideas even in the face of solid evidence. Plus it’s nice to read about the Ice Age when the heat is as stifling as it’s been.

Finally, I just ordered a copy of After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made, by Ben Rhodes. Having not started it yet, I don’t know a great deal about the content, but Ben Rhodes is a delightfully smart guy, and I love the approach of looking beyond our borders to better understand ourselves.

Staci Zaretsky, Senior Editor

My Mom, the Lawyer by Michelle Browning Coughlin — With a 4-year-old and a 1.5-year-old, I’m always searching for books that will help them understand what I write about every day. This is a great read that lawyer moms can share with their kids, and it will help them learn the importance and impact of their mothers’ work. All proceeds of the book benefit MothersEsquire. (Editor’s note: And stay tuned for the author’s upcoming appearance on The Jabot podcast!) 

The ABCs of Law by Raamin Mostaghimi — This is another book that lawyer parents can share with young readers. From main characters like Lawyer Lion, Lawyer Lioness, Plaintiff Parrot, Defendant Duck, Judge Jaguar, and Opposing Counsel Ostrich, children will learn all about what it’s like to be a lawyer, from A (“You have to go to school for a long time and take a really hard test to become an attorney!”) to Z (“Every lawyer is supposed to be a zealous advocate for the rights of their clients.”).

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