/ December 21, 2009

Fastcase Holiday Reading List

Whether you are a library card-carrying book-worm or dedicated techie itching to try out the Kindle, iphone, Nook, iRex, or Sony Reader that Santa left under your tree, the holidays are a great time to relax, refresh, and curl up in front of the fireplace with a few good books. To help you get into the holiday reading spirit, we humbly share with you some recommendations from our team. Happy Holidays from Fastcase!
ED: The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services by Richard Susskind. From The AmLaw Daily: “Susskind’s The End of Lawyers? is a dry, sometimes boring, often infuriating, small-print book
written by a supercilious academic who thinks ‘the law is not there to provide a livelihood for lawyers,’ but rather that our incomes are, at best, a by-product that society must incur as the price of the rule of law. But you should still read it. Why? Because Susskind understands the dynamics of change, and how to manage rather than be blindsided by them.”
PHIL: The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan. From the Guardian: “One of the many frank admissions Greenspan makes in this eminently readable book – part-autobiography, part-history, part-attempt to make sense of the universe – is that his powers as Fed chairman from 1987 to 2006 were decidedly limited. For all his technical expertise, he made his most important decisions about interest rates on the basis of his own judgment and anecdotal observation.”
ANDY: Brave New Ballot: The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting by Aviel D. Rubin. From Bloomberg.com: “For three years, Aviel Rubin and his team of computer-security specialists at Johns Hopkins studied the software for the controversial paper-free voting system that will be widely used tomorrow. In his new book, ‘Brave New Ballot: The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting,’ Rubin argues that not only can the system be manipulated, but worse, we would never know.”
JEN: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die . . . by Dan Heath & Chip Heath. From Time Magazine: “The Heaths trumpet the notion that certain ideas are ‘sticky’–a term plucked from The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell’s tome about how ideas and behaviors catch on in society. Gladwell, whom the Heath brothers revere, writes about “the stickiness factor” but never fully fleshes out what makes an idea sticky. That’s where Chip and Dan come in.”
RICHA: Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem. From the New York Times: “Lethem’s eighth novel unfolds in an alternative-reality Manhattan. The crowded canvas includes a wantonly destructive escaped tiger (or is it a subway excavator?) prowling the streets, a cruel gray fog engulfing Wall Street, a ‘war free’ edition of The New York Times, a character stranded on the dying International Space Station, strange and valuable vaselike objects called chaldrons, colossal cheeseburgers and some extremely potent marijuana.”
KEITH: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. From Webster.edu: “A touching and sad novel, at once a compelling love story, philosophical text, and dialogue with Frederich Nietzsche — The Unbearable Lightness of Being is all of these and more, perhaps most importantly a manifesto of embracing nihilism. Milan Kundera opens the novel with a discourse on Nietzsche’s doctrine of the eternal recurrence. He rejects any view of the recurrence as being real or metaphysical. It is metaphorical he assures us.”
RUPESH: Rails for .NET Developers by Jeff Cohen and Brian Eng. From Bitwise Magazine: “Learning a new language can be tough enough but learning a new framework can be even tougher. So while some .NET developers may be tempted to try out Ruby On Rails, learning both a new language, Ruby, and a new framework, Rails, may prove to be a daunting prospect. For some people, the sheer unfamiliarity of everything may prove to be an insurmountable barrier. Now Jeff Cohen and Brian Eng’s book comes to the rescue . . .”
TIM: Rigged: The True Story of Any Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, From Wall Street to Dubai by Ben Mezrich. From the publisher: “From the author who brought you the massive NY Times bestseller Bringing Down The House, this is the startling, rags-to-riches story of an Italian-American kid from the streets of Brooklyn who claws his way into the wild, frenetic world of the oil exchange.”

NINA: Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel. For more on this American classic, check out this segment of Morning Edition from NPR.
JELENA: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. From The New Yorker: “Audaciously combining memoir, essay, and what has to be fiction… this fourth collection of short pieces offers pleasures normally to be found only in the best novels and the rare standup act that is actually funny….”
AARON: Sailor Song by Ken Kesey. From The New York Times: “The time of ‘Sailor Song’ is some three decades from now, when America has begun to fragment into religious cults, and the ecological crisis has begun to spin out of control. The setting is the Alaskan fishing village of Kuinak, which is populated by DEAP’s (Descendants of Early Aboriginal Peoples) and assorted refugees from the lower 48 states. Into this benighted setting cruises a Hollywood movie company aboard an ultramodern yacht called Silver Fox. The plan is to turn Kuinak into the setting for a film of a children’s classic called “Shoola and the Sea Lion,” by a presumably DEAP writer named Isabella Anootka.”

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