A Small Town Lawyer’s Reading List

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By on March 17, 2013 11:02 pm Leave your thoughts

I have been asked to present a 50 minute seminar on the topic of Law Office Technology.

I started to compile a list of books that I have used, over the last ten years or so, as the foundation of my understanding of the modern world. It is more a bibliography than anything that a particular lawyer needs to read on a particular day.

I have mentioned some of these books in prior postings, and they definitely are with me when I write anything. Some are easier reads than others, but they are solid writings, by Pulitzer Prize and Nobel prize winners. All that are rated on Amazon are four stars or better. Here they are:

1.1. Reading list:
1.1.1.       Night, by Elie Weisel; 120 pages by the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “A slim volume of terrible power.” New York Times.
1.1.2.       Future Shock; by Alvin Toffler; a must for anyone wanting to understand the modern world; $01  used at Amazon; $.99 from Kindle;
1.1.3.       Anything by Asimov, Heinlein, Silverburg, Clark, etc. They gave me perspective
1.1.4.       What Technology Wants: Kevin Kelley (The formula? 60% of new technology is positive, and 40% is negative. That comports with my experience.)
1.1.5.       The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World; Matthew Stewart
1.1.6.      The Clockwork Universe, Isaac Newton, the Royol Society, and the Birth of the Modern World
1.1.7.      The Song of the Dodo: Island Bio-geography in an Age of Extinctions by David Quammen
2.2.8.1 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition; Jared Diamond
2.2.8.1 Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond
1.1.8.     The End of Lawyers, Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services,Richard Suskind (boring, boring, boring! I do not see this impacting our world in WV, except on short term such as “LegalZoom.com”. )
1.1.9.     The Social Media Bible, Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success, Lon Safko and David K. Brake. (My version is 2009; new version May, 2012; very comprehensive, 800 pages, but not a “how to” book.
1.1.10.  The Myth of the Paperless Office, Abegail J. Sellen and Richard H.R. Harper (2003, also outdated, but it defines the challenge.  The basic premise, “paper-less”, remains true.”)
1.1.11.  Scrolling Forward, David M. Levy, also outdated 2001,  but a favorite of mine. Contains a history of the document.
1.1.12.  Thinking Fast and Slow; Daniel Kahneman; a tough read by a Nobel Prize winning economist/mathematician on how our thinking tends not to comport with reality.
1.1.13.  The Map that Changed the World; William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology; (The creator and creation of the first geological map of Great Britain.)
1.1.14.  The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time; Johathan Weiner: a great little primer on evolution, and how it works in our time.
1.1.15.  How the Scots Invented the Modern World: “The True Story of How  Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It”, by Arthur Herman.
1.1.16.  Small Pieces Loosely Joined; “A Unified Theory of the Web”, by David Weinberger. 2002. It helped me get a handle of this amazing thing, “The World Wide Web”.
1.1.17.  Defenders of the Faith, “Christianity and Islam Battle For the Soul of Europe (Suliman and Charles V, Henry the VIIIth and Pope Clement), by James Reston, Jr. A gift from my wife Nancy. Some roots of the conflict of Islam, Christianity, and the world.
1.1.18.  bird by bird,by Ann Lamott; a great little book; “Some Instructions on Writing and Life”.
1.1.19.  Effective Time Management; by Lothar Seiwert and Holger Woeltje. I good tutorial and reminder of office time management based on Microsoft Outlook.
1.1.20.  Edwin Newman on Language, Strictly Speaking and A Civil Tongue; Old school but great stuff; no “hopefully” or “healthy food”.
1.1.21.  The Metaphysical Club, A Story of Ideas in America, by Louis Menand, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The story of the American thinkers of the Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., John Dewey, and many other American thinkers of the 19th century.
If this isn’t enough, controversial writings of the anti-religionists (atheists/skeptics), Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins argue, a tad arrogantly, for rational thought and against superstition, and are always entertaining, and the books of Malcolm Gladwell, such as The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, are thought provoking but not necessarily scientifically confirmed.

Anything by Bill Bryson is entertaining and informative, especially “A Short History of Nearly Everything“.

Finally, for a whopping big novel, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. Also, The Checklist Manefesto, which makes the case for checklists in nearly any human endeavor, and the story of cancer, The Emperor of Maladies. I could go on, and probably will. Happy reading.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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