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Stuck Inside? Read these 15 Books Hand-Picked by ASB Faculty


When you’re stuck inside, Netflix binges and scrolling through social media can sap your energy. One mind-stimulating alternative is learning something new, which is especially beneficial if you’re preparing for business school in the process. Luckily, ASB faculty have curated a list of the 15 most transformative books to help you through your boredom. MBA students, faculty, and executives alike can get behind these interesting and engrossing reads. See below for more details.

Eli Remolona
Professor of Finance and Director of Central Banking

Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons

Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and Henry Paulson

Prof. Eli says, “It reads almost like a thriller, and it is somewhat relevant to the current crisis.” From the three primary architects of the American policy response to the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, a magnificent big-picture synthesis–from why it happened to where we are now. (Amazon)

Hans Genberg
Professor of Finance and Associate Director of Central Banking

The Art of Strategy

Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff

Prof. Hans says, “This book applies game theory to many interesting practical problems.”

Using a diverse array of rich case studies—from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history—the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. (Amazon)

Good Economics for Hard Times

Abhjit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

The winners of the Nobel Prize show how economics, when done right, can help us solve the thorniest social and political problems of our day. (Amazon)

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Cathy O’Neil

A former Wall Street quant sounds the alarm on Big Data and the mathematical models that threaten to rip apart our social fabric. (Amazon)


Kevin Crow
Assistant Professor of International Law and Ethics

The Market as God

Harvey Cox

Prof. Kevin says, “This is a very readable provocation, not heavily academic but fascinating. It welcomes readers to examine how beliefs about ‘the market’ create limited ranges of what is often considered ‘reasonable.’”

Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality

Katharina Pistor

Prof. Kevin says, “This is a very readable introduction to law’s role in creating both wealth and inequality. Each chapter in the book is a window into an entire domain of legal scholarship. A good read for business students interested in questioning whether law itself can be considered a commodity.”

Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism

Quinn Slobodian

Prof. Kevin says, “This is a fascinating (if deterministic) intellectual history of neoliberal globalism going all the way back to the Habsburg Empire. It convincingly challenges a broad collection of conventional wisdoms. A good read for those interested in rethinking the role of the State in global governance.”


Loredana Padurean
Associate Dean and Faculty Director for Action Learning

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

David Epstein

David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. (Amazon)


Michael Frese
Professor of Management

Poor Economics

Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo 

Why do the poor borrow to save? Why do they miss out on free life-saving immunizations, but pay for unnecessary drugs? In Poor Economics, Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, two award-winning MIT professors, answer these questions based on years of field research from around the world. (Amazon)

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. (Amazon)


Ong Shien Jin
Professor of Practice

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari

Prof. Shien Jin says, “This book gives a broad perspective of how the we (humans) have developed over the millennia. I find it useful to put the current COVID-19 situation in context.”

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t

Nate Silver

Prof Shien Jin says, “This book taught me how to understand and deal with uncertainties. It is rare that we can predict anything with perfect accuracy, but instead we can form ranges of possible outcomes.”

Willem Smit
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Recession Storming: Thriving in Downturns Through Superior Marketing, Pricing and Product Strategies

Rupert M. Hart

Prof. Willem says, “This book contains actionable advice on new strategies to generate more revenue from customers, increase margin by resisting price pressure, change the game with recession-specific product offerings, and expand into new markets. It reviews over 100 marketing strategies from 80 companies over 5 recessions and 40 industry downturns.”

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Jonah Berger

Prof. Willem says, “In this book, Jonah Berger reveals the six basic principles behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. This book also provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread – for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share.”

Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action

Christian Sarkar and Philip Kotler

Prof. Willem says, “Kotler and Sarkar convincingly argue why values-driven marketing requires taking the right actions too. People expect brands to help solve the world’s problems. It is a timely, progressive and groundbreaking book that provides a brand activism framework and guides marketers to make a difference with their brands.”