My take on the ABA list of 30 Books Every Lawyer Should Read

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The ABA Journal published a list of books lawyers said they would recommend to other lawyers. So I have some questions for you. My answers are in parentheses.

  1. How many of these books have you read? (Two).
  2. What books are missing from this list? (Anything by Earle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason); his stories were part of the reason I became a lawyer. Also, To Kill a Mockingbird, also suggested by others. Also, see question number 4 below).
  3. Why are so many of the books on this list so. . . heavy-duty? (It’s the ABA).
  4. Why are there no books on marketing or making a living as an attorney? (It’s the ABA).

Many readers thought there should be a simple list of all of the books, instead of the awkward way the list is formatted on the site. Thanks to a helpful reader, here is the list:

  1. My Life In Court by Louis Nizer
  2. Colossus:  Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century by Michael Hiltzik
  3. 1861:  The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart
  4. The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow
  5. Flourish:  A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being by Martin E.P. Seligman
  6. And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank by Steve Oney
  7. Personal History by Katharine Graham
  8. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  9. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
  10. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  11. Leadership on the Federal Bench: The Craft and Activism of Jack Weinstein by Jeffrey B. Morris
  12. My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey by John Wooden with Steve Jamison
  13. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
  14. The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary
  15. In the Shadow of the Law by Kermit Roosevelt
  16. One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow
  17. Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality by Richard Kluger
  18. The Man to See by Evan Thomas
  19. The End of Anger: A New Generation’s Take on Race and Rage by Ellis Cose
  20. Justice Accused: Antislavery and the Judicial Process by Robert M. Cover
  21. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
  22. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
  23. The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law by Ward Farnsworth
  24. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  25. A Nation of Immigrants by John F. Kennedy
  26. Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen and Haskel Frankel
  27. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  28. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  29. Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made by Jim Newton
  30. Civility: Manners, Morals and the Etiquette of Democracy by Stephen L. Carter

In my opinion, this is a list of books one might recommend to someone thinking of becoming a lawyer, not a list for lawyers. We already drank the Koolaid; give us something to read that will make us happy we did.

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