The Fund for American Studies’ world-class faculty bring a wealth of knowledge to young leaders through compelling reading assignments and dynamic coursework. Now, we’re calling upon our outstanding professors to share which books their former students should read as TFAS alumni.
Read below for a list of books these professors suggest you place on hold at your local library or order from a bookstore. If your shop of choice is Amazon, visit smile.amazon.com and choose “The Fund for American Studies” to designate TFAS to receive 0.5% of your total purchase each time you shop, at no extra cost to you.
Professor of Conflict Management, TFAS Prague
“It was this book that inspired my interest in viruses and pandemics and offers a holistic history to understand the current COVID-19 crisis. While it lays out a history of the last 13,000 years, it even has relevance for the conflict management module I teach for TFAS Prague, where it allows me to situate contemporary conflicts within the realms of human geography and modern economics.”
Professor of Ethics and Leadership & The Good Society, U.S. Summer Programs and TFAS Prague
“The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606” by James Shapiro
“The book focuses on events in England in the first decade of the 17th Century, e.g., the Gunpowder Plot and the efforts of James I to unite England and Scotland politically. At the same time, it demonstrates how these events are reflected obliquely in some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays–‘Macbeth’ and ‘King Lear,’ for example. The book was not written for professional historians or literary scholars, but for people who enjoy reading historical narratives. It even has a chapter on the plague of 1608.”
Professor of Economic Problems and Public Policies, U.S. Summer Programs
“Many people believe that markets facilitate greed, selfishness, and immoral behavior. Virgil Storr and Ginny Choi convincingly show that the opposite is true. They find that people in market-oriented societies are better connected to others, happier, and wealthier when compared to those who live in societies where markets are restricted.”
Professor of Business and Ethics Reporting, European Journalism Institute (EJI)
“Looking at my bookshelf, I decided to bypass the more serious works on narrative non-fiction, political science and theology. Rather, I’d like to recommend a piece of creative non-fiction by Dave Eggers titled, ‘A heartbreaking work of staggering genius.’ It was a best-seller back in 2000 (Simon & Schuster), just before we had another economic downturn because of 9/11. The writing is creative, funny and, yes, heartbreaking. Reading it right now might help people in their teens and 20s and 30s to process what’s going on in the world and how to feel optimistic that we will get through this current tragic moment. I remember reading this book in my late 20s and that the book made me reflect on my own family relationships. In fact, I think it caused me to change my approach to important relationships in my life. The anecdotes and breezy writing style causes you reflect on what is meaningful in your life. And it pulls you along with whimsical dialogue, sharp details and bizarre surprises.”