The Books Harvard Business School Faculty Are Reading

The Books Harvard Business School Faculty Are Reading

As summer officially kicks off, Harvard Business School faculty recently shared their summer reading recommendations, covering a diverse range of themes from philosophy and climate policy to classic mysteries and hip-hop history.


Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019”, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, is a collection from 90 writers each covering a five-year period within the 400-year span. It is presented through an array of historical essays, short stories, poems, letters, and speeches.

“I love the different perspectives on these pivotal moments in history, including untold stories of ordinary people who aided in the transformation of legal systems and policies in the US,” Julia B. Austin, a Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at HBS, says. “It is both heartbreaking and heart opening. And while the book contains wonderful imagery to support the writings, I recommend listening to the audio version, which is a special experience as each of the 90 stories are narrated by an extraordinary cast of voices.”


How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen” is an exploration of character, revealing how our actions can provide deeper insight into who we truly are. The book offers a practical guide to fostering deeper connections at home, at work, and throughout our lives.

“In our current age of AI and omnipresent screens and distractions, it is more important than ever to develop the essential human skill of knowing and caring about other people,” Jeff Bussgang, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at HBS, says. “The habit of getting out of your own head and truly paying attention to others is something that I am aiming to both internalize for myself and impart even more on my students in the coming school year.”


In “The Pursuit of Happiness,” Jeffrey Rosen, the president of the National Constitution Center, profiles six of the most influential founders—Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton—to show what pursuing happiness meant in their lives.

“My own research centers around the science of happiness—psychology, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and the like—which keeps me constantly reading academic papers,” Arthur Brooks, Professor of Management Practice at HBS, says. “However, this summer I want to delve into why, exactly, America’s conception of happiness has changed in the last few centuries.”

Explore the full HBS faculty summer reading list here.

Sources: Harvard Business School

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