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Summer Reading List

Summer has officially begun, the perfect season to catch up on reading, whether on the beach, by the pool, or from your couch. Here, Tufts Gordon Institute faculty and staff share their top picks for summer reading, including fiction and nonfiction, spanning topics such as science, history, leadership, psychology, and more.


A Climate of Crisis - Book Cover

A Climate of Crisis by Patrick Allitt
Allitt provides a historical perspective on how our current interest in environmental problems arose and offers some thoughts on how to deal with the issue. He argues that economic growth has caused environmental harm, but the only societies that can remedy environmental harm are those that have experienced economic growth, overcome the effects of mass poverty, and raised the standard of living for their populations.  Arguably, not all will agree.
Tom Mooney, Lecturer, Tufts Gordon Institute


Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
This book, written in 2004, provided the inspiration for the highly acclaimed musical “Hamilton” created by Lin-Manual Miranda. Deep insights into Hamilton’s personal and private life are provided along with his towering contributions as an aide to General George Washington, as our First Secretary of the Treasury and creator of the US banking system, and member of the Constitutional Convention. This 800-page tour de force will leave you with a deep appreciation of the seminal contributions made by Hamilton in the early and fragile years of the evolution of the United States.
Sam Liggero, Professor of the Practice, Tufts Gordon Institute


All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr
This was originally recommended by one of our M.S. in Innovation & Management students for their summer reading list, and became the first book they read as a group. It’s a beautifully written novel, told through the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths unexpectedly converge in Nazi occupied Paris. Haunting while also being stunningly beautiful, Doerr pushes the reader to ponder what is most important as a human being.
Kevin Oye, Director, M.S. in Innovation & Management Program, Professor of the Practice, Tufts Gordon Institute


Astrophysics by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Tyson has a knack for expressing complex scientific topics so that the general public can better understand and appreciate the wonders and importance of science. If you are interested in the origin of the elements, the Big Bang, an explanation of the shapes of astronomical bodies, and the mysteries of dark matter, this book is for you. The last chapter, “Reflections on the Cosmic Perspective,” is especially well done and thought-provoking.
Sam Liggero, Professor of the Practice, Tufts Gordon Institute


Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
You probably know Noah as the host of The Daily Show, but this memoir has nothing to do with current events. He tells hilarious and heartbreaking stories from his childhood, growing up biracial, as he navigates poverty and race in post-apartheid South Africa. It’s an amazing story about what it’s like to always feel like an outsider and discovering how to carve your own path in the world. It is also a beautiful tribute to his mother, who never let the society she lived in define her life.
Meghan Smith, Digital Marketing and Communications Specialist, Tufts Gordon Institute


Fortune Smiles, a book by Adam Johnson

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson
In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine” follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past. In “Hurricanes Anonymous” a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul.
-Myer Henderson, Marketing & Admissions Specialist, Tufts Gordon Institute


How to Fly a Horse, by Kevin Ashton

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery by Kevin Ashton
From the crystallographer’s laboratory where the secrets of DNA were first revealed by a long-forgotten woman, to the electromagnetic chamber where the stealth bomber was born on a twenty-five-cent bet, Ashton showcases the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and countless ordinary and usually uncredited acts that lead to our most astounding breakthroughs.
Inge Milde, Director, Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program; Senior Lecturer, Tufts Gordon Institute


The Idiot Brain, by Dean Burnett

Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
Described as “a neuroscientist’s delightful tour of our mysterious, mischievous, entirely fallible gray matter,” this book is an enjoyable and educational primer to help one understand human behavior.
Debra Reich, Professor of the Practice, Tufts Gordon Institute



My Life on the Road, by Gloria Steinem

My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem
While Steinem is a famous name in the women’s rights space, she is less known for her extensive travels around the United States (indeed she traveled so much that for some years she had no permanent home). Her stories of meeting people very different from herself are refreshing, in an age where we seem to be cutting ourselves off more and more from people who differ from us.
Stacy Lennon, Lecturer, Tufts Gordon Institute


Notorious RBG, a book by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
These authors were behind the internet viral memes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which helped launch her into internet fame at a time when most people don’t know much about Supreme Court Justices. The book is a biography (but reads more like a fan letter) of a woman who is known for being relatively reserved and quiet. The tale woven is one of a shrewd glass ceiling breaker who has spent the last half a century fighting for causes she is passionate about.
Rebekah Plotkin, Business Manager, Tufts Gordon Institute


The Creative Brain, by Ned Herrmann

The Creative Brain by Ned Herrmann
“Whole-Brained People Are Happy People.” That’s the quote that got me to read this book. Herrmann led GE’s Crotonville Center for Management Education, and this book documents his research – and surprising conclusions – into helping people think better, and more creatively. You will learn a lot about how you, and other people, think, including the reason why it is better to have graphics on the left-hand side of the slide!
Jim Nash, Lecturer, Tufts Gordon Institute


The Fifth Discipline book, by Peter Senge

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Dr. Peter Senge, et. al.
I’ve been using this book as a reference for more than 15 years. It puts Senge’s seminal ideas of “Organizational Learning” into a very pragmatic light. At the conclusion of each chapter, there are very creative and helpful learning challenges for individuals, teams and organizations. At the Gordon Institute, we teach about leading inspired, creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative organizations – this book helps leaders actually do it by providing comprehensive research coupled with real-world experiences. A must read for tomorrow’s leaders!
Jerry Brightman, Lecturer, Tufts Gordon Institute


The Principles of Product Development Flow textbook

The Principles of Product Development Flow – Second Generation Lean Product Development by Donald G Reinertsen With the advent of Agile and Lean methods, many “traditional” ways of working have become obsolete, and are being surpassed by radically new ways of doing things. Don Reinsertsen makes a compelling case – very metrics-driven – that Lean, the Toyota Way, can be applied in may other areas besides manufacturing. Product Development being one of them. Reinertsen challenges a lot of conventional wisdom, and makes a compelling case why the assumptions underlying those old school ways of operating no longer hold in todays data driven knowledge economy.
Tom Breur, Lecturer, Tufts Gordon Institute


Michael Lewis's book, The Undoing Project

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, and led to a new approach to government regulation. This story about the workings of the human mind is explored through the personalities of two fascinating individuals who are fundamentally different from each other.
Ewa Winston, Lecturer, Tufts Gordon Institute