Not a book, per se, but something much better. And by "better," we mean "shorter." Like, real short, you could probably read the Constitution in a single dump at your toilet. Something ironic about that, actually... Unfortunately, even working in the legal field, and having taken a class on Constitutional Law, most lawyers and law students have never actually read our nation's founding document and are painfully ignorant of its contents beyond the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Read it, not just to avoid saying something dumb, but to help you identify your peers who just run at the mouth without knowing what they're talking about.
Also, it's free on Kindle. Neat.
2. The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Taleb's style is terrible. He's highly intelligent, but writes like a complete jackass, ...probably because of that highly intelligent stuff. If you read The Black Swan when it was published in 2007, at the very front of the global financial meltdown, you would have become the smartest person in any room discussing the banking crisis. Now, if you're ever in a room of people discussing banks and finance, and those people know what they're talking about, and you haven't read The Black Swan, you're bound to be the dumbest. What was prophetic a few years ago is now canon, and behind the times. But, if you haven't read it, you're even further behind.
3. Elements of Moral Philosophy, James Rachels
Most lawyers have never had any serious training in philosophy, and too many think that Continental philosophy is philosophy. It's not. It's muck. It's not even in the same genre as analytical philosophy. Comparing Continental philosophy to analytical philosophy is like comparing pastries and cereal to corned beef, baked beans, and black and white pudding. It's filler versus food. Elements of Moral Philosophy isn't just a good for giving yourself a strong background on a number of ethical and moral issues; it's good because it will help you learn how to think. Rachels's style is one that lends itself to philosophical novices without dumbing the topics down. It will probably do more for you in terms of training your mind than the rest of your three years of law school.
4. Boomsday, Christopher Buckley
From the son of the famed William F. Buckley comes a tale about the most exciting topic ever, Social Security. Boomsday refers to the day the first Baby Boomer retires and starts collecting social security checks, and a country trying to stave off the inevitable collapse of that ponzi scheme. Buckley has a very Modest Proposal for dealing with the problem: offer Boomers a break on inheritance tax if they commit suicide. It's not just on the list because the topic is timely, but because Buckley is a really great writer. We would have listed Thank You For Smoking, but frankly, the movie is better (Buckley admits that many of the best lines were added by the screenwriter).
5. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Most of the legal community has a hard-on for Atticus Finch. We don't. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that's always listed among the greats. That's a position we contest. It's certainly very good, and better than most, but when you say "great," you expect there to be a meaningful gap in quality between it and the next tier. There's not really. The reason you need to read it is just like the Constitution. People will talk a lot about it, but they haven't read it since middle school, and probably then only read the Cliff's Notes. When someone starts gushing over Atticus, drop a knowledge bomb on them to reveal their ignorance about the book. "Hey, you ever wonder how Boo Radley learned to sew?" Also feel free to mention that mockingbirds are mean.