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Books for Law Talking Guys: 11-15

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[Books for Law Talking Guys: 6-10]

11. The Art of War, Sun Tzu

This is yet another book that people like to talk about without ever having read. MBA types have the biggest hard on for The Art of War, but lawyers aren't far behind. Both like to imagine that what they're doing is a fight of some kind, rather than just very high-stress paper work. Much of The Art of War deals with different types of terrain and troop movements and isn't at all relevant to anything except for pre-modern warfare.

The two lessons you need to know are that you should approach a conflict by being so prepared that you win even before it begins, and that people fight harder when given no room to escape (it's often best to give your opponent a way out). You don't need to read the book to learn this, and there are other books that better adapt the lessons to modern life, but you want to read The Art of War so that you can authoritatively shut up the wankers who talk about it like it's the freaking Bible of Business. Ask them how the concept of temporizing ground relates to the type of deal they're working on.

 

12. 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene

And here's the book that takes the few applicable lessons from The Art of War and discusses them in depth for a modern office dwelling audience. You might think that Greene's 33 Strategies of War would be the modern Art of War, and in a way, it is. But, it still mostly dwells on esoteric military matters. Sorry,but life is not the sort of pitched conflict Masters of the Universe like to imagine it to be.

Some people will be thrown off by Greene's tone and amorality. If you are, slap yourself in the face very hard. Reading a book doesn't mean you have to follow its instructions. You can discard the concepts you find objectionable, but you should still be familiar with them. There will be amoral assholes in your office, and understanding their behavior will help you to deal with them.

 

13. The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger

It's not chick lit.

It's about a young woman working at a fashion magazine, agonizing over her relationships, drooling over clothes, and they made a freaking chick flick out of it. But seriously, it's not chick lit.

The book is primarily about a conflict that has plagued men since the rise of the post-industrial service based economy: asshole bosses. It's if Ari Gold and Lloyd were both women, and all the whole entourage is dropped and replaced by a few annoying (!) style quirks.

 

14. The Harry Potter Series, J. K. Rowling

Yes, the books are only mediocre, and the last three movies were awful, but you're not reading them for literary appreciation. You're reading them because lawyers have a tendency to become disconnected from the rest of the world. Love it or lump it, Harry Potter was a huge international sensation. You should not be going through life so utterly disconnected from the culture you live in.

So what about the movies?

Fine. You can just watch the movies instead. Frankly, they're a good measure better. But, the cultural phenomenon is not just Harry Potter, it's this whole weird reader phenomenon. People are freaking reading! The Kindle exists! You have to read one of these series, and Harry Potter really is your best shot. It's far less painful than Twilight, and a whole lot quicker than A Song of Fire and Ice.

 

15. The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

This one you are reading for pure literary appreciate. It's a damn good book. Old and famed enough that you get the snootiness of reading a classic, but modern and engaging enough that you don't have the pain of slogging through a classic.

[Books for Law Talking Guys: 16-25]


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