Melbourne Business School News Melbourne Business School's Summer Reading List 2023

Melbourne Business School's Summer Reading List 2023

Looking for something to occupy your time over the summer? Delve into the books and websites that left an impression on our staff throughout 2023.

picture of books and sites recommended by MBS

Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke 

Recommended by Don O’Sullivan, Professor of Marketing: “Reflections, written at a time of great social and political upheaval (it was first published in 1790), offers interesting insights on the tension between evolution and revolution, and on the role of institutions in civic society and economic prosperity. Burke had a highly polished style when it came to prosecuting his arguments. He was an arch conservative (and fervent monarchist) even by the standards of the 1700s and I found many of his views and arguments alarming and – understandably – outdated. I’m not sure that it inspired me toward conservativism or monarchism – but that’s not why I began reading it anyway.” 

A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry by Bret Devereaux 

Recommended by Jenny George, Dean: “Whenever I want to fall down a delightful internet rabbit hole, I visit the website A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. Military historian Bret Devereaux finds time to talk about (in)accuracies in the portrayal of battles in fantasy epics and online games, the social structures of the Roman Empire, why the logistics of moving armies around on foot were so cumbersome, the information available to a general during a battle, the economic value of the work women did in the ancient world and much more. As well as being generally fascinating, I have found this blog really helpful in giving historical context for two skills that are central to business. The first is the art of oratory and motivating people. The second is strategic and tactical thinking and planning. If you have a free moment over the summer, I highly recommend this site.” 

All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan 

Recommended by Mark Jones, Dilin Duwa Programs Stream Lead and MURRA Director: “A love story between Liat who is from Israel and Hilmi from Palestine. Need I say more. A topical read given the current context as these two characters traverse personal and national divides in unison of a taboo relationship.” 

Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace by David G Smith and W Brad Johnson 

Recommended by Isabel Metz, Professor Organisational Behaviour: “Good Guys is the first practical, research-based guide for how to be a male ally to women in the workplace. Filled with firsthand accounts from both men and women, and tips for getting started, the book shows how men can partner with their female colleagues to advance women's leadership and equality by breaking ingrained gender stereotypes, overcoming unconscious biases, developing and supporting the talented women around them, and creating productive and respectful working relationships with women.” 

Book cover of Number Go Up by Zeke Faux

Number Go Up by Zeke Faux 

Recommended by Andrew John, Professor of Economics: “‘I’m not going to lie, Sam Bankman-Fried told me. This was a lie.’ So opens Number Go Up, Zeke Faux’s compelling exposé of the cryptocurrency world. That this world is filled with fraudsters and that so many cryptocurrencies were out-and-out Ponzi schemes is not a surprise – but Faux also details the adjacent misery facilitated by crypto, from desperately poor investors bankrupted in the Philippines to scammers enslaved in Cambodia.”  

The Iliad translated by Emily Wilson  

Recommended by Andrew John, Professor of Economics: “An even better opening line than Number Go Up is this one, from Emily Wilson’s celebrated new translation of The Iliad: ‘Goddess, sing of the cataclysmic wrath of great Achilles.’ I mainly listened to the audiobook, just as Homer would have wanted. It may not be a business book, but there are certainly leadership lessons. For example, the arrival of a plague is definitely a good time to radically rethink your strategy!” 

Career and Family: Women's Century-Long Journey Towards Equity by Claudia Goldin  

Recommended by Ellen Sullivan, Director, Learning Innovation Lab: “Claudia Goldin shows antidiscrimination laws and unbiased managers, while valuable, are not enough. Career and Family explains why we must make fundamental changes to the way we work and how we value caregiving if we are ever to achieve gender equality and couple equity.”  

Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less by Leidy Klotz  

Recommended by Ellen Sullivan, Director, Learning Innovation Lab: “This evidence-based book shows the value of less. The counterintuitive approach can improve every aspect of life.”  

Reputations at Stake by Will Harvey 

Book cover of Reputations at Stake by Will Harvey

Recommended by Will Harvey, Professor of Strategy: “I’m cheating by recommending my own book, but after the events of 2023 that saw Optus, Qantas and PwC fall from grace in Australia, as well as Sam Bankman-Fried and Donald Trump appearing in court in the United States, reputation is timely to understand. Reputation cannot be ignored, because it affects sales, impact and the attraction and retention of talent within organisations. It is relevant for governments because it influences voting behaviours. It also shapes how individuals contribute at home, work, and in their social lives. The multiple ways that different and often conflicting reputations are playing out are articulated through research and examples, from royal families, libraries during lockdown, the world of influencers, Rio Tinto in Madagascar, white-collar inmates in a US Federal Prison, and companies including BP, Volkswagen and McKinsey & Company.”