Last week Conglomerate tossed up the question of what should be recommended reading for incoming law students.
I'll toss up one now that is sure to be right up Conglomerate's alley (as well as Bainbridge and Ribstein)--what business books would you recommend to law students who want to learn more about business and the "deals" that we see in corporations, securities, and bankruptcy classes.
Many students come to law school as majors in fields such as History or English but become fascinated with corporate and commercial law. I often am asked whether I can recommend reading for these students that will give them some of the flavor and texture of a deal, or a merger, or a large bankruptcy, that lies behind the cases we read.
I usually recommend Barbarians at the Gate, which I think remains the most entertaining and informative description of the logic of agency costs, takeovers, etc. (Make sure you read the book rather than seeing the movie.)
And, of course, we bankruptcy lawyers retain a soft spot in our hearts for the famous workout scene in Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full. But I haven't ever found a really good book that takes the reader through the texture of a large bankruptcy case in the way that Barbarians at the Gate does for understanding the dynamics of a takeover.
I liked the documentary Startup.com from a few years back also, which was a nice look inside the business side of venture capital and the dot.com boom.
Recommended books can be either fiction or nonfiction--I'm looking for books tha will give the flavor and texture of business transactions for those who are trying to get the intuition, rather than a textbook presentation.