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Summer 2023 recommended reading (and listening)

Discover what MS&E faculty have written lately, as well as what they're reading and listening to.
MS&E faculty are reading and listening to the books and podcasts below | Image resource: Depositphotos

As summer begins, many will find themselves with more time to devote to books, podcasts, and other objects of curiosity.

The following books and podcasts were either recently published by MS&E faculty, or recommended by them—perfect for an afternoon outdoors or a summer road trip. Happy reading and listening!

MS&E-authored works

Nonfiction and podcast

Hinge Points: An Inside Look at North Korea's Nuclear Program
By Siegfried Hecker, Professor Emeritus of MS&E (Stanford University Press, 2023)

Prof. Hecker brings readers literally inside the North Korean nuclear program, by sharing what he saw and heard in his visits to North Korea from 2004 to 2010. Read more.

The Future of Everything Episode 139: "How diversity drives innovation"
Featuring Riitta Katila, Professor of MS&E

While society has come a long way in terms of diversity and inclusion recently, Prof. Katila, who is an expert in technology strategy and organizational learning, says there’s still a long way to go. She notes that companies need innovation not only to reach the top, but to stay there. And now more than ever, innovative companies should be hiring, promoting, and listening to a broader range of voices. Listen here


Introduction to Management Science and Business Analytics: A Modeling and Case Studies Approach with Spreadsheets, 7th Edition
By Frederick Hillier, Professor Emeritus of MS&E, and MS&E alum Mark Hillier (PhD '94, MS '91) (McGraw Hill, 2023)

First published in 1999, this textbook is widely used in business schools (and occasionally elsewhere) and has been translated into several other languages.

Managing Product Success: Cool, Good, and Great Products
By Edison Tse, Associate Professor of MS&E (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2022)

This book is used as a textbook in a class on product management.

Linear and Nonlinear Programming, 5th Edition
By David G. Luenberger, Professor Emeritus of MS&E, and Yinyu Ye, Professor of MS&E (Springer, 2021)

The 5th edition of this classic textbook covers the central concepts of practical optimization techniques, with an emphasis on methods that are both state-of-the-art and popular. One major insight is the connection between the purely analytical character of an optimization problem and the behavior of algorithms used to solve that problem.

Faculty recommendations

Stories: True, fiction, and in between

Who Killed Jane Stanford?: A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits and the Birth of a University
By Richard White, Stanford Professor Emeritus (W. W. Norton & Company, 2022)

The book reads like a crime novel but it is based on real life events with characters that are familiar to the Stanford community—very engaging! I learned a lot about the foundation of the university and some of the key contributions of notable alumni such as George Crothers.
 ~ Jose Blanchet, Professor of MS&E

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
By Muriel Barbery (Europa Editions, 2008)

For the fun of it—very well written and a fun story!
 ~ Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, Professor of MS&E

Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
By Ben Macintyre (Crown, 2008)

A true spy story that ends remarkably well.
 ~ Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, Professor of MS&E

Founder stories

It's About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage
By Arlan Hamilton with Rachel L. Nelson (Currency, 2020)

This is a great book about the experience of of a once underestimated founder who used her grit and perseverance to overcome the entry barriers to venture capital and entrepreneurship.
 ~ Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor of MS&E

Sam Walton: Made in America
By Sam Walton and John Huey (Doubleday, 1992)

Great story about the early years at Walmart.
 ~ Jeff Epstein, Adjunct Lecturer in MS&E


Productive Tensions: How Every Leader Can Tackle Innovation’s Toughest Trade-Offs (Management on the Cutting Edge)
By Christopher Bingham and Rory McDonald (The MIT Press, 2022)

By former PhD students in MS&E, this book is great because it is rooted in research but meant for a broader audience.
 ~ Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor of MS&E

Digital Relationships: Network Agency Theory and Big Tech
By Jason Davis (Stanford University Press, 2023)

Also by a former MS&E PhD student, this book explores why many organizations fail to mobilize the social networks of employees to respond to disruptions, innovate, and change.
 ~ Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor of MS&E

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It
By Chris Voss with Tahl Raz (Harper Business, 2016)

Great book about negotiating by the FBI’s lead hostage negotiator.
 ~ Jeff Epstein, Adjunct Lecturer in MS&E

Textbook and history

Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, 4th Edition
By Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig (Pearson, 2020)

The fundamentals as opposed to stories, but useful to really understand the field.
 ~ Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, Professor of MS&E

How Data Happened: A History from the Age of Reason to the Age of Algorithms
By Chris Wiggins and Matthew Jones (W. W. Norton & Company, 2023)

This general audience book is adapted from a popular Columbia University course on the history of data science. Jones, a historian, teams up with Wiggins, an applied mathematician and the Chief Data Scientist at the New York Times, to forge an incisive history of quantitative argument and data-driven decision-making.
 ~ Johan Ugander, Associate Professor of MS&E


Hosted by Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal

Great podcast on entrepreneurship.
 ~ Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor of MS&E
In-depth analysis of key acquisitions and businesses.
 ~ Jeff Epstein, Adjunct Lecturer in MS&E

Angel Invest Boston
Hosted by Sal Daher

Great podcast on entrepreneurship.
 ~ Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor of MS&E

Creative Distillation
Hosted by Jeff York and Brad Werner

Distills entrepreneurship research into actionable insights.
 ~ Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor of MS&E

Hosted by David Senra

In-depth book reviews of great founders.
 ~ Jeff Epstein, Adjunct Lecturer in MS&E

If Books Could Kill
Hosted by Michael Hobbes and Peter Shamshiri

My PhD students turned me on to this podcast, which revisits blockbuster non-fiction books of the last few 50 years that have propagated bad ideas. It is at times aggressively snarky, but very educational and entertaining.
 ~ Johan Ugander, Associate Professor of MS&E

Private Equity Deals with Capital Allocators
Hosted by Ted Seides

In-depth interviews with private equity investors about their portfolio companies.
 ~ Jeff Epstein, Adjunct Lecturer in MS&E