While awaiting your flight, you notice a bookstore across from your gate and consider picking up a new title for the journey, one extra step in your quest for an edge. Something that informs you about the distant market your competitors are entering, where you also happen to be considering an exotic getaway. A title that attunes you to the psychology of closing the deal with your customer, worth trying with your romantic partner, too. A volume that inspires you professionally and also entertains you personally. Something good, and good for you, too.
You’re dressed to impress. What should you read to succeed?
You could read Sebastian Mallaby’s 800-page biography of Alan Greenspan, recent winner of the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. If, however, that sounds about as exciting to you as watching the former Fed Chair paint his living room, then consider a great story instead.
Stories are useless works of art. Yet, the recognition that art is intrinsically valuable is, ironically, instrumentally valuable for business, reminding us that not all value can be measured. Moreover, humanities scholars have long suspected what psychologists and neuroscientists are now attempting to prove, that stories can also cultivate human character. They may improve our ability to understand others, transport us to other worlds in which we connect with strangers, and introduce us to new places and people– all useful for business success. I’ve been assigning stories to business executives and students for years to help them succeed personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, great stories that are relevant to business in this century can be challenging to discover. Since the 2005 launch of the Business Book of the Year award, only one novel has even made the long list: Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End in 2007. The book makes my "Living List of Stories for 21st Century Global Capitalism" for its farcical depiction of a modern American ad agency that invites the reader seriously to consider survival amid downsizing. It’s useful and entertaining, but in my opinion, the business book of the year in 2007 was Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a suspenseful narrative of predator and prey ranging from Pakistan to Princeton and back.
My favorites from 2016 include Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun, which depicts the underclass and gray markets that are often invisible to the powerful, and David Szalay’s All That Man Is, a compilation of interrelated stories of men in different stages of adulthood experiencing anomie and ennui at work and in life. Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers, about the relationship between a Lehman executive and his immigrant chauffeur before the financial collapse, is next on my reading table.
The list is unique in that it consists solely of fictional stories and novels published since 2000 and/or that are by or about emerging market and/or female authors and protagonists, directly or allegorically doing business. It is intended to supplement (not supplant) other incomplete compilations of business stories that are of mixed quality or that tend to reflect the same Western male bias characteristic of 20th century capitalism (see here, here, here, here, here and here). It is a living list, so please revisit it periodically, and if you would like to suggest a story for inclusion, please see below for how to do so. Thank you, and happy reading!
More About the List, Including How to Suggest a Story
The list as currently constructed comes from recommendations I have received after presentations delivered at management conferences on several continents in the past several years, solicitation on MLA Commons (the online community of the Modern Language Association for literature and language scholars), and my own reading.
I plan periodically to repeat the solicitations of scholars, but now that the list is public, I invite also the contributions of other knowledgeable experts. The basic criteria for inclusion on the list are length, quality, and relevance, as explained in detail in my recent Academy of Management Learning and Education essay, “A Novel Approach to Business Ethics Education”. As for length, the story or novel should be able to be read in the course of, say, a one-week business trip (including flight time and late evenings). A few of the stories on the list break the 500-page barrier, but most are considerably shorter, including several short stories of less than 50 pages.
Quality is difficult to quantify, and some literature scholars doubt even that it can be rated or ranked. Some of the stories on this list have been around long enough to be considered classics, and others have won recent literary awards. The rest have been recommended to be worth the reader’s time and effort by management and literature experts, including me. (When stories have been suggested by multiple experts, I have generally identified the first person to recommend it.) Availability in English, the conventional language of global business, is another simultaneous virtue and vulnerability of the list. Even though the content of the list attempts to avoid a Western, affluent market bias, many of the contributors to the list are from Western institutions. Some items on the list may be offensive to some audiences, but the list errs on the side of inclusiveness and eschews subjective censorship. Slow reader that I am, I have read most but not all of them myself, relying instead on the recommendations of others. I would like especially to thank Pati Provinske, Research Associate at the University of St. Thomas, for her efforts to populate the details of the initial list.
There is also a certain amount of judging books by their covers that qualifies these stories as relevant to business. They must have been published since 2000 and/or by or about emerging market and/or female and/or other under-represented authors and protagonists, directly or allegorically doing business. They do not have to take place in an office. The stories on the list demonstrate that much business takes place outside of the confines of board and meeting rooms.
If you would like to suggest a story for the list, please fill in the Webform below, which confirms your consent to identify you by name and institution if it is included and you are the first to recommend it. Thank you!
Christopher Michaelson is David A. and Barbara Koch (pronounced “coach”) Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility at the University of St. Thomas and on the Business and Society faculty at New York University.
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|Title||Publication date||Author||Author's country of origin||Summary (from a variety of sources)||Quality indicator||Pages (approx.)||Key business and economic themes||First suggested for this list by|
|The White Tiger||2008||Adiga, Aravind||India||From Simon & Schuster: "The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur." See more: http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-White-Tiger/Aravind-Adiga/97814165... Accessed March 20, 2016.||Man Booker Prize (2008)||320||Corruption, inequality, entrepreneurship||Todd Kuchta, Western Michigan U/MLA; Richard Douglass-Chin, U of Windsor/MLA|
|Work, A Story of Experience||1873||Alcott, Louisa May||USA||From the Literature Network: "Originally published in 1872, this novel, inspired by Alcott's own life, explores issues of social justice, women's rights, and their roles beyond the family. [. . .] In the time before and after the civil war, this book uncovers the changes in women's work in the new industrial era." See more at http://www.online-literature.com/alcott/work/. Accessed March 20, 2016.||Classic||384||Service economy, labor, and human rights||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|"The Swimming Pool"||2013||Anyaegbuna, Jekwu||Nigeria||From the Guardian: “General Idris Yakubu Haruna is in expansive mood, recounting the ups and downs of his career as the Nigerian Minister of Water Resources in this short story from Jekwu Anyaegbuna.” The story, posted on 16 March 2013, appears here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/mar/16/jekwu-anyaegbuna-swimming-p.... Accessed April 28, 2016.||Scholarly recommendation||10 (approximate)||Energy, water, corruption||Kristin Pitt, U of Wisconsin/MLA|
|The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born||1968||Armah, Ayi Kwei||Ghana||From WorldCat: "This novel is a treatment of the theme of corruption wrought by poverty. It is the story of an upright man resisting the temptations of easy bribes and easy satisfactions and winning for his honesty nothing but scorn even from those he loves." See more at http://www.worldcat.org/title/beautyful-ones-are-not-yet-born/oclc/20901072. Accessed March 20, 2016.||Scholarly recommendation||191||Colonialism, corruption, class warfare||Cary Campbell/MLA|
|Five Star Billionaire||2013||Aw, Tash||Malaysia||From Penguin Random House: "Five Star Billionaire is a dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel that offers rare insight into the booming world of Shanghai, a city of elusive identities and ever-changing skylines, of grand ambitions and outsize dreams." See more at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/223438/five-star-billionaire-by-.... Accessed March 20, 2016.||Booker Prize longlist||400||Entrepreneurship, real estate, labor and human rights, emerging markets||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Three Mistakes of My Life||2008||Bhagat, Chetan||India||From Bhagat's Website: "In late-2000, a young boy in Ahmedabad called Govind dreamt of having a business. To accomodate his friends Ish and Omi’s passion, they open a cricket shop. [. . .] To realize their goals, they will have to face it all – religious politics, earthquakes, riots, unacceptable love and above all, their own mistakes. Will they make it?" See more at http://www.chetanbhagat.com/books/t3mml/. Accessed March 23, 2016.||Scholarly recommendation||258||Business challenges, self vs. others||Priya Joshi, Temple/MLA|
|Crematorio (Crematorium)||2007||Chirbes, Rafael||Spain||From Chad Post's review on the Three Percent Weblog (February 5, 2016): "In his most recently published novel, Crematorio (for which he received the Premio Nacional de la Crítica and the Premio Dulce Chacón), [Chirbes] depicts a world adrift, eaten away by corruption and speculation, where that game of masking the real within the fictional becomes rawer and savager." See more at http://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/index.php?id=1.... Accessed March 20, 2016.||Premio Nacional de la Crítica and the Premio Dulce Chacón (Spain's National Critic's Prize -- 2008)||415||Corruption, environmental destruction||Alberto Ribas-Casasayas, Santa Clara U/MLA|
|On the Edge||2013||Chirbes, Rafael||Spain||From New Directions: "On the Edge opens in a swamp on the outskirts of Olba, Spain, a town wracked by despair after the economic bubble bursts. Stuck in this corrupt, defeated town is Esteban—his small factory bankrupt and his investments stolen by a 'friend.' See more at http://www.ndbooks.com/book/on-the-edge/.||Shortlist nomination for the Dutch European Literature Prize (2015)||440||Bankruptcy, corruption, financial crisis||Alberto Ribas-Casasayas, Santa Clara U/MLA|
|Heart of Darkness||1899||Conrad, Joseph||Poland||From Penguin Random House: "Written several years after Joseph Conrad’s grueling sojourn in the Belgian Congo, the novel is a complex meditation on colonialism, evil, and the thin line between civilization and barbarity." See more at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/30807/heart-of-darkness-by-josep.... Accessed March 23, 2016. From Cliffs Notes: "Heart of Darkness originally appeared serially in Blackwood's Magazine in 1899. It was eventually published as a whole in 1902, as the third work in a volume Conrad titled Youth." See more at http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/h/heart-of-darkness/about-heart-of.... Accessed March 31, 2016.||Classic; Ranked 67 on the Modern Library List of 100 Best Novels. See more at http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/. Accessed March 23, 2016.||200||Colonialism, racism (including controversial depiction of native peoples by author)||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Falling Man||2007||DeLillo, Don||USA||From Simon & Schuster: "Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people." See more at http://books.simonandschuster.com/Falling-Man/Don-DeLillo/9781416546061. Accessed July 25, 2016.||Critical attention||256||Work and identity, 9/11||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Here Comes the Sun||2016||Dennis-Benn, Nicole||Jamaica||From W.W. Norton & Co. "In this radiant, highly anticipated debut, a cast of unforgettable women battle for independence while a maelstrom of change threatens their Jamaican village." See more at http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Here-Comes-the-Sun/. Accessed July 25, 2016.||Critical attention||345||Harassment, income inequality, independence, discrimination||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|A Hologram for the King||2012||Eggers, Dave||USA||From McSweeney's: "In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great." See more at https://store.mcsweeneys.net/products/a-hologram-for-the-king. Accessed July 25, 2016.||Critical attention||352||Work and identity, globalization||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|The Circle||2013||Eggers, Dave||USA||From Vintage Books: "When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime." See more at http://knopfdoubleday.com/book/232010/the-circle/. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Critical attention||508||Social media, privacy, company culture||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|A Week in December||2009||Faulks, Sebastian||United Kingdom||From Penguin Random House: "In the blustery final days of 2007, seven characters will reach an unexpected turning point: a hedge fund manager pulling off a trade, a professional football player recently arrived from Poland, a young lawyer with too much time on his hands, a student led astray by Islamist theory, a hack book reviewer, a schoolboy hooked on pot and reality TV, and a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins these lives in a daily loop." See more at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/198585/a-week-in-december-by-seb.... Accessed March 31, 2016.||Critical attention||352||Financial markets, social justice, Great Recession||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Then We Came to the End||2008||Ferris, Joshua||USA||From Hachette Book Group: "The characters in Then We Came to the End cope with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, secret romance, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks." See more at https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/joshua-ferris/then-we-came-to-t.... Accessed March 31, 2016.||Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award; Longlisted for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year||416||Downsizing, meaningful work||Anastasia Crosswhite, NYU|
|"Secretary"||1988||Gaitskill, Mary||USA||From Simon & Schuster: "Bad Behavior made critical waves when it first published, heralding Gaitskill’s arrival on the literary scene and her establishment as one of the sharpest, erotically charged, and audaciously funny writing talents of contemporary literature." See more at: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Bad-Behavior/Mary-Gaitskill/978143.... List manager's note: "Secretary" is in the collection, Bad Behavior, and is about a young woman's first work experience in a harassment-laden workplace.||Critical attention||18||Harassment, meaningful work||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Dead Souls||1842||Gogol, Nikolai (trans. D.J. Hogarth)||Russia||From Dover Thrift Editions: A stranger arrives in a Russian backwater community with a bizarre proposition for the local landowners: cash for their "dead souls," the serfs who have died in their service and for whom they must continue to pay taxes until the next census. The landowner receives a payment and a relief of his tax burden, and the stranger receives — what?." See more at: http://store.doverpublications.com/0486426823.html#sthash.vYtaTv1t.dpuf. Accessed July 28, 2016.||Classic||272||Fraud, market imperfection||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|"The Overcoat"||1842||Gogol, Nikolai (trans. Isabel Hapgood)||Russia||From Dover Thrift Editions: "an exceptionally moving tale — considered a masterpiece of the form — about a poor and much-ridiculed St. Petersburg official." See more at: http://store.doverpublications.com/0486270572.html#sthash.14oQBu3T.dpuf. Accessed July 28, 2016.||Classic||20||Meaningful work, meaningful life||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Noontide Toll: Stories||2014||Gunesekera, Romesh||Sri Lanka||From Kirkus: "An episodic novel—or a set of loosely connected stories—set in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 26-year civil war between the insurgent Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan army. [. . .] A moving chronicle of hope triumphing over despair from the author of The Match (2008, etc.)." See more at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/romesh-gunesekera/noontide-toll/. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Critical attention||256||Postwar economy, corruption||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Reef||1994||Gunesekera, Romesh||Sri Lanka||From Kirkus: "The narrator, Triton, is brought to work for Mister Salgado in 1962, ``the year of the bungled coup,'' by his uncle, who has arranged a new life for him because he is in trouble at home. The setting is Sri Lanka, a place that some think was the original Eden, and as the story begins, life is still sweet and mostly tranquil." See more at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/romesh-gunesekera/reef/. Accessed April 2, 2016.||Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; Yorkshire Post Book Award - Best First Work); Shortlisted for the Guardian first fiction prize||192||Income inequality, meaningful work||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia||2013||Hamid, Mohsin||Pakistan||From Penguin.com: "Stealing its shape from the self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over “rising Asia,” the novel is genre-bending and playful but also reflective and profound in its portrayal of the thirst for ambition and love in a time of shattering economic and social upheaval." See more at http://www.penguin.com/read/book-clubs/how-to-get-filthy-rich-in-rising-.... Accessed March 31, 2016.||Shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature||230||Income inequality, emerging markets, corruption||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Moth Smoke||2000||Hamid, Mohsin||Pakistan||From Penguin Books Australia: "In Lahore, Daru Shezad is a junior banker with a hashish habit. When his old friend Ozi moves back to Pakistan, Daru wants to be happy for him." See more at https://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780241953938/moth-smoke. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Betty Trask Award, PEN/Hemingway Finalist||256||Income inequality, emerging markets, drugs||Toral Gajarawala, NYU/MLA|
|The Reluctant Fundamentalist||2007||Hamid, Mohsin||Pakistan||From Penguin Books Australia: "Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened of my beard. I am a lover of America…" [. . .] And as he tells you his story, of how he embraced the Western dream - and a Western woman - and how both betrayed him, so the night darkens." See more at https://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780141029542/reluctant-fundamentalist. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize||295||Income inequality, meaningful work, 9/11||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Too Loud a Solitude||1983||Hrabal, Bohumil (Michael Henry Heim, translator)||Czechoslovakia||From WorldCat: "Hanta . . . rescues books from the jaws of his compacting press and carries them home." See more at http://www.worldcat.org/title/too-loud-a-solitude/oclc/795523790?referer.... Accessed March 31, 2016.||Scholarly recommendation||98||Callings, meaningful work||Mina Beigi, Liverpool John Moores U.|
|Their Eyes Were Watching God||1937||Hurston, Zora Neale||USA||From HarperCollins: "Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature." See more at https://www.harpercollins.com/9780060838676/their-eyes-were-watching-god. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Classic. Also, "Critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923—the beginning of TIME" .http://entertainment.time.com/2005/10/16/all-time-100-novels/. Accessed April 2, 2016.||256||Job satisfaction, race and gender||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Wolf Totem||2004||Jiang Rong (Howard Goldblatt, translator)||China||From Penguin: "Wolf Totem is the fictionalized memoir of author Jiang Rong, who, as a young rusticated Chinese intellectual, spent eleven years in Mongolia and lived many of the experiences that he immortalizes in his novel." See more at http://www.penguin.com/read/book-clubs/wolf-totem/9780143115144. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Man Asian Literary Prize (2007)||527||Environment, freedom and conformity, survival||Michael Santoro, Santa Clara U|
|"Barthelme"||2011||Kavenna, Joanna||Britain||From the Guardian: "It's about time someone sorted this oil business out." See more, and the story at http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/apr/19/barthelme-joanna-kavenna-story . Kavenna notes on her Website that the Guardian commissioned this short story in April 2011. See more at http://www.joannakavenna.com/articles-and-interviews/. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Scholarly recommendation||10 (approximate)||Corporate responsibility, environment, oil||Kristin Pitt, U of Wisconsin/MLA|
|Girl in Translation||2010||Kwok, Jean||Hong Kong||From Penguin Random House: "When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings." See more at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/305745/girl-in-translation-by-je.... Accessec March 31, 2016||Best Cultural Book in Book Bloggers Appreciation Week 2010||290||Immigration, sweatshops||Sarah Minslow, UNCC/MLA|
|Behold the Dreamers||2016||Mbue, Imbolo||Cameroon||From Random House: "Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers." See more at http://www.randomhousebooks.com/books/251547/. Accessed January 23, 2017.||Longlisted for a PEN Open Book Award||382||Great Recession, immigration, inequality||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Solar||2010||McEwan, Ian||England||From the IanMcEwan.com Website: "Solar is an engrossing and satirical novel which focuses on climate change. It is a stylish new work by one of the world’s greatest living writers about one man’s ambitions and self-deceptions." See more at http://www.ianmcewan.com/bib/books/solar.html. Accessed March 31, 2016.||Awarded the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize||287||Climate change, corruption||Charles Whitney, UNLV/MLA|
|Bartleby, the Scrivener||1853||Melville, Herman||USA||From Google Books: ". . . tells the story of a quiet, hardworking legal copyist who works in an office in the Wall Street area of New York City. One day Bartleby declines the assignment his employer gives him with the inscrutable 'I would prefer not.' The utterance of this remark sets off a confounding set of actions and behavior, making the unsettling character of Bartleby one of Melville's most enigmatic and unforgettable creations." See more at https://books.google.com/books/about/Bartleby_The_Scrivener.html?id=Lxvs.... Accessed March 31, 2016.||Classic||64||Freedom, meaningful work||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Patriotism||1941||Mishima, Yukio||Japan||From New Directions: "Torn between his allegiances to the Emperor and his rebellious friends, Shinji and his beautiful, loyal wife Reiko decide to end their lives together." See more at http://www.ndbooks.com/author/yukio-mishima/. Accessed April 3, 2016.||Critical attention||57||Divided loyalties||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Cities of Salt||1987||Munif, Abdul Rahman (Peter Theroux, translator)||Jordan||From Penguin Random House: "Banned in Saudia Arabia, this is a blistering look at Arab and American hypocrisy following the discovery of oil in a poor oasis community." See more at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/118591/cities-of-salt-by-abdelra.... Accessed March 23, 2016.||Critical attention||627||Extractive industries, human rights, corruption, emerging markets||Edward Said (in Culture and Imperialism)|
|The Dog||2014||O'Neill, Joseph||Ireland||From Penguin Random House: "When our unnamed hero, a self-sabotaging and oddly existential lawyer, finds his life in New York falling apart, he seizes an opportunity to flee to Dubai, taking a mysterious job for a fabulously wealthy Lebanese family." See more at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/123726/the-dog-by-joseph-oneill/.... Accessed April 1, 2016.||Critical attention||241||Income inequality, emerging markets, meaningless work||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|In the Light of What We Know||2014||Rahman, Zia Haider||Bangladesh||From Macmillan Publishers: "A bold, epic debut novel set during the war and financial crisis that defined the beginning of our century." See more at http://us.macmillan.com/inthelightofwhatweknow/ziahaiderrahman. Accessed April 2, 2016.||James Tait Black Memorial Prize||497||Income inequality, human rights, Great Recession||Toral Gajarawala, NYU/MLA|
|All the Names||1997||Saramago, Jose, (Margaret Jull Costa, translator)||Portugal||From Random House Books Australia: "Senhor José is a minor official in a registry office. He lives alone and spends his days in the documentation of the bare essentials – birth, marriage and death – of the lives of people he doesn't know. By chance he comes across a woman's file, in which her date and place of birth are not recorded, and his ordered, restricted life is turned upside down." See more at http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/jose-saramago/all-the-names-97818604.... Accessed April 1, 2016.||Saramago received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998||245||Privacy, human identity||Mina Beigi, Liverpool John Moores U.|
|Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus||1818||Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft||United Kingdom||From Lit2Go: "Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in London, England in 1818. It contains elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. It was also a warning against the 'over-reaching' of modern man and the Industrial Revolution." See more at http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/128/frankenstein-or-the-modern-prometheus/. Accessed April 1, 2016.||Classic||273||Innovation, stakeholders||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Opening Belle||2016||Sherry, Maureen||United States||From Simon & Schuster: "It’s 2008 and Isabelle, a thirty-something Wall Street executive, appears to have it all: the sprawling Upper West Side apartment; three healthy children; a handsome husband; and a job as managing director at a large investment bank. But her reality is something else."See more at http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Opening-Belle/Maureen-Sherry/97815.... Accessed January 23, 2017.||Critical attention||336||Gender discrimination, Great Recession||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|All That Man Is||2016||Szalay, David||Canada/ Hungary||From Graywolf Press: Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving—in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel—to understand what it means to be alive, here and now." See more at https://www.graywolfpress.org/books/all-man.||Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize||368||Meaningful work, meaningful life, corruption||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|The Embassy of Cambodia||2013||Smith, Zaide||United Kingdom||From Penguin Books Australia: "Beginning and ending outside the Embassy of Cambodia, which happens to be located in Willesden, NW London, Zadie Smith's absorbing, moving and wryly observed story suggests how the apparently small things in an ordinary life always raise larger, more extraordinary questions." See more at https://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780241146521/embassy-cambodia. Accessed April 1, 2016. Available online at the New Yorker (February 11 & 18, 2013): http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/02/11/the-embassy-of-cambodia, and also as an ebook, audio book, and hardback.||Critical attention||69||Identity, slavery||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|Master and Man||1895||Tolstoy, Leo||Russia||From Penguin Random House: In "Master and Man," one of ten stories in the collection, "Tolstoy depicts a mercenary merchant travelling with his unprotesting servant through a blizzard to close a business deal - little realizing he may soon have to settle accounts with his maker." See more at http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/297800/master-and-man-and-other-stori.... Accessed April 1, 2016.||Classic||57||Real estate, risk management and decision theory||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|The Death of Ivan Ilych||1886||Tolstoy, Leo (Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators)||Russia||From Random House: "Tolstoy’s most famous novella is an intense and moving examination of death and the possibilities of redemption [. . .]. Ivan Ilyich is a middle-aged man who has spent his life focused on his career as a bureaucrat and emotionally detached from his wife and children." See more at http://www.randomhouse.com/highschool/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307.... Accessed April 1, 2016.||Classic||86||Meaningful work, meaningful life||Gary Jahn, U of Minnesota|
|The Discreet Hero||2013||Vargas Llosa, Mario (Edith Grossman, translator)||Peru||From Macmillan Publishers: "Felícito and Ismael are, each in his own way, quiet, discreet rebels: honorable men trying to seize control of their destinies in a social and political climate where all can seem set in stone, predetermined. They are hardly vigilantes, but each is determined to live according to his own personal ideals and desires—which means forcibly rising above the pettiness of their surroundings." See more at http://us.macmillan.com/thediscreethero/mariovargasllosa. Accessed April 1, 2016.||Critical attention, scholarly recommendation||337||Corruption, work ethic||Andrea Meador Smith, Shenandoah U/MLA|
|The Way to Paradise||2004||Vargas Llosa, Mario (Natasha Wimmer Picador, translator)||Peru||From Macmillan Publishers: "Flora Tristán, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Peruvian father and French mother, grows up in poverty and journeys to Peru to demand her inheritance. On her return in 1844, she makes her name as a champion of the downtrodden, touring the French countryside to recruit members for her Workers' Union.
In 1891, Flora's grandson, struggling painter and stubborn visionary Paul Gauguin, abandons his wife and five children for life in the South Seas, where his dreams of paradise are poisoned by syphilis, the stifling forces of French colonialism, and a chronic lack of funds, though he has his pick of teenage Tahitian lovers and paints some of his greatest works." See more at http://us.macmillan.com/thewaytoparadise/mariovargasllosa. Accessed April 1, 2016.
|Nobel Prize for Literature||464||Job satisfaction, market failure, human rights||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|The Submission||2011||Waldman, Amy||USA||From Macmillan Publishers: "A jury chooses a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack on Manhattan, only to learn that the anonymous designer is an American Muslim " See more at http://us.macmillan.com/thesubmission/amywaldman. Accessed July 25, 2016.||Critical attention||299||Social justice, 9/11||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|"Mr. Squishy"||2004||Wallace, David Foster||USA||From Hachette Book Group: "In the stories that make up Oblivion, David Foster Wallace joins the rawest, most naked humanity with the infinite involutions of self-consciousness--a combination that is dazzlingly, uniquely his. These are worlds undreamt-of by any other mind." See more at http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/david-foster-wallace/oblivion/97.... Accessed January 23, 2017. List manager's note: Mr. Squishy is the opening story in the collection, Oblivion, and is a comic rendering of a consumer products focus group.||Critical attention||64||Marketing ethics, meaningful work||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|The Pale King||2011||Wallace, David Foster||USA||From Hachette Book Group: "It grapples directly with ultimate questions--questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society--through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts." See more at http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/david-foster-wallace/the-pale-ki.... Accessed April 1, 2016.||Pulitzer Prize finalist||548||Meaningful work, boredom||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|The Custom of the Country||1913||Wharton, Edith||USA||From Bantam Books: "Edith Wharton’s lacerating satire on marriage and materialism in turn-of-the-century New York features her most selfish, ruthless, and irresistibly outrageous female character." See more at http://www.randomhousebooks.com/books/189427/. Accessed August 4, 2016.||Classic||480||Materialism, inequality, deception||Christopher Michaelson, U of St. Thomas|
|The House of Mirth||1905||Wharton, Edith||USA||From Random House: "Set among the glittering salons of Gilded Age New York, Edith Wharton’s most popular novel is a moving indictment of a society whose soul-crushing limitations destroy a woman too spirited to be contained by them." See more at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/189430/the-house-of-mirth-by-edi.... Accessed January 23, 2017.||Classic||272||Class, gender inequality||Bill Droel, National Center for the Laity|
|Through the Arc of the Rain Forest||1990||Yamashita, Karen Tei||USA||From Coffee House Press: “This freewheeling black comedy features a bizarre cast of characters, including a Japanese man with a ball floating six inches in front of his head, an American CEO with three arms, and a Brazilian peasant who discovers the art of healing by tickling one’s earlobe with a feather.” See more at: http://coffeehousepress.org/shop/through-the-arc-of-the-rain-forest-2/. Accessed March 23, 2016.||Janet Heidinger Kafka Award for Fiction Winner, 1992 American Book Award Winner||192||Environmental degradation||Susan M. Kalter, Illinois SU/MLA|