Scholarly Communication • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s On Freedom, Wednesday, February 27 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of On Freedom by Cass R. Sunstein (Princeton Univ. Press, February 2019). Professor Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Sunstein On Freedom poster

About On Freedom

“In this pathbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author Cass Sunstein asks us to rethink freedom. He shows that freedom of choice isn’t nearly enough. To be free, we must also be able to navigate life. People often need something like a GPS device to help them get where they want to go—whether the issue involves health, money, jobs, children, or relationships.

In both rich and poor countries, citizens often have no idea how to get to their desired destination. That is why they are unfree. People also face serious problems of self-control, as many of them make decisions today that can make their lives worse tomorrow. And in some cases, we would be just as happy with other choices, whether a different partner, career, or place to live—which raises the difficult question of which outcome best promotes our well-being.

Accessible and lively, and drawing on perspectives from the humanities, religion, and the arts, as well as social science and the law, On Freedom explores a crucial dimension of the human condition that philosophers and economists have long missed—and shows what it would take to make freedom real.” — Princeton University Press

More About On Freedom

“Real freedom is the freedom to reach your goal, not to get lost at every turn. In this powerful book, Cass Sunstein shows when policy can help us navigate to where we want to go, where policy might overstep by choosing the end point for us, and how to tell the two apart. A delightful masterpiece.” — Esther Duflo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

On Freedom is an elegant, clear, deceptively simple book about a fiendishly complex problem. How can free societies help citizens to navigate among a perplexing multitude of forking paths, only some of which lead toward desirable ends? How is a nudge in the right direction distinct from coercion? What is the best way to enable people to choose paths that enhance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Drawing on a wealth of probing examples from social policy, literature, and his own experience, Sunstein brilliantly illuminates the challenges that face governments and individuals and sketches plausible ways forward.” — Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

“In this eloquent and timely book, Cass Sunstein asks urgent questions relevant to the crisis of democracy in which we find ourselves. As the author has demonstrated in the past, he is a thoughtful navigator of territory we may have prematurely believed we understood.” — Joyce Carol Oates

“An important and engaging book on freedom and choice by a top scholar. Sunstein gives us a comprehensive and cutting-edge treatment of his enormously influential work on nudging and well-being.” — L. A. Paul, author of Transformative Experience

“By redefining freedom, this becomes a book about the meaning of life.” — Robert J. Shiller, Nobel Prize–winning economist

Book Talk: Will China Save the Planet?, Wednesday, February 20th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Barbara Finamore’s Will China Save the Planet? (Polity, Nov., 2018).  Barbara Finamore is a Senior Attorney and Asia Senior Strategic Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She has over three decades of experience in environmental law and energy policy, with a focus on China for twenty-five years. In 1996, she founded NRDC’s China Program, the first clean energy program to be launched by an international NGO.

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, East Asian Legal Studies, the HLS Environmental Law Society, and the Harvard-China Project.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B
1557 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA (Directions)
No RSVP required

Will China Save the Planet Book Talk

 

About Will China Save the Planet?

“Now that Trump has turned the United States into a global climate outcast, will China take the lead in saving our planet from environmental catastrophe? Many signs point to yes. China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, is leading a global clean energy revolution, phasing out coal consumption and leading the development of a global system of green finance.

But as leading China environmental expert Barbara Finamore explains, it is anything but easy. The fundamental economic and political challenges that China faces in addressing its domestic environmental crisis threaten to derail its low-carbon energy transition. Yet there is reason for hope. China’s leaders understand that transforming the world’s second largest economy from one dependent on highly polluting heavy industry to one focused on clean energy, services and innovation is essential, not only to the future of the planet, but to China’s own prosperity.” — Polity

More About Will China Save the Planet?

“A hugely informative and readable book about how much China is doing – and needs to do – to spur the clean energy revolution that is a crucial element in the fight against climate change. I highly recommend it.” — Todd Stern, Former Special Envoy for Climate Change under President Obama

“Finamore has written an impressively well-researched and truly fascinating account of China’s fitful odyssey to climate consciousness. In an otherwise pretty bleak global tableau, this progress offers some welcome grounds for hope.” — Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society

“A must-read.” — Make Wealth History

‘Barbara Finamore has written a highly readable and informative overview of China’s role in the global climate change battle. Will China Save the Planet? is a good primer for environmental policy analysts and anyone else interested in studying feasible solutions to climate change, humanity’s greatest threat.’ — Eurasia Review

Book Talk: FIBER: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It, Wednesday, February 13 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of FIBER: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It by Susan Crawford (Yale Univ. Press, Jan. 8, 2019). Professor Crawford is the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Susan Crawford Poster FIBER

About FIBER: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It

“The world of fiber optic connections reaching neighborhoods, homes, and businesses will represent as great a change from what came before as the advent of electricity. The virtually unlimited amounts of data we’ll be able to send and receive through fiber optic connections will enable a degree of virtual presence that will radically transform health care, education, urban administration and services, agriculture, retail sales, and offices. Yet all of those transformations will pale compared with the innovations and new industries that we can’t even imagine today. In a fascinating account combining policy expertise and compelling on-the-ground reporting, Susan Crawford reveals how the giant corporations that control cable and internet access in the United States use their tremendous lobbying power to tilt the playing field against competition, holding back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward. And she shows how a few cities and towns are fighting monopoly power to bring the next technological revolution to their communities.” — Yale University Press

More About FIBER: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It

“If we can just finish the last mile for fiber to reach into households, Susan Crawford shows, we can unleash a revolution of economic growth, education, and health, and address inequality in a whole new way. Crawford shifts effortlessly from the heights of policy to the literal ground level and shows us the way.”— Anthony Marx, President, New York Public Library

“By vividly describing a world filled with fiber-enabled technology as well as the perils and possibilities for achieving it, Susan Crawford has written a playbook for a fairer and more prosperous United States.”— Andy Berke, Mayor, Chattanooga, Tennessee

“Engaging and accessible … An indictment of national regulatory politics and crony capitalism and a love story about the plucky local governments overcoming the odds to bring their own communities into the twenty-first century. A microcosm of what ails America—and what nonetheless can give us hope.”— Yochai Benkler, Harvard Law School

“Crawford convinces with impeccable journalism and empathetic portraits of rural communities and low-income cities in distress, the ails of which could be much alleviated by a large-scale federal investment in fiber optic connections . . . Crawford’s work is both refreshing and potent in how it clinically identifies the problem, and proposes a straightforward, feasible solution.” —Publishers Weekly

“Essential reading.” — Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)

About Susan Crawford

Susan Crawford is the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor at Harvard Law School. She is the author of FIBER: The Coming Tech Revolution And Why America Might Miss It and Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age; co-author of The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance; and a contributor to WIRED.

She served as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (2009) and co-led the FCC transition team between the Bush and Obama administrations. Crawford also served in the past as a member on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Advisory Council on Technology and Innovation and on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Broadband Task Force.

Crawford was formerly a (Visiting) Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard’s Kennedy School, a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and a Professor at the University of Michigan Law School. As an academic, she teaches Internet law and communications law. She was a member of the board of directors of ICANN from 2005-2008 and is the founder of OneWebDay, a global Earth Day for the Internet that takes place each Sept. 22.

She has been named one of Politico’s 50 Thinkers, Doers and Visionaries Transforming Politics; one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology; an IP3 Awardee; one of Prospect Magazine’s Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future; and one of Time Magazine’s Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech.

Thoughts on Legal Citation

My relationship with the Bluebook goes back to when I was a first-year law student in 2004. There have been moments of love and moments of hate, but mostly, as someone who appreciates order, structure, and rules, love.

As a legal reference librarian, my interest in legal citation is more research-focused than anything.  There are few things that make my heart soar more than a work of legal scholarship that includes carefully drafted and correct citations to the sources referenced so that readers can find those sources with minimum pain and maximum efficiency.

However, legal citation has several purposes beyond just making it easier for researchers to find stuff.  “Citation Literacy” is a fascinating new article in the Arkansas Law Review by Professor Alexa Z. Chew of UNC Law School.  In the article, Professor Chew discusses four “communicative purposes” of legal citation: “(1) to locate the cited source … , (2) to communicate information to the reader about the weight of the cited authority … , (3) to demonstrate the writer’s credibility … and (4) to avoid plagiarism through proper attribution.” (pages 879-880)

Professor Chew also discusses what she calls the “untaught skill of reading citations.”  (page 890)  By removing citation information from cases in casebooks read by U.S. law students, she argues, the “dominant message sent by the first-year law school curriculum about legal citation” is that providing support for statements of law is either unimportant, optional, or both.  (pages 891-892)

Additionally, Professor Chew contends that, when law students read cases that do not include citations, they are not learning the skill of reading cases holistically.  This is not ideal, according to Professor Chew, because “understanding a case’s citations and how the information they encode informs the surrounding text is an essential part of reading a case in the first place.”  (page 895)

I was glad that Professor Chew also discussed the impact of learning legal citation on foreign-trained lawyers who are studying the U.S. legal system.  This part of the article made me re-think this issue myself.  When I taught substantive U.S. law classes in Germany last year, I gave them versions of cases that I had edited myself.  I also, for the sake of brevity, removed citations from those cases.

Looking back, I wish I had done more with Bluebook and legal citation with my German students.  I believe it would have helped them understand our legal system better, and it also would have helped them with their future forays into the world of U.S. legal research.

Speaking of teaching legal citation to non-U.S. law students, I maintain our library’s Bluebook Citation Guide for LL.M. Students.  After reading Professor Chew’s article, this guide seems, perhaps, overly procedural in nature.  I am now considering adding a section about why citation is important, and citing Professor Chew’s article in it.

My own experience as a foreign student contributes to my thinking on this issue as well.  Germany does not have an equivalent to the Bluebook citation system, or really any standardized system of legal citation at all as far as I know.  When I was writing my LL.M. thesis in Germany earlier this year, I was given a 4-page handout by my faculty supervisor, with examples about how to cite sources in the footnotes and in the bibliography (Literaturverzeichnis).  I did my best to follow the protocol, but I’m still not sure if I got everything right.

Below is a picture of footnotes 49-52 from my German LL.M. thesis:

The sources cited here are, in order: an article from the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz), a Federal Constitutional Court decision, a scholarly commentary on the Basic Law, and a U.S. law review article.

(Of course I did not notice until this very moment that footnote 49 should end in a period and not a semi-colon.  I guess I know now for sure that I did not get everything right.)

In these and all the footnotes in my thesis, author-written works are basically cited in a shortened format because full-length citations are provided in the bibliography.

I was told by people who read my thesis that my use of footnotes and citation was, perhaps, more extensive than is the norm in German legal scholarship.  But they knew that I am trained in U.S. law, and that I have spent years reading U.S. law review articles, which are heavily annotated compared to German legal periodicals, so it was understandable.

Anyway, I am very pleased to have seen an article in the legal literature about citation, and I hope this is a trend that continues.  I agree with Professor Chew that this is an important area of legal education that, perhaps, should be considered in a different light than it has been in the past.

Finally, I would like to briefly mention a new citation guide that we recently received in the HLS Library collection:

Global Arbitration Review’s UCIA – Universal Citation in International Arbitration
General Editor, Stephen Anway ; Assistant Editors, Alexis Martinez and Jonathan Allen
Published in 2018 by Law Business Research Ltd.
ISBN 9781912377299
Hollis Catalog Record

This is a guide to the developing convention on style and citation that is used by practitioners in the field of international arbitration.  It is “intended for use in all writings related to international arbitration – from memorials to awards, from scholarly articles to student briefs.”  (Editor’s Preface)  And, mercifully, it is much shorter than the Bluebook.

 

 

 

 

852 RARE: David Sewall: Lawyer, Federal Judge, Weather Aficionado

It’s spring break at Harvard, although March can bring decidedly un-springlike weather to New England. After an unusually mild winter (except for one weekend of record-breaking cold), the first weekend of spring break started off as mild and sunny as a fine day in late April, and is now, well, very March-like. Weather is a perennial topic of conversation in New England (and everywhere else?). It affects us all and is a topic of conversation anyone can participate in and on which everyone seems to have an opinion.

Of all seasons, winter is perhaps especially ripe for discussions, whether one is marveling at, cursing, or boasting about record snowstorms, record cold, unseasonable warmth, and everything in between. Not surprisingly there’s nothing new about the weather as a rich source of conversation. As we approach the vernal equinox on March 20th this year, here’s a glimpse into the meteorological musings of David Sewall (1735-1825). Sewall was a 1755 Harvard graduate (and classmate of John Adams), a lawyer, and a judge, appointed by George Washington to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine in 1789, a position he held until his resignation in 1818.

Historical & Special Collections has a letter from Sewall, written from his home in York, Maine (then part of Massachusetts) to an unidentified correspondent, on January 17, 1795.

HOLLIS 2204095_p1

Sewall begins with the acknowledgement of a small book, then talks of politics. But soon the topic of the weather slips in, when in the third or fourth line, he comments: “The month of December as to mildness and agreeableness of weather has surpassed any that the most ancient among us, can recollect. We have now scarcely enough for slaying [sleighing] ….” Shortly thereafter Sewall turns back to politics and government, pondering Alexander Hamilton’s intention to resign as Secretary of State at the end of the month. He mentions meeting and conversing with the Rev. David Osgood (1747-1822) in a public house in Woburn (Mass.) and discusses court and legislative issues. But the next day, a Sunday, when he picks up his pen to continue the correspondence, his opening line sets the tone for most of the rest of the letter.

HOLLIS 2204095_p2-3

“Last Evening we had a pretty fall of light snow … The cold increases and N.N.W. wind blows about the Snow considerably this Evening.” He asks “how comes it that we ever have snow?” and launches into a long, detailed, and thoughtful musing on trade winds, precipitation, temperatures, and weather patterns along the eastern coast of the United States. He marvels at having “known the thermometer to be at 6° below 0 and in less than 9 hours to be above the freezing point” and notes that “I have known the snow to dissolve faster toward the close of Winter with a Southerly Wind of 24 hours (or a little longer) continuance than with a moderate Rain, of the same duration.” Had he lived in our era, the good judge from Maine may have settled down at the end of a long day to watch the Weather Channel.

Celebrate Fair Use Week!

The third annual Fair Use Week, sponsored by the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC), is here!

fairuseweeklogoWait, what is Fair Use? To paraphrase from the Harvard University OGC Copyright website, Fair Use is the right to use a copyrighted work under certain conditions without permission of the copyright owner to prevent a rigid application of copyright law that would stifle the very creativity the law is designed to foster.

There are many events underway–here are some highlights!

Follow the conversation on the OSC’s copyright blogFair Use Week Tumblr, and Fair Use Week Twitter feed, where we will release details about the coveted Fair Use Week tote giveaway.

February 24

Association of Southeastern Research Libraries webinar, Mitigating Risk at the Front Lines: The Library Copyright First Responders Program at 2:00; Speaker, Kyle K. Courtney

February 25

Florida State University’s Publish or Perish: Conversations on Academic Publishing Symposium keynote address, “Where Will Publishing Be in 2030? A Look to the Future” at 2:45; Speaker, Kyle K. Courtney

February 26

Florida State University Institute on Copyright in Higher Education keynote address, “Fair Use: Past, Present, and Future of a Critical Legal Right” at 9:20 (watch the live webcast); Speaker Kyle K. Courtney

Find the full details for the week at the OSC Fair Use Week website.

Fair Use and News Reporting – A Fair Use Week Post

Fair Use and News Reporting

Guest post by Leigh Barnwell (J.D. Candidate, Class of 2015, Harvard Law School)

News reporting is supposed to be one of the paradigmatic uses protected as fair under US copyright law. It’s listed right in the preamble to the statute that the “fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for purposes such as . . . news reporting . . . is not an infringement of copyright.” 17 U.S.C. §107 (emphasis added). But in recent years it has become increasingly common for news organizations to be expected to pay licensing fees in order to use copyrighted images – including photographs depicting major newsworthy events – as part of their reporting. And this common practice now seems to be affecting the legal analysis of the scope of the fair use right enjoyed by the press.

These issues are at the heart of a dispute between Fox News Network and the New Jersey Media Group (publisher of several New Jersey newspapers) currently being argued in the Southern District of New York. The case is North Jersey Media Group Inc. v. Jeanine Pirro and Fox News Network, LLC.  The litigation arose out of a social media post made in 2013 to honor the anniversary of 9/11. On September 11, the Fox News show, Justice with Judge Jeanine, posted a composite image to its Facebook page that combined two iconic photographs side-by-side—one showing a group of firefighters hoisting an American flag at amidst the wreckage of the World Trade Center on, and the other showing four American marines in a strikingly similar pose raising the flag on Iwo Jima. The combined image already existed online, but the Fox News staff added the hashtag #neverforget to the image before posting it. In response, the New Jersey Media Group, copyright holders of the 9/11 photograph, brought suit for infringement. Earlier this month, the District Court denied Fox News’ motion for summary judgment, determining that they could not rule as a matter of law that the posting qualified as fair use.

A couple of things are particularly striking about the court’s opinion. Perhaps the most significant is that it jumps immediately to analyzing the four statutory factors for assessing whether a particular use qualifies as fair, and skips over the preamble language at the beginning of §107, outlining the paradigmatic purposes that fall within the fair use exception – the language that identifies news reporting as exactly the kind of use that would typically qualify. By leaving this language out of its analysis, the court ignores the special solicitude that Congress has shown to news reporting (along with teaching, scholarship, research, and other similar uses) by identifying it in the statute as the sort of use that should typically be protected under the doctrine.

This omission also informs the way the court conducts its fair use analysis under the four factors outlined in the statute. If we know that news reporting is characteristically the kind of use that should not be found infringing, that knowledge should shape the way we consider it under the four factors – and if our analysis under the four factors indicates that news reporting wouldn’t qualify as a fair use, then that may be a signal that we are interpreting the factors incorrectly or too rigidly, or applying them inappropriately in the particular context of reporting.

Here, because the court never considered whether Fox’s post qualified as news reporting, its analysis under the first factor—the purpose and character of the defendant’s use—wasn’t guided by the particular concerns that animate uses for news reporting. Instead the court focused on precedents—Cariou v. Prince, 714 F.3d 694 (2d Cir. 2013) and Blanch v. Koons, 467 F.3d 244 (2d Cir. 2006)—that analyze fair use in the context of visual art. In those earlier cases, the Second Circuit had found that most of the artworks that appropriated copyrighted photographs were protected by fair use because the final works created were “fundamentally different and new,” Cariou, 714 F.3d at 706, or the artist had altered the original photographs to the point that they were “barely recognizable,” id. at 710.

This emphasis upon transformation makes sense when a court is assessing the purpose and character of a defendant’s use in the context of appropriation art. But as Kevin Smith pointed out in a fantastic post during the first Fair Use Week last year, transformation doesn’t make sense in the context of news reporting and many other public purposes that we nonetheless consider to be fair. Indeed, news reporting would be completely undermined if members of the press were required to transform or alter the newsworthy materials they were trying to disseminate to the public to the extent required in Cariou and Prince; since the purpose of news reporting is sharing accurate information, it doesn’t make sense to require transformation in order to consider the use fair.

The impact of licensing culture is most directly visible in the court’s analysis of the fourth fair use factor – the impact on the potential market for the original work. While acknowledging that the loss of a single licensing fee was not enough to tip the factor against fair use (because then it would always do so), the court found that Fox’s use would likely encourage other news media outlets not to seek licensing fees, thereby damaging the “primary market for the photograph.” Leaving aside that the firefighter photo does have a market beyond news media (which a quick Google search will confirm), the loss of licensing fees from parties whose use is at the core of the statutory fair use protection should not be relevant to the market assessment under the fourth factor. The fact that the court identifies the lost revenues from other news outlets as a significant financial harm that weighs against a finding of fair use in this case shows just how deeply the culture of licensing fees has pervaded the legal analysis of media fair use claim. These fees are something the court thinks a copyright holder has a right to collect, which would only be true if these uses aren’t protected as fair—which we know they are supposed to be!

Because the court focused so heavily on the four fair use factors and failed to address the special importance of news reporting head on, it missed what is arguably a more interesting and important question in the case, namely whether this Facebook post by a major media outlet – likely indistinguishable from hundreds of other tributes posted the same day – constitutes news reporting, and where the boundary of news reporting lies in the age of social media. It may be that Fox’s post shouldn’t be considered news reporting and therefore shouldn’t be entitled to the fair use protections that historically accompany that function. But by failing to address that question directly and by failing to account for the different purposes of news reporting in its analysis of the four statutory factors, this opinion advances the erosion of fair use protections for the press in a way that all media outlets should be concerned about. Different uses are protected as fair for different reasons – and it’s crucial that courts acknowledge and understand that fact as they apply the law.

Leigh Barnwell is a 3L at Harvard Law School, where she serves as a member of the Board of Student Advisers, an Executive Submissions Editor for the Journal of Law and Gender, and Copyright Fellow for the Office for Scholarly Communication. Before coming to law school, she studied English and Economics at Stanford University, received a Masters with Distinction in English from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and worked for several years in the Books Editorial Department of Duke University Press. She spent her 1L summer at Public Knowledge, a DC-based non-profit that works on IP, tech, and communications policy, and her 2L summer at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New York City. 

Faculty Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s Wiser: Going Beyond Groupthink to Make Better Decisions, Wed. Feb. 11 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor Cass Sunstein’s recently published book with Reid Hastie, Wiser: Going Beyond Groupthink to Make Better Decisions, Wednesday February 11, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Professor Sunstein is currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations.

Mr. Sunstein is author of many articles and books, including Republic.com (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), Worst-Case Scenarios (2001), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008), Simpler: The Future of Government (2013) and most recently Why Nudge? (2014) and Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas (2014).

Sunstein book talk poster

“Why are group decisions so hard? Since the beginning of human history, people have made decisions in groups–first in families and villages, and now as part of companies, governments, school boards, religious organizations, or any one of countless other groups. And having more than one person to help decide is good because the group benefits from the collective knowledge of all of its members, and this results in better decisions. Right? Back to reality. We’ve all been involved in group decisions–and they’re hard. And they often turn out badly. Why? Many blame bad decisions on “groupthink” without a clear idea of what that term really means. Now, “Nudge” coauthor Cass Sunstein and leading decision-making scholar Reid Hastie shed light on the specifics of why and how group decisions go wrong–and offer tactics and lessons to help leaders avoid the pitfalls and reach better outcomes. In the first part of the book, they explain in clear and fascinating detail the distinct problems groups run into: They often amplify, rather than correct, individual errors in judgment; They fall victim to cascade effects, as members follow what others say or do; They become polarized, adopting more extreme positions than the ones they began with; They emphasize what everybody knows instead of focusing on critical information that only a few people know. In the second part of the book, the authors turn to straightforward methods and advice for making groups smarter. These approaches include silencing the leader so that the views of other group members can surface, rethinking rewards and incentives to encourage people to reveal their own knowledge, thoughtfully assigning roles that are aligned with people’s unique strengths, and more. With examples from a range of organizations–from Google to the CIA–and written in an engaging and witty style, “Wiser” will not only enlighten you; it will help your team and your organization make better decisions–decisions that lead to greater success.” —  Harvard Business Review Press

Book talk panelists include:

Martha Minow

 

 

 

Dean Martha Minow, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 12.49.54 PM

 

 

Professor Max H. BazermanJesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

 

Louis Kaplow

 

 

 

Professor Louis KaplowFinn M. W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics

 

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Lawrence Summers, Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton; Director of the National Economic Council under President Obama—

“No man is an island, and all important decisions are made collectively. This important book shows how they can be made better and so will make groups, crowds, and our society wiser and better. Anyone involved in making decisions that matter should read this book.”

John Engler, President, Business Roundtable—

“Drawing on academic research, real-world examples, and, in Sunstein’s case, White House experience, the authors identify the most common mistakes groups fall victim to and offer sensible ways to avoid those often-expensive errors. In Sunstein and Hastie’s recommendations, CEOs and managers alike will find much that leaves them, in a word, wiser.”

Claire Shipman, Correspondent, ABC’s Good Morning America; Author, The Confidence Code

“More minds aren’t always better, according to Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie. In Wiser, they deftly lay out the unexpected perils of group decision making and provide smart, straightforward, and often surprising fixes. Utterly fascinating and counterintuitive, this book is an essential read for executives and managers—for anybody, actually, hoping to make an enterprise successful.”

Austan Goolsbee, Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama—

“There have been lots of books written on why and how individuals make bad decisions. But many of the most important decisions are made by committee, where normal problems get magnified. Finally, Sunstein and Hastie have provided crucial insights and lessons to help groups and teams avoid pitfalls and make effective decisions. Leaders everywhere should take these lessons to heart.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning presidential historian; Author, Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit

“This gem of a book is full of penetrating insight, sensible advice, and fascinating stories drawn from practical experience. Written with clarity and grace, it provides an invaluable road map for leaders and managers in both public and private life. I can think of dozens of historical decisions that might have been better made had our leaders followed these precepts.”

Finding Public Domain and Creative Commons Images

Whether you are working on a classroom presentation, a personal website or any other project, images can add some visual interest to your design. However, you won’t always have taken the perfect image for your purposes. In these situations, the best solution is to try to find a public domain or Creative Commons licensed image. To make this process easier, the library has developed a guide to finding and using such images. Check it out and let us know if we have missed any additional sources that we should add!

Honoring Justice Ruth Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Harvard Law School on February 6, 2013 and reflected on her twenty years of service on the United States Supreme Court during a public conversation with HLS Dean Martha Minow.  In honor of Justice Ginsburg’s visit, twelve HLS faculty wrote essays that discuss some of her outstanding legal opinions.  The essays are available in print, on Reserve at the Harvard Law School Library and are available for reading and for download on a newly created web site courtesy of the HLSL staff.

Honoring Justice Ruth Ginsburg

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