From the blurb for Pedro Domingos, The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World (Basic Books, 2018):
In the world’s top research labs and universities, the race is on to invent the ultimate learning algorithm: one capable of discovering any knowledge from data, and doing anything we want, before we even ask. In The Master Algorithm, Pedro Domingos lifts the veil to give us a peek inside the learning machines that power Google, Amazon, and your smartphone. He assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner–the Master Algorithm–and discusses what it will mean for business, science, and society. If data-ism is today’s philosophy, this book is its bible.
From the blurb for Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (Simon & Schuster, Nov. 13, 2018) by Seth Abramson:
In Proof of Collusion, Seth Abramson “finally gives us a record of the unthinkable—a president compromising American foreign policy in exchange for financial gain and covert election assistance. The attorney, professor, and former criminal investigator has used his exacting legal mind and forensic acumen to compile, organize, and analyze every piece of the Trump-Russia story. His conclusion is clear: the case for collusion is staring us in the face. Drawing from American and European news outlets, he takes readers through the Trump-Russia scandal chronologically, putting the developments in context and showing how they connect.”
From the blurb for Jonathan Gienapp, The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era (Belknap Press, Oct. 2018):
Americans widely believe that the United States Constitution was created when it was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788. But in a shrewd rereading of the founding era, Jonathan Gienapp upends this long-held assumption, recovering the unknown story of American constitutional creation in the decade after its adoption—a story with explosive implications for current debates over constitutional originalism and interpretation.
When the Constitution first appeared, it was shrouded in uncertainty. Not only was its meaning unclear, but so too was its essential nature. Was the American Constitution a written text, or something else? Was it a legal text? Was it finished or unfinished? What rules would guide its interpretation? Who would adjudicate competing readings? As political leaders put the Constitution to work, none of these questions had answers. Through vigorous debates they confronted the document’s uncertainty, and—over time—how these leaders imagined the Constitution radically changed. They had begun trying to fix, or resolve, an imperfect document, but they ended up fixing, or cementing, a very particular notion of the Constitution as a distinctively textual and historical artifact circumscribed in space and time. This means that some of the Constitution’s most definitive characteristics, ones which are often treated as innate, were only added later and were thus contingent and optional.
From the blurb for Tom Ginsburg & Aziz Z. Huq, How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (UChicago Press, Oct. 19, 2018):
How to Save a Constitutional Democracy mounts an urgent argument that we can no longer afford to be complacent. Drawing on a rich array of other countries’ experiences with democratic backsliding, Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq show how constitutional rules can either hinder or hasten the decline of democratic institutions. The checks and balances of the federal government, a robust civil society and media, and individual rights—such as those enshrined in the First Amendment—do not necessarily succeed as bulwarks against democratic decline. Rather, Ginsburg and Huq contend, the sobering reality for the United States is that, to a much greater extent than is commonly realized, the Constitution’s design makes democratic erosion more, not less, likely. Its structural rigidity has had the unforeseen consequence of empowering the Supreme Court to fill in some details—often with doctrines that ultimately facilitate rather than inhibit the infringement of rights. Even the bright spots in the Constitution—the First Amendment, for example—may have perverse consequences in the hands of a deft communicator, who can degrade the public sphere by wielding hateful language that would be banned in many other democracies. But we—and the rest of the world—can do better. The authors conclude by laying out practical steps for how laws and constitutional design can play a more positive role in managing the risk of democratic decline.
From the blurb for Joel Richard Paul, Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times (Riverhead Books, 2018):
This is the astonishing true story of how a rough-cut frontiersman – born in Virginia in 1755 and with little formal education – invented himself as one of the nation’s preeminent lawyers and politicians who then reinvented the Constitution to forge a stronger nation. Without Precedent is the engrossing account of the life and times of this exceptional man, who with cunning, imagination, and grace shaped America’s future as he held together the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and the country itself.
H/T to Did Chief Justice Marshall Suborn Perjury in Marbury v Madison? by Anthony Gaughan, The Faculty Lounge, Oct. 24, 2018
Dangerous Leaders: How and Why Lawyers Must Be Taught to Lead (Stanford UP, Aug. 21, 2018) by Anthony C. Thompson “exposes the risks and results of leaving lawyers unprepared to lead. It provides law schools, law students, and the legal profession with the leadership tools and models to build a better foundation of leadership acumen. Anthony C. Thompson draws from his twenty years of experience in global executive education for Fortune 100 companies and his experience as a law professor to chart a path forward for better leadership instruction within the legal academy. Using vivid, real-life case studies, Thompson explores catastrophic political, business, and legal failures that have occurred precisely because of a lapse in leadership from those with legal training. He maintains that these practices are chronic leadership failures that could have been avoided. In examining these patterns of failures, it becomes apparent that legal education has fundamentally misread its task.
“Thompson proposes a fundamental rethinking of legal education, based upon intersectional leadership, to prepare lawyers to assume the types of roles that our increasingly fast-paced world requires. Intersectional leadership challenges lawyer leaders to see the world through a different lens and expects a form of inclusion and respect for other perspectives and experiences that will prove critical to maneuvering in a complex environment. Dangerous Leaders imparts invaluable tools and lessons to best equip current and future generations of legal leaders.”
From the blurb for The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age (Crown, June 19, 2018) by David E. Sanger:
The Perfect Weapon is the startling inside story of how the rise of cyberweapons transformed geopolitics like nothing since the invention of the atomic bomb. Cheap to acquire, easy to deny, and usable for a variety of malicious purposes—from crippling infrastructure to sowing discord and doubt—cyber is now the weapon of choice for democracies, dictators, and terrorists. Two presidents—Bush and Obama—drew first blood with Operation Olympic Games, which used malicious code to blow up Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, and yet America proved remarkably unprepared when its own weapons were stolen from its arsenal and, during President Trump’s first year, turned back on the US and its allies. The government was often paralyzed, unable to threaten the use of cyberweapons because America was so vulnerable to crippling attacks on its own networks of banks, utilities, and government agencies.
From the blurb for Jason Stanley’s How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Random House, Sept. 4, 2018): Fascist politics are running rampant in America today—and spreading around the world. A Yale philosopher identifies the ten pillars of fascist politics, and charts their horrifying rise and deep history.
From the blurb for Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy (Brookings Institution, Sept. 25, 2018) by Marvin Kalb:
In Enemy of the People, Marvin Kalb, an award-winning American journalist with more than six decades of experience both as a journalist and media observer, writes with passion about why we should fear for the future of American democracy because of the unrelenting attacks by the Trump administration on the press.
From the blurb for P. W. Singer and Emerson Brooking, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct. 2, 2018):
P. W. Singer and Emerson Brooking tackle the mind-bending questions that arise when war goes online and the online world goes to war. They explore how ISIS copies the Instagram tactics of Taylor Swift, a former World of Warcraft addict foils war crimes thousands of miles away, internet trolls shape elections, and China uses a smartphone app to police the thoughts of 1.4 billion citizens. What can be kept secret in a world of networks? Does social media expose the truth or bury it? And what role do ordinary people now play in international conflicts?
Delving into the web’s darkest corners, we meet the unexpected warriors of social media, such as the rapper turned jihadist PR czar and the Russian hipsters who wage unceasing infowars against the West. Finally, looking to the crucial years ahead, LikeWar outlines a radical new paradigm for understanding and defending against the unprecedented threats of our networked world.
From the blurb for Stormy Daniels’ Full Disclosure (St. Martin’s Press, Oct. 2, 2018):
In this book, Stormy Daniels tells her whole story for the first time: about how she came to be a leading actress and director in the adult film business, the full truth about her journey from a rough childhood in Louisiana onto the national stage, and everything about the events that led to the nondisclosure agreement and the behind-the-scenes attempts to intimidate her.
From the blurb for Greg Miller, The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy (Custom House, Oct. 2, 2018):
Based on interviews with hundreds of people in Trump’s inner circle, current and former government officials, individuals with close ties to the White House, members of the law enforcement and intelligence communities, foreign officials, and confidential documents, The Apprentice offers striking new information about:
- the hacking of the Democrats by Russian intelligence;
- Russian hijacking of Facebook and Twitter;
- National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s hidden communications with the Russians;
- the attempt by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, to create a secret back channel to Moscow using Russian diplomatic facilities;
- Trump’s disclosure to Russian officials of highly classified information about Israeli intelligence operations;
- Trump’s battles with the CIA and the FBI and fierce clashes within the West Wing;
- Trump’s efforts to enlist the director of national intelligence and the director of the National Security Agency to push back against the FBI’s investigation of his campaign;
- the mysterious Trump Tower meeting;
- the firing of FBI Director James Comey;
- the appointment of Mueller and the investigation that has followed;
- the tumultuous skirmishing within Trump’s legal camp;
- and Trump’s jaw-dropping behavior in Helsinki.
John B. Nann and the late Morris L. Cohen (both of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School) have published The Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History with Yale University Press. From the publisher’s blurb:
The study of legal history has a broad application that extends well beyond the interests of legal historians. An attorney arguing a case today may need to cite cases that are decades or even centuries old, and historians studying political or cultural history often encounter legal issues that affect their main subjects. Both groups need to understand the laws and legal practices of past eras. This essential reference is intended for the many nonspecialists who need to enter this arcane and often tricky area of research.
From the blurb for Major Garrett’s Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride: The Thrills, Chills, Screams, and Occasional Blackouts of an Extraordinary Presidency (All Points Books, Sept. 18, 2018):
In Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride, Major Garrett provides what journalists are often said to do, but usually don’t: a true first draft of history. His goal was to sift through the mountains of distracting tweets and shrieking headlines in order to focus on the most significant moments of Trump’s young presidency, the ones that Garrett believes will have a lasting impact. The result is an authoritative, mature, and consistently entertaining account of one of the strangest eras in American political history.
From the blurb for Bill Press, Trump Must Go: The Top 100 Reasons to Dump Trump (and One to Keep Him) (Thomas Dunne Books, Sept. 11, 2018):
In Trump Must Go, TV and radio host Bill Press offers 100 reasons why Trump needs to be removed from office, whether by impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or the ballot box.
Beginning with the man himself and moving through Trump’s executive action damage, Press covers Trump’s debasement of the United States political system and degrading of the American presidency. Ranging from banning federal employees’ use of the phrase “climate change,” to putting down Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole” countries, we have to wonder what he’ll do next. He has a bromance with Putin that enables several meetings between Trump staffers and Russian officials, and he has a wrecking crew administration: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Housing Secretary Ben Carson, to name a few. Extensive “executive time” marks Trump’s calendar so he can golf, watch TV, and eat fast food. Trump has done it all…badly.
But, in a political climate where the world has learned to expect the unexpected, Press offers readers a twist: one reason not to ditch Donald Trump.
From the blurb for Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House (Simon & Schuster, Sept. 11, 2018):
With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.
Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.
From the blurb for Rick Wilson’s Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever (Free Press, Aug. 7, 2018):
Everything Trump Touches Dies deftly chronicles the tragicomic Trump story from the early campaign days through the shock of election night, to the inconceivable trainwreck of Trump’s first year. Rick Wilson provides not only an insightful analysis of the Trump administration, but also an optimistic path forward for the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country.
From the blurb for Craig Unger, House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia (Dutton, Aug. 14, 2018):
It is a chilling story that begins in the 1970s, when Trump made his first splash in the booming, money-drenched world of New York real estate, and ends with Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States. That moment was the culmination of Vladimir Putin’s long mission to undermine Western democracy, a mission that he and his hand-selected group of oligarchs and Mafia kingpins had ensnared Trump in, starting more than twenty years ago with the massive bailout of a string of sensational Trump hotel and casino failures in Atlantic City. This book confirms the most incredible American paranoias about Russian malevolence.
To most, it will be a hair-raising revelation that the Cold War did not end in 1991—that it merely evolved, with Trump’s apartments offering the perfect vehicle for billions of dollars to leave the collapsing Soviet Union. In House of Trump, House of Putin, Craig Unger methodically traces the deep-rooted alliance between the highest echelons of American political operatives and the biggest players in the frightening underworld of the Russian Mafia. He traces Donald Trump’s sordid ascent from foundering real estate tycoon to leader of the free world. He traces Russia’s phoenixlike rise from the ashes of the post–Cold War Soviet Union as well as its ceaseless covert efforts to retaliate against the West and reclaim its status as a global superpower.
Without Trump, Russia would have lacked a key component in its attempts to return to imperial greatness. Without Russia, Trump would not be president. This essential book is crucial to understanding the real powers at play in the shadows of today’s world.
From the blurb for Blockchain: A Practical Guide to Developing Business, Law, and Technology Solutions (McGraw-Hill Education, Feb. 16, 2018), by Joseph J. Bambara et al.:
Get the most out of cutting-edge blockchain technology using the hands-on information contained in this comprehensive resource. Written by a team of technology and legal experts, Blockchain: A Practical Guide to Developing Business, Law, and Technology Solutions demonstrates each topic through a start-to-finish, illustrated case study. The book includes financial, technology, governance, and legal use cases along with advantages and challenges. Validation, implementation, troubleshooting, and best practices are fully covered. You will learn, step-by-step, how to build and maintain effective, reliable, and transparent blockchain solutions.
•Understand the fundamentals of decentralized computing and blockchain
•Explore business, technology, governance, and legal use cases
•Review the evolving practice of law and technology as it concerns legal and governance issues arising from blockchain implementation
•Write and administer performant blockchain-enabled applications
•Handle cryptographic validation in private, public, and consortium blockchains
•Employ blockchain in cloud deployments and Internet of Things (IoT) devices
•Incorporate Web 3.0 features with Swarm, IPFS, Storj, Golem, and WHISPER
•Use Solidity to build and validate fully functional distributed applications and smart contracts using Ethereum
•See how blockchain is used in crypto-currency, including Bitcoin and Ethereum
•Overcome technical hurdles and secure your decentralized IT platform
Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services, edited by Ed Walters “helps legal professionals meet the challenges posed by a data-driven approach to delivering legal services. Its chapters are written by leading experts who cover such topics as:
Mining legal data
Uncovering bias through the use of Big Data
Quantifying the quality of legal services
Data mining and decision-making
Contract analytics and contract standards
“In addition to providing clients with data-based insight, legal firms can track a matter with data from beginning to end, from the marketing spend through to the type of matter, hours spent, billed, and collected, including metrics on profitability and success. Firms can organize and collect documents after a matter and even automate them for reuse. Data on marketing related to a matter can be an amazing source of insight about which practice areas are most profitable.
“Data-driven decision-making requires firms to think differently about their workflow. Most firms warehouse their files, never to be seen again after the matter closes. Running a data-driven firm requires lawyers and their teams to treat information about the work as part of the service, and to collect, standardize, and analyze matter data from cradle to grave. More than anything, using data in a law practice requires a different mindset about the value of this information. This book helps legal professionals to develop this data-driven mindset.”
Recommended. — Joe