Things You Might Like to Buy In Which I Have No Financial Stake Whatsoever

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Seems like that headline is pretty self-explanatory, so let's get to it:

  • Wainwright for the People is a forthcoming young-adult book by Joel Rothman and Stacey Ballis that's intended to teach basic civics lessons about the legal system. It's in the form of a legal thriller but would be accompanied by student and teacher guides for classroom use. In a blatant and entirely successful bribe to get me to mention it, Joel has suggested that the book may include a reference to Lowering the Bar, which would be (1) awesome (2) not a "financial stake" of the sort disclaimed in my headline and (3) unfortunate for children. He'll probably have second thoughts about that, though, so this will remain a very worthwhile project. They are hoping to raise $40,000 through Kickstarter in order to finish the book, so please take a look and pledge if you can. (With Kickstarter, you don't actually "pay" unless the project is fully funded.)
  • Another awesome thing I spotted while I was on Kickstarter: this project (already funded) to make kits for one-foot-tall desktop trebuchets you can use to fling crap around your office. See, if you need funding for something like this, I guess you could go to the bank and say, hi there, I noticed you threw billions of dollars at people for stupid reasons over the last ten years or so, and so I was wondering if I could get $48,000 to buy a laser cutter to make these awesome desktop-trebuchet kits. When they say no, you can try Kickstarter. These guys got twice what they needed.
  • For those intrepid folk still determined to attend law school, consider the Law School Survival Manual: from LSAT to Bar Exam, by Nancy Rapoport and Jeffrey Van Niel. This is a great overview of the whole wonderful process. Note that it only briefly touches on the topic of whether you should go at all, but if you're going, this covers everything from what schools to consider to whether you should listen to jerks like me who insist on talking about how they answered the day's bar-exam questions. An informal and funny book.
  • Those who have recently finished that process or are hunting for new jobs may want to pick up the The Underground Guide to Job Interviewing, by Todd Moster. Todd was a practicing attorney before becoming an executive recruiter in the legal industry. Like the Survival Manual, this book is an informal and humorous guide to the subject matter and is one in which I have no financial stake whatsoever.
  • Here's a book that most of you will never need, unless you are a J.P. Morgan executive, but if you do need it, you'll need it desperately: Testifying Before Congress, by William N. LaForge. This is 400 pages of guidance that I don't think any potential witness other than maybe Elmo could do without. More expensive and detailed than the others by a long shot, but $125 probably seems pretty reasonable if you have a congressional subpoena sitting on your desk. Personally I was looking for a little more guidance on how exactly to take the Fifth Amendment, but I guess there's only so much to say about not saying anything.
  • Finally, another book (I get books in the mail, you see): Liars and Outliers, by security expert Bruce Schneier. I have mentioned Bruce several times here already because of our shared position that the TSA sucks, something he has analyzed in more detail than that, of course. This book discusses the national-security problem but is more about the general topic of how society ultimately requires a basic level of trust to function and what happens when that is threatened. It's a pretty scholarly book but is still remarkably informal and easy to read. It also has small metal strips built into the cover that spell out "TSA SUCKS" when it goes through the X-ray machine, or at least that would be a good thing to include in the second edition.