Close-up of artwork from the cover of The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty, and Joy of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet.


The Magazine lists a selection of general-interest books, films, and albums by alumni. For additional alumni releases, browse the Magazine’s Goodreads bookshelf.

What Happened to Goldman Sachs: An Insider’s Story of Organizational Drift and Its Unintended Consequences

Steven G. Mandis, AB’92 Author

A Goldman Sachs employee from 1992 to 2004 and then a client after cofounding his own global alternative asset management firm, Steven G. Mandis combines personal experience, interviews, and analysis of SEC and congressional filings to inform his account of the company’s changing culture. Assessing the values that made Goldman Sachs successful, Mandis analyzes “why and how the firm changed from an ethical standard to a legal one as it grew to be a leading global corporation.”

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle over who Decides What We Eat

David E. Gumpert, AB’68 Author

Food policy journalist David E. Gumpert argues that government regulators are “increasingly cracking down—physically and legally—on farmers, suburban moms, and clubs exchanging food on a private basis.” Consumers concerned about negative effects from mass-produced, processed foods have asserted a right to buy directly from farmers and neighbors. Activists among them have established what Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights celebrates as “a creative and spirited opposition” to government overreach.

Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy

Sudhir Venkatesh, AM’92, PhD’97 Author

A Columbia University sociologist and author of Gang Leader for a Day (Penguin Books, 2008), Sudhir Venkatesh spent a decade studying New York City’s wealthy and destitute to “crack the code of the city’s underground economy.” Drawing on interviews with socialites and prostitutes, immigrants and academics, high-end drug bosses and street-level dealers, Venkatesh’s “memoir of sociological investigation” argues that the people occupying these disparate worlds, rather than being separated by a great divide, unite through networks of illicit transactions.

Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner, AB’36 Author

Polymath—emphasis on the poly and the math—Martin Gardner, who died in 2010, recounts his rich and varied life in this conversational memoir. From his Oklahoma childhood to a UChicago education to his naval service to stints as a reporter, editor, and short story writer, Gardner shares intimate anecdotes and sharp opinions. Scientific American’s Mathematical Games columnist for 25 years, Gardner published more than 70 books on topics such as magic, philosophy, religion, and pseudoscience. Undiluted Hocus-Pocus, according to Publishers Weekly, “demonstrates his passion to explain and understand the world around him.”

The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine

Lori Allen, AB’93, AM’98, PhD’05 Author

The cynicism Palestinians feel about human rights efforts on their behalf is a critique of domestic politics and Western intervention, argues Lori Allen, not an expression of apathy. In an ethnographic study of NGOs and activists in the region since 1979, Allen, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, explores how the failure of the ultimate goals—ending Israeli occupation, establishing an accountable Palestinian government—has shaped perceptions of human rights activity.

The Cure: A Novel

Douglas E. Richards, MBA’89 Author

New research identifying differences in the brains of psychopaths inspired the new thriller by Douglas E. Richards. A genetic engineering expert and the best-selling author of Wired and Amped, Richards tells the story of graduate student Erin Palmer, who studies psychopaths because of a traumatic experience as a child. Her work attracts notice from a neuroscientist named Hugh Raborn who claims to have identified the genes responsible for psychopathic behavior, presenting the potential for a treatment to reverse the condition. Palmer begins to doubt Raborn’s motives and finds herself caught in a global conspiracy that raises moral and ethical dilemmas associated with psychopathy.

The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty and Joy of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet

Arielle Eckstut, AB’92 Coauthor

Joann Eckstut, a color consultant, and Arielle Eckstut, a member of the children’s committee of the Color Association of the United States, considered themselves color experts. They were proven wrong in researching their new book. They learned, for example, that grass is not green (the human brain perceives color differently than other animals). Exploring color through the lens of numerous academic disciplines, the authors were surprised by its myriad influences on human life. In the process, they discovered that anyone claiming to be a color expert is wrong.