What Kind of Difference They Made

Glendon looks to history to inspire graduates considering a career in public life

In her long career as a law professor, Mary Ann Glendon has seen students struggle to stay idealistic in an imperfect world. Will they lose their moral compass if they choose a life in politics? Risk irrelevance if they stick to academia? Glendon, a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, has explored how great statespersons and philosophers grappled with similar questions.

Checks and Imbalances

Vermeule and Posner are bullish on executive power

Vermeule and Posner set out to explain why the traditional separations of power confining the executive have weakened over time—and why that’s not necessarily worrisome.

Historic Failure

“Andrew Johnson” by Professor Annette Gordon-Reed ’84

Part of the American Presidents Series, this volume, excerpted below, examines the life and political career of Andrew Johnson, possibly the nation’s worst president, according to Gordon-Reed.

In new book, Benkler makes the case for “prosocial” systems design

For generations, the assumption that selfishness drives human behavior has shaped the design of social systems in which we live and work. In his new book “The Penguin and the Leviathan: The Triumph of Cooperation Over Self-Interest,” Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler ’94 rejects this assumption as a “myth” and proposes an alternative, refreshingly optimistic model that asserts our human traits of cooperation and collaboration.