In our August issue, we asked CLM fellows what (and how) they were reading, and their answers provided a wide spectrum of thoughtful suggestions. But what about Claims Management's editorial staff? See their suggestions below.
CLM Executive Director
Reading Medium: Paperback
The book, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down,” by Anne Fadiman is about a Hmong girl who is diagnosed with severe epilepsy, and how the cultural conflict between Hmong traditional values and American medical treatment affects her condition. The book is an easy, captivating read and provides a fascinating understanding of cultural differences. It is interesting, funny, and opens your eyes to a new world (you will think of the book each time you walk into a U.S. grocery store).
I have always been intrigued by other cultures and was not familiar with the Hmong people or traditions, despite having traveled extensively to areas ranging from large, metropolitan cities in Europe to small villages in Africa and Asia. This book gave me a better appreciation of the differences that exist between people and cultures.
Reading Medium: Android Kindle App
I downloaded “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power” by the New York Times’ David Sanger after listening to a riveting interview with him on how technology and, specifically, a computer virus dubbed “Stuxnet,” was used to destroy uranium-enriching centrifuges in Iran. The virus, developed and deployed across the Bush and Obama presidencies, didn’t just render the centrifuges useless; it physically reduced them to rubble.
The behind-the-scenes recount of how the virus was developed and deployed by the government, its initial successes, and its ultimate, accidental escape into the “wild” of the open Internet reads like a script for the next “Mission: Impossible” movie. It’s a testament to the power of technology in today’s times, and a warning shot to insurers about the importance of cyber security.
That was just chapter eight. Among other political discussions, the book provides an insider’s account of the detection, surveillance, and killing of Osama bid Laden that also utilized technology in new ways, some of which are familiar to insurers (think aerial imaging). It’s a book that I couldn’t put down.
Reading Medium: iPad Kindle App
It’s fascinating to learn how people think and how they form their decisions. For years, Ken Feinberg has been asked to determine what is fair under the most difficult conditions imaginable. In his new book, “Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Upheaval,” he shares some of the details of his five landmark assignments—the 1984 Agent Orange case, the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund for the victims of the 2006 Virginia Tech shootings, Wall Street executive pay as part of TARP, and, most recently, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility for victims of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. Feinberg shares from the inside how each case differed from the other, what he learned from each situation, and how his growing knowledge influenced future counsel and decisions.
From his early days working for Senator Ted Kennedy to the BP Oil Spill, it’s an interesting read. The book ends with a hint that we may be seeing Feinberg again soon (think Penn State scandal) as he leaves the reader with a sobering thought, “Life guarantees misfortune.”
Partner, Norman, Wood, Kendrick & Turner
Reading Medium: Autographed Hardback
I purchased “Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges” by Bryan A. Garner and Antonin Scalia after becoming a follower of Garner on Twitter. I am always intrigued by the nuggets of wisdom related to grammar and argument that he posts. (Follow him @BryanAGarner.)
This book is full of pointed wisdom on both oral and written communication that is directed at the practicing attorney. It is a practical guide in areas that defense lawyers use in everyday practice. The contents are organized into four sections: General Principles of Argumentation, Legal Reasoning, Briefing, and Oral Argument. Contained in those four sections are 115 sub-sections of one-to-two pages each. To be certain, these are more than mere window-dressing for legal arguments. They provide simple, clear—but oft-forgotten rules—that will make any legal argument more pungent and effective.
Most importantly, from cover to cover, the book does not stray from its goal of persuading judges. The introduction sets out the parameters that must be met to persuade a judge. It focuses on the motives of judges and what conclusions they must reach to decide in your favor.