The 3 Most Important Books to Read in 2018, According to Harvard Professors

Updated 05/02/18

While it's easy to acquire a disdain towards assigned reading while at school, it can be challenging to find the same motivation to read in the real world without the encouragement of teachers and deadlines. In between work, social commitments, and the lure of Netflix, reading can take a backseat to the rest of life's demands. On top of that, choosing a new book to dive into can also be a hurdle almost big enough to make you miss the days of being told exactly what to read by knowledgeable scholars.

If you've been itching to read something mentally stimulating, you're in luck. Three Harvard professors recently revealed to Business Insider the books they think everyone should read this year. Add their picks to your reading list.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina $15

"There is no better novel I know about how women (and I don't mean just Anna)—elite, intelligent, educated—are ignored, oppressed, and have little legal recourse. Women are the caregivers, the empathetic. They hold society together and provide salvation even as the priests take the credit," says Claudia Goldin, economic historian and labour economist.

The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith

Adam Smith The Theory of Moral Sentiments $20

"Every economics student knows The Wealth of Nations, but this earlier book presents a far richer and nuanced view of human nature than its more famous successor," explains Eric Makin, economist and Nobel laureate.

The Internationalists by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro

Ooan A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro The Internationalists $57

"The Internationalists, by the legal scholars Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro, explain a phenomenon you probably didn't even know existed—the decline of interstate war and conquest—with a historical event you probably think is ridiculous: the Kellogg-Briand Paris Peace Pact of 1928, which declared war illegal," says professor of psychology Steven Pinker.

Learn about other Harvard-approved books at Business Insider and get reading.

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