Suggested Reading List

Below you will find the Suggested Reading List for various courses compiled by our team with help from our trusted friends.

As the title says, it’s merely a SUGGESTED reading list, therefore it is not compulsory. This is merely our personal recommendations based off our personal experience. Please use your own discretion.

Colour Code: 

RedBooks/Novels
BlueAcademic Paper/Journal
  1. ECONOMICS
BOOK/PAPER NAMEDescription/DeetsDifficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
Poor Economics by Esther Duflo and Abhijit BanerjeeDiscusses what it means to be poor, how the poor view life and how best to help them
3
A very simple read but may be more enriching when read with some background knowledge
Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang Discusses how developing countries can develop and analyses how rich countries became rich2
Simple read
Dead Aid by Dambisa MoyoAnalyses how giving aid is detrimental to Africa and suggests alternative solutions to truly help the continent3
Not very complex, but may be more enriching if you have some background/technical knowledge
Curse of Cash by Kenneth RogoffDiscusses the history of money (specifically cash), pros and cons of using cash, and analyses whether we should phase out paper cash4
Can be dry and complex but not the hardest read out there
Why Nations Fail? By Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonDiscusses the reasons behind the growth records of countries and analyses the relative importance of economic and political institutions3
Not very difficult but can be dry at parts
Stress Test by Timothy GeithnerDiscusses the events of the 2008 financial crisis and actions of US policymakers to fight the fire4
Very technical
Breakout Nations by Ruchir SharmaDiscusses the economic prospects of emerging markets such as BRIC countries and gives huge insight into growth stories of many countries around the world3
Some parts easier to understand than others
Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas PikettyFocuses of wealth and income inequality in US and EU and suggests the controversial global wealth tax5
Go read a summary, honestly.

The Bankers’ New Clothes by Anat Admati and Martin HellwigAn introduction to Macro Pru and discusses the banking system in accessible fashion while calling for major reforms3-4
Might contain jargons that may be unfamiliar but other than that, pretty readable
The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation by Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (AJR 2001)An academic paper that uses empirical data on European settler mortality to estimate the effects on institutions and economic performance. 3-4
Can be very technical so it’s encouraged to mainly understand the main argument they are trying to make. 

2. LAW

BOOK/PAPER NAMEDescription/DeetsDifficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
What about Law?Describes the various fields of law in a way that is engaging, critical and very digestible.2-3
Would highly recommend it! You’ll learn many of the cases cited in this book in your first year of law school
Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University by Nicholas McBrideA book with everything you need to get an introduction to UK law and to decide whether it really is meant for you.2-3
Quite easy to understand 
(Fun fact: McBride’s Tort Law book will likely be your textbook next year/the following year, depending on which university you go to!) 
The Rule of Law by Tom BinghamBasically first few weeks of constitutional/public law 
A run down on what the rule of law is and should be + why the author thinks so
(Tip for PS: evaluate what you read and add notes to quotes you feel are interesting)

A bit more technical for those who have not read law-related pieces before
On Fantasy Island: Britain, Europe, and Human Rights by Conor Gearty

Discusses the importance of maintaining the Human Rights Act in the UK although contenders argue it should be replaced by a British Bill of Rights.3
Description might sound a bit more technical but Gearty clears up status quo and identifies the main contentions in UK HR law  quite well in the first few chapters
Eve Was Framed by Helena Kennedy

Well-formulated critique of the British court’s treatment of women that can be extrapolated to understand differential treatment of other minorities in court4
Glanville Williams: Learning the LawOverview of the English Legal System which covers the essential legal skills to start developing from now2
Personally didn’t read it but was assured by someone else that it was an easy read
‘Seditious Tendency? Political Patronisation of Free Speech and Expression in Malaysia’ by Jeyaseelan AnthonyDiscussion on sedition, if you’re interested in that area of law and wish to explore that2.5
Simple to grasp but may be more enriching with more technical knowledge
Is Eating People Wrong? Great legal cases and how they shaped the world .

Expounds on 8 landmark cases from the UK, US and Australia. Every chapter provides a detailed account of the relevant facts of a case while providing for an exciting story. 
An interesting and engaging introduction to common law.
3
It can get quite technical so you may have to plough through some parts.

3. ENGINEERING

BOOK/PAPER NAMEDescription/DeetsDifficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
Sustainable Materials- With Both Eyes Open by Julian Allwood and Jonathan CullenExplores the environmental impact of engineering and suggests solutions by focusing on the element of sustainability3
Not very difficult to read but may be more enriching with some background knowledge
Structures- or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by J.E. GordonInformal explanation of the basic forces that hold together the ordinary and essential things of this world–from buildings and bodies to flying aircraft and eggshells.2.5
Relatively accessible but may be more enriching with some background knowledge

4. POLITICS/GOVERNMENT

BOOK/PAPER NAMEDescription/DeetsDifficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)

Why Nations Fail? By Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
Discusses the reasons behind the growth records of countries and analyses the relative importance of economic and political institutions3
Not very difficult but can be dry at parts
W R Clark, M Golder and S Nadenichek Golder Principles of Comparative Politics (CQ Press, 2009)This is the textbook for first year undergrads on many politics courses, it covers most of the key concepts and ideas and tries to link it back to real world examples


Well written, easy to understand but might take some time and background knowledge to digest concepts

Man and Society by John Plamenatz 

A good and very detailed overview and critical examination of the ideas of the key political theorists and their influence on society and politics4
Can be dry and lengthy at times but is the level that undergrads are expected to read at

Why Read Marx Today, by Jonathan Wolff

This book is a critical examination of Marx’s works and their relevance to the current economic and political situation.2
An Introduction to Political Philosophy, by Jonathan Wolff

Touches on all the core concepts and is meant as an introductory texts so is written in a clear and concise way3
Power Sharing in a Divided Nation by Johan Saravanna MuthuExplores the concept of mediating communalism and analyses the complexity of politics in Malaysia2.5
The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation by Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (AJR), 2001
An academic paper that uses empirical data on European settler mortality to estimate the effects on institutions and economic performance. 
3-4
Can be very technical so it’s encouraged to mainly understand the main argument they are trying to make. 
Factor endowments, Inequality and Paths of Development among New World Economies by Engerman and Sokoloff, 2002

An academic paper that details how political institutions come about and what effects it has on the society and economy.
It’s very interdisciplinary as it covers politics, history and economics.
3-4
Can be quite complex and technical (it’s uni level reading) but has an amazing argument. Read the intro and conclusion.

5. History

BOOK/PAPER NAMEDescription/DeetsDifficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
A People’s History of Malaysia by Syed Husin AliDiscusses the history of Malaysia and how such history is written, taking into account the perspectives of people2
Very simple read
What is History by E.H. CarrExplains historical concepts and discusses methodology in history
Easy read!

International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond by Antony BestCovers events in Africa, Europe, Asia, Americas and Middle East from last century and beyond. A narrative driven book with specific details about specific historical events.2.5
Don’t have to read from cover to cover, can zoom in on specific areas that interests you
The Twenty Years Crisis by E.H. CarrDiscusses the international relations in the interwar period from 1919-1939

3
The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation by Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (AJR 2001)
An academic paper that uses empirical data on European settler mortality to estimate the effects on institutions and economic performance.3-4
Can be very technical so it’s encouraged to mainly understand the main argument they are trying to make.
Factor endowments, Inequality and Paths of Development among New World Economies by Engerman and Sokoloff, 2002An academic paper that details how political institutions come about and what effects it has on the society and economy.
It’s very interdisciplinary as it covers politics, history and economics.
3-4
Can be quite complex and technical (it’s uni level reading) but has an amazing argument. Read the intro and conclusion.
Why Europe, the West and Not China by David Landes, 2006An academic paper that analyses the historical phenomenon of China lagging behind the West despite initial strengths and discusses the reasons for it. Covers history, politics and economics.2-3
Not difficult but may be more enriching with some background knowledge.
Don’t have to read cover to cover, skim read to find the main arguments.

6. Medicine

BOOK/PAPER NAME
Description/Deets
Difficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul KalanithiA memoir about Dr Kalanthi’s life as a neurosurgeon and his fight against Stage IV metastatic lung cancer.2
-No science background needed and very little medical terms used
-My biggest takeaway came from Dr Kalanithi explaining how he found medicine in the first place.

Being Mortal by Atul GawandeBeing Mortal is a meditation on how people can better live with age-related frailty, serious illness, and approaching death. Gawande calls for a change in the way that medical professionals treat patients approaching their ends.1
-Doesn’t require a science background
– a more approachable read as author includes his own reflections and personal accounts

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha MukherjeeThe book weaves together Mukherjee’s experiences as a hematology/oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as the history of cancer treatment and research
The book also reviews the origins of hospice and palliative medicine and cancer screening.
2
-Higher up on the scale because its a longer read
-doesn’t require a science background to appreciate the advances and setbacks in medicine for an illness that has been around for a long time

 Basics of Cancer Immunotherapy by Hai Dong Dong

This book is aimed specifically at cancer patients to serve as a resource when seeking immunotherapy as a treatment option. There is a detailed focus on various cancers provides disease-specific insights in applying immunotherapy to each disease

3
– More for a niche interest in cancer treatments
– background knowledge in pre-U biology is useful but not essential, author uses very simple terms as it is aimed at cancer patients and non-medical caregivers.

7. Psychology

BOOK/PAPER NAMEDescription/DeetsDifficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver SacksA book about a neurologist describing the case histories of some of his patients.2
Relatively simple read but can be more enriching with more background knowledge

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor FranklFrankl’s experiences in Nazi concentration camps and descriptions of his psychotherapeutic method called logotheraphy3
Doesn’t require any background knowledge but can get abstract at times

8. Sciences

BOOK/PAPER NAMEDescription/DeetsDifficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
The Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsDiscusses natural selection through a gene-centric view3
Evolving Ourselves by Juan EnriquezA fun read that succinctly outlines the very exciting prospects that modern biology can do for us1.5-2
Super nice read and accessible to any reader interested in biology at any level

Life at the Speed of Light by J Craig VenterAbout a guy that outcompeted the US government in sequencing the human genome, then went on to synthesise a whole new genome to put in bacteria3.5 
Some parts can become slightly technical

9. Philosophy

BOOK/PAPER NAME
Description/Deets
Difficulty to Read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
Mill on Utilitarianism by Roger CrispMill develops his theory of utilitarianism, building his theory of well being followed by then what that translates to in terms of morality (what ought to be done, what is permissible and what is not permissible). Crisp creates an exposition or commentary of Mill.3-4
Sophie’s World by Jostein GaarderA fiction about a teenager being introduced into the history of philosophy. While fictional, this gives a strong intro into a world of philosophy and the minds of famous philosophers3.5
The introduction to Philosophy itself is simple to grasp but the fictitious element of the book can be complex

10. General

Book/Paper nameDescriptionDifficult to read (1: easy, 5 difficult)
How to Write a Winning UCAS Personal Statement by Bianca KhorThis book offers an easy step-by-step guide to help you persuade the admissions tutors that you are a perfect match for the university’s STEM-related course. The book is also filled with personal statements written by successful students as part of their application to top Russell Group universities.1
You can find a free snippet of the book at the end of this article.

Purchase the book here:

Do you have any reads that you wish to be included in this list? Send the name of book+author, description and difficulty level to contactus.collegelah@gmail.com !

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