What books have top people been reading?

Often in January I attend a conference with French and British businessmen and women, officials and politicians, and am always fascinated by the books these important people cite when they speak. With 50% French participation, there is always far more intellectual crunchiness than you would get in a solely Anglo-Saxon conference. Anyway, this year I heard people referring to:

Andre Malraux, Outlines of a Psychology of the Cinema

Cyber China, Xiaolong Qiu and Adélaïde Pralon

Cyber China

Raghuram Rajan, Fault Lines

Bossuet, Politics Drawn From the words of Holy Scripture

Martin Heidegger, Being and Time

Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and infinity

Pierre Bourdieu, The Social Structures of the Economy

Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power

The Passage of Power

In general when I hear people citing, say, Heidegger’s Being and Time I permit myself some doubt as to whether they’ve really read the book. For myself, the Beginner’s Guide to Heidegger was tough enough going.

Heidegger (Beginner’s Guides)

But in this crowd, the probability of the book mentioned having been read is pretty high, although there was of course a bit of a read-to-impress quotient: nobody was talking about the thrillers they read for relaxation.

On the train to and fro I started reading Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest. So far, absolutely superb.

Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest