Summer reading

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Editor’s Note: What book did you read in college that most influences the way you think today? We posed that question to a well-known UT alum, a coach, two professors and a high-profile administrator. Notably, one respondent made a point to note that his most memorable read in college was not assigned. All their responses are below.

“Coach Brown didn’t limit it to one book, but he did limit it to one subject. During the time Mack was in college at Vanderbilt and Florida State in the late 1960s and 1970s, the most dominant college athletic program in the country was UCLA basketball. John Wooden, the Bruins’ legendary coach, became a national icon. Mack wanted to be a coach, so he said he read all the books he could find either by or about Coach Wooden, because Mack wanted to pattern his career after that of Coach Wooden. He still uses many of Coach Wooden’s principles today.”
Bill Little, spokesman for head football coach
Mack Brown

“One of the books that most influenced my life that I read in college, I didn’t read for a course. It was Andre Breton’s “Manifestos of Surrealism.” This work remains for me a central and powerful articulation of the importance of the imagination. It addresses the perplexing gaps between representation and expression that any artist encounters as well as being one of the great modern declarations of liberty.”
Dean Young, poet and UT English professor

“Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
Bob Metcalfe, professor of innovation at the Cockrell School of Engineering and inventor of Ethernet

“Two books above all others influenced me during college. Physics and Philosophy by Sir James Hopwood Jeans (1942) attracted me to philosophy in general, which eventually led to my interest in legal philosophy. At the same time, William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury “(1929) was an epiphany for me, illustrating that literature is not just good storytelling but is multi-layered. It can shape our values in profound ways and give us empathy for people from whom we might otherwise be completely removed by space or time.”
William Powers Jr.,
UT President

“If I could have afforded to go to school for the rest of my life, I would have focused on Texas and Southwestern history. What I read primarily had nothing to do with my course material, and what I liked to read were historical novels and historical biographies. [History] is a continuous influence on what I think about the world, we’re all so connected, [especially] when you know the historical background of any place. And there’s nothing more fascinating than Texas and the Southwest.”
Red McCombs, founder of the Red McCombs Automotive Group, co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and namesake of the McCombs School of Business