It is the richest, most influential, most powerful university in the world, but at the beginning of 2001, Harvard was in crisis. Students complained that a Harvard education had grown mediocre. Professors charged that the university cared more about money than about learning. And everyone worried that Harvard's outgoing president, Neil Rudenstine, epitomized an unhappy trend: the university president as full-time fund-raiser. Harvard may have possessed a $19 billion endowment, but had the university lost its soul?
The members of the Harvard Corporation, the ultra-secretive governing board established more than three centuries ago, knew that they had to act. And so they made a bold pick for Harvard's twenty-seventh president: former Treasury Secretary and intellectual prodigy economist Lawrence Summers.
Although famously brilliant, Summers was a high-stakes gamble. In the 1990s he had crafted American policies to stabilize the global economy, quietly becoming one of the world's most powerful men. But while many admired Summers, his critics called him elitist, imperialist, and arrogant beyond measure.
Today Larry Summers sits atop a university in a state of upheaval, unsure of what it stands for and where it is going. His allies believe that Harvard needs shaking up and appreciate Summer's blunt language and unabashed displays of power. His foes accuse the new president of tearing apart a venerable institution simply to remake it in his own image. At stake is not just the future of Harvard University, but the way in which Harvard students see the world and the manner in which they will lead it.
Written despite the university's official opposition, Harvard Rules uncovers what really goes on behind Harvard's storied walls the politics, sex, ambition, infighting, and intrigue that run rampant within the world's most important university.
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About the Author
The former executive editor of George magazine, Richard Bradley is the author of the number one New York Times bestseller American Son: A Portrait of John F. Kennedy, Jr. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and the New Republic. A graduate of Yale College who received his A.M. in American history from Harvard, Bradley lives in New York City.