Contracts in the Real World : Stories of Popular Contracts and Why They Matter
Contracts, the foundation of economic activity, are both vital and misunderstood. This book corrects the misunderstandings through a series of engaging stories involving such diverse individuals as Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Clive Cussler, Lady Gaga and Donald Trump. Capturing the essentials of this subject, the book explores recurring issues people face in contracting. It shows how age-old precedents and wisdom still apply today and how contract law's inherent dynamism cautions against exuberant reforms. The book will appeal to the general reader and specialists in the field alike, and to both teachers and students of contracts.
- Electronic book text
- 20 May 2012
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
About Lawrence A. Cunningham
Lawrence A. Cunningham is the Henry St. George Tucker III Research Professor at the George Washington University Law School. He has been a professor of law and business for more than twenty years at Boston College, George Washington University and Yeshiva University. Cunningham is the author of many books, notably The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, and editor from 1994 to 2001 of the leading treatise on contract law, Corbin on Contracts. His writing has appeared opposite the editorial page in The New York Times, The Financial Times and The National Law Journal.
Table of contents
1. Getting in: contract formation; 2. Facing limits: unenforceable bargains; 3. Getting out: excuses and termination; 4. Paying up: remedies; 5. Rewinding: restitution and unjust enrichment; 6. Writing it down: interpretation, parole, frauds; 7. Performing: duties, modification, good faith; 8. Hedging: conditions; 9. Considering others: third parties and society.
'Lawrence Cunningham has written a highly original and important book. For novices and long-time contract law scholars alike, the book is educational and insightful. The author presents a fun accounting of the essence of contracts both historically and in the present. One is moved from the position of viewing canonical contract cases as mere milestones of evolution to an understanding that the rationales behind these cases remain embedded in modern contract law. Cunningham has performed a service to legal scholarship by breathing new life into the relics of the past in order to better understand the cases of today.' Larry A. DiMatteo, Huber Hurst Professor of Contract Law and Legal Studies, University of Florida 'In Lawrence Cunningham's engaging new book, Contracts in the Real World, old chestnuts, the foibles of contemporary celebrities and holes-in-one are delivered with flair and without legalese. The neophyte will be informed by this fun book. I am sure Professor Kingsfield would enjoy it much as I did.' Joseph M. Perillo, Distinguished Professor of Law, Fordham University 'The stories are fascinating, the issues are important, and the explanations are compelling. Lawrence Cunningham has written a splendid book.' Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law, Northwestern University 'Contracts in the Real World is a fascinating account of how contract disputes are argued and decided, engaging the reader with stories involving celebrity parties or gut-wrenching disputes without losing scholarly sophistication. It is fit for general readers and students of the law, amply demonstrating the common sense that the common law of contracts brings to bear on the battles inevitably arising when promises are broken.' Donald Langevoort, Thomas Aquinas Reynolds Professor of Law, Georgetown University 'In a perhaps natural turn for legal realism in the age of reality television, the last decade has seen an explosion of interest in legal 'stories'. Too often, however, such stories recount more than they teach. In exploring the Law of Contract through a set of carefully chosen exemplars, Lawrence Cunningham does much more. Contracts in the Real World offers an invaluable set of reference points, drawn from both the classics and the modern day, to connect legal doctrine to the life of the law.' Robert B. Ahdieh, Emory University 'This book will be a fascinating reading for teachers, students, and indeed for anyone with an interest in contracting generally. It runs the gamut from Lady Duff-Gordon to Lady Gaga, and taught me things I didn't know about cases I thought I knew well, as well as telling me about cases I had never heard of - while at the same time weaving a pattern of the common law of contract. An unusual and rewarding book.' Charles L. Knapp, Joseph W. Cotchett Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law '... long overdue ... in a academic field where the coin of the realm is case law about matters such as Blackacre, mason fruit jars, Carbolic smoke balls, and Shirley MacLaine ... it is refreshing to have a book that brings modernity onto the stage of legal education ... what is so stimulating about [Cunningham's] book is that he highlights how today's contract law bears upon the likes and business dealings of everyone from Bernard Madoff and Donald Trump to Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton ... Contracts in the Real World stands alone as a work that ushers the law of contracts into the world of the living ... [It] stands to become a significant break-out book in its field of study.' Ronald K. L. Collins, Harold S. Shefelman Scholar, University of Washington 'Taking the view that common sense should go hand-in-hand with common law, [this] book delivers a fascinating account of how contract disputes are argued and decided, engaging the reader with stories of celebrities and high-profile disputes without losing scholarly sophistication. The book addresses some of the major issues from the past decade - contract law has seen a substantial rise of interest recently with help from celebrities and reality television - while also adding a healthy dose of legal and historical substance. It's a bold mix that involves an all-star cast including such diverse individuals as Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Clive Cussler, Lady Gaga and Donald Trump, all of which creates a Hollywood-esque attraction.' The Global Legal Post