Author Talk: Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control our Lives

Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control our Lives explores the hidden set of rules governing who owns what. When is it okay to recline your airplane seat? Why does HBO want you to share your password illegally? What do you really own when you click the “buy now” button? And why can’t you sell your spare kidney? 


In this author talk, Michael Heller and Jim Salzman, two of the world’s leading experts on ownership, will explore fun, surprising, and often infuriating real-life stories that reveal who gets what in the 21st century. Remarkably, there are just a handful of simple stories that everyone uses to claim everything. These are the stories kids use to solve fights on the playground – and they offer our best chance to address really big problems like preserving online freedom, cooling our warming planet, and curbing America’s new wealth aristocracy.


Ownership shapes every single day of our lives. Every minute! Savvy owners choose the story that steers us to do what they want. But don’t be fooled. Ownership is always up for grabs and the prize goes to those who know how its hidden rules really work.

Michael Heller is one of the world’s leading authorities on ownership, on who gets what and why. He is the Vice Dean and the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of Real Estate Law at Columbia Law School. His writings range over innovation and entrepreneurship, corporate governance, biomedical research policy, real estate development, African-American and Native American land ownership, and post-socialist economic transition. In each area, Heller helps people see and cure ownership dilemmas no one had previously noticed. Heller has taught at Michigan, NYU, UCLA, and Yale Law Schools. (Follow him on social media at:  FBTWLIIN.)


Jim Salzman is one of the world’s leading environmental theorists. He is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law with joint appointments at the UCLA School of Law and at the School of the Environment at UC Santa Barbara. An international expert on drinking water, he frequently appears as a media commentator and has lectured on every continent except Antarctica. He has taught at Yale, Stanford, Duke, and Harvard as well as at universities in Australia, China, Israel, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden. In nine books and more than ninety articles and book chapters, his broad-ranging scholarship has addressed topics ranging from water to wildlife, from climate change to creating markets for ecosystems.