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New Student Reading Program

The books chosen tie into the values and mission of the College - entrepreneurship, social innovation, global perspective, community, sustainability, leadership, and more. The selection is read by new students in preparation for a special presentation related to the book at in the Fall semester.

​2013 New Student Reading Program Selection:
Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What's Right

By Mary Gentile

Abstract

How can you effectively stand up for your values when pressured by your boss, colleagues, customers, or shareholders to do the opposite?

Educator Mary Gentile empowers business leaders with the skills to voice and act on their values, and align their professional path with their principles. Her book, Giving Voice to Values, is inspired by a curriculum Gentile launched at the Aspen Institute with Yale School of Management, now housed at Babson College, and which has been piloted in over 400 schools and organizations on all seven continents.

Challenging the assumptions about business ethics at companies and business schools, she argues that often the issue isn’t distinguishing what is right or wrong, but knowing how to act on your values despite opposing pressure. Drawing on actual business experiences as well as social science research, Gentile offers advice, practical exercises, and scripts for handling a wide range of ethical dilemmas. Published by Yale University Press, Giving Voice to Values is an engaging, innovative, and useful guide that is essential reading for anyone in business.

Reviews 

"A wonderful guide to help us enter an era of responsibility and of leadership based on values."—Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute (Walter Isaacson)

"Giving Voice To Values heralds a revolution in ethics education. Gentile…wants to help you practice what to do when you know something is unethical. It's like a self-defense class for your soul."—Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Switch and Made to Stick (Dan and Chip Heath)

About the Author

MARY C. GENTILE, Ph.D. consults on management education and values-driven leadership. In her ten-year tenure at Harvard Business School, she developed and taught the school’s first course on managing diversity, and helped design and taught its first required module on ethical decision-making. Currently she is director of the Giving Voice to Values curriculum and senior research scholar at Babson College. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, strategy+business, BizEd, CFO Magazine, and Risk Management, and she has written several books on ethics and diversity.

In January 2013, Mary C. Gentile was been named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior 2013 by Trust Across America. (from http://www.givingvoicetovaluesthebook.com/about/)

(More information: http://www.babson.edu/faculty/profiles/Pages/gentile-mary.aspx )

 

2012 New Student Reading Program Selection:

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business

By Charles Duhigg

Abstract

A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed. 

Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year. 

An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones. 

What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives. 

They succeeded by transforming habits. 

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation. 

Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. 

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. 

​Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

Reviews

“His core insight is sharp, provocative, and useful.” -- Jim Collins, #1 bestselling author of Good to Great and Built to Last
Once you read this book, you’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.
-- Daniel H. Pink, author of #1 New York Times bestselling Drive and A Whole New Mind
 

The New York Times Sunday Book Review (March 9, 2012)

 

2011 New Student Reading Program Selection:

A Hope in the Unseena-hope-in-the-unseen.jpg

By Ron Suskind

Abstract

It is 1993, and Cedric Jennings is a bright and ferociously determined honor student at Ballou, a high school in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where the dropout rate is well into double digits and just 80 students out of more than 1,350 boast an average of B or better. At Ballou, Cedric has almost no friends. He eats lunch in a classroom most days, plowing through the extra work he has asked for, knowing that he’s really competing with kids from other, harder schools. Cedric Jennings’s driving ambition–which is fully supported by his forceful mother–is to attend a top-flight college.
In September 1995, after years of near superhuman dedication, he realizes that ambition when he begins as a freshman at Brown University. In this updated edition, A Hope in the Unseen chronicles Cedric’s odyssey during his last two years of high school, follows him through his difficult first year at Brown, and now tells the story of his subsequent successes in college and the world of work.

Reviews

"A beautiful book of a heroic American struggle." --David Halberstam, USA Today
"[An] extraordinary, formula-shattering book." -- New York Times Book Review
"A story of sheer human grit that should be read by others as example and inspiration." -- Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
"Absolutely gripping. A sort of suspense novel of the human psyche. . . . It's beyond good, it's really extraordinary." -- Walter Kirn, National Public Radio​​​​​​​​