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 Orientation.
2013 New Student Reading Program Selection:
Information about the 2013 New Student Reading Program will be posted here soon.
2012 New Student Reading Program Selection:
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business
By Charles Duhigg
“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)
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.
About the Author
Charles Duhigg is the best-selling author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, which explores the science of habit formation in our lives, companies and societies. His presentations are both descriptive and prescriptive, and speak to a wide range of groups from the fields of science, medicine, business and education. Duhigg is a prize-winning investigative reporter for the business section of The New York Times, where he contributes to the newspaper and the Times Magazine. He has authored or contributed to “The Reckoning” (2008), which studied the causes and outcomes of the financial crisis, “Toxic Waters” (2009), about the worsening pollution in American waters and this year’s “The iEconomy,” examining Apple’s in manufacturing and overseas, and what it tells us about the American economy. His work was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009, and has won the George Polk Award (2007), the Gerald Loeb Award (2008), the National Journalism Award (2009) and other honors. In addition to his reporting, Charles Duhigg is a regular contributor to television and radio, including the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Frontline, Dr. Oz and various programs on CNBC and NPR. Before becoming a journalist, Mr. Duhigg worked in private equity and founded a health care company in his home state of New Mexico. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and Yale College. Mr. Duhigg is scheduled to speak to the Class of 2016 on Sunday, August 24, 2012 in the Carling-Sorenson Theater as part of New Student Orientation.
2011 New Student Reading Program Selection:
A Hope in the Unseen
By Ron Suskind
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.
"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