summer reading for first-year students

I’m on the committee to select the book UNC will recommend that incoming students read and then discuss during orientation. The selection has been controversial before, and sometimes not, and I enjoyed the committee last time. However, I’m concerned that too often we pick pretty straightforward narrative journalism about some case that doesn’t really challenge the students to think in new ways. To that end, I’d love us to pick a social science, law, or science book that they can read and approach, but that isn’t too easy to digest. I’ve been thinking about Sunstein and about Bishop – any other ideas would be great. What do you wish your first-year students had read before they showed up in your classes?

Author: andrewperrin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

7 thoughts on “summer reading for first-year students”

  1. if i went with one of sunstein’s i’d go with ‘going to extremes’.
    ‘connected’ (christakis and fowler) or ‘traffic’ (vanderbilt), both are pretty thick (though accessible) and thus might be too daunting for a first year. i really liked traffic, but probably not ‘general’ enough for 1st years…and although he doesn’t need any help selling books, gladwell’s ‘outliers’ is a book i wish (at least 1/2 of it) students would read…

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  2. I would prefer a bunch of essays written by people in different disciplines each demonstrating a way of thinking. Ideally their would be some explicit attention to comparing and contrasting the disciplines. I guess I’m looking for a philosophical and sociological overview of the disciplines as well as an introduction to many of them.

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