Each Of Us Is More Than The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done: Just Mercy With Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson -- credit Nina SubinBy Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel & Grau, October 2014)

My grandmother was the daughter of people who were enslaved in Caroline County, Virginia. She was born in the 1880s, her parents in the 1840s, and the legacy of slavery very much shaped her and the things she would say to me. When I visited my grandmother, she would hug me so tightly I could barely breathe. After a little while, she would ask me, “Bryan, do you still feel me hugging you?” If I said yes, she’d let me be; if I said no, she would assault me again. I said no a lot because it made me happy to be wrapped in her formidable arms. She never tired of pulling me to her. “You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close,” she told me all the time. Continue reading

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Northern Arizona University Creates Exciting Materials for Common Reading Program

9780812984965When members of the class of 2019 arrive at Northern Arizona University in the Fall, they will participate in conversations on Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson’s intimate and unforgettable narrative journey into the broken American criminal justice system.

NAU has created robust materials to augment discussions: A bubble chart to explore key themes such as “doing uncomfortable things”, “protecting the hope dynamic” and “changing the narrative”; Chapter map to parse out topics and connect them with text; and a bookmark complete with author appearance date.

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Shifting Our Perspective on Rejection with Jia Jiang

Rejection Proof guides us to think differently about what we can accomplish.

Rejection Proof shows us how to think differently about what we can accomplish

Rejection Proof (Harmony, April 2014) author Jia Jiang

Jia Jiang











Jia Jiang came to the United States with the dream of being the next Bill Gates. But despite early success in the corporate world, his first attempt to pursue his entrepreneurial dream ended in rejection. Jia was crushed, and spiraled into a period of deep self doubt. But he realized that his fear of rejection was a bigger obstacle than any single rejection would ever be, and he needed to find a way to cope with being told no. Thus was born his “100 days of rejection” experiment, during which he willfully sought rejection on a daily basis and learned that even the most preposterous wish may be granted if you ask in the right way. But more important, he learned techniques for steeling himself against rejection and ways to develop his own confidence. Continue reading

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Lehigh University selects The Most Human Human and Ready Player One for 2015 Summer Reading Program











When members of Leigh University’s Class of 2019 arrive on campus during the Fall of 2015, they will begin their college experience by discussing both The Most Human Human and Ready Player One. Aligning with the Summer Reading Program’s “Technology and the Digital World” theme, The Most Human Human is author Brian Christian’s exploration of the ways in which computers, and research into artificial intelligence, are reshaping our ideas of what it means to be human. Ready Player One, set in 2044 when humans have wrecked the climate and famine, poverty and disease is widespread, focuses on teenage Wade Watts’ quest through a virtual world. Continue reading

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Helping Students Navigate the New Career Marketplace

4980_citrin_james_mby James M. Citrin, author of The Career Playbook: Essential Advice for Today’s Aspiring Young Professionals (Crown Business, April 2015)

The career marketplace for new graduates and millennials (the approximately 82 million people born between 1981 and about 2000) has never been more competitive, unstructured, and difficult to navigate.

For every appealing entry-level professional position in a given industry, there are dozens, often hundreds, and sometimes thousands of candidates. The acceptance rates at today’s most competitive colleges and universities—Stanford and Harvard—are roughly 5%; very long odds. But the number of applicants who receive job offers from today’s most prestigious and largest companies is even tougher—often 1 to 2%. Continue reading

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A Conversation with Kenji Yoshino, author of Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial

35472_yoshino_kenjiIn this post, Kenji Yoshino discusses his forthcoming book Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial (Crown, April 2015).  The renowned legal scholar’s newest work tells the definitive story of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the trial that will stand as the most potent argument for marriage equality.  Advanced copies are available, please email commonreads@penguinrandomhouse.com (limited to first ten respondents).

Q. SPEAK NOW revisits the much-publicized Hollingsworth v. Perry federal trial, which overturned Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Why did you feel this case warranted closer examination?
A. When I read the 2010 decision in the case striking down Prop 8, I noticed that it was different in kind from other decisions on same-sex marriage. The 136-page opinion was encrusted with facts, which were drawn from the twelve-day Hollingsworth v. Perry trial, the first federal trial ever on this topic. Then, when I read the 3,000-page transcript of the proceedings, I had the experience of many readers—perhaps the experience that defines us as readers—of “falling into” the text and not emerging into everyday life until I had turned the final page. It was a shining civil rights document—more thorough, rigorous, and dramatic than any debate I had ever encountered on the subject of same-sex marriage. Because the trial was not televised, I became obsessed with bringing the proceedings to the general public. Continue reading

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Seattle Reads The Painter

9780804170154The Washington Center for the Book has recently selected The Painter by Peter Heller as their 2015 Seattle Reads—a common reading program that goes beyond the college campus, promoting literacy and community engagement by facilitating reading and discussion. We wanted to share this good news and suggest that it might provide an opportunity, especially if you already have a common reading program, for community involvement.

A stunning, savage novel of art and violence, love and grief, The Painter is the story of a man intent on using the losses he has suffered to create a meaningful life: Continue reading

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