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Catawba Announces Common Reading for '13-'14 First-Year Students

May 28, 2013

Category: Academics, Business & Economics, Communication Arts, Students

The Real WorkAn article published in the March 17, 2008 edition of "The New Yorker" is the Common College Reading for the incoming class of first-year students at Catawba College. "The Real Work: Modern Magic and the Meaning of Life" by Adam Gopnick will be discussed by students during orientation in August and during their fall semester first-year seminar classes.

Catawba's Common College Reading committee, led by Drs. Forrest Anderson, Jay Bolin, and Margy Stahr, chose "The Real Work: Modern Magic and the Meaning of Life" as its selection in part because "represents a high level of writing while taking as its subject matter a fairly accessible topic: magic, magicians, and the way they perfect their technique."  This committee noted that the essay offers "an intellectual and philosophical perspective on magic told through a series of interviews with well-respected magicians."  Magicians interviewed include David Blaine and David Copperfield and Teller (from Penn and Teller).

The learning of magic, the committee believes, is "analogous to what professors ask of their students."  The essay touches on apprenticeship, dedication to mastery of technique and what is means to be a member of a "disciplinary" community.

Dr. Sheila Brownlow, a professor of psychology at Catawba directs the first-year seminar program. She said the common college reading is an introduction to college- level reading and discussion. It will also introduce incoming students to the type of material frequently read in seminar-style courses.

Canadian-raise author Adam Gopick is best known as a staff writer for "The New Yorker," but he has written several books including "Paris to the Moon" (2000), "Through the Children's Gate" (2006), "Angels And Ages" (2009) and "The Table Comes First" (2011).

He earned his bachelor's degree from McGill University and completed graduate work at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts. He lives in New York with his wife and their two children.

Catawba's Common College Reading Program, started in 2005, is an initiative intended to get incoming first-year students talking about important issues. The program affords an opportunity to participate in and contribute to the intellectual life of the college before students arrive on campus and provides them with a shared academic experience during orientation and the first semester.

Catawba's previous common reading texts have included "Why Things Bite Back" by Edward Tenner (2005); "Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini (2006); "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder (2007) "We Are All the Same" by Jim Wooten (2008); "In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars" by Kevin Sites (2009),"Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson (2010), "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers (2011) and "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande (2012).

Conscious CapitalismKetner School of Business 2013 Summer Reading
;Current Catawba students enrolled in upper level business and communication courses will also read a common text in preparation for their fall courses.

Members of the Ketner School of Business' Advisory Board were responsible for suggesting and reviewing potential books. In the end, that Board recommended "Conscious Capitalism," by John Mackey, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Raj Sisodia, the co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and a marketing professor at Bentley University.

The book promotes a business culture that embodies "trust, accountability, caring, transparency, integrity, loyalty and egalitarianism."  It also advocates a new business practice that heeds four tenets:  higher purpose and core values, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership and conscious culture and management.

Mackey and Sisodia argue in favor of a libertarian blending of personal ethics and the creative force of entrepreneurship. They put forth the premise that capitalism is a force for good, but that the pursuit of profits should be tempered by a larger vision of the good for society.

"Conscious Capitalism" is a "Wall Street Journal" bestseller. It represents the fourth summer reading text for upper level students in the Ketner School of Business.


InfoCommon College Reading

InfoFirst-Year Students

InfoSchool of Business



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