Resilience is the theme of summer reading for incoming students

Three books
The Three Books program for new students this year features selections by President John Hennessy. (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

The Class of 2019 received its first college reading assignment from Stanford President John Hennessy himself, an avid reader who chose three books for them to read over the summer about people who faced challenges and overcame adversity. During New Student Orientation in September, Hennessy will moderate a discussion with the authors of this year’s selections as part of Stanford’s Three Book program.

He selected This Boy’s Life, a memoir about a 1950s American childhood by Tobias Wolff, a professor of English; Cane River, a book of biographical fiction about four generations of African American women in Louisiana by Lalita Tademy; and The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson.

Hennessy said he chose the books because each one provides insights about resilience and determination – lessons that will serve students well at Stanford and throughout their lives.

“In This Boy’s Life, Toby has to face and survive a dysfunctional home life, while Cane River relates tales of survival and even personal triumph in the face of slavery and racism,” Hennessy said. “Isaacson’s Innovators focuses on the skills of collaboration, innovation and persistence that are needed to achieve something exceptional.”

Each year, under the Three Books program, a Stanford faculty member selects three books for incoming students to read.

Read the entire Stanford Report article on the Three Books program.