The Princeton Pre-read tradition

The Princeton Pre-read program, initiated in 2013 by President Christopher Eisgruber '83, introduces incoming freshmen to Princeton's intellectual life. Each year, members of the incoming class join together to read and discuss a book that President Eisgruber selects and sends to freshmen prior to their arrival on campus. Other University community members, including alumni, also are encouraged to read and discuss the Pre-read selection.

2015-16 Pre-read selection

This year, members of the Class of 2019 received a copy of Professor Claude Steele's Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, which Eisgruber announced as the 2015 Pre-Read selection. Upon choosing the book, Eisgruber said, "Whistling Vivaldi presents some of the most important social science work done in the last quarter-century, and speaks directly to issues that are important to our nation and our campus community. Professor Steele describes a series of inventive experiments — including some involving Princeton students — that enabled him to develop and test his hypothesis about how negative stereotypes affect us in times of stress. All of us, no matter what our backgrounds may be, will recognize ourselves in some of Professor Steele's examples."

Alumni are invited to read along, reflect upon how stereotypes shape our lives, and consider the book's guidance on ways to combat the effects of stereotypes in our own communities. For those interested in interacting with fellow alumni and members of the Princeton Community to discuss the themes from Whistling Vivaldi, visit the Materials page for resources to support a regional Pre-read gathering.