For the 30th year in a row, Elon University will continue its common reading program and has selected, “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling for the 2022-23 academic year.
A committee composed of faculty, staff and students chose the book as one that represents the core values of the university for freshmen students.
Paula Patch, assistant director for first-year initiatives in the Elon Core Curriculum, said the committee starts the selection process18 months in advance to give faculty ample time to prepare to teach the book to freshmen.
Though the process of selecting common reading books begins many months in advance, Patch said the committee still feels the chosen book is timely to current social issues like racial injustice and poverty.
“The primary thing that ensures the timeliness of any common reading is the criteria that the book be about a ‘key’ issue that generally has a global impact,” Patch said. “These issues don’t usually bubble up or go away in the space of 18 months or two years.”
The main theme of “Factfulness” is that society often perceives things to be worse than they are. The book dives into critical thinking approaches, which Patch said will serve as a starting point for important conversations pertaining to social issues, change and negativity.
Though the book was primarily written by Rosling, a Swedish physician, two of his children, Ola and Anna, helped finish the book after his passing in 2017.
Elon senior Chase Solomon served on the common reading committee when “Factfulness” was selected and said the 2022-23 book was chosen because of its potential impact on incoming students.
“We thought that it was the best choice because it teaches such important lessons about our habits that result in unconscious bias,” Solomon said.
Patch said Anna will visit campus virtually from Sweden, though the September date is not yet finalized.