Academics

Carolina selects “Popular” for 2018 Summer Reading

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the reading program.

Mitch Prinstein

“Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World that Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships,” which explores why popularity plays such a key role in our development and ultimately, how it still influences us as adults, is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2018 selection for the Carolina Summer Reading Program.

“Popular,” by psychologist Mitch Prinstein examines how popularity affects our success, our relationships, and our happiness—and why we don’t always want to be the most popular. Prinstein serves as the John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and the Director of Clinical Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“This book is directly relevant to incoming students and can spur tremendous conversation about the challenges of transitioning to college and adult life,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp. “We’re also thrilled to have work by one of Carolina’s own to mark a milestone for the reading program, the 20th anniversary.”

First-year and transfer students who enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill this fall are encouraged to read the book this summer and participate in small-group discussions during the Week of Welcome before fall 2018 semester classes begin.

The Carolina Summer Reading Program, now in its 20th year, aims to stimulate critical thinking outside the classroom and give new students a shared experience. Students are encouraged to come to their own conclusions about the book and will participate in summer reading discussion groups that serve as an academic icebreaker.

“I am so excited that students will get a chance to learn which type of popularity will help them over the course of their lives, which type is toxic, and the ways that social media may be influencing them without even realizing it,” said Prinstein. “Anyone who ever went to high school will find something in this book that makes them feel much better about their adolescence.”

Prinstein will be on campus to give a lecture about the book, Aug. 20, 2018, in Memorial Hall.

“Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World that Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships” is available at the Bull’s Head Bookshop in UNC Student Stores. The paperback version, which includes a new chapter focusing on how adults can achieve the most useful type of popularity, will be available beginning June 19, 2018.

Past selections for the Carolina Summer Reading Program include: “How Does it Feel to be a Problem?” by Moustafa Bayoumi, “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicholas G. Carr, “Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point” by David Lipsky, and “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande.

For more information, visit the Carolina Summer Reading website.