Macmillan’s Common Reading March Madness Picks!

Colleges and universities of all sizes in all regions are gearing up for the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament and Macmillan wants in on the bracketology!

Click for a closer look:

Macmillan is not affiliated with the NCAA, ESPN, or HP. Bracket Source: ESPN

Since I’m all about selecting winning books for common reading, I based my bracket picks on the schools that have adopted Macmillan titles for their programs. When neither school had—at least, not this season!—I went with the lower seed (those picks are noted in black). When Macmillan adopters went head to head, I used seed positions to make my predictions, as well.

I proposed the common reading bracket with tongue in cheek, but my little experiment has been fun and informative. Here we have a whole new perspective on the trends and the diversity in common reading selections at schools across the country.

As you can see, the competitors are very well read!

In the East, Ohio State is the favorite with Elie Wiesel’s Night, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, and Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man. First Four victor Clemson has previously adopted Ron Rash’s novel One Foot in Eden, and they’ll be reading his Saints at the River this fall. Common reader MVP No Impact Man is the Fall 2011 book at the University of Kentucky. Nickel and Dimed has been the common reading title at both UNC, Chapel Hill and Syracuse University. The UNC Tarheels have also read Picking Cotton and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, while Syracuse has adopted A Long Way Gone. The University of Washington represents with Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone dominates in the West, where the universities of Texas and Tennessee have both selected the book. Hampton University first-year students have been reading Daniel Black’s They Tell Me of a Home just this year and Temple’s have read Elie Wiesel’s Night. Number two seed San Diego State University has adopted Ray C. Anderson’s Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist.

Next, we go to the Southwest, where Boston University has favorites Nickel and Dimed and A Long Way Gone on its roster. The University of Illinois has also adopted Nickel and Dimed and the University of Akron has chosen A Long Way Gone. Class Matters has been read campus-wide at the University of Richmond, while Saint Peter’s has adopted Night. Florida State students submitted their own “This I Believe” essays when the university picked This I Believe—how many of the Seminoles wrote about basketball?

Finally, in the Southeast, University of Pittsburgh students have read Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Utah State has adopted Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone and Wofford College freshmen have read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Ron Rash’s One Foot in Eden. Students in the University of Wisconsin system, from Parkside to Marathon County, have read everything from This I Believe II to Deep Economy; I hope they’re all united behind the Badgers from Madison! But can sixth-seed Saint John’s take Katharine Weber’s Triangle all the way to the championship?

The Big Dance begins tomorrow—what book are you rooting for?

P.S. For more unconventional bracketology for academics, check out The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Tweed Madness!

Confessions of a Radical Industrialist is San Diego State University’s 2010 Common Experience Book

San Diego State University has selected Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose—Doing Business by Respecting the Earth for the shared reading component of its 2010 Common Experience program!

The Common Experience at SDSU is a year-long, campus-wide program that revolves around a theme; the theme this year, and for the next three years, is Social Justice and Environmental Integrity: A Call to Service.  Ray C. Anderson’s book about sustainable, responsible business will be central to programming based on that theme. Click here for more information about the book.

New students will be asked to read Confessions of a Radical Industrialist this summer, and will hear a brief presentation about it at convocation in the fall. Through the 2010-2011 academic year, those first-year students and continuing upperclassmen will discuss the book in first-year experience classes, selected writing classes, in residence hall discussions and in upper-level courses.

The conversations that begin in those courses will continue through thematically relevant activities and events for the whole campus community—”student journals, films, theater, creative writing, original music and dance performances, art exhibitions, panel discussions, renowned guest speakers, service learning experiences and more, all enrich the process and expand inclusiveness.”

Presented by an assorted group of campus offices, the Common Experience is a collaborative effort to:

—Cultivate a common intellectual conversation across the campus – with special attention to engaging all entering students
—Enhance student participation in the intellectual life of the campus by encouraging discussion of and critical thinking about a core text and common topic
—Foster a sense of community among San Diego State University students, faculty and staff, and the wider community

Previous Common Experience books at SDSU include Nickel and Dimed and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.  Both are Popular Picks for common reading from Macmillan!

Confessions of a Radical Industrialist • St. Martin’s Press • 320 pages