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Three Books

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Stanford’s Three Books program, one of the signature elements of New Student Orientation (NSO), has transitioned into the COLLEGE curriculum, with one book each quarter being integrated into the COLLEGE courses offered that quarter. The books and their accompanying events remain open to all undergraduate first-year and transfer students, as well as those who choose to enroll in the COLLEGE courses to which a book is assigned.

Three Books 2023


How to Do Nothing, by Bay Area artist and writer Jenny Odell, is assigned to the fall COLLEGE course Why College? Your Education and the Good Life. The book explores the ways addictive technology captures users’ attention and how they can choose to use their attention more productively and meaningfully. This book became the inspiration for a musical revue capturing the pressures on Stanford frosh.


System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot, by Stanford professors Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami, and Jeremy Weinstein, is assigned in the winter COLLEGE course Citizenship in the 21st Century. The book analyzes how the technology industry’s preoccupation with optimization and efficiency has sacrificed fundamental human values, and then outlines steps to change course.


Navalny, a documentary directed by Daniel Roher, details the 2020 assassination attempt on Russian opposition leader and former Russian presidential candidate Alexei Navalny.

Three Books Archive

Curious to know what books we've hosted in previous years? Check out our Three Books Archive for a list of all past books and their authors!

Three Books is made possible by the generosity of The Lamsam-Sagan Family Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Education.