Santa Clara University

New Student Orientation

Orientation Common Reading 2015

We ask that all students read a common text before visiting campus for orientation. You should be prepared to discuss the book with other students in your Residential Learning Community (RLC) during the first morning of orientation. These discussions are designed to serve as an introduction to the intellectual communities you join when you become a Bronco.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

This year's common reading for Orientation is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Thinking, Fast and Slow is an entertaining yet accessible and compelling exploration of how we think. Kahneman brings the reader to an understanding of two modes of thought, a largely unconscious process influenced by emotion and prone to snap judgments, and a conscious, deliberative process that is careful, often meticulous, but also easily distracted and lazy.

Reading Assignment

We ask that you read sections 1 and 5 of the book. However, you might be drawn in so deeply that you'll decide to read the entire book! Thinking, Fast and Slow may change the way you think!

In the past some students have reported through social media that there was no quiz on the book and no penalty for students who came to the discussion not having read the book. However, students who come to Orientation having read the book certainly benefit more from the discussion than others do. In addition, a number of first year courses at SCU will include assignments related to the summer reading.

Getting the Book

Thinking, Fast and Slow (published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) is available through and other online providers. We encourage you to obtain your copy as soon as possible. If you have difficulty obtaining the text or have other questions about it, please contact us at 408-551-1995 or

More About the Book

A description of Thinking, Fast and Slow from Macmillan Publishers:


In the international bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives, and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

Additional Reviews

Video of Public Lecture by Daniel Kahneman

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