Mitch Prinstein (photo by Somer Hadley, Revolution Studios)

Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World that Cares Too Much about the Wrong Kinds of Relationships is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2018 selection for the Carolina Summer Reading Program. Written by UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Mitch Prinstein, the book explores why popularity plays a key role in human development and ultimately, how it still influences people as adults.

The book examines how popularity affects success, relationships and happiness — and why people 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 in the College of Arts & Sciences 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 on 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.

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