Summer Reading Program

Miami welcomes new students to its engaged community of learners through the Summer Reading Program. In this important tradition, now 32 years old, we underline those activities we value most as a community: critical engagement with ideas; close interaction among faculty, staff, and students; and reading, listening, reflecting, talking, and learning as characteristics of active, responsible citizenship. As students' introduction to the types of dialogues they will engage in here with other learners, the summer reading program asks students to read a book during the summer and to return to campus in August prepared to discuss it with their fellow students and others in breakout sessions that immediately follow the Convocation ceremony.

Participation in the Summer Reading Program is your first assignment as a university student. Your willingness to take the assignment seriously and to participate actively in group discussions in August may have important influences on your subsequent achievements as a Miami student. 

Summer Reading 2013 book: Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

Reality Is Broken

by Jane McGonigal

What is the book about?

The book examines features of games that make them so attractive, how those features might indicate aspects of the world in need of change, and how the motivational aspects of games can be used to produce that change. The author, who will speak at this year’s Convocation, identifies ways the power of games can be used to address real-world challenges in people’s lives, their businesses, and their communities. Jane McGonigal outlines some of the theories guiding the book in her TED talk.

From Amazon: “A visionary game designer reveals how we can harness the power of games to boost global happiness. With 174 million gamers in the United States alone, we now live in a world where every generation will be a gamer generation. But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? In this groundbreaking book, she shows how we can leverage the power of games to fix what is wrong with the real world—from social problems like depression and obesity to global issues like poverty and climate change—and introduces us to cutting-edge games that are already changing the business, education, and nonprofit worlds. Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.”

Why this book?
We hope this reading will help participants in this year’s program reflect on their own roles ascritical, compassionate, and creative citizens of Miami University and of all the places they hopeto influence now and in the future. For people who already consider themselves gamers, thisbook can help deepen your understanding of what motivates you and what you might do withthat motivation. For others, the book provides insights not only into gaming but into aspects oflife that might be reinvigorated and even fundamentally altered for the better by the power of games.

What do I do after I read the book?

Pick up your copy of this year's Summer Reading Program book, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal, at the University Bookstore during Orientation. Read the book when you return home, try to keep a reader's journal where you jot down ideas about the text, participate on Facebook, consider entering the composition contest related to this book (for details, visit the Howe Writing Center), and bring the book with you when you return to campus in August. Immediately after Convocation, you will join others - usually from your residence hall - for small group discussion of the book with professors, student affairs staff, and/or returning upperclass students.

Convocation 2013 will be held on The Hub Friday, August 23, with the book’s author, Jane McGonigal, as featured speaker. The ceremony begins this year at 9:00 am. As is our tradition, discussion groups will convene directly after the ceremony (sometime between 10:00 and 10:30) and run for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.