Book Club

Open Minds Book Club

The Open Minds Book Club invites thoughtful participation from GVSU students, faculty and staff, Hauenstein Center members, and community members. Jakob Bigard, program manager of the Common Ground Initiative, and Brian Bowdle, associate professor of psychology, will host discussions once a semester on books that seek to understand and serve the needs of our democratic society.

Goals of the Open Minds Book Club

Initiating the kinds of conversations necessary for fostering an informed citizenry and wise leadership
Bridging cultural, ideological, and generational divides through civil discourse
Growing a shared sense of belonging in our West Michigan community

What are we reading this semester?

Fall Open minds logo

Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them

"From the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street, and from cryptocurrency advocates to the #MeToo movement, Americans and citizens of democracies worldwide are losing confidence in what we once called the system.

This loss of faith has spread beyond government to infect a broad swath of institutions―the press, corporations, digital platforms―none of which seem capable of holding us together. The dominant theme of contemporary civic life is mistrust in institutions―governments, big business, the health care system, the press.

How should we encourage participation in public life when neither elections nor protests feel like paths to change? Drawing on work by political scientists, legal theorists, and activists in the streets, Ethan Zuckerman offers a lens for understanding civic engagement that focuses on efficacy, the power of seeing the change you make in the world."

How should we encourage participation in public life when neither elections nor protests feel like paths to change? Ethan Zuckerman, in his new book, Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them, introduces a set of “levers” – laws, markets, codes, and norms, that all provide ways to move the world forward. Mistrust is a guidebook for those aiming to find new ways to participate in civic life. Join the Open Minds Book Club for our first in-person meeting on Wednesday, September 8, from 3-5 PM, on the GVSU Pew Campus as we engage one another in large group discussion on the book’s core themes

Please order or request your copy of Mistrust by Monday, August 23, to allow time for shipping and to enjoy the reading before the discussion. Members of the Hauenstein Center and Grand Valley State University students will receive a free copy with registration.

Register for the event here

“If you want to understand the root causes that are driving citizens around the world to give up on institutions and elect leaders like Donald Trump-and what we can do about them-Mistrust provides a comprehensive and compelling answer from one of our great scholars of social change.”

Eli Pariser

Past Titles

Thursday, June 24, 2021 — Self Portrait in Black and White by Thomas Chatterton Williams

Friday, March 12, 2021  Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech by Keith E. Whittington