Princeton Pre-Read

Princeton Pre-Read

The Princeton Pre-read Tradition

The Pre-read program, initiated by President Christopher L. Eisgruber in 2013, introduces incoming freshmen to Princeton’s intellectual life.

Members of the incoming class join together to read and discuss a book that President Eisgruber selects and sends to freshmen prior to their arrival on campus. Freshmen then participate in Pre-read discussions with student leaders during Orientation Week and with President Eisgruber over the course of the academic year. Other University community members also are encouraged to read and discuss the Pre-read selection.

Class of 2027 Selection:  How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future

President Eisgruber’s Princeton Pre-read selection for the Class of 2027 is How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future by Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa.

The book recounts Ressa’s journey from CNN reporter to CEO and executive editor of the Philippines-based online news organization Her efforts to safeguard freedom of expression in the Philippines and expose the government’s role in spreading misinformation have led to ongoing legal proceedings and imprisonment.  Undaunted, Ressa continues to fight against the spread of disinformation and attempts to silence the free press.  This book articulates Maria’s commitment to “the fight for our future”—which she invites all of us to join—to protect truth, democracy, and journalistic integrity. 

Copies of How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future will be available to community members with distribution beginning in summer 2023.  Requests may be made starting in June by contacting Tessa Yelenik in the Office of Finance and Treasury at 609-258-2755 or [email protected]

Learn more about How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future


“In this impassioned warning and inspirational call to arms, Ressa identifies and illuminates her core values of empathy, honesty, and faith in humanity to illustrate how a strong commitment to such foundational beliefs can provide the key to democracy’s survival. . . . Searing and electrifying.” — Booklist (starred review)

“[Ressa’s] courageous work has garnered well-deserved international attention, and her book serves as a readable, urgent plea for journalistic integrity, vigilance, and transparency. . . . An indispensable journalist presents an impassioned, well-informed warning about vital global issues.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Nobel Peace Prize cowinner Ressa . . . delivers an outstanding memoir-cum-action plan for creating “a vision of the internet that binds us together instead of tearing us apart” . . . . Elegantly written yet stuffed with research data and technical details, this is an essential update on the battle against disinformation.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Previous Pre-Read Selections

Class of 2017: The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Class of 2018: Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf

Class of 2019: Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele

Class of 2020: Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen

Class of 2021: What is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller

Class of 2022: Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech by Keith Whittington

Class of 2023: Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy by James Williams

Class of 2024: This America by Jill Lepore

Class of 2025: Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility by Jennifer Morton

Class of 2026: Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena by Jordan Salama

Maria Ressa cover