BY JULIA BROWNELL
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
A standing ovation greeted authors
Malcolm Gladwell, Samantha Chang and
Abraham Verghese Wednesday night as they
the stage of Memorial
Auditorium for the annual Three Books pres-
As in past years, incoming Stanford fresh-
men were sent three books to read during the
summer months in preparation for a forum
with the authors. This year, freshmen received
Gladwell’s Outliers, Chang’s Hunger and
Verghese’s My Own Country.
The books were chosen by Michelle Elam,
English professor and director of the Program
in African and African American Studies, and
husband Harry Elam, drama professor and
senior associate vice provost for education.
The Elams said they selected the books
because of the way in which they address
issues of both past and present.
The books discuss “the question of how
past histories shape the present,” Harry Elam
said. “It’s relevant to [freshmen] as [they are]
moving from high school and home to
The Elams asked the packed auditorium
questions during the first portion of the pro-
gram, before opening the floor to students for
a Q&A with the authors.
Michelle Elam opened the discussion with
the question of merit and talent in each of the
books, beginning with Gladwell’s Outliers and
the way he frames successful people as a prod-
uct of their circumstances.
“You can’t rank people in an organized
way . . . It’s not a pure measure of their own
merit; it’s a measure of a whole basket of
Three books for ‘13
Authors Chang, Gladwell and Verghese greet freshmen at Memorial Auditorium
Features/2 • Opinions/4 • Sports/7 • Classifieds/13
By JACK SALISBURY
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
One year ago, Stanford was forced to
battle San Jose State for four quarters in
a 23-10 victory that was a lot closer than
the 13-point margin would indicate.
This year? The Cardinal cruised.
Stanford showed the difference a year
makes, outclassing the Spartans from the
very first play on Saturday night, literally,
in a 42-17 win at Stanford Stadium.