SHSU Common Reader Program

Introducing the 2024-2025 Common Reader selection!

The Book Selection

“Everyone around you has a story the world needs to hear” - Dave Isay, on TED

Photo op book cover

In Callings, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay presents unforgettable stories from people doing what they love. Some are paid well for their work, others not at all; some found their paths at very young ages, others later in life; many overcame great odds or upturned their lives in order to pursue what matters to them. Many of these stories have never been published or broadcast by StoryCorps until now.

We meet a man from the barrios of Texas whose harrowing experiences in a family of migrant farmers inspired him to become a public defender. We meet a longtime waitress who takes pride in making regulars and newcomers alike feel at home in her Nashville diner. We meet a young man on the South Side of Chicago who became a teacher in order to help at-risk teenagers like the ones who killed his father get on the right track. We meet a woman from Little Rock who helps former inmates gain the skills and confidence they need to rejoin the workforce. Together they demonstrate how work can be about much more than just making a living, that chasing dreams and finding inspiration in unexpected places can transform a vocation into a calling. Their shared senses of passion, honor, and commitment brings deeper meaning and satisfaction to every aspect of their lives.

An essential contribution to the beloved StoryCorps collection, Callings is an inspiring tribute to rewarding work and the American pursuit of happiness.


“For those of you in search of your calling, consider yourself warned: this pursuit takes discipline, resilience, sacrifice, and tremendous hard work. [...] Allow yourself to be led by what truly moves you. And don’t compromise your values—ever.” - Dave Isay, Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work

The SHSU Common Reader program supports faculty and staff with a robust framework of options to bring the book to life for students.

For more information contact us at