Princeton Pre-Read

Class of 2025 Selection: Moving Up Without Losing Your Way

President Eisgruber's Princeton Pre-read selection for the Class of 2025 is Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility by philosopher and Princeton Class of 2002 graduate Jennifer M. Morton.

Published by Princeton University Press in 2019, “Moving Up Without Losing Your Way” examines the ethical and emotional tolls paid by disadvantaged college students seeking upward mobility and discusses what educators can do to help these students flourish. The book draws on Morton’s own experiences as a Peruvian immigrant and first-generation college student.

President Eisgruber describes the book as "a philosophical reflection on the challenges of being a college student. It gracefully integrates philosophical insights with common sense observations and personal stories. And it speaks candidly about what makes a college education exhilarating, what makes it hard and how to navigate the choices it requires.”

Copies of Moving Up Without Losing Your Way will be available to community members with distribution beginning over the summer. For more information, please contact Tessa Yelenik in the Office of Finance and Treasury at 609-258-2755 or

Learn More about Moving Up Without Losing Your Way

Professor Morton examines the emotional toll of upward mobility on disadvantaged college students and argues that these students pay an ethical cost when choosing between the competing demands of their education and their personal commitments.  Professor Morton hopes that the book will "help members of the Class of 2025 find their own path towards a more empathetic and reflective understanding of each other’s diverse experiences of college."


"For those of us who work with strivers. . . . Moving Up Without Losing Your Way provides an empathetic and clear-eyed analysis of the difficult choices they must make, and the costs of those choices to both themselves and their communities."—James M. Lang, Chronicle of Higher Education

"This important and accessible study demonstrates the value of ethical analyses to understand these issues, aimed at strivers, their families, their communities, and the entire higher education community."—Choice

"Morton is not the first person to describe the myths and ordeals of upward mobility. Nor is she the first to call attention to this group of striving students. But where Morton differs—and meaningfully contributes—is in her perspective as a philosopher."—Shaun Ossei-Owusu, Public Books

"Morton makes her main argument through an astute and very accessible philosophical analysis. . . . Morton’s book is valuable because it not only focuses on the ethical costs of social mobility but also hints at solutions."—Helen De Cruz, The Philosphers’ Magazine

"A good guide to a road not yet well-enough traveled but increasingly important if higher education is to better serve more of the students coming its way."—Mary Taylor Huber, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

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

Book Cover Image - Moving Up Without Losing Your Way