Common Book Program

Common Book Program

In collaboration with the Library, HSS, and Perspectives, the CTL is pleased to announce the first Common Book Program at Red Deer Polytechnic: Dr. Timothy Caulfield’s Relax Dammit! A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety or the new, 2022 edition: Relax.: A Guide to Everyday Health Decisions with More Facts and Less Worry.

What is the Common Book Program?

Many post-secondaries have common first-year readings or books providing common ground for discussion within and across disciplines and courses. There are different models for how a post-secondary might engage students in a common book. Building on the topic of the January Perspectives Series, Relax: A Guide to Life in the Age of Misinformation with Dr. Timothy Caulfield, we are excited to announce the first Common Book at Red Deer Polytechnic tied to the Perspectives Speaker Series!

How do you engage in the Common Book Program? It’s easy!

  1. Review the book and determine if it is appropriate for your course. Then, adopt Timothy Caulfield’s book, Relax Dammit! or Relax: A Guide… as one of your Winter Term textbooks in an appropriate course connected to specific assignment(s) and course learning outcomes.
  2. Complete the CTL’s Expression of Interest Form and you will be invited to sessions (voluntary) to discuss further.
  3. When you place your textbook order, ensure you have included the book with your order.

The Book: Dr. Caulfield’s Book, Relax Dammit was the winner of the 2021 Science Writers and Communicators of Canada Book Award in the General Category and the winner of the 2021 Alberta Literary Awards’ Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction. A new edition published in 2022 is also available. Either book may be used for the Common Book.

Partial Book Description:
In Relax, Dammit!, health policy expert Timothy Caulfield takes us through a regular day–from the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep–and shows the underlying science behind our actions and habits. What he reveals is that we make decisions that are based, to a lesser or greater extent, on misinformation. Whether he’s studying cell phone use, bike commuting, or raw-milk cheese consumption, Caulfield shows that many of the things we believe to be healthier, safer, or just better, simply aren’t. With solid grounding in current and reliable scientific findings, the author points to a less stressful way forward–which means we can all afford to relax a lot more.

Accessing the Book:

  1. Sarah Hunt in the School of Arts and Culture has copies of Relax Dammit! available for short-term review upon request.
  2. The Library has print and ebook copies of Relax: A Guide to Everyday Health Decisions:
    1. Relax: A Guide to Everyday Health Decisions with More Facts and Less Worry (2022) – ebook, single-user access.
    2. Relax: A Guide to Everyday Health Decisions with More Facts and Less Worry (2022) – print, Main Collection RA 785 C38 2022

What to Expect

Students will read the book as part of their normal course schedule as you determine it for your course. With a common book, students may read the same book in more than one course, but they will approach it with different disciplinary lenses in each course. This can result in deeper and richer discussions within courses or different approaches to completing assignments in your course. As an example, a student who had read the book for a Scientific Communication course may bring different perspectives to a class discussion of the same book in an Education class.

They will also be able to attend the afternoon Student Session (free!) with Dr. Caulfield in January if it works with their course schedule to hear from the author in person. If they choose, they can also purchase a ticket to attend the evening public lecture, though this is not required. There will be opportunities to discuss the book at group sessions following Perspectives.


Common Books have been used successfully at numerous institutions. An example is Nippissing University which used The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Relax could be appropriate for a variety of courses with topics and outcomes related to (but not limited to) the following:

We invite you to explore Relax as a possible textbook for your course, if appropriate, to engage your students in a Common Book Program tied to the world-class Perspectives Series at Red Deer Polytechnic.

If you have questions, please contact the