I’m thankful to work at the company I do for many reasons. One of them: they promote ongoing education and learning. Through a number of helpful, enthusiastic co-workers, I’ve gained a bunch of career, self-help and motivational book recommendations. After keeping my own list for the past year, I really felt it was time to share the 10 best books for college graduates, according to my co-workers (and don’t worry, I trust them). Honestly, though, these books seem helpful for a lot more than just recent college grads. If you’re feeling stuck in your career, starting a new work chapter in your life, heading out on your own to follow a business venture or simply entering the workforce for the first time while bypassing college, I think you’ll still find something valuable in these books … or at least one or two of them.
10 Best Books For College Graduates
1. Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg
“This extraordinary edition of Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and coauthor of Option B, with Adam Grant, includes a letter to graduates from Sandberg and six additional chapters from experts offering advice on finding and getting the most out of a first job; résumé writing; best interviewing practices; negotiating your salary; listening to your inner voice; owning who you are; and leaning in for millennial men.”
2. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
3. Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less -and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined by Scott Sonenshein
“A ground-breaking approach to succeeding in business and life, using the science of resourcefulness.
We often think the key to success and satisfaction is to get more: more money, time, and possessions; bigger budgets, job titles, and teams; and additional resources for our professional and personal goals. It turns out we’re wrong.
Using captivating stories to illustrate research in psychology and management, Rice University professor Scott Sonenshein examines why some people and organizations succeed with so little, while others fail with so much.
People and organizations approach resources in two different ways: “chasing” and “stretching.” When chasing, we exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of more. When stretching, we embrace the resources we already have. This frees us to find creative and productive ways to solve problems, innovate, and engage our work and lives more fully.
Stretch shows why everyone — from executives to entrepreneurs, professionals to parents, athletes to artists — performs better with constraints; why seeking too many resources undermines our work and well-being; and why even those with a lot benefit from making the most out of a little.”
4. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
“Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan — there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
• How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
• How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
• How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
• How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
• How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent ‘mini-retirements'”
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.”
“Our “thirty-is-the-new-twenty” culture tells us the twentysomething years don’t matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood.
Drawing from a decade of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, The Defining Decade weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood — if we use the time wisely.
The Defining Decade is a smart, compassionate and constructive book about the years we cannot afford to miss.”
7. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
“The author of the bestseller A Whole New Mind is back with a paradigm-changing examination of how to harness motivation to find greater satisfaction in life. This book of big ideas discusses the surest pathway to high performance, creativity, and well-being.”
8. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
“In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau tells you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose — and earn a good living.
Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he’s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies. In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.
Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick. Among Chris’s key principles: if you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish — sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.”
9. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
“In Linchpin, he [Seth Godin] turns his attention to the individual, and explains how anyone can make a significant impact within their organization.
There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.
Have you ever found a shortcut that others missed? Seen a new way to resolve a conflict? Made a connection with someone others couldn’t reach? Even once? Then you have what it takes to become indispensable, by overcoming the resistance that holds people back.”
“Over the last 100 years, the road to success for most everyone has been divided into five stages that mirror the decades of working life: Your 20s are a period of Learning. Your 30s are a period of Editing. Your 40s are a period of Mastering. Your 50s are a period of Harvesting. Your 60s are a period of Guiding.
Every successful person has followed these steps regardless of their occupation. But three things have changed the path to success and erased the decades associated with them. The result is that you’ve got an entire generation pushing down to start over, another generation pushing up to start for the first time, and in the middle of this collision, the tools to actually change the world. Experience years now trump chronological age. And while none of the five stages can be skipped, they can be shortened and accelerated. There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives readers practical, honest, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.”