Below, we’ve shared some of the best books for college graduates heading into the real world. At Graduation Source, we believe that learning is a lifelong process, and if you make a habit of reading after college, you’ll have more success in every avenue of your life. Here are five non-fiction classics to get you started:
A college will teach you how to take notes, write academic papers, and study for finals, but it won’t necessarily teach you grit. Why is grit so important in adult life? It’s the one skill that will keep you going in the face of inevitable rejection, setbacks, and post-college unemployment. Some of the most successful people of all time, including Albert Einstein, have said that sheer determination was the main reason for their breakthroughs. In this book, psychology professor Angela Duckworth lays out her findings of grit from interviewing top CEOs, athletes, and other top performers.
Cheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook, so she knows a thing or two about “leaning in”. This follow-up to her acclaimed management book focuses on recent college graduates. It gives expert advice about building a standout resume and giving a great interview. Additionally, it talks about landing your first job and finding your true passion in life. Sandberg’s advice may have originally been tailored for women, but in this volume, she spends a chapter on millennial men in the workforce as well. Any college grad will find value here.
Life after college doesn’t have to be a 9-to-5 slog, and young entrepreneurs like Chris Guillebeau have proven that if you want to start a company on a budget, travel the world, and make money on the road, it’s totally possible. In The $100 Startup, Guillebeau shares how to build a self-sustaining business from scratch, even if you studied a totally different subject in college. Throughout the book, he uses tons of real-world examples. You can see where entrepreneurs make good and bad decisions along the path toward financial freedom.
Here’s one of the best books for college graduates in a creative field. Before writing this inspirational credo, Steven Pressfield had a lengthy career in fiction and screenwriting. He’s familiar with writer’s block. He speaks of those negative voices in your head. The ones that make you doubt yourself, and usually result in procrastination. In The War of Art, he explains the difference between amateur and professionals, and why that distinction is crucial to your success as a creative person.
Finally, college graduates in any discipline will find tremendous wisdom in Seneca’s advice to the Roman emperor Nero. Seneca was a leading scholar of his time, and his letters to Nero are a great introduction to Stoic philosophy. They contain practical suggestions for living a happy, healthy, and purposeful life. Each is just as applicable today as it was 2,000 years ago. Use these teachings to learn how to control your emotions, feel gratitude, and not burn out. They will make post-college life way less overwhelming.