It’s that time of year again -- graduation season -- when excitement fills the air with hopes of the future, pride in accomplishments, and celebrations galore. But, it’s also a time mixed with bittersweetness and anxiety about transitioning from the bubble of ivory towers and campus quads to the “real world.”
So, whether you’re a soon-to-be or recent grad, here are some great recommendations for books to help you navigate the world of #adulting - and in the words of Oprah, “live your best life.”
1. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven
Sounds like our parents were right about that seemingly-tedious morning chore. Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired) shares why he’s convinced that making your bed - and other behaviors and mindsets he’s picked up over the years - can help you achieve much greater success.
Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech to the 2014 graduates of The University of Texas at Austin - based on life lessons he learned in U.S. Navy Basic SEAL training - went viral with millions of views. Building on the foundation of that powerful speech, he wrote this acclaimed book, which shares his wisdom on overcoming hardship, confronting fear, making tough decisions, living with honor, and becoming the best version of yourself.
2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
A common saying is that “We’re all creatures of habit.” And, according to research, there’s a lot of truth to that. Studies show that about 40% of our daily activities are made up of habits. Given the great influence habits have on the direction and quality of our lives, in order to succeed, it’s crucial to develop good ones and break the bad ones.
Award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg uses cutting-edge science to explain how habits are formed and how to change them. He analyzes connections between habits and phenomenal success, for famous people and institutions - such as Martin Luther King, Jr.; Michael Phelps; Target superstores; and Proctor & Gamble. He teaches readers how to use the full power of habits to greatly enhance their lives, businesses, and communities.
3. What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential by Robert Steven Kaplan
It’s easy to fall into the trap of following the crowd and letting others people's standards and expectations influence your own. Pretty much from the time we’re born, we’re bombarded with other people’s opinions of how we should live our lives and define success.
Robert Steven Kaplan, a former Harvard Business School professor and current CEO of The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, provides an actionable plan for you to maximize your “unique potential.” Through this book, he helps readers understand themselves more deeply, create personalized definitions of success, and take the steering wheel in their professional lives.
4. Now What, Grad? Your Path to Success After College by Chris Palmer
For many, the transition from college to post-college adult life can seem exciting but also overwhelming and filled with insecurity. Professor Chris Palmer, of American University, guides you as you step into uncharted territory, with encouragement and solid advice on living a professionally- and personally- fulfilling life.
He shares his wisdom in the form of practical tips and helpful stories of his and his students’ experiences. As a bonus, all proceeds support scholarships for American University students.
5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
One of the main things that our CEO looks for in potential employees is grit, because she knows that it’s been crucial in helping her and others she knows overcome challenges and thrive. Through this bestselling book, Angela Duckworth - professor of Psychology at The University of Pennsylvania and founder of The Character Lab - catapulted the term “grit” to the forefront of discussions about high achievement. She defines it as “a special combination of perseverance and passion, for a singularly important goal,” and considers it the main ingredient for outstanding success.
In this book, Duckworth, with findings from her pioneering research, - which includes interviews with luminaries, such as the CEO of JP Morgan - argues that the key requirement of high achievement isn’t talent but grit, and that it’s something that anyone can develop and strengthen.
6. A Good Interview Prep Book
Get a leg up on the competition with expert advice on acing the interview. Here are some examples of great reads on prepping for popular jobs:
- Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in Consulting
→ Product Manager
→ Sales Associate
→ Software Developer
7. Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy by Magdalena Yesil
This one’s especially for the women reading this. Magdalena shares her story of overcoming challenges as a woman and immigrant to become a prominent pioneer in Silicon Valley.
Along with her personal insights, she shares valuable, actionable advice from several top women entrepreneurs. This empowering read aims to help any woman feel confident and prepared to enter the workforce.