Congratulations! You just earned your college degree and now you know a lot of stuff about a specific subject. Well done! We asked Rioters to recommend some books that we think every college grad should read, because there’s so much more to know beyond your degree.
Books for College Graduates
You Need A Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want by Jesse Mecham
Many (most?) people don’t learn to have a healthy relationship with money as they are growing up. It’s not something typically taught in high school or college, and if it’s not taught to you by your parents, many people end up never learning how to manage their money, no matter if it’s a little or a lot. People hate to admit it, but at least in the U.S., money is important and financial intelligence can be an integral part to having a fulfilling life. You Need A Budget also has an app by the same name to help support financial goals and success.
Feeling comfortable asking for help is something most people struggle with their entire lives. We tend to equate vulnerability with weakness. If I had read this book in my early 20s, things might’ve been a lot easier for me. The time and energy I wasted in refusing to ask for what I needed in life will never be restored. So if I can set one young person out into The Wild World of Adulting with this tool at their disposal, I’ll feel like I will have made up for my own missed opportunity.
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes’s memoir is focused on the year she spent facing her fears and stepping out of her comfort zone. New college grads will relate to the feeling of teetering on a cliff without a parachute, but if ever there is a time to push through the discomfort of the unknown, it’s this one. I’d give them this book in the hopes that it will encourage them to turn their dreams into action and get to know themselves.
Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus
We read this book for summer reading in AP Economics. I took it with me on a family trip and read about abject poverty in Bangladesh, especially for illiterate women who had to take high-interest loans to keep their families fed. Yunus came up with a simple yet effective solution: micro-loans. Reading this book says that “can’t” doesn’t have to be the only option.
I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brené Brown
It’s normal to come down from the graduation day high into a sea of panic and insecurity: Am I smart enough to find a job? Why would employers pick me over my co-workers? How come all my other classmates already have something lined up? Brené Brown challenges this way of thinking by helping us realize that most of what we see is a person’s curated version of their life. Thoughts of uncertainty are natural (even with this knowledge), but Brown helps ease some of those fears by encouraging us to question social expectations so we can truly embrace our imperfect selves where we are.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
After I finished college I couldn’t look at another lengthy obscure / large tome. All I wanted to do was to retreat into the land of fun and fluffy. If you’ve got the same academic hangover as I did, I would highly recommend this cosy sci-fi book series full of adventure and friendship.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I know, I know, this book was so four years ago. But listen. As a recent college grad who had accumulated a closetful of memorabilia from childhood, high school, two college dorms, a rental house, and a year abroad, I had some serious decluttering to do before I moved out of my parents’ house for good. Sometimes reading it felt like a gut punch, but it was the gut punch I needed to motivate me to sort through my stuff and only keep things that reflect the life I want, not the life I had. Kondo says, quite wisely, “To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too. It’s like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.”
Looking for more books for college graduates? Check out 8 Books (and Advice) to Gift a Recent Graduate.