12 Books for College Graduates

Books are never a bad place to start.

“Our twenties can be like living beyond time. When we graduate from school, we leave behind the only lives we have ever known, ones that have been neatly packaged in semester-sized chunks with goals nestled within. Suddenly, life opens up and the syllabi are gone. There are days and weeks and months and years, but no clear way to know when or why any one thing should happen. It can be a disorienting, cave-like existence. As one twentysomething astutely put it, “The twentysomething years are a whole new way of thinking about time. There’s this big chunk of time and a whole bunch of stuff that needs to happen somehow.”
Meg Jay, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now

“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (’what can the world offer me?’) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (‘what can I offer the world?’).”
Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

“When the music changes, so must your dance. It was the most beautifully worded truth, a profound lesson reminding me to trust my instincts, to let life guide me, and to never stay anywhere doing the same thing longer than I was supposed to.”
Elaine Welteroth, More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are

“Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith.”
Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

“Gmorning.
This feeling will pass.
This workload will pass.
These people will pass.
But look at you, with the gift of memory.
You can time travel to the good stuff just by closing your eyes & breathing.
Then come right back to now, eyes up for the good stuff ahead.
You magic thing.

Gnight.
This moment will pass.
This fatigue will pass.
Tonight will pass.
But look at you, with the gift of imagination.
You can teleport to where you’re happiest just by closing your eyes and breathing.
Then come right back to now, check in with the present.
You magic thing, you.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You

“Don’t worry about whether things will be hard. Because they will be. Instead, focus on the fact that these things will help you. This is why you needn’t fear them.”
Ryan Holiday, Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave

“Be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life. Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you — and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.”
George Saunders, Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination

“We — not our company — are responsible for our attitudes. What happens each day at work doesn’t get to determine my attitude, I do. Attitude is a decision. And it’s a decision we have to make every day, sometimes every hour if that particular day is especially whack.”
Jon Acuff, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

“For most people, passion comes after they try something, discover they like it, and develop mastery — not before. To put it more succinctly: passion is the result of a good life design, not the cause.”
Bill Burnett, Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

“BUT here’s a secret: The lows don’t last any longer than the highs do. Like clouds on an overcast day, sometimes we have to face the fact that what happens to us in life isn’t controllable, and if we wait a while, don’t take it personally, and decide to enjoy ourselves anyway, the sky will eventually clear up.”
Lauren Graham, In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It

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