12 Books for College Graduates

  1. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay

“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

2. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

“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

3. More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are by Elaine Welteroth

“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

4. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

“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

5. Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda

“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

7. Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders

“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

10: Designing Your Life: Build a Life That Works for You by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

“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

11. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

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