10 Books for Every Type of Graduate

by Colleen White

Whether you are starting a new career, planning to backpack through Europe, moving to a different city, or just have no idea what to do now that classes are over – here is a list of 10 books for every type of graduate.

For the grad who has “literally no idea what I want to do”….

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath


More assessment tool than self-help book, StrengthsFinder helps you figure out your top five talents, based on personality and ability, and offers strategies to apply those strengths in your career.

For the grad who spent all four years on the meal plan…

The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer, Becker, and Becker


You’ve spent the last four years living off ramen, frozen yogurt, and the free pizza provided at club meetings, but now it’s time to step up your game. This cooking classic will help you learn how to make everything from apple tarts to ziti.

For the grad planning to backpack across Europe this summer…

1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz


The rucksack is purchased, the EuropeRail passes booked, but if there are still gaps in your itinerary, this book will help you make the most of your trip and offer inspiration for travel in the years to come.

For the grad who was always pulling all-nighters…

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg


Graduation is the chance at a fresh start, and this book uses research and scientific discoveries to make a compelling case for cleaning up some of your worst habits. Citing examples from boardrooms, sports teams, and the civil rights movement, The Power of Habit is as interesting as it is inspiring.

For the grad who is the only one in the friend group not to have a job lined up…

My Life in France by Julia Childs


In our youth-focused, “30-under-30” culture, it’s easy to forget that most people don’t find their career in the first year or two after graduation. Julia Childs didn’t start to learn to cook until she was in her late 30’s, and this memoir offers inspiration and insight to those who’s immediate future feels hazy.

For the grad who is moving to New York for an unpaid summer internship…

How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any by Erik Wecks


Being an adult is expensive. In this book, Wecks offers tips for every income level on how to manage your money and grow your financial security, even during your oh-god-$2,000-a-month-for-a-studio-apartment days.

For the grad who is sick of hearing people say “follow your dreams”…

 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


The first few years after college are hard. You’re broke, you’re away from your friends, and your high-powered marketing guru dream might seem very far from your part-time social media manager reality. Coelho’s magical tale might offer just the reminder you need to keep up those big dreams.



For the grad who only just started dusting off the cover letter…

The Elements of Style by Strunk, White, and Kalman


The days of 20-page papers may be behind you, but the ability to communicate through writing is essential for almost any job. This cheerful and engaging book will serve as your go-to guide for help with grammar, clarity, and style.

For the grad who was not that impressed with the commencement speaker…

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? by Kurt Vonnegut


Not all words of wisdom are delivered in serious tones and somber messages. This collection of commencement speeches by Vonnegut is sharp, witty, and laugh-out-loud funny. With his usual candor and dry humor, Vonnegut offers advice on how to be your best after your “long-delayed puberty ceremony.”

For the grad who is very nervous about that first day of work…

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman


“Fake it ‘til you make it,” is catchy, but it doesn’t exactly offer a lot of advice. In this bubbly book by Kay and Shipman, they explore why women can lose confidence, that impact that has at work (spoiler: a lot), and best of all, what you can do to restore your self-assurance.



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