Professional Development Post

10 Books Every College Graduate Should Read

Anna Klawitter July 27, 2020

Reading enables lifelong growth and encourages a commitment to personal development - common traits among history’s leaders, influencers, and change-makers. Whether or not you already have a reading list, these 10 books are must-reads. To grow professionally and make your mark on the world, it's worth to start by changing yourself. Every one of the books on this list is meant to help you learn something and set you up for success.

 

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

First published in 1937, there’s a reason why this great book has remained one of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers. Its lessons are both timeless and universal. To succeed in your career , and in life, you need to relate to people and connect with them. Carnegie’s understanding of human nature has helped millions of people develop interpersonal skills to help them become more successful. In the book, he writes that a person’s success is due “15 percent to professional knowledge, and 85 percent to the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.”

 

The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg

This New York Times bestseller helps readers learn what it takes to build positive life-long habits and how to break less-than-favorable behaviors. Chapters move through topics including creating routines, developing healthy habits, and making the most of your time. The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.

In the book, we learn of a young woman who walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed. This is because she has succeeded in transforming her habits. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing the power of science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives. One habit at a time.

 

Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is an excellent role model for all young people but especially for young women. As the COO of Facebook and the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board of directors, she’s built a reputation for herself in an industry largely dominated by men. In her book , she details how she found her first job, negotiated a reasonable and fair salary, and advocated for herself. She also includes interviews from experts and successful members of the workforce to provide inspiration and perspective. This book soared to the top of best-seller lists, igniting global conversations about women and ambition.

 

What You’re Really Meant To Do: A Road Map For Reaching Your Unique Potential by Robert Kaplan

This book is perfect for anyone beginning their first job. It poses the key question: Is there a road map that will enable you to defy the conventional way, resist peer pressure, and build a path that fits your unique skills and passions? Kaplan , the author, believes the answer is yes. And in What You’re Really Meant To Do this, he lays out a plan for reaching your potential and defining your own success. While it may be difficult to define your career while you’re still looking for entry-level interviews, Kaplan’s action plan contains critical advice, including the need for recent graduates to identify long-term goals. From day one, it’s possible to take control of your career and build your capabilities in a way that fits your passions and aspirations. Building a fulfilling life and career can be a challenge. It takes courage and hard work. Too often, we charge down a path leading to “success” as defined by those around us and ultimately, are left feeling dissatisfied. It’s important to discover what your unique skills and qualities are and what you want to build. This book helps you do just that.

 

The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs by Kevin Johnson

The Entrepreneur Mind is essentially an instruction manual on how to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. His lessons range from “how to think big” to “avoid opening a business bank account.” Perhaps the most valuable lesson, though, is that an entrepreneurial spirit can be developed over time. To succeed as an entrepreneur you have to think like an entrepreneur. In a praiseworthy effort to distill some of the most important lessons of entrepreneurship, Kevin D. Johnson, president of multimillion-dollar company Johnson Media Inc. and a serial entrepreneur for several years, shares the essential beliefs, characteristics, and habits of elite entrepreneurs.

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey

With more than 15 million copies sold, this favorite book has taught multiple generations about the principles that must be in place to find and maintain effectiveness. The book covers the idea that real success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you’ll need to accomplish what Covey calls a “paradigm shift” - a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. We all have our paradigm or understanding of the world. Our paradigm is the lens that we view the world through. Covey also dives deep into the concept of “The way you see the problem is the problem.” We talk to ourselves constantly. Most of the time, we don’t realize it, but our internal dialogue runs at approximately twelve hundred words per minute. Four times faster, then we can speak. Covey teaches the reader how to change his outlook on life and the way he or she talks to themself. He also prompts the reader to ask themself if they are tying themselves to his limitless potential or their limiting past. This good book taught me to act with initiative instead of reacting in fear. It changed my perspective and outlook on life. If you haven’t read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I highly recommend it. You will go through a process of self-examination unlike never before.

 

Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl

After being sent to a Nazi internment camp during WWII, Frankl penned this classic work about what it means to be human, where we derive motivation, and how to seek out meaning both within ourselves and in the world. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity. The book intends to answer the question: "How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?" Part One constitutes Frankl's analysis of his experiences in the concentration camps, while Part Two introduces his ideas of meaning and his theory called logotherapy. Man's Search for Meaning has become one of the most influential books in America; it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the act of living.

 

The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay

Rather than falling in line with what everyone else their age is doing; this book helps 20-somethings think about the choices they’re making now and how this can positively or negatively affect them later in life. The book covers topics ranging from self-care and healthy relationships to finding a meaningful career. This book provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than any other time in adulthood-if we use this time well. The Defining Decade has sold more than 250,000 copies in all formats and has been published in more than a dozen countries around the world. Her related TED talk - “Why 30 Is Not the New 20” - has been viewed more than 10 million times.

 

The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class, Keith Cameron Smith

This read helps readers learn about the differences in how individuals think about wealth and accumulate it. The book shares practical and concrete tips for becoming the type of young person who accumulates wealth. If you’re ready to take the journey to wealth and personal fulfillment, here’s your ticket. In this life-changing book, entrepreneur and inspirational speaker Keith Cameron Smith shows you how to think like a millionaire and reap the benefits of a millionaire mindset. 

Millionaires think long-term. The middle class thinks short-term. Create a clear vision of the life you desire, and focus on it. Millionaires talk about ideas. The middle class talks about things and other people. Ask some positive “what if” questions daily, and bounce ideas off of successful people who will be honest with you. We all want to improve our financial position. In this inspirational and practical guide filled with savvy and sensible advice, Smith upgrades you from coach to first class. 

 

The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone

If you find yourself failing over and over again at undertakings, have trouble following through, or you are simply disillusioned by how hard life actually is, then you need this book to wake you up. This one rule states if you want to do something, imagine it’s 10 times harder than you think it is, because it probably is. Cardone argues the reason we give up so easily is we expect things to be easier than they are. Extreme success, by definition, lies beyond the realm of normal action. If you want to achieve extreme success, you can’t operate like everybody else and settle for mediocrity.  The 10X Rule shows you how to achieve success.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss  

If you want to get the high school or college student in your life moving out on the right foot, these 10 books are an awesome place to start. Hopefully, these books will help you discover more about yourself and grow professionally. If you’re interested in reading more about personal finance or professional tips, check out the Meratas blog!

Topics: Professional Development

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