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11 Must-Read Books for Grads

Shopping for a grad? These books will help guide them to a brighter future!

11 books for grads

THIS IS WATER, by David Foster Wallace
Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in THIS IS WATER.

VERY GOOD LIVES, by J.K. Rowling
In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

OUTLIERS, by Malcolm Gladwell
In OUTLIERS, Malcolm Gladwell transforms the way we understand success. Instead of focusing on intelligence and ambition, Gladwell argues that we should spend more time looking around them — at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birthday. This is a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.

PRESENCE, by Amy Cuddy
Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? By accessing our personal power, we can achieve “presence,” the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves.

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, by George Anders
In a tech-dominated world, what we actually need now more than ever are what we’ve been told for years are useless: liberal-arts graduates who bring deep, soulful humanity; wild ingenuity and creativity; nuanced social skills; and resourceful thinking to their companies and careers. Anders has written the book that will disrupt the conversation between the STEM and the innumerate, between Mountain View and Main Street, and between parents and children.

A wise and entertaining guide to writing English the proper way by one of the greatest newspaper editors of our time. Evans provides practical examples of how editing and rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR? is an essential text, and one that will provide every writer an editor at his shoulder.

Ever find yourself stuck at the office-or even just glued to the couch-when you really want to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), and get started on that “someday” project you’re always putting off? It’s time to get your sh*t together.

ARE YOU SMART ENOUGH TO WORK AT GOOGLE? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. Learn the importance of creative thinking, how to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more.

SUPERMINDS, by Thomas W. Malone
In SUPERMINDS, Thomas Malone shows how groups of people working together in superminds — like hierarchies, markets, democracies, and communities — have been responsible for almost all human achievements in business, government, science, and beyond. SUPERMINDS is a fascinating look at the remarkable capacity for intelligence exhibited by groups of people and computers working together to develop a brighter future.

THE FUTURES, by Anna Pitoniak
After graduation, Julia and Evan move together to New York City, where they set out on drastically different paths. THE FUTURES is a searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in New York City, a place that so often seems determined to break us down–but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.

U THRIVE, by Dan Lerner, Alan Schlechter MD
Every year, almost 4,000,000 students begin their freshman year at colleges and universities nationwide. For many, “the best four years of your life” can start to feel like the worst. Enter Daniel Lerner and Dr. Alan Schlechter, ready to teach students how to not only survive college, but flourish in it. Filled with fascinating science, real-life stories, and tips for building positive lifelong habits, U Thrive will help students grow into the happy, successful alums they all deserve to be.