Graduation season is approaching, and it’s time to gather the best books that inspire, give great advice, and also offer a dose of reality about what the future may hold. Whatever your next steps might be, these reads will help prepare you to go forward and be successful.
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham
Advice for graduates and reflections on staying true to yourself from the beloved Gilmore Girls actress.
In this expansion of the 2017 commencement speech she gave at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.” In her hilarious, relatable voice, Graham reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes us or what we’ve yet to achieve. Grounded and inspiring—and illustrated throughout with drawings by Graham herself—here is a comforting road map to a happy life.
Assume the Worst by Carl Hiaasen
This is Oh, the Places You’ll Never Go—the ultimate hilarious, cynical, but absolutely realistic view of a college graduate’s future. And what he or she can or can’t do about it.
“This commencement address will never be given, because graduation speakers are supposed to offer encouragement and inspiration. That’s not what you need. You need a warning.”
So begins Carl Hiaasen’s attempt to prepare young men and women for their future. And who better to warn them about their precarious paths forward than Carl Hiaasen? The answer, after reading Assume the Worst, is: Nobody.
And who better to illustrate–and with those illustrations, expand upon and cement Hiaasen’s cynical point of view–than Roz Chast, best-selling author/illustrator and National Book Award winner? The answer again is easy: Nobody.
Following the format of Anna Quindlen’s commencement address (Being Perfect) and George Saunders’s commencement address (Congratulations, by the way), the collaboration of Hiaasen and Chast might look typical from the outside, but inside it is anything but.
12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson
What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.
Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.
What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world’s wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life.
Congratulations, by the way by George Saunders
An inspiring meditation on kindness from the author of Lincoln in the Bardo, based on his popular commencement address.
Three months after George Saunders gave a graduation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is the perfect send-off for grads—from nursery school, high school, college, and beyond!
From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’”
Am I There Yet? By Mari Andrew
This on-point guide to growing up by Instagram sensation Mari Andrew captures the feelings and comical complexities of millennials and adulthood with essays and illustrations.
In the journey toward adulthood, it is easy to find yourself treading the path of those who came before you; the path often appears straight and narrow, with a few bumps in the road and a little scenery to keep you inspired. But what if you don’t want to walk a worn path? What if you want to wander? What if there is no map to guide you through the detours life throws your way? From creating a home in a new city to understanding the link between a good hair dryer and good self-esteem to dealing with the depths of heartache and loss, these tales of the twentysomething document a road less traveled—a road that sometimes is just the way you’re meant to go.
50 Ways to Get a Job by Dev Aujla
You’ve graduated—now what? 50 Ways to Get a Job is a new personalized way to find the perfect job—while staying calm during the process.
You are so much more than a resume or job application, but how can you communicate that to your potential employer? You need to learn to ask the right questions, stop using job sites, and start doing the work that actually counts.
Based on information gained from over 400,000 individuals who have used these exercises, this book reveals career expert Dev Aujla’s tried-and-tested method for job seekers at every stage of their career. Filled with anecdotes and advice from professionals ranging from a wilderness guide to an architect, it includes quick-step exercises that help you avoid the common pitfalls of navigating a modern career.
Whether you’ve just decided to start the hunt or you’re gearing up for a big interview, 50 Ways to Get a Job will keep you poised, on-track, and motivated right up to landing your dream career.
A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
In this treasure of a book, Anna Quindlen, the bestselling novelist and columnist, reflects on what it takes to “get a life”—to live deeply every day and from your own unique self, rather than merely to exist through your days.
“Knowledge of our own mortality is the greatest gift God ever gives us,” Quindlen writes, “because unless you know the clock is ticking, it is so easy to waste our days, our lives.” Her mother died when Quindlen was nineteen: “It was the dividing line between seeing the world in black and white, and in Technicolor. The lights came on for the darkest possible reason . . . I learned something enduring, in a very short period of time, about life. And that was that it was glorious, and that you had no business taking it for granted.” But how to live from that perspective, to fully engage in our days? In A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen guides us with an understanding that comes from knowing how to see the view, the richness in living.