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10 Books Every College Student Should Read Before Graduation

10 Books Every College Student Should Read Before Graduation

10 Books Every College Student Should Read Before Graduation

#10. The Twelve Pillars

By Jim Rohn

Why It’s A Must Read:

As legendary as Jim Rohn is in the world of personal development, this is my favorite. Of all the self-help books I’ve read, Twelve Pillars is the “sneakiest” in terms of how the lessons in the book are taught.

It’s the personal development equivalent of when a mom blends vegetables into a smoothie. The story keeps you engaged throughout, only to realize you’ve just ingested 12 deeply wise lessons about life and achievement.

You will be a wiser and more grounded person for having read this book.

#9. When The Past Is Present: Healing The Emotional Wounds That Sabotage Our Relationships

By David Richo

Why It’s A Must Read:

Honestly, this book was hard for me to read. Hard, but necessary. And I think it’s a necessary read for you, too.

All of us are subjected to various forms of trauma before college. Family, friends, or otherwise, you’re probably carrying around baggage right now.

And that baggage is affecting you negatively in ways you probably aren’t aware of. This book will help you target your tendencies and remove them from your life.

I learned about projecting feelings, “showing up” better to life and relationships, and how to heal emotional scars from this book.

It’s heavy, but worth it.


#8. Letters From A Self-Made Merchant To His Son

By George Horace Lorimer

Why It’s A Must Read:

I took 11 pages of notes throughout this 110-page book.

Letters From A Self-Made Merchant is a collection of letters from John Graham, a billionaire merchant writing letters to his son about work, life, marriage, and people.

The letters are jampacked with wisdom and insights that make the book hard to put down.

You can check out the book dive I did titled 21 Strategies From a Billionaire To Base Your Life On to get a taste of what this book has to offer.

#7. Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

By Chris McDougall

Why It’s A Must Read:

Born To Run is a book for athletes and anyone who loves running or exercise.

In the book, the author travels to southern Mexico to live amongst the Tarahumara, a native tribe famous for running 100-mile ultramarathons and playing ball games where they routinely run 20-50 miles in a day.

Oh, and their diet primarily consists of vegetables and alcohol made from corn.

If you are familiar with the famed Vibram FiveFingers toe shoes that became popular a few years ago, you’re already connected to this book. Born To Run helped put Vibram on the map.

Every time I read Born To Run, I’m inspired in ways few books have ever made me feel.

#5. Ego Is The Enemy

By Ryan Holiday

Why It’s A Must Read:

Ego Is The Enemy cleared a lot of junk out of my head. It helped me stop telling myself false stories.

Ryan Holiday shares insights about how our ego can ruin personal achievement, relationships, personal growth, and more.

I bought this book on a Tuesday and was done with it on Thursday morning. If you’re Type-A, ambitious, or goal-oriented, you will devour Ego Is The Enemy.

#4. Man’s Search For Meaning

By Victor Frankl

Why It’s A Must Read:

This book almost has to be on this list.

Man’s Search For Meaning is a glimpse into the truly horrific environment of a Nazi concentration camp during WWII.

Victor Frankl, a holocaust survivor and neurologist from Austria, teaches readers that we’re truly only given one thing in life that we have full control over:

To discover a positive purpose in life, and to clearly and confidently live that purpose out.

#3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

By Robert M. Pirsig

Why It’s A Must Read:

A strange title, and honestly, a pretty strange book. If you aren’t interested in philosophy, this book may be confusing for you. But if you’re interested in pursuing truth and better ways to live, it’s worth a try.

The story bounces back and forth between a narration of a father and son on a motorcycle trip across America and a total dissection of logic, thought structure, and human nature. The author tugs at the heartstrings of existence while bringing scary, compelling, and beautiful questions about life and our values to the surface.

This book contains one of my favorite quotes I’ve ever come across while reading:

“….but ultimately, that kind of motivation is destructive. Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster. Now we’re paying the price.

When you try to climb a mountain to prove how big you are, you almost never make it. And even if you do, it’s a hollow victory. In order to sustain the victory, you have to prove yourself over and over again in some other way, again and again and again, driven forever to fill a false image, haunted by the fear that the image is not true and that someone will find out.”

#2. Principles

By Ray Dalio

Why It’s A Must Read:

Strange to recommend this book because I’ve only read a third of it, but if you buy it, you’ll see why. It’s built out in 3 sections, telling the author’s story in the first third, with 2 others as quick reference guides.

Ray Dalio is an American investor and hedge fund manager worth over 17 billion dollars.

In Principles, he talks about his philosophies on work and life, my favorite of which was his repeat saying to “always remain radically truthful and transparent”.

#1. How To Win Friends and Influence People

By Dale Carnegie

Why It’s A Must Read:

This book is #1 for a reason: it’s the easiest book to apply for any college student or student-athlete that takes the time to read it.

I pick this book up and read it cover to cover once a year. And each time I do, I get a little bit better at everything I do.

Think of How to Win Friends and Influence people like a collection of essays from your dad, mom, or whoever used to give you unwarranted advice on what you should do to get people to buy into your line of thinking.

“Be nicer!” “Don’t use that tone.”

Now imagine that person found a way to make that advice exciting, relatable, and useful for you to go out in the world and make something of yourself. That’s basically this book in a nutshell.

If you have aspirations of being a leader, running a team, or anything else that involves successfully working with people (hint: that’s every job) you need to read How To Win Friends and Influence People.