6 Books for College Grads

I just wrapped up my first semester teaching at Loyola University New Orleans.  It was a wonderful experience, and I’m really excited to see what my students go on to achieve.  One of them asked me about books that I’d recommend, so I figured I’d sit down and make a list.

1.  Live Your Life on Purpose – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. You’ve got to choose the course for your life, and this book was a great eye-opener for me.  I’ve read it 7 or 8 times.  I buy a copy when it’s time to re-read it, and then pass it on to somebody that I think could use it.

2.  Stay Organized – Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. I teach Music Finance, so all of my students are creatives at heart.  The problem isn’t having ideas, it is executing on them.  Making Ideas Happen is a great system for making more of those creative ideas a reality.  Getting Things Done by David Allen would also be an excellent choice, but I think that Belsky’s book is more useful for the masses.

3.  Lead Us – Tribes by Seth Godin. It’s never been easier to find a community than it is today.  There’s no lack of followers, but there is a lack of leaders.  Tribes is a short, inspirational book about the modern journey of leading a tribe.

4.  Handle your Money – Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner. I don’t know that there is a perfect financial book, but this book is pretty good.   It covers the basics with enough detail to give you a foundation.

5.  Write Better – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. The biggest area of improvement for my students was in their writing.  Bird by Bird gives practical, actionable advice that can help make anybody a better writer.  The future belongs to the communicators and if your writing isn’t up to par you’re missing a huge opportunity.

6.  Write – Blank.  As my friend Eric Kies once told me, “Anybody can read a book, you need to see if you can write one.”  He didn’t mean an actual book, but more importantly, a personal journal.  Capturing your personal ideas, in your own handwriting, on a regular basis is a huge challenge and a wonderful gift to your future self.  Get a blank book and start writing in it.

That’s my list.  What would you recommend for new grads?

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