College claims to prepare you for your future, but while you’re stumbling through the 9-to-5 grind in a job that’s totally unrelated to your field of study, puzzling through how that whole 401K thing works, wondering if it’s still realistic to pursue those childhood dreams, or struggling to maintain some semblance of ordered domesticity in spite of you not being able to remember when you last washed your sheets and the fact that your culinary repertoire is limited to grilled cheese sandwiches… you might wonder why college didn’t teach you anything actually useful.
Fortunately, that’s what these five books are for:
(How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy-ish Steps)
by Kelly Williams Brown
This book is the master text for the major in Becoming an Adult, and it covers everything from entertaining and personal finance, to looking after your home and yourself, to love and friendship, to modern manners and career etiquette, in familiar jargon that speaks to millennial graduates’ most pressing questions about how to go it alone post-college. Get your hands on this one and let it be your life preserver in the thrashing “What do I do now??” waters of adulthood.
The Defining Decade
Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now
by Meg Jay, Ph.D
Now that you know how to, um, keep yourself alive out there in the “real world,” you’ll need some more motivation to really get your act together in terms of building a stable foundation for your future. If this sounds daunting and/or impossible, don’t worry. Meg Jay’s got you. A clinical psychologist who’s worked extensively with millennials, she counters the modern notion that the twenties are merely an extension of your college years, and the belief that you don’t have to get serious about your life's direction until you’re 30. As she coaches you in her book through the monumental challenges of graduate life with the stories of specific clients she’s worked with (clients who will have you saying, “I thought it was just me!”), she’ll empower you to take some decisive action in the face of what’s paralyzing you and get in the right frame of mind for pursuing your goals.
The Compound Effect
Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
by Darren Hardy
If you want to kick those goals and resolutions you just created into high gear, then this is the book you’ll need to take some serious action. Hardy, the creator of Success magazine, writes in a voice reminiscent of a cheerful drill sergeant, but he really, really wants you to succeed, and he gives you actionable tools to do so… without making you drop and give him twenty.
Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
by Amy Cuddy
Unless you’re one of the lucky few who scored a job before leaving the hallowed halls of your university, you’ll have to be prepared for a lot of interviews after college in order to land that dream gig. And if you want them to remember your dazzling smile and sparkling wit rather than the number of times you say, “um,” you’ll read this book. Cuddy, known for her TED talk on “power poses,” discusses strategies for using the body to shape the mind in order to empower yourself and approach vulnerable situations with clarity and confidence.
The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
by Arianna Huffington
In today’s world, money and power are often prized as the chief indicators of success. But the tireless pursuit of these goals can lead to massive burnout, which has become more and more prominent in an overworked, competitive society. The message Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, imparts to her readers in this gem? That there is a “Third Metric” of success that, if not as easily quantifiable as its companions, should be pursued as the most viable means of creating a meaningful life. In four eloquently argued and impeccably researched sections — “Well-Being,” “Wisdom,” “Wonder,” and “Giving” — she invites everyone with dreams of success to cultivate the things that promote a lasting legacy marked by plenty of presence and heaps of heart. It’s a fantastic reminder for recent college graduates to maintain a healthy perspective throughout the many challenges they’re sure to face.