ongratulations! You graduated. Whether you just completed high school or college, your academic accomplishment is something you should be proud of. But now that you’ve achieved your academic goals, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “Well, now what?”  

At Adultist, we’re here to encourage you to keep going. Maybe you want to pursue your education even further, or maybe you’re looking to focus your attention elsewhere. There’s no wrong answer, and in either scenario there are ways you can develop a more fulfilling life without having to hit the books. 

Well, not the school books, at least. Here are the self-help books we think every grad should get their hands on if they are looking for a little more fulfillment in their life. Don’t get the wrong impression—we’re not here to tell you that you need help. But, if you’ve clicked on this article, then it’s probably safe to assume that you’re looking for some. And in that case, we’ve got your back : )

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

The cover of Stephen Covey's book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."
Image courtesy of Amazon.

🖋 Stephen R. Covey | 💁 Practical principles to live by |  📖 381 pages

People often think that self-help books consist of dubious claims that a few secret tips or tricks will help solve people’s problems. This, however, is not the case with Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Written in 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was so popular it helped launch the self-help genre. Covey gives 7 practical principles that people can actively implement in their lives by changing their mindset, such as prioritizing important and urgent tasks as well as thinking about the ending first. 

With only 7 habits to think about, implementing Covey’s methodology isn’t hard per se, but it is something that, when actively done, can change the entire course of your life. 

This book is perfect for recent grads who...are looking for realistic ways they can improve their lives by changing their mindset.

The Path Made Clear 

Discovering Your Life’s Decisions and Purpose

The cover of Oprah Winfrey's book "The Path Made Clear."
Image courtesy of Amazon.

🖋 Oprah Winfrey | 💁 Discovering your life calling & purpose | 📖 208 pages

Trying to determine which career direction makes you feel most passionate and fulfilled?  Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you need to have your whole life ahead of you figured out. Oprah Winfrey’s The Path Made Clear offers advice to those looking for a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. Winfrey encourages readers not to settle in life, but to find and pursue their true calling—what they each have been placed on Earth to do. 

Each chapter in the book begins with Winfrey briefly recounting some of the life experiences that have shaped her own journey and the lessons she took from them. But the majority of the book consists of excerpts from interviews Winfrey conducted with some of society’s greatest luminaries and trailblazers, including everyone from rapper Jay Z to spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. 

This book is perfect for recent grads who...are looking to discover a deeper sense of self and purpose while drawing on inspiration from those who have walked the path before them.

Daring Greatly

How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

The cover of Brené Brown's book "Daring Greatly."
Image courtesy of Bravelove.

🖋 Brené Brown | 💁 Living courageously | 📖 322 pages

Brené Brown, a researcher professor who studies shame and vulnerability, soared into the self-help field after her TedTalk about the power of vulnerability went viral on Youtube in 2010. 

Over the course of her incredibly successful career, Brown has written several books, five of which have become #1 New York Times Best Sellers. In Daring Greatly,  Brown encourages readers to be brave and to embrace vulnerability in their everyday lives. According to Brown’s extensive research, it’s vulnerability, which is often mistaken for weakness, that is really the path to courage and meaningful connection.

This book is perfect for recent grads who...want to find the courage to embrace vulnerability and live their lives fully.

Make Your Bed

Little Things That Can Change Your Life...and Maybe the World

The cover of Admiral William H. McRaven's book "Make Your Bed"
Image courtesy of Pinterest.

🖋 Admiral William H. McRaven | 💁 Advice to boost achievement | 📖 144 pages

According to Admiral William H. McRaven, if you want to change the world after you graduate, the first step is to start making your bed every morning. 

In his short, 144 book Make Your Bed, McRaven shares some of the principles he learned throughout his training as a Navy SEAL, which not only helped him overcome the challenges he faced in the Navy, but throughout his life. 

Make Your Bed is not only an engaging and quick read, but McRaven’s practical advice and anecdotes from his time in the Navy will encourage readers to achieve more in their lives even after they’ve put the book down. 

This book is perfect for recent grads who...are looking for encouragement and advice to help them achieve more in their own lives.

Do the Work

Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way

The cover of Steven Pressfield's book "Do the Work."
Image courtesy of Pinterest.

🖋 Steven Pressfield |  💁 Overcoming creative setbacks | 📖 112 pages

Producing great work isn’t straightforward. According to Steven Pressfield, something gets in a way of us achieving the results we want, something he refers to as resistance, the force behind procrastination. While we know what we want, fear often creates  creating self-doubt and the inability to, well, work! 

The first step to overcoming resistance is to acknowledge that it’s there in the first place. From there, Pressfield tells readers how resistance manifests in their day to day lives and what they can do to overcome it. 

This book is perfect for recent grads who...are looking to produce amazing work but are hitting a roadblock along the way.

10% Happier

How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story

The cover of Dan Harris' book "10% Happier."
Image courtesy of Ten Percent Happier.

🖋 Dan Harris | 💁 Meditation for realists | 📖 272 pages

Dan Harris, a journalist and anchor for ABC News, began researching ways to silence the voice in his head after experiencing a panic attack on air. His book, 10% Happier, is the culmination of a journey talking to church-goers, brain scientists, and self-help gurus, which ultimately led him to the practice of meditation. 

Harris, doubtful of meditation at first, looks at the ways in which it can be used to reduce stress and anxiety. It’s not a cure all, but something that Harris discovered makes him about 10% happier in his life overall. 

This book is perfect for recent grads who...want a realistic look at how the practice of meditation can benefit their own headspace, and as a result, entire livelihood.


Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now

The cover of Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen's book "Procrastination."
Image courtesy of Amazon.

🖋 Jane B. Burka & Lenora M. Yuen | 💁 Overcoming procrastination | 📖 336 pages

At some point in time, we’ve all put off something a little longer than we probably should have. But for some of us, procrastination is not just a one time occurrence, but a habit that shapes our lifestyle. 

There are many books, articles and even YouTube videos about procrastination, but not all of them are effective in helping people avoid the detrimental habit. Unlike many resources out there, Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now helps people overcome procrastination by explaining why they tend to do it in the first place.  

Written by psychologists Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen, recovering procrastinators themselves, Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now, may very well be the book that helps you end your procrastination tendencies for good. 

This book is perfect for recent grads who...made it through school despite their tendency to procrastinate, but are looking to put an end to it post-graduation—once and for all!

Now that you’ve graduated, you have the freedom to focus on ways you can improve your life outside of the classroom. The answer to some of the challenges you face isn’t always to crack open a book—sometimes there are things you need to experience first hand to understand. 

With that being said, there’s always something you can do to better yourself, whether it be instilling more effective work habits or altering your mindset about a few things. So, why wait? Your life is for you to enjoy, and picking up a few tips from self-help books along the way will only make your days a little better—even if it’s by doing something simple, like making your bed every morning.

Jun 28, 2021