Graduating from college is an exciting time full of adventures, new opportunities and… uncertainty. While you’re celebrating your major accomplishment and partying with your friends and loved ones, figuring out the future can be nerve wracking. Whether you’re graduating this year, are a recent grad or want some fresh advice, these 15 uplifting books will serve as incredible guides for the real world.
1. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan ($18): Marina Keegan graduated from Yale in 2012 and had a job waiting for her at The New Yorker. Five days after graduation, Marina died in a car accident. This book is a powerful collection of the essays she left behind.
2. Now What?! by Ari King ($14): Author Ari King shares conversations with recent graduates and some not-so-recent grads, like Olympic medalist Kathy Keeler and novelist Daniel Handler. The conversations are honest and relatable, no matter what stage of “figuring it all out” you’re in.
3. Lean in for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg ($18): Entering the workforce brings new challenges, and Sheryl Sandberg wants to help guide recent grads through them. This book is filled with advice from experts on interviewing, resume building and even salary negotiating.
4. Welcome to the Real World by Lauren Berger ($14): In Welcome to the Real World, Lauren Berger talks about excelling in your dream career. Berger acts like a big sister and details meaningful advice about real world experiences. This book is perfect for those who are new to navigating the workforce.
5. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer ($11): This is the ultimate inspirational book about travel and finding meaning in life. The true story is about a young man who hitchhiked to Alaska after graduating from college. He donated all his savings to charity and abandoned his car before venturing out on his own.
6. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau ($14): Author Chris Guillebeau has completed a tour of just about every country. Rather than holding a steady job, he relies on his creative ideas to bring in a paycheck. This book will inspire everyone who wants to try out that crazy idea they’ve always had.
7. What You’re Really Meant to Do by Robert Steven Kaplan ($20): We’re still figuring out what we want to do post-college, and Robert Steven Kaplan hears that. His book promises to help readers reach their full potential by envisioning a personal definition of success.
8. They Don’t Teach Corporate in College by Alexandra Levit ($14): College can be a great time for education, but sometimes the skills and etiquette needed in the real world aren’t taught in the classroom. Alexandra Levit covers everything you didn’t learn, like managing your online presence and fostering your entrepreneurial spirit.
9. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz ($14): Between applications, job and interviews, it can be hard to pencil in travel time after graduation. Thanks to this book, you’ll have a daily reminder of the most beautiful places to visit.
10. The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman ($13): In her memoir, Rachel Friedman details her spontaneous decision to purchase a ticket to Ireland and quit playing it safe in life. If you’re itching to put your passport to good use, this book was made for you.
11. The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson ($16): There’s an entrepreneur in all of us, just waiting to come out. Sure, Mark Zuckerberg may have created Facebook while he was still in school, but there’s still time for the rest of us to catch up. With over 100 lessons tucked in this book, you’ll be calling the shots in no time.
12. What I Know Now by Ellyn Spragins ($10): This collection of letters is like having 41 famous mentors guide you. Each writer reflects on what they wish they had known when they were younger. The wisdom within the collection will inspire everyone transitioning into the adult world.
13. 20-Something, 20-Everything by Christine Hassler ($11): Everyone has to transition at some point. After a major life crisis, Christine Hassler examined her unhappiness and channeled it into the courage to leave her job and start her own business.
14. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed ($11): Beginnings to success stories rarely start out perfect. Tiny Beautiful Things is filled with people’s letters to Dear Sugar’s advice column, along with her gentle, illuminating advice. We bet reading other people’s questions might just guide you to find your own.
15. Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown ($10): After tossing that grad cap in the air, you’re suddenly an adult, even if you don’t exactly feel like one. Kelly Williams Brown has 468 LOL-worthy tips to smooth you into that grownup life.
What books do you recommend for recent college grads? Tell us in the comments below.