4 Awesome Books College Students Should Read

books every college student should read

I’m a big fan of reading. But that hasn’t always been the case. 2017 was a pivotal year for me (as I’ve mentioned before on the blog). Reading a lot more was a big part of that. I’ve been asked recently for some book recommendations, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a little roundup. The following are four of my favorite books from the past year or so, and why I think you might enjoy them too.

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy

I can’t write my first book roundup and not include this one. And if you have been hanging around here for awhile, you’ve heard me talk about this book before. This same post was also recently featured as a guest contribution on Thrive Global.

This week, to my surprise and excitement, Arianna Huffington shared my Thrive Global article…from her personal LinkedIn account! Yea, as in the Arianna Huffington herself — Founder and CEO of Thrive Global, as well as President and Editor-in-Chief of the HuffPost. This may be the very reason why some of you discovered me (and The Intern Hustle), and for that I’m grateful. Welcome!

Thrive Global Guest Post

I’ve loved reading the responses to my Thrive Global article from people all over the world!

If you want to fully understand why I love the book Living Forward so much, then you should read my full post on it. But for purposes of this roundup, here are the CliffsNotes…

Have you ever felt like you were drifting through life? Sure, you’re achieving many things, but something’s missing. You’re lacking intention. And what’s your bigger picture? This was the case for me in the middle of 2017. I found myself drifting, and I set out to seek some clarity.

What authors Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy have packaged up in Living Forward is exactly what I needed in order to intentionally get back into alignment with my life. They have developed a resource that provides practical recommendations and proven practices to drive you forward into action. They teach you how to design and maintain your life plan.

A great resource for anyone at anytime in their life, but especially valuable for a college student seeking direction and purpose.

The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard

I witnessed Brendon Burchard speak at an event I attended in September 2017. Strike that…I witnessed Brendon Burchard take on the speaking stage with more enthusiasm than anyone I have ever had the privilege of learning from at a live event.

His energy and enthusiasm for life were enough to convince me to purchase one of his books that day. The Motivation Manifesto seemed appropriate. I wanted to know where he derived all of his motivation from. So I bought my copy, had it signed and got to reading.

Brendon’s words jump off the pages of his book, almost as much as he did on stage the day I met him. If Living Forward is the manual for applying intention and designing a life you love, The Motivation Manifesto is the cheerleader that repeatedly reminds you to believe it and achieve it. Demonstrated in the following passage from the book…

“We must ask: “Does the world have a sense of who I am? Do my family and friends know who I am and what I truly desire from life? Do my peers and leaders know what I truly want to learn, to work toward, to contribute?” If we answer with a no, then clearly we are not being ourselves or speaking up for ourselves. Such silence reveals fear of rejection or an unhealthy level of need to fit in to what “they” want for us.”

College is a transformative time. I hope you never settle for what “they” want from you. Explore your path, test your interests at an internship or two and read Brendon’s book for a little jolt of motivation along the way.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Even if you aren’t a Nike fan you’ll find inspiration in this memoir, by the creator of Nike. I found myself eagerly flipping through this beast of a book and even more fascinated by his story than I had anticipated.

After undergrad at University of Oregon and business school at Stanford, Phil Knight found himself searching for his purpose. He knew he wanted to leave a mark on the world, and this book documents his journey to do just that. Today, it’s hard to imagine a world without Nike in it.

An incredible journey, full of persistence and a work-ethic that emboldens Nike’s slogan to this day — “Just Do It.” Shoe Dog is a story of business lessons, relationships and belief in one’s self. If you’re looking for some inspiration to take action in your life, this book is full of it. Also, Netflix just optioned the rights to it, so read it before it becomes a movie.

Fun Fact: I was in a Nike commercial when I was in college. It was part of their Nike+ campaign. What’s Nike+, you ask? Yea, I’m dating myself. Regardless, it was televised during the halftimes of some pretty big NFL games. I guess you can say I’m famous.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

This book is a recent read of mine, and I love it. I purchased it after watching an interview with the author, Ryan Holiday. He has a handful of bestsellers out in the world, but this one spoke to me.

We all go through trials in life. Some small, some big, and some that seem all too challenging to overcome. What Ryan does in this book, is give countless historical examples of people turning their obstacles into opportunities. He gives you the perspective you need to get out of your own way.

In The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan breaks down obstacles and offers a formula to turn adversity into advantage — by way of perception, action and will. You’ll find yourself highlighting wisdom on just about every page. The following is one of my favorite takeaways from the book. It promotes a mindset I wish every college student/intern/young professional would understand as they get started.

“Sometimes on the road to where we are going or where we want to be, we have to do things that we’d rather not do. Often when we are just starting out, our first jobs “introduce us to the broom,” as Andrew Carnegie famously put it. There’s nothing shameful about sweeping. It’s just another opportunity to excel — and to learn….But you, you’re so busy thinking about the future, you don’t take any pride in the tasks you’re given right now…Foolishness.”

I hope you find yourself inspired to pick up one (or all) of these books, and get to reading. Once you do, I’d love to hear what some of your big takeaways are. Go ahead and leave them in the comments below!

And in case you didn’t know, Amazon offers Amazon Prime Student. When you sign up you get your first six months free. That means free shipping on millions of products and exclusive college deals. It winds up being 50% off the price of a normal Amazon Prime membership. You can sign up here today, and get free shipping on the books mentioned in this post when you do.

9/4/18 Update: I keep getting questions about the rad, rhino bookends in the photo on this post. So…here’s where you can snag them!


This post contains affiliate links. You pay the same whether you use my affiliate link or not, and the commissions I earn from your purchases allow me to continue to generate great content for you. I only recommend products or services that I use and love. I wish I read more in college, but I\'ve made up for it in the years since. I\'m highlighting 4 books college students should read. I think you\'ll enjoy them!  #collegestudent #booksforcollegestudents #books #bookworm #inspirationalbooks #motivationalbooks #brendonburchard #ryanholiday #philknight #michaelhyatt #danielharkavy

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