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8 Best Books For College Students

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How Do Colleges Define a Reading List for Students 

Much of your college study is still steeped in tradition and the “classics.” Reading for a literature class, for example will focus on the “classics” of literature which began in medieval Europe. Books for college students for required outside reading in history, political science, philosophy, psychology, economics and sociology will also focus on the “classics” – Freud, Keynes, Kluckhorn, Kant, Jung, and so forth. There will not be found among all of those lists some really important books that speak to your generation, to the human condition in general and that provide important perspectives as you look toward your future. So here are 8 recommended books that will challenge your thought, that will bring humor and understanding, and that will impact you in really important ways.

Consider the Lobsters by David Wallace

If you want a kaleidoscope of American life as it really is, then this collection of essays by an absolutely genius writer is a must. What a smorgasbord of topics – hilarious, serious, poignant, and sarcastic – just an overall great read.

Freedom by Johnathan Franzen

This novel makes the list of best books for college students because it is a novel that deals with love and a love triangle that began in college and carried over into life after college. It really explores love, friendship, and the preservation of both.

The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama

This phenomenal man may be the subject of a small part of a text in religion or philosophy, but his messages and thoughts need to be read by everyone. This is not a boring read, and you will come to understand that happiness ultimately comes from within, not from friends, career, social life, grades, and parties. It’s on this list of good books to read for college students, because you will have a better approach to life after college through it.

Freakonomics and Suprefreakonomics by Steven Dubner, and Steven Levitt

This book will never show up in your economics class, but it is a must read if you want to really know how this economy of ours works. You will learn why drug dealers still live at home with their mothers, what prostitutes and Santa’s have in common, why teachers and Sumo wrestlers have much in common, and how the KKK is like a group of real estate agents.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Much of this autobiography was written from a jail cell. But lest you think it might be boring, think again. You will discover how passion and purpose can propel you to reach your dreams.

A Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson

If you are not a science major, this book is for you. Bryson explains science in terms that the “lay” person can understand and in such a way that you will wish all of your professors were like him. Just a great read.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel

Frankel is a psychiatrist and neurologist who survived the Holocaust, he says, by seeing beauty in everything, even a raw fish head in his soup. This is on the list of good books for college students, because if, for nothing else, it is always good to gain some perspective on the relative importance of things that we consider to be big problems in our lives. Some of the stories from his time in the camp will literally “curl your hair.”

The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clayson

Even though this was written in 1926, it is a basic guide to getting rich as you go through your adult life. Told as a fable, it is a short easy read, but this one you should not consider as on the books to read online. Get a real copy and keep it forever. If you follow these financial “rules,” you will get rich.

You are busy. But please don’t be too busy for these books – there are only 8 of them to read in 4 years, and you will emerge from college really ready for the challenges of work and life.