The summertime always seems to be when I start reading for pleasure again. It’s always nice to take a break from the dry and technical academic reading that often takes up most of our regular semesters. No matter the topic, be it fiction or self-help, reading something that’s outside of your own field of study, especially without a deadline, can be a great form of self-care. I’ve found some books can provide great advice about life in graduate or professional school. Here are a few titles I would recommend for any graduate or professional student looking for some meaningful reads this summer.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
This book should be required reading for life. Brené Brown is a researcher who studies vulnerability and empathy and her points on mental health and courage can prove valuable to graduate and professional students. If you’ve ever struggled with opening up or want to learn more about finding power in your own vulnerability, this book is a great start.
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
Yes, I am doubling down on the Brené Brown books, and for good reason! This book, which is an excellent follow-up to Daring Greatly
, focuses more on leadership skills and modern workplace culture. As graduate students, we will inevitably come into some form of a leadership position, so it’s important to be reminded that leaders are vulnerable, empathetic, and resilient. It’s an empowering and motivational read that proves there’s a leader in all of us.
Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing by Elise Hancock
While this book is a bit more on the technical side, I still feel it should be required reading for graduate students. Hancock provides some sage advice on technical and scientific writing and does so in a way that almost reads like prose. I especially recommend her chapters about effective habits and attitudes writers should adopt. On top of generally helping improve your writing for graduate school, this book can also help switch your mindset and make writing or researching for those term papers a little more enjoyable.
Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims
This one is for all the researchers in graduate or professional school who maybe started their programs without a clue as to what they’d be studying or focusing on (I’m vehemently pointing at myself). Peter Sims wonderfully points out how some of the biggest, most grand success stories from people like Steve Jobs started with the smallest ideas. This book provides interesting accounts of success and motivation for those who might feel like they’re drowning in a sea of ideas that “just aren’t big enough.”
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-to Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Stick with me here, I know the title is a bit daunting. I like to describe this book as the life advice you always wanted to hear from your coolest best friend. Kilgariff and Hardstark, creators of the Exactly Right podcast network and hosts of the phenomenal podcast “My Favorite Murder,” talk about growing up and owning your own flaws in ways that will make you simultaneously laugh out loud and cry from raw emotion. As graduate students, it’s easy to get lost in the endless cycle of future plans and deadlines. This book reminds you that life can take many twists and turns, and there’s more than one way to success. It reminds us to be human and to appreciate setbacks instead of fearing failure.
I’m sure there are hundreds of motivational or interesting books that graduate students would consider required reading. These five books provide sound advice for graduate students and are generally interesting reads. I challenge you to read at least one from this list before the summer is over. Maybe it will end up being just the right thing you needed before jumping back into the everyday grind of regular semesters.
Corley-Ann Parker is a Masters student in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences