The Best Books for College Students and Recent Grads

By Genevieve Carlton

Published on September 13, 2021

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After a long day of school, college students may not want to spend leisure time reading. A survey by the National Endowment of the Arts found that about half of adults read a book for pleasure in 2017. But personal reading can help college students and recent graduates deepen their knowledge and broaden their horizons. Reading outside of class also prepares undergraduate students to transition into the workforce.

Our list of the best books for college students includes fiction and nonfiction. These books explore topics including getting a job, building sustainable habits, and improving financial literacy.

Books for College Students

The best books for college students can help readers gain knowledge and find new passions. The following book recommendations can help learners build healthy habits and develop financial literacy.

Starting a New Chapter

Creating Good Habits

Developing Fiscal Responsibility

Healthy Living

Discovering Your Passion

Getting a Job

Discovering Your Passion

Getting a Job

Becoming Well-Rounded

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Books for Recent Graduates

After reading the best books for college students, recent graduates can consider the following books. The list below highlights book recommendations to help recent graduates transition to the workforce.

Starting a New Chapter

Creating Good Habits

Developing Fiscal Responsibility

Healthy Living

Discovering Your Passion

Getting a Job

Becoming Well-Rounded

Tips for Making the Most Out of Your College Reads


College students can build habits that help them keep reading after graduation. Instead of limiting reading to textbooks and class assignments, read widely outside of school. The following tips can help students make the most of their reading experience.

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University and earned tenure as a history professor at the University of Louisville. An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a freelance writer and consultant.

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