Books To Read After Graduating High School

As you close one chapter of your life by graduating high school, a new and exciting journey lies ahead. This period of transition can be both thrilling and daunting, as you navigate the newfound freedom and responsibilities that come with adulthood. One of the greatest tools to guide you during this time is knowledge, and what better way to gain it than through reading?

Books can offer invaluable insights, not only in terms of academic knowledge, but also in helping you understand the world, manage your finances, build emotional intelligence, and foster creative and critical thinking.

Each book mentioned in this blog post has been chosen for the unique perspective it offers, helping you continue to learn and grow as you embark on this next phase of life.

Understanding the World

In this age of globalization, having a broader understanding of our world is more crucial than ever. To help broaden your horizons, here are two highly recommended reads.

“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari

Harari’s “Sapiens” offers a compelling journey through the history of the human race, from the earliest humans to the rise of civilization and beyond. Through this book, you’ll gain an understanding of how our species has developed and evolved over time. Harari delves into complex topics like capitalism, imperialism, and the spread of religion, offering insightful commentary that can help a recent high school graduate understand the grand scope of human history and its impact on today’s society.

“Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

“Freakonomics,” on the other hand, turns the traditional study of economics on its head by delving into the hidden side of just about everything. Levitt and Dubner explore the riddles of everyday life and show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives. By understanding how people get what they want or need, especially when others want or need the same thing, you’ll start to see the world in a new light. From understanding cheating and crime to sports and parenting, “Freakonomics” is a fascinating read for anyone stepping into adulthood.

Developing Personal Finance Skills

As you step into adulthood, managing your finances becomes an essential life skill. Understanding how money works and how to make it work for you can be your stepping stone towards financial independence. Here are a couple of books to get you started.

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki

In “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” Robert Kiyosaki shares the story of his two dads—his real father (poor dad) and the father of his best friend (rich dad)—and their financial philosophies. This book challenges the notion that you need a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you. The lessons in this book offer a fresh perspective on money and investing that isn’t typically taught in schools, making it a must-read for young adults.

“The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” provides a bold approach to personal finance matters, advocating for a total overhaul of your money habits. Ramsey emphasizes the importance of being debt-free and provides simple, actionable steps towards achieving financial health. His no-nonsense advice and practical, step-by-step plan can help high school graduates establish a strong financial foundation as they navigate their way through adulthood.

Building Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and manage your own emotions as well as those of others, is a key skill for anyone entering adulthood. The following books provide insightful guidance on this important aspect of personal development.

“Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” by Daniel Goleman

“Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” is a groundbreaking book by psychologist Daniel Goleman. It redefines what it means to be smart, arguing that emotional intelligence can have greater impact on success than conventional intelligence. Goleman details the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even physical well-being. As a recent high school graduate, understanding and developing your emotional intelligence can equip you to handle the complexities of interpersonal relationships in the real world, making this book a valuable read.

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brene Brown

In “Daring Greatly”, Brene Brown explores the concept of vulnerability and its importance in our lives. Brown argues that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but a powerful approach to living a wholehearted life. She discusses how embracing vulnerability can transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead. This book can inspire high school graduates to embrace their vulnerabilities as they step into adulthood, leading to stronger connections and an authentic, courageous way of living.

Exploring Creative and Critical Thinking

As you move into adulthood, developing your creative and critical thinking skills can open up new possibilities and opportunities. The following books can inspire you to think differently and challenge conventional wisdom.

“Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like An Artist” is a manifesto for creativity in the digital age. Kleon encourages readers to embrace influence, remix ideas, and discover their own unique creative path. The book provides actionable advice on how to transform the things you love into something new and original. As you step out of high school and into the wider world, this book can inspire you to tap into your creativity and see the potential in ideas all around you.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman is a seminal book about the two systems of thought that drive our actions—System 1, which is fast and intuitive, and System 2, which is slow and deliberate. Kahneman explores the strengths and weaknesses of both systems and how they shape our judgment and decision-making. This book can provide you with valuable insights into your own thought processes, helping you to make better decisions and understand the reasons behind your actions. As you navigate new challenges and opportunities after high school, such understanding can be invaluable.

Additional Recommendations

Here are ten more books that can provide insights, guidance, and inspiration as you navigate your journey beyond high school.

“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle’s guide to spiritual enlightenment encourages readers to live fully in the present moment. This book can provide you with valuable insights about mindfulness and mental presence, helping you to manage stress and anxiety in a fast-paced world.

“Atomic Habits” by James Clear

James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” presents a practical and proven framework for improving every day. This book is crucial for understanding how habits work and how to make them work in your favor, fostering personal and professional growth.

“Educated” by Tara Westover

“Educated” is a memoir about a woman who leaves her survivalist family in Idaho and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. This book offers a powerful exploration of the importance of education and the lengths one can go to achieve it.

“Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell explores why some people achieve more success than others, discussing the role of factors such as practice, timing, and culture. This book can offer fresh perspectives on success and what it takes to achieve it.

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

A timeless tale about following your dreams, “The Alchemist” is an inspiring read for anyone standing at the precipice of a new life journey. It reminds readers to listen to their hearts and follow their dreams.

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson

This book provides a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives. It can help you understand what truly matters in life and how to let go of things that don’t.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

A classic guide to interpersonal skills, this book offers practical advice for effective communication and building strong relationships, essential skills for personal and professional success.

“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain

“Quiet” offers a powerful argument for the importance of introverts, highlighting their unique strengths and abilities. This book can provide insights for understanding different personality types and valuing diversity.

“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

Frankl’s memoir about surviving Nazi death camps highlights the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence. It’s a profound read about resilience and the human capacity to find hope in the darkest times.

“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck

This book introduces the concept of “mindset” and how our beliefs about our abilities can impact our success. It’s a powerful read for understanding how to cultivate a growth mindset for personal and professional development.


Graduating from high school is just the beginning of your learning journey. As you step into adulthood, the world becomes your classroom, and books can be your teachers. Each of the books discussed here offers valuable insights into different aspects of life, helping you to grow personally and professionally.

Always remember that personal development is a lifelong journey, not a destination. Continue to read, explore, and learn about things that ignite your curiosity and passion. The knowledge and insights you gain will not only make you more informed but also more empathetic and understanding.

As you embark on this exciting new phase of your life, let these books guide you, inspire you, and open your eyes to new perspectives. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and personal growth, and let your love of learning lead the way.

Leave a Comment