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10 Books Every College Student Should Read



books for college student



A college student only has time to read his/her assigned reading and make their homework – right?

I argue differently: college is a great time to expand your knowledge in any possible way. Think outside of the classroom, and you will find plenty of opportunities for learning. Your campus library might be a goldmine waiting for you to explore.

Reading is important, as it sparks creativity for students. Moreover, when you read a profound book, you might feel it has an influence on how you see certain situations and thus, impacts your life.

If you’re a college student, here are 10 great books to help kick-start your reading habit.

10 Books Every College Student Should Read

1) On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King

My main advice for every college student is: learn how to write and present it well. You need these skills as a foundation for all your other endeavors. You need writing in college to present your work, and putting some effort into it will  make you stand out.

After your graduation, you will need to be able to write reports for work, or – to the very minimum – be able to put words into a coherent order for writing emails.

On Writing a memoir of the craft – Stephen King

2) The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle

Do you want to get better at, simply, anything? Whichever skill we are talking about, you need deep focus and study in order to get better. You need to be able to practice in the right way.

Daniel Coyle uses compelling examples of musicians and top athletes to illustrate what makes them great. I prefer this approach over all the fluffy “follow your passion and everything will work out” advice that is out there.

The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle

3) Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman – Richard Feynman

Feynman was a Nobel prize laureate and physicist. More than defined by his science, he was defined by his curiosity. If you are in a science major, or feel any inclination towards research, this book will inspire you to follow your nose when it comes to science, and everything outside of it.

Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman – Richard Feynman

4) An Astronaut’s guide to life on Earth – Chris Hadfield

Part memoir, part self-help book, this book tells the story of how Chris Hadfield became an astronaut and what he learned while training and then as an astronaut. Again, we see a good example of determination and drive in all the right quantities.

An Astronaut’s guide to life on Earth – Chris Hadfield

5) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks was a poor woman of color from whom cervical cancer cells were harvested. This book combines the science about the techniques for reproducing the now-famous HeLa cells, and the story of the injustice that was done to Henrietta and her family. Majors in the exact sciences and the humanities alike will find this an eye-opening book.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

6) Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg

This book is not just for women who want to know what they should do to have a successful career. I would argue this book is for both men and women. Read it as a college student, and take your understanding of how women are still discriminated against in today’s workplace. I hope it will inspire you to actively contribute to more diversity in your future workplace.

Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg

7) Einstein: His Life and Universe – Walter Isaacson

Did you always want to know what lies behind E=mc2 ? This massive biography tells about the science of Einstein and his thought experiments in such an accessible way that every college student can follow this, with or without a background in physics.

This book also tells the story of the human aspect of Einstein’s life, with Europe’s difficult decades as historical backdrop.

Einstein His Life and Universe – Walter Isaacson

8) So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport

Cal Newport stabbed the “Follow your passion” advice to death. There is little science backing the randomness of “follow your passion”, but there is plenty of evidence that greatness in science, music, sports and other endeavors comes from hard work and determination.

Written by a mathematics professor who constantly needs time for, what he calls, “deep work”, this book is an eye-opener and shows what it really takes to be successful.

So Good They Can’t Ignore you – Cal Newport

9) The Little Book of Contentment – Leo Babauta

I picked up this book as a free PDF from Babauta’s blog Zen Habits, and I was pleasantly surprised about its contents. Contentment might be an elusive prospective, but Babauta makes it very tangible. Contentment is within us and within reach. Focused flow and a general ease in life are associated with it. It’s a little book with a large message.

The Little Book of Contentment – Leo Babauta

10) 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think – Laura Vanderkam

There are a multitude of books out there to teach you time-management, but Laura Vanderkam’s week-based approach is an eye-opener. Learn in college how to plan your time (who wants to be in the library until 4AM doing homework before the deadline anyway?), and take this skill to the work floor after you graduate.

The book is laced with examples of how people with busy careers find time to do it all.

168 Hours You have more time than you think – Laura Vanderkam


Even as a busy college student, would you read these books? Which one would you start with?

Even during your hectic schedule, finding time to expand your mind will greatly benefit you in the future. Reading takes people to new heights, and introduces new ways of thinking. So grab a book and start exploring possibilities today.

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