May and June means we are entering graduation season as young people are completing one phase of their life and moving on to a new and exciting chapter.
I believe one of the most important keys to having a successful life is to commit to being a life long learner. Your need for education doesn’t stop the day you walk across the stage to be handed that diploma. Our world is constantly changing. While the knowledge you gained obtaining that diploma is helpful, if you aren’t continually learning new things, you’ll soon be left behind.
One way to be a continual learner is to be a reader. Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Here are some great books that will help your young graduate start down that path of continual learning.
The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews
There are two books that my wife and I stock pile and give away as a part of our standard gifts. The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success is one of them. We made the decision to always include this as a part of our graduation gifts that we give to all graduates. We may include something else with it, but all graduates get a copy of this book. We felt very strongly that this book has principles that if followed will help any young person lead a successful life.
The book is written as a fictional narrative and is a very easy read for even the most reluctant reader. It tells the story of David Ponder a down-in-the-luck business man who is in a very serious car accident. While he is unconscious he is taken on a journey through history as he meets with seven different historical figures. From Harry Truman he learns the importance of taking responsibility, from Solomon he learns about wisdom, from Colonel Joshua Chamberlain the value of being a person of action, from Christopher Columbus that power of a decided heart, from Ann Frank he learns to choose to be happy, from Abraham Lincoln the importance of forgiveness, and lastly from the angel Gabriel he learns to persist without exception.
It is one of my all-time favorite books. I think it has incredibly valuable lessons for anyone, but especially for those just starting out in life.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is the other book my wife and I give away, though this one we usually use as a part of our standard wedding gift. It would be a great gift for the graduate too.
For good or bad, finances impact so many areas of our lives. Sadly though, many young people go through school and enter the “real world” never having been taught sound financial principles either at home or in school. As a result they stumble through life from one poor decision to another.
The thing is, so many of our financial goals are so much easier if we get started when we are young. It is much easier to avoid debt than to dig ourselves out of a hole when we hit bottom. Saving for retirement, homes, big purchases, etc. is not that difficult if you start early, but if the wake-up call doesn’t come until later in life the challenges are much more difficult.
The Total Money Makeover provides a great foundation that will help your young graduate make wise decisions from the start and avoid the mistakes so many of their peers will be making. If you really want to help them get off to a great start and you think they would be interested, pay for them to go through Financial Peace University. That will really help them get off to a good start financially.
The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton
If your young graduate doesn’t like reading non-fiction, The Wealthy Barber would be another great way to introduce them to wise financial principles.
The thoughts covered are very similar to those of The Total Money Makeover, but it is done in a fictionalized story. The Wealthy Barber follows a group of young people as they visit their local barber for their periodic hair cuts. As they are sitting in the chair, the discussion often turns to financial issues they are having, and their barber begins to teach them wise principles and gives them assignments to complete before their next haircut. As they come back for future visits, they discuss how those assignments went and he provides further instructions. It is done in an easy entertaining style that almost anyone can read, but it drives home many wise financial principles.
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
As I mentioned, our world changes rapidly. Consider the last time you saw a phone booth? Record store? Video store? Careers that are viable today might be obsolete when the next big thing comes along. Those who don’t learn how to deal with change are doomed to a life of obsolescence.
Who Moved My Cheese? presents a simple tale of some mice in a maze searching for cheese. Life is predictable as the cheese is consistently in the same place, until one day the cheese isn’t there. The mice handle this development in different ways which mirror our own response to handling change. It is a short, simple fable, but it provides some powerful illustrations on how to respond when things aren’t as you thought they’d be.
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
I recently read The ONE Thing and I thought it was terrific. Our world prizes those who can multi-task. Often it almost demands it as we are called to accomplish more and more. Work demands. Family demands. Physical and spiritual demands. We wonder how we can get it all done. This is the world our young graduates are entering.
The ONE Thingshows how to properly prioritize our life. Multi-tasking is a myth. Studies have shown that when our human brains try to do more than one thing at a time, we don’t do any of them very well. We need to find focus, and the key is making sure that focus is applied to “that one thing” that will really make the most difference.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is probably considered a classic, but usually there is a reason books become classics. Incorporating these habits into your life when you are young will give you a big leg up on your peers.
Give the gift of wisdom
If you are looking for gift ideas for the graduate in your life, each of these books contain wisdom that will benefit anyone regardless of age. But the younger you are when you grasp onto these principles the more prepared you will be to achieve all that you were created to be.
If you have are going to be attending a graduation this year for a young relative or friend, consider picking up at least one of these books to share with them as they start out on the adventure that will be their life.