Life After College's Big Reads of the Season (+ Giveaway!)

books One of my favorite things about being out of school is being able to read whatever I want. Not being beholden to a course syllabus is an amazing thing. I’m no longer rushing night after night to finish hundreds of pages of assigned reading, and I get to let my curiosity lead whatever I read next.

It’s like being a kid at a candy store—happily overwhelmed by all the choices, I  decide to take a sample of them all!

In this new series on Life After College, I’ll be rounding up the team’s latest favorite reads of the last quarter. These books and articles have inspired us in our work—teaching us new things about our fields and pushing us to up-level our game. Enjoy!

The Life After College Reading List: Q1 2016

1. Lucent List

First up, we’ve been loving everything in the Lucent List emails, rounding up all the latest in meditation and mindfulness. They mention some great reads like 99u’s The Power of Creative Cross Training and Time’s The Mindful Revolution. Check out the Lucent List archive here.

2. The Internet to the Inner-Net: Five Ways to Reset Your Connection and Live a Conscious Life by Gopi Kallayil

Speaking of mindfulness and meditation, I just finished reading Gopi Kallayil’s new book The Internet to the Inner-Net. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Entering the workforce in this age often means being glued to your cell phone and laptop, and I’ve been craving some more balance between my inner world and my online world. Here’s a description:

A fast-paced career in the high-tech industry combined with a deep yoga and meditation practice has allowed Gopi Kallayil—Google’s Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing and one of the leading voices encouraging yoga and mindfulness in the workplace today—to integrate his inner and outer technologies to a remarkable degree. Wisdom from his yoga mat and meditation cushion guides his professional career, and his work life provides the perfect classroom to deepen his wisdom practice. The Internet to the Inner-Net guides the rest of us to do the same. In some three dozen wide-ranging, sometimes provocative essays, Gopi shares his experiments in conscious living and offers insight, inspiration, and rituals—including yoga, mindful eating, and even napping—to help us access our own inner worlds.

3. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Deep Work  is a favorite of Jenny’s that I’m just now half-way into myself. In an effort to really turn our attention to projects that matter, we’ve been loving Newport’s message.

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way. In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

4. Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies and Symbols by Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez

We’re always down to read something by Nancy Duarte, and her latest book Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies and Symbols does not disappoint.

“As a leader, you have the same potential to not only anticipate the future and invent creative initiatives, but to also inspire those around you to support and execute your vision. In Illuminate, acclaimed author Nancy Duarte and communications expert Patti Sanchez equip you with the same communication tools that great leaders like Jobs, Howard Schultz, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to move people. Duarte and Sanchez lay out a plan to help you lead people through the five stages of transformation using speeches, stories, ceremonies, and symbols.”

5. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

If you listened to Jenny’s recent Pivot Podcast episode with Michael Bungay Stanier, you’ll know his new book The Coaching Habit is a must-read. Questions are the bedrock of great coaching and guidance—start asking them more!

“Coaching is an essential skill for leaders. But for most busy, overworked managers, coaching employees is done badly, or not at all.  They’re just too busy, and it’s too hard to change.

But what if managers could coach their people in 10 minutes or less?

In Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.”

6. The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha

I’m still making my way through Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation, but it’s already helped me break through how I think of success and happiness in the pursuit of a great life.

“In The Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to want nothing, do anything, and have everything. If that sounds like a contradiction, you simply haven’t unlocked the 9 Secrets to Happiness.

Each secret takes a common ideal, flips it on its head, and casts it in a completely new light. Pasricha then goes a step further by providing step-by-step guidelines and hand-drawn scribbles that illustrate exactly how to apply each secret to live a happier life today.”

Book Giveaway

We’re excited to announce that five lucky Life After College readers will receive a copy of one of the books above! To enter to win, please answer the following questions in the comments by Friday, April 22. We will pick 5 winners via and email to let you know! Good luck!

Comment to Be Entered to Win What books and other reading have been inspiring you lately? If you let curiosity and intuition guide your next reading choice, what would you read about next?