As post-secondary readers across the country hit the books, students at the University of Alberta aim to cut through the clutter.

As learners tackle text books, history books, how-to-books, self-help books and books of fiction, the U of A students association blog,, has whittled down the immense collection of written material available to students today and compiled a list of 10 books every student must read before graduation.

The list may include two U of A-centric selections - Leading U: Stories from Inspirational UAlberta Alumni and Students, and I Was There - but as a whole, it is an eclectic collection of must-reads that don't really require a degree, or a progression towards one, to be of benefit to the reader.

The ranking, which is equal parts deep reflection and light reading, is made up of books about success, the secrets - and ironies - of leadership, on how to be an object of change, on cause and effect and even a how-to cookbook.

Click through the slideshow below for the '10 Books Every Student Should Read'

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  • Difficult Conversations

    By Bruce Patton, Douglas Stone, and Sheila Heen

  • Why? Because everybody has them. Everybody. You’ll encounter them during your time as a student when you have to ask your prof for an extension on an assignment, you’ll encounter them when your friend starts dating that guy you just can’t stand, you’ll definitely encounter them when you have to work on a group assignment. And as much as I hate to say it, you’re going to encounter them after you’ve graduated and entered the work force too. So, why not prepare a little?

  • Generation Me

    By Jean M. Twenge

  • Why? This book provides some insights into the views that older generations possess about you. The book won’t be a perfect portrait of you, but it will let you know what stereotypes people will hold about you because of your age. And as much as it might hurt to say, you may find yourself saying “oh, that does sound like me” a few times.

  • Leadership for a Better World

    By Susan R. Komives and Wendy Wagner

  • Why? Because we all want to have an impact and hopefully that impact will be a positive one. This book will help to show you how you can become an agent for social change while still pursuing your studies.

  • The Prine

    By Niccolo Machiavelli

  • Why? Once you’ve read Leadership for a Better World you should probably know what you’re really up against! You shouldn’t read this work as a “how to lead” manual, but you should look for the truth that’s veiled behind the irony.

  • The Social Animal

    By David Brooks

  • Why? There are both social and biological reasons that we do what we do at different point in our lives and this book explores each of them.

  • Nosh for Students

    By Joy May

  • Why? You have to eat, so you should learn how to cook. This particular cook book is focused around the needs of a student, taking into account time and money. It includes vegetarian options, teaches you how to meal plan, and contains a lot of bacon recipes, because bacon is so in. But really, even if you don’t invest in this particular cook book, picking up a culinary guide is always a good idea.

  • Outliers: The Story of Success

    By Malcom Gladwell

  • Why? When it comes to success, what do you think matters more: practice and timing or ambition and intelligence? Gladwell's book will help you investigate this very question.

  • The Lorax

    By Dr. Seuss

  • Why? Because Oh, the Places You'll Go would have been too obvious… and we should all strive to be understand how our actions can impact the world around us.

  • Leading U: Stories from Inspirational UAlberta Alumni and Students

    Edited By Emerson Csorba, Tori McNish, Kevin Pinoski, and Chelsey Van Weerden

  • Why? This book (which you are invited to add to) provides insights into what it’s like to be a student… but not just any student – specifically, a U of A student! The online book is free and was pulled together by one current U of A student and three new alumni. And they invite you to add your take on life at the U of A to it.

  • I Was There

    By Ellen Shoeck

  • Why? What was it like to be at the U of A 105 years ago? 80 years ago? 30 years ago? No matter where you turn in this book, you’ll find out what the student experience was like for those who came before us.

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