Graduation is a time for celebration, but it can also be as scary as hell. It's the official transition into adulthood, a transition into the real world, where people go to work and pay the bills. That can be a lot of pressure. Give the grad in your life one of these books to take the edge off and leave them feeling inspired about what's next.
Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod
Hugh MacLeod never expected that his doodles on the backs of business cards would launch him to fame, but they did. His popular blog, Gaping Void, led to this book about creativity, which is wise, funny, optimistic, with a splash of cynicism. You'll fall in love with cheeky chapter titles like, Selling Out is Harder Than It Looks, Dying Young is Overrated, You Have to Find Your Own Schtick, Being Poor Sucks, and None of This is Rocket Science. This book is equal parts inspiration and kick-in-the-ass...something every grad needs.
F*ck, I'm in My Twenties by Emma Koenig
I'm in my mid-30s, but oh how I WISH this book existed when I was a 20-something! Koenig's musings and drawings (which sprouted from her blog) cut right down to the truth about what it's like to be fresh out of school, trying to navigate the world on your own. Her edgy observations about the frustrations of being young and broke - what she calls the post-graduation "anti-fanfare" - are hilarious and relatable. I dare you not to snort-laugh while reading this.
Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art Speech by Neil Gaiman
This graduation speech, beautifully designed by Chipp Kidd, is for everyone, not just artists. Gaimen says, "I hope you'll make mistakes. If you're making mistakes, it means you're out there doing something." I love that. Other tasty nuggets: break the rules; say no to the wrong opportunities; be thick-skinned; don't do it just for the money; enjoy your success; and follow adventure until it feels like work, then stop. You'll want to read this one over and over. Prefer video? You can watch the speech here.
Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte
This book has been called, "the new badass Artist's Way". Enough said. LaPorte delivers "straight-talking sermons" about success, ambition, goal setting, and taking action. Each chapter delivers a brazen, poetic, loving ass kicking, plus a worksheet to help you move into action. This is hands-down one of my all-time favourite books. Buy one for every grad you know and one for yourself. You can thank me later.
If This Isn't Nice, What Is? Advice to the Young: The Graduation Speeches by Ken Vonnegut
Vonnegut's Uncle Alex was a man who appreciated life's little happy moments. Once, while drinking lemonade under an apple tree, he turned to his nephew and said, "If this isn't nice, what is?"...hence the book's title. Vonnegut never graduated from college, himself, but he delivered seven inspiring commencement speeches, including Advice to Graduating Women (That All Men Should Know!), How to Have Something Most Billionaires Don't, and Don't forget Where You Come From. Vonnegut urges graduates to notice when they're happy and to savor it. So few of us actually do that.
Previously published at Careergasm.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: