It's graduation time! Last year I posted Fresh Gift Ideas for Your Graduate. I had hoped to give you some ideas beyond Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go. I have nothing against Dr. Seuss, but if it's THE book to get a graduate, isn't there the slightest possibility that graduates everywhere might be inundated by countless copies of it from well-meaning relatives who simply don't have any other options? Sure, it's a classic, but how many copies does one person need?
Well, it seems that this year publishers have finally grasped the Oh, the Places You'll Go conundrum. Suddenly there are a slew of fresh books to hand that newly-minted genius in your life. And nary a made up word in sight.
I hope the suggestions below are helpful! For more ideas, head to the Ravenna location and visit our Graduation display. I made tiny graduation hats and tiny diplomas, which are probably worth the trip even if you don't have to buy a graduation gift.
Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders
Three months after George Saunders gave a convocation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.
If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young by Kurt Vonnegut
A collection of graduation speeches by acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut, offering his heartfelt and humorous advice for young people about to enter the world.
After the publication of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five brought him worldwide acclaim in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut became one of America's most popular graduation speakers. There were years when public speaking was his main source of income, and he put a great deal of thought and preparation into the things he said and also in his presentations. "We are performing animals" is one of Vonnegut's trademark sayings, and he took it to heart when he found himself before an auditorium filled with college seniors about to enter the world as members of the citizenry, hopeful of being gainfully employed, adults with their school days now finally behind them.
Vonnegut was a very, very funny graduation speaker. At the same time, he conveys in these speeches something of the seriousness, of the momentousness of life too. He tells stories and jokes, invokes the figures who inspire him the most–Jesus, Eugene Debs, Bertrand Russell, Jazz historian Albert Murray, and Vonnegut's friend Joseph Heller among many others. Perhaps most importantly, he acts like the young people he is speaking to are going to go out into the world and make a difference.
You Are (Not) Special: And Other Encouragements by David McCullough, Jr.
A profound expansion of David McCullough, Jr.'s popular commencement speech--a call to arms against a prevailing, narrow, conception of success viewed by millions on YouTube--You Are (Not) Special is a love letter to students and parents as well as a guide to a truly fulfilling, happy life.
Children today, says David McCullough--high school English teacher, father of four, and son and namesake of the famous historian--are being encouraged to sacrifice passionate engagement with life for specious notions of success. The intense pressure to excel discourages kids from taking chances, failing, and learning empathy and self-confidence from those failures.
In You Are (Not) Special, McCullough elaborates on his now-famous speech exploring how, for what purpose, and for whose sake, we're raising our kids. With wry, affectionate humor, McCullough takes on hovering parents, ineffectual schools, professional college prep, electronic distractions, club sports, and generally the manifestations, and the applications and consequences of privilege. By acknowledging that the world is indifferent to them, McCullough takes pressure off of students to be extraordinary achievers and instead exhorts them to roll up their sleeves and do something useful with their advantages.
I Just Graduated...Now What?: Honest Answers from Those Who Have Been There by Katherine Schwarzenegger
Graduation is a time of tough questions whose answers we don’t—and sometimes can’t—know the day we receive our diploma. Determined to power through the uncertainty of post-graduation, bestselling author Katherine Schwarzenegger embarked on a yearlong quest to gather the best guidance possible from more than thirty highly successful people working in fields like business, media, fashion, technology, sports, and philanthropy.
Along the way, Katherine uncovered the essential and often surprising advice they have for graduates, including answers to questions like:
• How do I find my first job in a tough economy?
• How do I decide between a career that pays well and one that I’m passionate about?
• How do I balance work with friends, relationships, and family?
• Should I take a “gap year” before starting my first job?
• What should I do about my student loan debt?
Drawing on the stories and real-life experiences of contributors such as Anderson Cooper, Eva Longoria, Blake Mycoskie of TOMS shoes, Lauren Bush Lauren, Andy Cohen, Meghan McCain, Gayle King, and more, Katherine has written the must-have guide for recent and soon-to-be graduates as they prepare to seek success and fulfillment in their work, relationships, and lives.
Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandburg
In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In became a massive cultural phenomenon and its title became an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of best-seller lists both nationally and internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theaters, dominated op-ed pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership. Now, this enhanced edition provides the entire text of the original book updated with more recent statistics and features a passionate letter from Sandberg encouraging graduates to find and commit to work they love. A combination of inspiration and practical advice, this new edition will speak directly to graduates and, like the original, will change lives.
New Material for the Graduate Edition:
· A Letter to Graduates from Sheryl Sandberg
· Find Your First Job, by Mindy Levy
· Negotiate Your Salary, by Kim Keating
· Man Up: Millennial Men and Equality, by Kunal Modi
· Leaning In Together, by Rachel Thomas
· Own Who You Are, by Mellody Hobson
· Listen to Your Inner Voice, by Rachel Simmons
· 12 Lean In stories (500-word essays), by readers around the world who have been inspired by Sandberg