Saturday, May 18, 2013

Five Must-Reads for Graduates (And Everyone Else)

It is that time of year again, and if you are looking to give something really meaningful and worthwhile, consider one or more of the following:
  1. This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.  The late David Foster Wallace delivered this commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005.  In sum, exercising the choice of what you think about is essential in navigating the day-to-day where we live our lives.  And being attentive and mindful of what is right in front of you is necessary to overcome your inherent self-centered nature-- the real journey of a lifetime.
  2. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon. This is important for anyone starting or planning a career.  It poses some very difficult questions, but aren't those the only ones worth wrestling with?
  3. Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court, by Jay Bilas. This is an extraordinary thorough and insightful exploration what it takes to complete the missions you undertake.  And toughness is not what you think it is.  
  4. Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball, by R.A. Dickey.  Dickey has faced and overcome tremendous challenges, numerous setbacks, and professional and personal failures on his journey back to the Major Leagues.  This is not a book about baseball, but about confronting your demons, figuring out what really matters, and persevering- again and again and again.  If you think you know something about bravery and courage, read this.
  5. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More Of It by Kelly McGonigal.  Doing what matters is difficult, in part because our brains are wired to to want and seek something different.  McGonigal offers the most practical explanation I have read of why this is the case, as well as down-to-earth advice on how to train yourself in service of your real goals.  For my previous discussion of this book, click here
For a previous list of good reads, (including some of these), click here.