15 Books To Help Navigate Life After Graduating From College

These self-help, finance and cookbooks will make post-grad life a breeze!

Photo Credit: Blavity

| May 31 2019,

1:52 pm

Graduating from college is a major milestone, but what comes next can be especially unnerving for many young people as they embark upon the next chapter of their lives, entering into the real world for the first time.

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, during the 2018-2019 school year, colleges and universities are projected to give out 1 million associate’s degrees and nearly 2 million bachelor’s degrees. For millions of recent graduates, anxiety about how to move forward in life is not uncommon. Finding a job, brushing up on your culinary techniques and figuring out finances can be exciting yet overwhelming adult responsibilities, but navigating through these obstacles is all part of the adventure.

Recent grads, know that you are not alone! Calm your nerves, sit back and don't panic. Here are 15 books a young graduate should read to better prepare for adulthood.


1. Get Out Of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior By Mark Goldstein M.D And Philip Goldberg

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies and as a new graduate, now is the time to overcome this. Get Out of Your Own Way is an uplifting read about how to stop the cycle of self-sabotage. The 177-page, self-help book is meant to help readers change the negative habits that can ultimately delay growth and success. With chapter topics that range from “waiting until it’s too late,” to “quitting too soon” and “taking things too personally,” Get Out of Your Own Way will have readers re-evaluating how they approach life.

2. Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks On Me By Charlamagne Tha God

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#iknowimlate 💚💚💚 but better late than never...this right here tho!!! @cthagod I can’t thank u enough, I’m not even finished yet nd can tell this 1 will be a life changer for me. 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽💜💜💜

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Written by controversial co-host of The Breakfast Club, Charlamange Tha God's Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me is a memoir about his own journey overcoming anxiety. In this book, the New York Times bestselling author of Black Privilege addresses each of his greatest fears, including fear of weakness, being a bad father and ultimately failing at life. In this empowering narrative, Charlamagne discusses how he addressed his own anxiety triggers, and also challenges readers to overcome a sense of self-doubt by refusing to allow fear to hold them back.

3. Beating the Odds: Eddie Brown's Investing And Life Strategies By Eddie Brown                                                                                          

An honest and easy-to-read autobiography, Beating the Odds details how financial expert and founder of Brown Capital Management Eddie Brown used his intellectual curiosity, enduring self-belief and strong work ethic to earn an electrical engineering degree and eventually become the CEO of his own investment management firm. In the book, Brown shares what inspired him to start his own financial management firm, while also encouraging young entrepreneurs to be courageous enough to start their own businesses.

4. Strategize To Win: The New Way To Start Out, Step Up, Or Start Over In Your Career By Carla A. Harris                                                                                                                                            


Carla Harris, vice chairman, managing director and senior client advisor of Morgan Stanley, has the inside scoop on how to navigate the ever-changing job market. For recent college graduates, trying to figure out which career path to take might be daunting, but in Strategize to Win, Harris explains how to thrive in whatever field you choose. Additionally, she identifies how to make the most out of your work life and social life, because life is all about balance.

5. What I Know For Sure By Oprah Winfrey 


Based off of Oprah's column in O, The Oprah Magazine, What I Know for Sure is a life-affirming collection of essays that serves as a guide for becoming your best self. Each essay offers a powerful and intimate glimpse into the mind and heart of one of the world's most prolific women. With themes like resilience, connection, power, gratitude, joy and possibility, the book is jam-packed with insightful revelations.

6. The Power Of Broke: How Empty Pockets, A Tight Budget, And A Hunger For Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage By Daymond John                                           

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The Power of Broke by Daymond John 💸 - 📸 @whizzoe - “𝗧𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗺𝘆𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗶𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗳 𝗺𝘆 𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘀. 𝐈𝐭 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘁 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝗲.”💯 - After graduating high school Daymond John saved up $12,000 from working 3 jobs & bought a dusty 1979 Ford van. All his friends clowned him but Daymond saw an opportunity in the van. He turned it into a ride-sharing service that was 15 cents cheaper than the city bus & even more convenient - dropping off riders anywhere they wanted that was on his route & even threw in an “Extended credit” policy. Meaning “You can ride today, just take care of me tomorrow.”🤞🏿 - Fast forward to over 20 years later, @thesharkdaymond is now a multi-millionaire worth over $200million 🔥 - As @danlok said, “It’s not a lack of resources, it’s a lack of resourcefulness.“ We just have to see the opportunity in our resources & take them. ⚡️ - Who’s your favorite success story? 🤔 #booksforthewise

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Being strapped for cash is something most recent college grads experience on a regular basis. FUBU founder and co-host of Shark Tank Daymond John’s The Power of Broke breaks down the advantages of living with limited means and how that struggle can put you on the path to becoming an excellent entrepreneur. The text personal testimonies of various successful entrepreneurs who started off with nothing but a “dollar and a dream.” John also reveals how hustling is an art form that we can all tap into. 

7. Money Talks: Black Finance Experts Talk To You About Money By Juliette Fairley  

“The power is in the money, and the more money you have, the more opportunities you will have, regardless of what you endeavor to achieve,” author Juliette Fairley advises in the introduction of her book Money Talks.


Money Talks plugs readers into simple steps on how to increase wealth, as 20 Black finance experts — including top CEOs, bankers and investors — provide guidance on how to save and spend wisely. The book uses models that can help graduates understand the concept of investing and mastering finances. Each chapter also discloses the financial steps Black American’s can take to help better themselves and ultimately the entire community.

8. The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets Of Black Millionaires By Dennis Kimbro                      


The Wealth Choice offers advice about climbing the economic ladder when the odds are stacked against you. Grads can learn how business leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities — including Spike Lee, Bob Johnson, Herman Cain, LA Reid and T.D. Jakes — found their own paths to financial prosperity.

9. Spend Well, Live Rich: How To Get What You Want With The Money You Have By Michelle Singletary


Spend Well, Live Rich follows the seven money incantations of Singletary’s grandmother. Singletary preaches money management as well as being financially responsible based on seven easy-to-follow mantras:

  1. “If it’s on your ass, then it’s not an asset.”
  2. “Is this a need or a want?”
  3. “Sweat the small stuff.”
  4. “Cash is better than credit.”
  5. “Keep it simple.”
  6. “Priorities lead to prosperity.”
  7. “Enough is enough.”

In the age of speaking things into existence, practicing these mantra's daily could help bring more money your way.

10. The Wealth Cure: Putting Money In Its Place By Hill Harper


Actor and bestselling author Hill Harper offers captivating lessons on how to build financial security while also achieving wealth in other aspects of life in The Wealth Cure. In the book, Harper explains the importance of laying a sturdy financial foundation, recognizing the worth of relationships and increasing the value of day-to-day interactions by using examples from his life experiences.

11. Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin By Gerry Garvin

Gerry Garvin, chef and television host of Turn Up the Heat on TV One, combines his culinary skills with his chill personality. Full of great tasting recipes that include French, Italian, Cajun, Indian and American cuisine, Garvin’s cookbook has over 200 simple but savory dishes — ideal for the busy millennial graduate.

12. Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday And Celebration By Carla Hall


Top Chef winner and former co-host of The Chew Carla Hall has brought her loveable energy and culinary expertise to life in the pages of her book, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration. Hall traces the history of soul food, America’s favorite comfort cuisine, from Africa and the Caribbean to the American South. She also shows readers that soul food is more than fried chicken and mac and cheese; it can be healthy yet still — and most importantly — delicious!

13. Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired By One Hundred Years Of Cooking In A Black Family By Alice Randall & Caroline Randall-Williams

Soul Food Love

14. Soul: A Chef's Culinary Evolution In 150 Recipes By Todd Richards

Soul celebrates the evolution of Black cuisine. Richards puts a unique twist on soul food, sharing his imaginative recipes that highlight what soul food can be for the younger generation of cooks. The meals include recipes for dishes like grilled sea urchin, peach salad and lamb meatball skewers with fig yogurt sauce and collard green ramen — yum!

15. Why Vegan Is The New Black by Deborrah Cooper


Why Vegan Is The New Black offers a tasty twist on some soul food classics. With over 100 simple recipes, this cookbook will have some readers reconsidering meatless options. The book is a helpful guide to push young graduates toward better food options, improved nutrition and animal advocacy.

A new life begins after college. Whether you're finding ways to cope with what's next, tackling credit card debt or learning your way around the kitchen, this list of self-help, finance and culinary books should come in handy and help you ground your journey. So relax and take a deep breath — you got this!