Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Real-life reading list for graduating teens

I've started a running list of books I'd like to recommend to my kids to read by the time they graduate from high school, in preparation for leaving home and going away to college. They're not dense academic tomes (they get enough of those at school)--these titles are books I think contain some real wisdom for all ages that's distinctly advantageous to have under your belt, especially before you venture off into the world. Most are books I doubt high school teachers would ever recommend. Of course, if you don’t get through these books before college, it’s never too late—but the sooner the better:

Campus life prep:

A Student’s Guide to the Core Curriculum by Mark C. Henrie/Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
A guide on what courses to choose to ensure a first-class education. See also the other ISI subject study guides for entering college students.

When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith
Separating assertion from aggression and offering some good techniques for knowing how to stand up for yourself in a firm, civil way

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Classic. Working at treating people as you would really like to be treated pays off

The Closing of the American Mind by Allen Bloom
An essential guide to what you really want to get out of college, and whether or not you can expect to find it there

Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus by Dinesh D’Souza
Ideas and tips on how to recognize and make your way through the campus diversity minefield

Unprotected by Miriam Grossman
What your campus health clinic won’t tell you

The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate by Hariett Lerner
What to do when your roommate, advisor, mentor, or sweetheart turns out to be a jerk

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
What is the real meaning of life? Not a book of philosophy per se, but a book of wisdom

Happiness is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual by Dennis Prager
Something to think about as you go through life acquiring your personality, your resume, your character, and your attitude

The Bible; Psalms; Proverbs
Timeless and encapsulated wisdom and support, there when you need it most

The Message: The New Testament in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson
The story and teachings of Jesus in powerful, modern speech. Helps keep campus life in perspective

America: The Last Best Hope (Volumes I & II) by William J. Bennett
Riveting and well-written: the true story of American exceptionalism you may not hear at school

Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties by Paul Johnson
Details and stories you may graduate without ever hearing

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton and Rose Friedman
Why capitalism and freedom make for the best society

The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
How compassion and good intentions result in terrible outcomes

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay
An enlightening survival manual about human nature; first published in 1841, this is a classic handed down in our family for generations

We the Living and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
She escaped from a collectivist society to found Objectivist philosophy and become the 20th-century’s most ardent pro-capitalism and pro-freedom novelist--and as such, is rarely mentioned by teachers--but Ayn Rand is an enduring underground sensation and best-selling thinker. Best comprehensive descriptions of capitalism and collectivism at work in modern society I've ever read. Will help you understand politics and p.r., too.

Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers; From Bauhaus to Our House; and The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe
My favorite New Journalist writes the wickedly funny grammar on puncturing politically correct "elites"

Have any additions? Please add them in the comments.

UPDATE: Here's a nice addition: 88 Surefire Tips for Succeeding in College (via Newmark's Door). Life skills--in college, you get to practice them. (Hat tip to my Dreamboat)

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