15 Essential Books To Get You Through College

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From finance to public speaking, these self-help reads will get you through college… and life in general.

A Mind For Numbers

The companion book to COURSERA®’s wildly popular massive open online course “Learning How to Learn”

Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a new skill set, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating material. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options—both to rise in the military and to explore other careers—she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.

In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to learning effectively—secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions—you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. The learning strategies in this book apply not only to math and science, but to any subject in which we struggle. We all have what it takes to excel in areas that don’t seem to come naturally to us at first, and learning them does not have to be as painful as we might think!

Brain Rules

Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know—like the need for physical activity to get your brain working its best.

How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget—and so important to repeat new knowledge? Is it true that men and women have different brains?

In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule—what scientists know for sure about how our brains work—and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.

 

Confessions of a Public Speaker

In this hilarious and highly practical book, author and professional speaker Scott Berkun reveals the techniques behind what great communicators do, and shows how anyone can learn to use them well. For managers and teachers — and anyone else who talks and expects someone to listen — Confessions of a Public Speaker provides an insider’s perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone. It’s a unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking to crowds of all sizes.

With lively lessons and surprising confessions, you’ll get new insights into the art of persuasion — as well as teaching, learning, and performance — directly from a master of the trade.

 

Debt-Free U

This book can save you more than $100,000.

These days, most people assume you need to pay a boatload of money for a quality college education. As a result, students and their parents are willing to go into years of debt and potentially sabotage their entire financial futures just to get a fancy name on their diploma.

But Zac Bissonnette is walking proof that this assumption is not only false, but dangerous-a class con game designed to rip you off and doom your student to a post-graduation life of near poverty . From his unique double perspective-he’s a personal finance expert (at Daily Finance) AND a current senior at the University of Massachusetts-Zac figured out how to get an outstanding education at a public college, without bankrupting his parents or taking on massive loans.

Armed with his personal knowledge, the latest data, and smart analysis, Zac takes on the sacred cows of the higher education establishment. He reveals why a lot of the conventional wisdom about choosing and financing college is not only wrong but hazardous to you and your child’s financial future. You’ll discover, for instance, that:

* Student loans are NOT a necessary evil. Ordinary middle class families can- and must-find ways to avoid them, even without scholarships.

* College “rankings” are useless-designed to sell magazines and generate hype. If you trust one of the major guides when picking a college, you face a potential financial disaster.

* The elite graduate programs accept lots of people with non-elite bachelors degrees. So do America’s most selective employers. The name on a diploma ultimately won’t help your child have a more successful career or earn more money.

 

Deep Work

One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results.
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.

In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories — from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air — and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. DEEP WORK is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

 

How To Win At College

The only guide to getting ahead once you’ve gotten in—proven strategies for making the most of your college years, based on winning secrets from the country’s most successful students

What does it take to be a standout student? How can you make the most of your college years—graduate with honors, choose exciting activities, build a head-turning resume, and gain access to the best post-college opportunities? Based on interviews with star students at universities nationwide, from Harvard to the University of Arizona, How to Win at College presents seventy-five simple rules that will rocket you to the top of the class. These college-tested—and often surprising—strategies include:

• Don’t do all your reading
• Drop classes every term
• Become a club president
• Care about your grades, Ignore your GPA
• Never pull an all-nighter
• Take three days to write a paper
• Always be working on a “grand project”
• Do one thing better than anyone else you know

Proving that success has little to do with being a genius workaholic, and everything to do with playing the game, How to Win at College is the must-have guide for making the most of these four important years—and getting an edge on life after graduation.

 

Make It Stick

To most of us, learning something “the hard way” implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.

Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

 

Personal Investing

Did your investments take a hit in the recession? You’re not alone. Between 2007 and mid-year 2009, the average 401K lost 31% of its value. Ouch. It’s time to take control of your investments with Personal Investing: The Missing Manual. Financial experts agree that with the right guidance, consumers can make investments better than many professionals. This lively and easy-to-understand guide gives you the confidence, tools, and insight you need to evaluate financial products and make smart investments that target success over the long term.

You’ll learn how to set long-term goals for critical, high-cost events such as retirement, your children’s education, and future health care needs. Then you’ll learn what types of investments will best help you achieve those goals. In step-by-step fashion, this book shows you how to research mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other financial products to create a portfolio of diversified investments.

Get crystal-clear, practical advice from personal finance expert Bonnie Biafore, author of Missing Manuals on the Quicken personal-finance program and QuickBooks business finance program Understand why you need to invest — Biafore shows you how savings accounts simply won’t outpace inflation or give you the returns you need for long-term goals Learn how to evaluate and buy traditional investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds Discover lesser-known investments, such as index funds and exchange-traded funds, which cost you less and provide more tax advantages Choose the best funds offered by your employer for your 401K, and learn how to get the greatest tax advantages

 

Smarter Faster Better

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating book that explores the science of productivity, and why managing how you think is more important than what you think—with an appendix of real-world lessons to apply to your life.

At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently.

They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.

 

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

In this eye-opening account, Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. Not only is the cliché flawed-preexisting passions are rare and have little to do with how most people end up loving their work-but it can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic job hopping.

After making his case against passion, Newport sets out on a quest to discover the reality of how people end up loving what they do. Spending time with organic farmers, venture capitalists, screenwriters, freelance computer programmers, and others who admitted to deriving great satisfaction from their work, Newport uncovers the strategies they used and the pitfalls they avoided in developing their compelling careers.

Matching your job to a preexisting passion does not matter, he reveals. Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before.
In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.

With a title taken from the comedian Steve Martin, who once said his advice for aspiring entertainers was to “be so good they can’t ignore you,” Cal Newport’s clearly written manifesto is mandatory reading for anyone fretting about what to do with their life, or frustrated by their current job situation and eager to find a fresh new way to take control of their livelihood. He provides an evidence-based blueprint for creating work you love.

 

Sorted

Recipes and tips for healthy living while in college; written by students for students. Includes practical help and advice for many aspects of student life.

 

The 4-Hour Workweek

The New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Body shows readers how to live more and work less, now with more than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content.

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
• How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
• How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
• How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
• How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
• How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Stephen Covey’s cherished classic commemorates the timeless wisdom of the 7 Habits.

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.

 

The Happiness Equation

The new book from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Book of Awesome that “reveals how all of us can live happier lives” (Gretchen Rubin).

What is the formula for a happy life? Neil Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, a New York Times–bestselling author, a Walmart executive, a father, a husband. After selling more than a million copies of the Book of Awesome series, wherein he observed the everyday things he thought were awesome, he now shifts his focus to the practicalities of living an awesome life.

In his new book The Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to want nothing and do anything in order to have everything. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, you simply have yet to unlock the 9 Secrets to Happiness. Each secret takes a piece out of the core of common sense, turns it on its head to present it in a completely new light, and then provides practical and specific guidelines for how to apply this new outlook to lead a fulfilling life.

Once you’ve unlocked Pasricha’s 9 Secrets, you will understand counterintuitive concepts such as: Success Does Not Lead to Happiness, Never Take Advice, and Retirement Is a Broken Theory. You will learn and then master three brand-new fundamental life tests: the Saturday Morning Test, The Bench Test, and the Five People Test. You will know the difference between external goals and internal goals and how to make more money than a Harvard MBA (hint: it has nothing to do with your annual salary). You will discover that true wealth has nothing to do with money, multitasking is a myth, and the elimination of options leads to more choice.

The Happiness Equation is a book that will change how you think about pretty much everything—your time, your career, your relationships, your family, and, ultimately, of course, your happiness.

The Happiness Equation Want Nothing Do Anything have Everything

 

Thinkertoys

Rethink the Way You Think

In hindsight, every great idea seems obvious. But how can you be the person who comes up with those ideas?
In this revised and expanded edition of his groundbreaking Thinkertoys, creativity expert Michael Michalko reveals life-changing tools that will help you think like a genius. From the linear to the intuitive, this comprehensive handbook details ingenious creative-thinking techniques for approaching problems in unconventional ways. Through fun and thought-provoking exercises, you’ll learn how to create original ideas that will improve your personal life and your business life. Michalko’s techniques show you how to look at the same information as everyone else and see something different.

With hundreds of hints, tricks, tips, tales, and puzzles, Thinkertoys will open your mind to a world of innovative solutions to everyday and not-so-everyday problems. Thinkertoys A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques

Ali Reynolds

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