If you know me at all you know I love my books. Books about money, money and saving related memoirs, Sociology related books about work, marketing books. I'm a full out uber-nerd for all kinds of reading material that others may find painfully boring.
But, with it being Graduation season, I thought I'd lay out five quick favorites that would make REALLY great gifts for the grad in your life.
These are affiliate links if you feel like picking any of these up through those, but as always you don't have to get them through my links. All of these are available at your nearest bookstore (typically) Amazon, or for FREE (we love free!) at the library!
1. MINIMALISM: LIVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE by THE MINIMALISTS
I was first introduced to Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn via their Netflix Documentary of the same name. I LOVED it. It drew me in, completely. At the time I watched it I knew I was looking for something DIFFERENT. I knew I wasn't much of a shopper, I knew I wasn't very happy chasing materialistic endeavors.....I knew I wanted LESS, not more. I just didn't realize there was a name for all of it.
The book is a good companion to the documentary, which I highly recommend. It details how Ryan and Josh (together "The Minimalists") began their working lives climbing the corporate ladder, amassing fortunes, and how that did not lead to lifelong happiness, puppies or rainbows like it was supposed to.
This is a FABULOUS book for that kid just entering adulthood who may not QUITE know yet what they want out of life, but who doesn't seem the type to want to jump into the rat race and chase McMansion dreams and BMW wishes.
2. NICKLE AND DIMED: ON NOT GETTING BY IN AMERICA by BARBARA EHRENREICH
I REALLY admire Ms. Ehrenreich's writing and her investigative journalism. This book originally came out in the late 90's/early 2000's I believe (my copy says 2001) and was written by Barbara after she worked several low-wage jobs undercover to report on how difficult it is to actually SURVIVE with one low wage.
Even though this book is about twenty years old, the themes, the story, and the message remain applicable today.
I read this book when I was right out of high school, working SEVERAL low wage positions at one time and realizing how I had been sold a load of malarkey by the Baby Boomer generation. You could be a hard worker.....that wasn't always going to translate to financial security. This book laid it all out and then some, in stark realism.
This book is great for that kid who may not be going off to school and perhaps doesn't have a whole lot of motivation towards future endeavors....or is could be fabulous for that Baby Conservative who maybe believes $8.00/hour is sufficient to sustain a family.
3. THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER by DAVE RAMSEY
Ok, this one I have a love/hate relationship with sometimes. Yes...yes...yes, I named my damn blog after a Dave Ramsey concept, but sometimes I don't jive with the D-man. And that's OKAY. You can't just got full boar into a concept and ignore any sort of free thinking. Maybe it's because we aren't terribly religious and there is a LOT of God stuff in there. But, if that floats your ark full of animals, you'll probably love it. I ignored it quite easily.
That being said, the Total Money Makeover DOES work. We are proof. We applied the Baby Steps and we paid off a shit-ton of debt. The book teaches very simple principles: saving, investing, debt avoidance, and a healthy attitude towards money as a whole.
It's honestly a good stepping stone for ANY graduate, I think, if you want something very simple and easy to follow.
4. START BY JON ACUFF
This is a FABULOUS book for anyone who, like me, just cannot freaking work for someone else. Born entrepreneurs. With this comes a big of fear and as the subtitle says, this book asks you to "punch fear in the face".
Acuff is the author of a whole slew of books about work life, success, and marketing. He's also a pretty funny and entertaining writer, which makes this a very easy read. I finished it in about a day and got a lot from it.
Grads of high school OR college can find value here just by learning how to do just as a the title says: START something. Getting over the fear of starting is half the battle.
5. HOW TO MANAGE MONEY WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE ANY by ERIK WECKS
Because, let's face it, most Grads are broke as a joke....at least for a little while. Unless they're trust fund babies and then you probably don't need to buy them anything as a gift, they have enough stuff.
This book is specifically for folks who need to learn to manage money when they have trouble getting by monthly. Which is, well, a lot of freaking people, right? I remember selling off old CD's at the pawn shop for a buck a piece just to get through the week when I was in my early twenties. Thank JEBUS I didn't have a family to support.
But, even when you're barely scraping by, there are ways you can GET by and manage. This book covers that. It doesn't focus so much on "wealth creation", like other books, but rather on survival, which could be critical for new Grads out on their own for the first time.