The Algebra of Happiness
Scott Galloway is a professor at NYU’s business school, but his wide-reaching lectures (in the classroom and on YouTube) are as concerned with personal fulfillment as they are with professional success. In The Algebra of Happiness, he serves up no-nonsense advice about life’s pressing challenges, from standing out as a job applicant to making room in our lives for others. Funny and poignant, it’s an apt reminder for driven young people to consider the whole picture.
How to Skimm Your Life
Adulting has its glamorous moments—after you nail down a few dozen life hacks, that is. Luckily for grads at every stage of the adulting game, theSkimm (known best for its flagship newsletter, the Daily Skimm) compiled their wit and wide-ranging wisdom into a skimm-able guide for taking on the world. Featuring real-talk Q&As about personal finances, careers, politics, travel, and more, How to Skimm Your Life is the one-stop shop for growing up gracefully.
1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently
Distilled into uncomplicated and accessible advice, Marc and Angel Chernoff’s latest book is as informative as it is encouraging. The bestselling authors of Getting Back to Happy organize their insights for personal growth into key categories: happiness and adversity, relationships and self-love, passion, productivity, simplicity, success, and inspiration. Most chapters are arranged like smart listicles (“8 Reasons to Stop Waiting for Approval”), making it easy to pick up between job interviews or on the morning commute.
How to Shine a Shoe
For many, graduation is a time for those special buys that can be considered rites of passage: a classy watch, a wicked-hot pantsuit, and the ever-elusive but oh-so-necessary pair of high quality dress shoes. But picking the right shoe—and knowing how to care for those shoes so they last for years—is an endeavor in itself. Potter Gift offers a cleverly made gift guide to scoring, styling, and maintaining the perfect oxfords, brogues, and loafers.
Random House copy chief and Twitter personality Benjamin Dreyer has never met a serial comma he didn’t like. In Dreyer’s English, he playfully analyzes the English language and empowers readers to break the non-rules of grammar they learned in school, quit the Throat Clearing, and communicate with gusto and clarity. Whether the grad in your life realizes it or not, we’re all writing all the time—so help them write their best with this must-have companion.
The Source of Self-Regard
Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison is undoubtedly one of the greatest writers of our time, and The Source of Self-Regard collects four decades of her nonfiction work: essays, speeches, and meditations on race, culture, feminism, social politics, and more. As with many moments in history, 2019 is a particularly fraught year to go out on one’s own, but Morrison’s critical and imaginative mind is a soothing—and galvanizing—touchstone.
If I Live to Be 100
Former NPR producer Neenah Ellis grew up with the dream of living to be 100. As a reporter, she embarked on a series of interviews with incredible centenarians: an infamous row-boater who lived to be 110, the oldest living black lesbian in the U.S., and many more. As Ellis herself began to age, she started applying the messages she recorded to her own life. It’s an inspiring read for all ages, especially those on the cusp of new life paths.
Daily Rituals: Women at Work
For graduates (including yours truly) feeling anxious about finding time for their art amidst the daily grind of a traditional nine to five, gift them this enlightening series of portraits about women artists and the creative lengths they go to in order to prioritize their work. In Daily Rituals, we learn about the routines and superstitions of the greats—Zadie Smith, Virginia Woolf, Frida Kahlo, and 140 more—that range from quirky to ultra-practical, and each ultimately optimistic.
At Read It Forward, we’re of the mind that an elegant, poignant hardcover makes the perfect graduation gift. We’ve compiled a few literary graduation gifts that are sure to hit the mark, from easily digestible lifestyle guides to inspiring portraits they’ll revisit again and again.