27 MUST Read Books for Students
We know you have come here looking for some list of best books for students which will magically improve your life. But you’ll be disheartened to hear that this is like saying a concrete path to success which is not possible in this universe where you’ll find a myriad of fellas, and their own success stories, each different and unique in their own ways. Hence, there is no ready-made perfect list you can follow to be successful in life, and you’ll have to deep dive into your books yourself(sorry! No shortcut on that!).
There are many people who claim that if you read a certain book your life will change. Let’s take a very popular example, the book by Rhonda Byrne titled ‘The Secret’. When some famous people quoted this book after getting successful, some mindless folk started reading it blindly without actually understanding the book and how the things written in the book actually works. All in all, people want to be successful but do not want to take the hard path, they just want to believe that yes there is some law of attraction which will take them to their riches, but they forget to realize that these laws will work only when they will work their ass off! (Yes, searching for the best books for students is indeed a great work you did here!)
Next, here we will give a list of the best motivational books for students, along with the best psychology books for students, and everything you can imagine!
CAUTION: These books will only work if you work.
Let’s first take a look at non-fiction books, then we will move towards self-help books, and then memoirs and autobiographies and finally towards fiction.
For students, non-fiction books play a very important part in their life as it tells the truth in the most straightforward way without any twist and turn. Non-fiction genre of books will show you the reality and will help you achieve your goals in a simple manner by guiding you through difficult times.
- The secret – by Rhonda Byrne
This book was preceded by a groundbreaking feature-length film in 2006 that revealed the great mystery of the universe—The Secret. This book became a bestseller in the same year.
The Secret comes together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it. You need to read this book slowly and let it settle within you. You need to savour this book and know how the universe works from a very different perspective.
The learnings from the book:
You’ll learn how to use The Secret not just in one aspect but every aspect of your life—money, relationships, health, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You’ll understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation will help you bring joy to every aspect of your life.
It contains wisdom from modern-day teachers—men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness.
2. The 4-hour workweek – by Tim Ferriss
The major highlight of the book is concerned with time management and some important tips on how not to be such a patsy at work. He believes that time management is part of the problem itself! He offers great advice on handling emails as well. He also gives great advice on work-life balance and how to make yourself valuable and productive enough to negotiate a better work-life balance.
From my own experience, I could sum up this book like this: “There’s no TEAM in I.”
3. The last lecture – by Randy Pausch
This is the book which will go straight to your favourite shelf, at least that is the case for me!
A lot of teachers and professors give talks titled ‘The Last Lecture’. Professors are asked to consider their retirement from teaching and to ruminate on what matters most to them: What wisdom would they impart to the world if they knew it was their last chance? If they had to vanish tomorrow, what would they want as their legacy?
This is a true story where Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture. He was recently diagnosed with cancer. But the lecture he gave was far away from dying and ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’.
This book will make you learn about how to overcome obstacles, and how to achieve your dreams, and seize every moment. It will make you realise the grave importance of time and that you are left with very little time to waste on unnecessary things. This book was about hope and living.
4. Tuesdays with morrie – by Mitch Albom
In everyone’s life, there is always someone, maybe a teacher, parents, grandparent who is old and wise and makes us understand the true meaning of life and help them make their way through it.
For the author, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.
Maybe, like Mitch, you also lost track of your mentors as you made your way, and the useful insights faded with time. Wouldn’t you like to meet that person again, throw him some questions? I guess the answer is obvious. And the answer is yes.
Mitch Albom had that second chance and he utilised that. He rediscovered Morrie in the last phase of his life. Knowing he was dying of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is a motor neurone disease, Mitch visited Morrie in his study, just as they used to meet back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.
If you want to explore more about the book then you follow the link https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6900.Tuesdays_with_Morrie?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=4k3haUawzt&rank=1
5. Ignited Mind – by A.P.J Abdul Kalam
As the name suggests this book will help you unleash the power within you which further will lead to India unleashing its power as the power of India is measured in terms of its children and youth which is called a demographic dividend.
The book examines why we settle for the worst while we are capable of the best things, given all our skills, resources and talents. The important question it asks is, what is it that we as a nation are missing the most?
At the core of the book is the strong belief that the people of a nation have the power to realize their dream of a truly good life. A.P.J Kalam takes up different issues that struck him on his pilgrimage around the country. He met thousands of schoolchildren, teachers, scientists, and seers in the course of two years.
This book will motivate you to get back on the track and unleash the energy and power within a nation that has not allowed itself full rein.
6. Sapiens – by Yuval Noah Harari
SAPIENS- A brief history of Humankind is a vintage book which in my opinion everyone should read once in their life, be it students or teachers or anyone who wishes to know more about the world around them and how we Homo sapiens evolved. Harari divides the book into four parts viz., The cognitive Revolution, The Agricultural Revolution, The Unification of Humankind, and fourth the Scientific Revolution.
It is best for students who want to pursue anthropology in their future careers. It begins from when animals had no significance, then moving on to agricultural revolution where history’s biggest fraud happened, then came the memory overload which was followed by the increasing value of money and emergence of religion and with it the secret of success. The final revolution is the scientific revolution, which is still ongoing and has led to the emergence of capitalism in the world with the moving wheels of industry.
7. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki
This book needs no introduction. Robert Kiyosaki has changed the way people think about money. He is regarded as a passionate advocate for financial education. I’d like to quote him here:
“The main reason people struggle financially is because they have spent years in school but learned nothing about money. The result is that people learn to work for money… but never learn to have money to work for them. “
This book has broken many myths related to money. Let’s explore some of them.
- It explodes the myth that earning a high income makes you rich or you need high income to become rich
- You need to challenge the belief that your house is your asset
- You need to once and for all define properly what an asset is and what a liability is.
This is a must read for students as financial literacy is where most students are handicapped at. This book will provide them the necessary knowledge to manage their own money and other finances.
8. Who moved my cheese – by Spencer johnson
This is a very famous book by a very famous author. It is a story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish themselves. Cheese in this story is a metaphor for what you want to have in life, for example a job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health. The maze is a place where you look for what you want, perhaps the organisation you work in, or the family or the place you live in.
The problem in real life(and as shown in this book) is that the cheese keeps moving! There comes unexpected changes in life which results in their change in search for cheese.
In this story, Spencer will tell you what he has learned on the maze walls for you to discover.
9. Ikigai – by Hector Garcia, Francesc Miralles
This book tells you the secret for a happy and long fulfilling life as is practised in Japan. Japanese believe that everyone has an ikigai – a reason to jump out of bed each morning. And according to the residents of the Okinawa island – the world’s longest-living people – finding it is the key to a longer and more fulfilled life.
This book will provide you with tools to uncover your personal ikigai. It will show you how to leave urgency behind, find your purpose, nurture friendships and throw yourself into your passions.
At the end of the book, it also provides you with some exercises that you can practise daily to keep your health in a better position, and which will help you find your ikigai!
10. Relentless – by Tim S Grover
Tim Singh Grover is a motivational speaker, personal trainer, and owner of Attack Athletics. In the words of the great basketball player, Kobe Bryant, Tim S Grover is the master of mental toughness. This book is a blueprint of achieving results you never imagined, reaching the highest level of success – and then going even higher.
From my own experience I can tell you that this book will help you jump even higher with more enthusiasm and courage than you thought you had. IIt will help you become RELENTLESS. Tim tells real stories of great Basketball players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade from a very close perspective.
This book will help you learn how these great players maintained their relentlessness in difficult times and how they continued to succeed.
11. The moment of lift – by Melinda Gates
This book is a nonfiction book, and focuses on women and their issues. In the beginning of the book there is a quote mentioned which is written by Marianne Williamson, which struck me at different levels. It goes like,
“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”
This is one of the best motivational books for the students and especially for girl students. This gives a variety of stories where the author, Mleinda Gates, who is also a co-founder of world’s largest NGO Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, goes and interacts with women of different countries of Africa and Asia.
I was personally touched by this book and gave a 5 star rating to this book on Goodreads.
I would personally recommend students to read this book as it’ll give insights on the condition of women in our country and how it should be improved.
These books are your go-to books not just in difficult times, but also they’ll help you in the process of your amelioration. So let’s deep dive into this genre.
12. You can win – by Shiv Khera
As the name suggests this book stands as an epitome of hope in these difficult times of pandemic. We all are suffering from anxiety, stress, self-doubt, blurred vision, and all the negative feelings as these are very testing times for everyone. This is a self-help book which will prove to be your best friend in difficult times. There are 13 chapters in this book which deal with different aspects of how to be successful in life not just in monetary terms but also in your relationships, in self-esteem, in building a good attitude towards life. It consists of many stories which will inspire you in your daily life. Here, I will mention a short story from the book itself so that you can take a glimpse of it and will get motivated to buy a copy and read.
“ACRES OF DIAMONDS”
Hafiz was a farmer in Africa who was happy and content. He was happy because he was content. He was content because he was happy. One day a wise man came and told him about the glory of diamonds and the power that goes along with them. The wise man said, “If you had a diamond the size of your thumb, you could buy your own city. If you had a diamond the size of your fist, you could probably buy your own country.” And then the wise man left. That night, Hafiz couldn’t sleep. He was unhappy and he was discontented. He was unhappy because he was discontented and discontented because he was unhappy. The next morning Hafiz made arrangements to sell his farm, took care of his family and went off in search of diamonds. He looked all over Africa and couldn’t find any. He looked all through Europe and couldn’t find any. By the time he got to Spain, he was emotionally, physically and financially broke. He was so disheartened that he threw himself into the Barcelona river and committed suicide. Back home, the person who had bought his farm was watering the camels at the stream that ran through the farm. Across the stream, the rays of the morning sun hit a stone and made it sparkle like a rainbow. He thought the stone would look good in his living room. He picked up the stone and put it on his mantle piece. That afternoon, the wise man came and saw the stone sparkling. He asked, “Is Hafiz back?” The new owner said, “No, why do you ask?” The wise man said, “Because that is a diamond. I recognise one when I see one.” The man said, “No, that’s just a stone I picked up from the stream. Come I’ll show you. There are many more.” They went and picked some samples and sent them for analysis. Sure enough, the stones were diamonds. They found that the farm was indeed covered with acres and acres of diamonds.
What was the moral of the story and what can you learn from the book?
The story holds many morals, and hence the book is filled with many lessons. First one being, when our attitude is right, we realise that we are all walking on acres of diamonds. Opportunities are always under our feet. We don’t have to go anywhere. With this attitude, you will always be successful be it student life or job life or in any of your relationships.
13. 7 habits of highly effective people – by Stephan R. Covey
This book is a self help book and will very succinctly explain the 7 most common habits which almost all successful people and highly-effective people have. It is practically impossible to meet you idols and the people you look upto in person. But what you can do is read their books, and understand which habits made them so successful and effective in any field.
These habits will help you attain that momentum, that frequency which is required for you to be successful.
14. The 5AM club – by Robin sharma
The 5 am club is a stupendous work by Robin Sharma that will transform your life. Forever. This book has been praised by many great personalities from bollywood as well as from the Bureaucrats like Athar Amir Khan.
This book is based on a morning routine that has helped his clients maximize their productivity, work on their health and activate their best health and bulletproof their serenity in this age of overwhelming complexity.
The author took over a rigorous four year period to write this book. There will be many instances in the book that will help you discover the early-rising habit and its benefits and how that has helped so many accomplish epic results while upgrading their happiness, helpfulness and feelings of aliveness.
The lessons that students can take from this book are:
■ You’ll learn how great people, business titans start their mornings to produce astonishing results, which you too can implement
■ A secret formula to wake up early feeling inspired, focused and flooded with a fiery drive
■ It will provide you with a step-by-step method to protect the quietest hours of daybreak so you have time for anything you wish to do for your personal growth.
■ It tells about a neuroscience-based practice proven to help make it easy to rise while most people are sleeping.
15. How to win friends and influence people – by Dale Carnegie
This book was released in 1936, and has sold more than 15 million copies. This was Dale Carnegie’s first book and it was a timeless bestseller. It is packed with some solid advice that has carried thousands of famous people up the ladder of fame and success in their personal and business lives.
This is one of the best books for students as for being successful one must know how to communicate with others and have good networking skills. This is the most important skill the students need to inculcate in them at the earliest. School and college days are the best to inculcate this habit as you have the maximum exposure to friends here.
This book will help you learn many ways how to make people like you, how to impress people by your thinking and how to change people without arousing resentment. These are some of the essential skills you will need every day for the rest of your life. As humans are social animals , we cannot survive alone and hence socialising plays an important role in our success.
16. Think and Grow Rich – by Napoleon Hill
This book was written in 1937 serves as a great source of inspiration for many in the world. I’ve read it myself and would recommend you to read it as well. It changed my perspective about things. This book is a result of 20 years of interviews and research conducted by Napoleon Hill. He examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in a person’s success.
“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”
This is my personal favorite book as it tells us how it was a mindset and not the economic reality that leads to the fall of fortunes of so many individuals. You can buy this book at a meagre price of Rs. 130, but will give you lessons which are priceless. This book has been applauded by many successful people across the world. It consists of 13 chapters which deals with various topics like power of thought, faith, desire, decision making, persistence, the subconscious mind, the sixth sense and many more. I would personally suggest this book for you.
At the start of the book it is mentioned that you need not read the whole book in one go, take it in pieces and understand it well. This is the best psychology book for students as it takes you into another dimension of human psychology and helps you achieve wonders.
17. The habit of winning – by Prakash Iyer
This might not be a very popular book like Think and Grow Rich, but it has been a national bestseller due to its stories which inspires, motivates and unleashes the winner within. The author is an MBA graduate from IIM Ahmedabad and gives motivational speeches to students across the country. He has divided his book into 11 parts, each dealing with different aspects of life and winning. Some topics it touches which makes it one of the best books for students are vision and goals, self belief, perseverance, winning with teams, and finding balance in life. All these things are really very important in a student’s life because they have their career ahead of them and all these qualities are imperative in making them successful.
18. The magic of thinking big – by David Schwartz
As evident from the name itself, this book is a non-fiction self-help book which will help you push your boundaries and achieve something big in life. It tells the power of thinking big, earning more, leading fearlessly and living happily.
The chapters of the book themselves tell how great this book is for students and their career. It is one of the best motivational books for students who wish to achieve humongous success in their life.
Some of the important chapters of this book are as follows:
- You are what you think you are
- Think right towards people
- Get the Action Habit
- How to turn defeat into victory
- Use goals to help your grow
- How to think like a leader
- Manage your environment: Go First Class
19. The Power of Habit – by Charles Duhigg
This is a non-fiction book which is infused with strong and motivating stories of how habits define us. This is a book which will give insights about how to shape your habits to become successful in life. This is one of the best books for students and is also classified into the best psychology books for students. This helps you work on your psychology to bend it according to your needs and make way for success to come.
20. How to Breathe – by Ashley Neese
This book is based on a very unique concept but a very relevant one to these pandemic days. This book tells us that breath is a tool that is always with us, accessible at any time for calmness, balance and presence of mind. I’ve been a terrible breather myself, I start to hyperventilate when I get tired and stressed. After reading this book I focused on my exhale, to fully empty my lungs, which gave me back my control over my life.
In these times, it is very important for students to maintain their peace of mind while working hard for their future. This book gives calmness to the mind and heart and helps you focus much more on the work at hand. It consists of 25 breathing practises for example, anger, connection, energy, focus, forgiveness, joy, letting go etc.
It will help your mind calm with the help of your own breath and meditation.
MEMOIR AND AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
As former UK Prime minister Benjamin Disraeli said “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” This stands very much true as reading biographies will enhance the way of your living. Students can learn a lot from great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, to lead a simple and fulfilling life. Let’s go into the biographies and explore more.
21. Lean In – by Sheryl Sandberg
This book is a gem of a piece. The title of this has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women. It ranked to the top of bestseller lists internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. This book takes the perspective of women in different aspects and helps us understand how women react differently from men in similar situations. When you’ll ask women whether they have the right to equality at work, the answer will be a resounding yes. If we ask the same women whether they’d feel confident asking for a raise or a promotion, and some reticence creeps in.
The most interesting fact in this book is that it shows how women brittle themselves, while men are excessively proud of themselves and their achievements. Women generally give credit for their success to others, while men take the credit to themselves. All these incidents increase the self-confidence of men abundantly in relation to women.
Women hold a meagre 20 % of Parliaments globally and mere 1 of top 500 Fortune are women.
Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business – explains her own experience of working in some of the world’s most successful businesses and shares her views at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can go a long way.
This book will not directly be helpful to you, but in our perspective it stands as one of the best books for students as it will help give a whole new perspective on women equality and how women should change their behaviour and stand shoulder to shoulder with men.
22. My experiments with Truth – by Mahatma Gandhi
I am definite you must have heard about this book, so this needs no introduction. It is an autobiography written by the ‘Father of our Nation’, about his experiments with truth and how that shaped the national freedom struggle. This deals with how his ‘Satyagraha’ helped save our country from the colonial rule of British. This book was originally written in Gujrati, the mother tongue of Gandhiji. It was translated to English by famous Indian activist Mahadev Desai.
23. Becoming – by Michelle Obama
This is a memoir written by Michelle Obama. You must know her by her own name and not by the relation of her with the President of the United States. This is demeaning for a woman to be called by her husband’s achievement and becoming famous by her husband’s success. But this is not the case here. I, myself, used to think that this woman is famous because of her husband only. But after reading this book and watching the documentary I realised this is a woman of strong willpower and is filled with excessive courage to do the right things. She has made herself worthy of all the appreciation that she gets by working very hard for her own career, for her two daughters and her husband, Barack Obama.
In this memoir she shares her personal details, how she overcame hurdles in her life despite being a black woman. She showed courage to change the world and had that vision which she lent to millions of women in the world by being bold in her stand.
This book should be read by students to understand how black people face racism in different countries and also how a person born in a poor family where the man of the house was handicapped, could break all the barriers and reach greater heights.
24. When breath becomes air – by Paul Kalanithi
This book is an autobiography of a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi, who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One fine day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. This book will teach the meaning of life to the students. The students should read his book as it will help deepen their understanding of diseases and how momentary and unpredictable life is. It is one of the best books for students that will help them understand the world from the viewpoint of a 36 years old cancer patient. There are some great learnings awaiting you.
25. Autobiography of a Yogi – by Paramhansa Yogananda
This book completely took me off guard, I cannot say much about you!
In this autobiography, Paramhansa takes the reader on a journey into his life and his spiritual encounters. He was born in Gorakhpur, India into a Bengali family. He later on went to the West to spread his knowledge and meet various spiritual leaders. This book will allow students to see the spiritual yearnings of a man. Though some might not believe in gurus, or prophecies, it is strange that the guru of Paramhansa prophesied about this book!
This book will introduce you to the methods of attaining God-realization(or that he is within you!) and emphasises Kriya Yoga practise and a lie of respect, calmness, determination, simple diet and regular exercise which should be the target of everyone’s life.
And another motivation for you to read this book is that Virat Kohli once mentioned on social media that this book changed his life tremendously and steered it in the right direction! Go ahead and pick it up.
Some people believe that fiction is more powerful and profound than nonfiction. This might be true as we, the human race have all been storytellers since the ages and we have survived on stories. Fiction plays an important role in delivering messages to people when their analytical and logical mind is off. So, let’s read great fiction stories once again, and learn lessons from them too.
26. The alchemist – by Paulo Coelho
This is an enchanting fiction novel. The story spins around a boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland(Spain) to Egypt in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. In his journey he meets a lot of people, who help him reach his destination. But on his journey, he finds treasure within himself.
The story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
This is a very Lush, evocative, and deeply humane book and you should read it to understand how the fight to tackle obstacles becomes easier when your vision is clear in front of you.
27. The fountainhead – by Ayn Rand
This is the most philosophical book you’ll ever read. It can be classified as one of the best psychology books for students. Though it is a fiction, it is such a thriller you will be amazed to read it and grasp all the lessons.
This modern classic is the story of a young architect Howard Roark and Dominique Francon, the exquisitely beautiful woman who loved Roark passionately. Ayn Rand in this book will provide you with a lesson that man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress. There have been accolades this book has garnered, and you must give this a shot.
Phew! That was a very long list of books. I won’t recommend that you start reading every book in one day. Take baby steps and divide your goals into minute tasks so that they are achievable. Take one book at a time and do not get scared by the volume of the book or the number of pages of the book, just deep dive into the new world. Who knows, you’ll get something which will change your life forever!
These were some of the best books for students.