What to Read on Winter Break


I know… you would like to just hang out, eat candy, and nap – but winter break gives you a bit of down time to think about the next steps of your career journey. So, maybe you should read something. Well here’s your list of where to start. (I chose the first two because they are worthy AND quick enough to get your brain going while still eating candy and napping.)

Remember, when you get back to school in January, the time is upon you to start applying to your first full-time job or that paid summer internship in your field of interest. Make sure to create an AfterCollege profile to find internships and jobs that could be perfect for you.

Check out some of these book recommendations for both information and inspiration. I provided links to Amazon, but don’t forget you can also use your local library.

by Lara Galinsky with Kelly Nuxoll

I love this quick little 120 page gem (with color photos included.) The book helps you think about a meaningful career and not just a job. It is written through Echoing Green, an organization that provides seed funding to young social entrepreneurs. It tells stories of people finding their path and includes wonderful probing questions at the end of each chapter to lead you through some constructive, reflective, personal thinking. It also contains a hefty and helpful resource section in the back.


by Daniel Pink

Oh, Johnny Bunko, how we can appreciate your plight. This quick solid career guide is delivered in a creative way. Want to feed your mind on career decisions through manga? Here’s your chance. Written by the famed author Daniel Pink, it walks you through the turmoil of a young guy who is unhappy at work and has a career guide apparition appear to help him solve his woes. You will find out that there is no plan, and 5 more useful career secrets. Sound a little silly? Maybe. But trust me it gets your brain moving and delivers some solid advice. Don’t believe me?


by Roberto Angulo

Get this book for your bookshelf. It is a comprehensive guide to getting your first job, written by the cofounder of AfterCollege. It is designed so that you can either read it cover to cover, or just flip to the section that is relevant to you right now. From figuring and mapping out what it is you want to do – to finding the actual opportunity – to negotiating your salary, it is all included. This is the only book you need to walk you through all of the steps of finding your first job, organized in an easy and useful format. (Disclaimer: I was the technical editor.)


by Liz Forkin Bohannon

Recommended on , this new release is a great book for thinking about how you will make some of the most important decisions for your career. Bohannon takes you on an autobiographical journey where she purports that you will not in fact “find your passion” as everyone keeps telling you – so instead she shares 14 actionable principals to get you moving toward your goals. If you like biographies and funny anecdotal stories then this is a good choice for you.


by Tarah Wheeler

The title sounds like you should already be a woman in tech, but after my review I can tell you – the information contained is also perfect for a university student considering a career in tech. Wheeler uses her own personal stories and tips, as well as those from other successful women making it work in tech. She addresses how to “dismantle the unconscious social bias against women in the tech industry” and gives you concrete tools on how to deal with them. Another fun little piece of this book: if you already know how to code there are “easter eggs” that you can solve throughout the book to get a prize from the author.


by Porter Braswell

This is a 2019 release from the cofounder of Jopwell, billed as the leading career advancement platform for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals. Amazon cites the book as “a collection of Braswell’s straight-talking advice and mentorship for diverse careerists, from college students to mid-level professionals.” I learned about it from a Harvard Business Review article where it was described as “a sophisticated understanding of the challenges racial minorities face at work as well as a wealth of smart tips for flipping them to be an advantage.” Well worth the read.


by Daniel Lubetzky

Does getting your first career mean you are going to be an innovative startup founder? Ever eaten a KIND bar? Well here’s the career book for you written by the CEO and founder of KIND Healthy Snacks. Amazon writes, “Engaging and inspirational, Do the KIND Thing shows how the power of AND worked wonders for one company—and could empower the next generation of social entrepreneurs to improve their bottom line and change the world.” I had the opportunity to see him speak when he launched the book and can attest it was inspirational while also concrete and helpful in thinking about career and life choices.


by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

While working at Stanford University, I observed that the courses modeled after the d.school classes were some of the most highly sought after by every type of student. Using design thinking to manifest your destiny is a creative and successful way to achieve your goals. This book will walk you through some of the basics of design thinking and how to apply those to your life. If you really love it, there is also that goes along with the book to walk you through the specific exercises.


by Devora Zack

This is a brand new 2019 second edition, of the well received 2010 original which holds lots of great tips on just what the title says – networking. One of the well known facts about your career is that you will most likely find both your first job, internship, and those opportunities that follow through the people you know or the people you meet. Networking is a wonderful way to do this. Does that fact make your cringe? This book can help you figure out how to use your own unique personality traits to create a strategy that works for you. It doesn’t have to look like the same old networking that we think of when we hear the word. This is a learned skill that will help you throughout your life.


by Hans Rosling with Anna Rosling R"onnlund and Ola Rosling

This may seem like a reach for career books, but Bill Gates gave a copy away to every single university student who graduated in 2018. That’s how important he thinks the message is for moving your life forward after graduation. It is an optimistic book and teaches you how to think “factfully” in our current world. In his blog post announcing the giveaway, Gates pointed recipients to a specific passage from the book: “When we have a fact-based worldview, we can see that the world is not as bad as it seems — and we can see what we have to do to keep making it better,” Rosling wrote. If you want a taste of what Hans Rosling was laying down before deciding to read it, watch some of his .


Happy reading and a joyous winter holiday!


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