10 Must-Read Books for Grad Students

Have you heard that I’m an author now?  Yes! I published my very first book #GRADBOSS:  A Grad School Survival Guide a few weeks ago and the reception and support has been amazing.  


#GRADBOSS is the ultimate grad school survival guide.  #GRADBOSS includes worksheets, templates, workflows, and actionable advice from a millennial (me) who got her PhD in Math and landed her dream job before graduation.

10 Must Read Books for Grad Students, The Academic Society

 

A gradboss is a grad student who has figured out how to balance grad school and real life. They are productive but they also have a social life. In addition to killing it academically, they've built a supportive community around them AND they help others.  Can you imagine being completely successful in grad school without being overwhelmed? 

 

#GRADBOSS walks you through:

-preparing for a new semester of grad school

-creating a productive weekly schedule

-setting realistic goals

-being productive despite having unstructured time

-cultivating meaningful relationships

-choosing an advisor

-handling failure in grad school

-having a life outside of grad school




As I was finishing up the book, I asked my community of grad students in The Academic Society for Grad Students what books they thought were essential for grad students.  They gave me great suggestions and that prompted me to write this blog post.

10 Must Read Books for Grad Students, The Academic Society




So here is a list of must-read books for grad students, recommended by grad students.  I will include shoppable links to each book so this post may include affiliate links. Also, the descriptions will come from Amazon.





#GRADBOSS:  A Grad School Survival Guide

This is a book that I wrote for grad students to share the tips, hacks, and strategies that I learned as a grad student.  The book is very actionable with homework, worksheets, and templates for you to work through.



The first 3 chapters are all about how to set up a productive schedule and organize your life at the beginning of the semester.  The rest of the chapters consist of super practical and actionable strategies to help you survive grad school.

You can purchase the book on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle!




The Now Habit

THE NOW HABIT offers a comprehensive plan to help readers lower their stress and increase their time to enjoy guilt-free play. Dr. Fiore’s techniques will help any busy person start tasks sooner and accomplish them more quickly, without the anxiety brought on by the negative habits of procrastination and perfectionism.




Deep Work

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.

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women:  Why Capable People Suffer from Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It


It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake. 

If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she’s only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she’s in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all ca­reer paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it—impostors in their own lives and careers. 

 

While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evi­dence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfec­tionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower pro­file, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled ’em again. 

 

An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women’s most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt. 

 

In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seek­ing. Combining insightful analysis with effective ad­vice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it mani­fests in your life.







HeadStrong:  52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World

In 2013, the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” It wasn’t until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit, and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Among the questions the obituary—and consequent outcry—prompted were, Who are the role models for today’s female scientists, and where can we find the stories that cast them in their true light?      



Headstrong delivers a powerful, global, and engaging response. Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats.

The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research (Open Up Study Skills)

This bestselling book on the process of PhD research provides readers with engaging discussion and comprehensive guidance on aspects that other books don't usually mention.


Covering all the key topics of the previous edition, including what a PhD is really about, how to do one well, how to decipher what your supervisor actually means by terms like 'good referencing' and 'clean research question', and how to design, report and defend your research,the authors continue to offer an accessible, down-to-earth, and insightful account of the whole PhD process. Their advice addresses how to avoid some of the pitfalls en route to a successful submission.


Updated throughout, the new edition includes new material on:

  • Critical thinking

  • Research skills

  • The route to research independence

  • Different models of study

The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research is essential reading for anyone considering a PhD or embarking on one. It will tell you the things many students wish someone had told them before they started.



The Dissertation Warrior:  The Ultimate Guide to Being the Kind of Person Who Finishes a Doctoral Dissertation or Thesis

Don’t read this book if you want a quick and dirty way to finish your dissertation or thesis, write it in a weekend, or pay someone else to write it for you. This book is for the doctoral student who wants to become the best version of himself or herself; whose doctoral journey is a quest of epic personal, professional, and spiritual transformation; and who wants to finish his or her dissertation as well. Inside this book, you’ll learn, among many other things:

-The secrets of time travel;

-That 99% of that which gets your focus is not worth your time;

-That “writing” your dissertation is the last thing that you should do; and

-How to conquer your introduction, create alignment, build the best darned literature review you possibly can, find and collect your data, and connect all the clues better than a hat-wearing movie archeologist


…all while becoming a better spouse, sibling, child of your parents, and man (or woman) of all seasons.

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

What do Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, and the story developers at Pixar films all have in common? Bestselling author Peter Sims found that rather than start with a big idea or plan a whole project in advance, they make a methodical series of little bets, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins.

Reporting on a fascinating range of research, from the psychology of creative blocks to the influential field of design thinking, Sims offers engaging and illuminating accounts of breakthrough innovators at work, and a whole new way of thinking about how to navigate uncertain situations and unleash our untapped creative powers.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success


After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.


In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.

You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bitesized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, Create a life you totally love. And create it NOW, Make some damn money already. The kind you've never made before.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.



Are there any other books that should be added to this list? Share them in the comments so that other grad students can check them out!