May is the month to celebrate three things: Mother’s Day, Graduation and the end of school for my kids! 

Do you need to get a gift for a high school or college graduation this year? Of course the BEST gift is cash. But if you want to give the graduate something more meaningful, I recommend a book.  Just be sure to tuck some cash inside the front cover (and tell them to look inside).

Sure, they will probably use the cash to go on a trip and forget all about the book. But once they start college or a job after college graduation, they will realize that life as they know it has changed. They will begin to make decisions about their future and realize they need some advice.  Then your graduation gift will then be the best gift they ever received and you will be celebrated for your thoughtfulness and insight!

Or the book may stay on their bookshelf, collecting dust alongside a collection of empty beer bottles. But at least you can say you tried.

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Best Books for Graduation Gifts

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

The first thing you need to learn after graduating college is how to be a grown-up (hint – you need to get your own apartment and move out of your parents house). So with a book titled “Adulting: How to be a Grown-Up…”, you probably can’t go wrong.

“If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it’s OK. But it doesn’t have to be this way.” – via


You are a BadAss: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living and Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

This book has been very popular on my social media channels lately, so it is on my wish list at the library. Although I already feel like I have an awesome life, I want to read about being a badass.

“… Sincero takes you on a wild joy ride to your own transformation, helping you create the money, relationships, career and general all around awesomeness you so desire. By the end of You Are a Badass, you will 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 start living the kind of life you used to be jealous of.” – via


Why Didn’t They Teach Me this in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By by Cary Siegel

Why do high schools and colleges require students to take courses in English, math and science, yet have absolutely no requirements for students to learn about personal money management? (This book) was initially developed by the author to pass on to his five children as they entered adulthood. As it developed, the author realized that personal money management skills were rarely taught in high schools, colleges and even in MBA programs.” – via


Graduation Gifts Zen Habits: Handbook for Life by Leo Babauta

This book is a collection of articles from the website  It is a handbook for helping you achieve your dreams and to simplify your life.

“When I first started out in my adult life, 17 years ago, it would have been nice if someone I respected had given me a handbook, with all the essential topics covered in a how-to format. It would have taught me to simplify my life, which I’ve learned to do in the last few years. It would have talked about the essentials of happiness, and how to be productive and achieve my dreams. ” – Leo Babuta via


The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills

I will admit that I am still skeptical about a book based on ancient Toltec wisdom.  But it has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 8 years, has 4.5 stars on Amazon and is highly recommend for anyone making a major life change.

“In The Four Agreements, bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.” – via


The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay

I agree that your 20s is a defining decade, it is when you transition into adulthood but is also the time you have the most freedom to try new jobs, travel, explore and lay the foundation for future jobs and relationships.

“… a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood-if we use the time wisely.” – via


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