Read for success: books students should read right now

No, you’re thinking. No, no more reading, please. But hear me out; the books you are about to read about (ha, see what I did there) will change your life. And I do not say that lightly. This list of books is tailored just for you, a student of the 21st century living in the Netherlands. Golden nuggets of advice on the art of success and creative thinking, the art of achieving happiness, and different types of thinking can all contribute to a seriously successful university career. And why stop there? Maybe these books will teach you a little something for the rest of your life… Without further ado, here is a list of books students should read right now!

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Outliars: The Story of Success, by Malcom Gladwell

In one of the top books students should read, Gladwell delves into what factors you need to be highly successful. In this book, stories of ice hockey players, Bill Gates, and even the Beatles are looked at in more depth to analyse how these people achieved the success they did. And everyone wants success, right? An interesting argument in Gladwell’s book is that cultural differences actually play a larger role than we think when thinking about intelligence and rational decision making. But the number one rule that you see popping up throughout this book is the so-called ’10,000-Hour Rule’. Basically, in order to become successful or an expert in any sort of skill, you need to practice for a total of around 10,000 hours. Think you’ve got what it takes to be successful? Read this book; you may even learn something new.

The Art of Creative Thinking, by Rod Judkins

Creativity does not limit itself to the arts, painters or writers. That’s old news. Nowadays, everyone can be creative, or at least think and act creatively. Even if you don’t have a single artsy bone in your body, you should read this book! Judkins, a lecturer at Central Saint Martins in London, touches on how you can be creative in your everyday life. Like in Outliars, the behaviour and habits of successful creative people are looked at, from Andy Warhol to Steve Jobs to Nobel Prize winners. Plan for accidents, be less mature, and surprise yourself; these are 3 of countless ways to be more creative in your life and work. This book will seriously change your view of creativity and will convince you that you could be the next Michelangelo (in terms of creative thinking, not skill…most likely).

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven R. Covey

You know there are 24 hours in a day, and you know that saying, 'you have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé'. Well, now you can really put yourself to the test. Covey dives into 7 habits that aspire success and effectiveness: proactivity, visualization, prioritizing, courage and consideration, communication, synergy, and balance. Seems simply, right? This book is great because while, yes, it is designed for professionals, it can be applied to your everyday life. Who doesn’t need a little bit of help with learning balance? Especially if you are one of those who can’t seem to find the right amount of time for your studies, social life, sports, and me-time! Covey tells us that in order to be effective, we need to just do something. While his message may be a bit simplistic, it never hurts to sit down and really read.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman gives us both a bit of intellectual wisdom and some self-help; a good balance of mixtures, don’t you think? This book is a compilation of the research Kahneman and Amos Tversky led over decades, focusing on cognitive biases (when you made a bad choice instead of a good one), prospect theory (losses and gains), and happiness. There are, according to Kahneman, two modes of thought; System 1 and System 2. System one is very emotional and instinctive, whereas System 2 is more logical, thought-out, and slow. Makes sense so far. In a nutshell, there is a lot of research here to hint we might be putting too much faith in human judgement. This is a good book to read if you are interested in how we think, and want to learn a bit more about the human thought process. And, hey, you may learn something about yourself…

The Art of Happiness, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr Howard Cutler

Finally, if you’ve ever seen the Dalai Lama, you don’t have to wonder why he wrote a book on happiness. He is always smiling. So, who better to tell you that the purpose of life is happiness? The cool thing about this book is the collaboration between His Holiness and Dr Howard Cutler; you read both personal accounts as well as Western, psychiatric explanations. Want to learn about avoiding insecurity? Want to read about happiness in everyday life? Then this is for you. As a student, trying to juggle studying, a student budget and what remains of a social life (or just drinking alone, let’s not lie), happiness can sometimes be a far-fetched goal. That's why this is one of the best books students should read. Sometimes, we forget that happiness is one of the most important things in life. But with this book, you won’t forget, I promise.

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And there you have it: books students should read right this second! If these books bring you closer to success, why would you not read them? Pick up one of these books in the summer when you're chilling at home, or in the car on a road trip. Give them a go, whether it is being more effective, finding out how you think, or being more creative. Let me know in a month how great your life is…

Read any of these books? Have any more books students should read? Leave a comment!

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