The right book read at the right time has the power to change your life.
The best books for students open your mind to new possibilities, help you get on the correct path, and spark curiosity about the world.
Are you ready to discover the books you ought to read for your personal development?
Maybe you feel like it’s time to start thinking about your financial future. Or maybe you’re looking for a novel that will engage your imagination.
Then look no further!
From classical literature to personal growth, this list of 20 must-read books for students will help you to thrive. What’s more, reading is a great habit for students to develop.
(Before you read the rest of this article, make sure to download your free quick action guide below to enable you to overcome procrastination permanently!)
20 must-read books for students
Check out these books for students who need a little inspiration or motivation:
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
- The Evolution of a Girl by L. E. Bowman
- Indistractable by Nir Eyal
- Elastic Habits by Stephen Guise
- It’s Not About You by Tom Rath
- Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
- The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
- Just As You Are by Michelle Skeen and Kelly Skeen
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- Shoot Your Shot by Vernon Brundage Jr.
- Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By by Cary Siegel
- Do Hard Things by Alex Harris and Brett Harris
- You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed
- A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens by Katie Hurley
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens by Richard Carlson
- In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these books to find out why they’re the best ones for students to read.
1. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Written in 1945 by George Orwell, Animal Farm is a political satire that takes place on a farm. The animals, tired of being exploited by their human masters, overthrow them and set up an egalitarian society.
But the animals in charge let the power get to their heads – power always corrupts. They use propaganda to gain power and control the other animals.
This book explores the theme of the ability of everyday individuals to stand up for what they believe in and for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Beautifully written by French author Antoine de Saint- Exupéry, The Little Prince tells the story of a young boy living in a distant land with a unique flower – or so he thought.
Aware of the vanity of his flower, the little prince decides to leave his home. Arriving on Earth, he travels to a rose garden that has many flowers. This makes him realise that his flower isn’t unique.
Over time, the young boy meets a fox who teaches him to appreciate everything around him.
Initially struggling to look beneath the surface, as many adults do, the little prince masters the art of looking deeper to reveal the true beauty of life.
This book touches on the themes of love, friendship, courage, kindness, and loyalty – all of which you can learn to harness through your years as a student.
3. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Set in World War 2, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas tells the story of nine-year-old Bruno, the son of a German commandant.
Bruno forges a friendship with a boy the same age as him named Shmuel. Bruno is unaware of the purpose of the place where his father works, Auschwitz, and therefore doesn’t understand what is going on or the danger his friend is in.
The book tackles complex and difficult topics and presents themes of innocence and the importance of friendship and family ties.
4. The Evolution of a Girl by L.E. Bowman
The Evolution of a Girl by L.E. Bowman is a collection that uses poetry and stories to mirror the transformation of a young girl into a woman – a go-to guide for teenage girls.
The book shares a series of life lessons for young women on self-acceptance, self-love, and growth during these transitional years.
These lessons help girls develop a strength they can carry throughout their lives.
Bowman takes on themes of heartbreak and anger that lead to transformation and rebirth.
5. Indistractable by Nir Eyal
In Indistractable, Nir Eyal details the things that cause us to get distracted. The author explains why turning off all our devices (phones, computers, etc.) isn’t always the right way to overcome distractions.
If you want to succeed and make the most of your life, you need to avoid things that cause you to deviate from the path you need to be on.
You have to live your life not only doing the right things, but also not doing things you’ll regret later.
This is an excellent book for students, so I encourage you to read it right away!
6. Elastic Habits by Stephen Guise
Create lasting habits with this powerful book by Stephen Guise.
Elastic Habits shows you how to develop excellent habits by making minor changes each day.
Never miss a day! These mini-milestones can lead you towards establishing positive habits that will stay with you throughout your life.
What makes the concepts in this book helpful is that you’ll have flexibility in developing habits. You get to select the activity you want to work on, when you want to work on it, and how intense the effort will be.
You’ll find strategies to improve your study habits and make it more fun to pursue your goals!
7. It’s Not About You by Tom Rath
“Life is not about you. It’s about what you do for others.”
As a sixteen-year-old with a rare genetic disorder, Rath sought a meaningful life in the nurturing care of his family, including his grandfather, Don Clifton.
Rath teaches us how to answer life’s great questions in this empowering self-help memoir.
This book’s message teaches us that life’s greater purpose is to focus less on what we want to achieve and more on what we can do to contribute.
8. Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven
Make Your Bed contains ten life lessons that Admiral William H. McRaven learned during his Navy SEAL training.
These lessons helped him overcome challenges during his long Navy career and throughout his life.
As he writes in the book:
“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
Starting the day by making your bed increases your motivation to move through your other daily tasks. As a result, your days will become more productive and fruitful.
9. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck explores the idea that we have two mindsets: fixed and growth.
The fixed mindset is a belief that your abilities are set in stone and that staying in your comfort zone is the best way to feel validated.
But developing a growth mindset is vital if you want to succeed in life and make the most of the opportunities you’re presented with.
The growth mindset is the belief that your fundamental qualities and abilities are things you can build upon and improve.
This book explains how your conscious and unconscious thoughts can affect you. It also explains how simple changes in the words you use can have a profound effect on your behaviour.
10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
Teens today face new challenges like cyberbullying and constant online distractions.
Covey offers a simple, step-by-step approach to help teens boost their self-image, build healthy friendships, counter peer pressure, and reach their goals.
The main focus is on ensuring that you’re proactive because this paves the way for students to master the other habits.
The first three habits focus on self-improvement, while the next four habits cover topics to do with how we relate to others.
Students who want to improve their lives in significant ways should read this book!
11. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
This book aims to encourage you to adopt a powerful and energising morning routine.
A solid morning routine will catapult you towards success!
Elrod explains the six steps you can take every morning to get you on the right track:
12. Just As You Are by Michelle Skeen and Kelly Skeen
“Stop comparing yourself to others – you’re special just as you are!”
Offering many practical solutions, Just As You Are is a teen’s guide to self-acceptance and developing lasting self-esteem.
The series of insights from psychologist Michelle Skeen and her daughter, Kelly Skeen, consist of simple tips.
These tips will enable you to eliminate feelings of inadequacy, to stop comparing yourself with others, and to accept yourself fully.
13. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
“Don’t worry about your failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try…”
Jack Canfield gets to the heart of achieving enduring success in this book.
He writes about the numerous principles that helped him throughout his life. He shares them so that anyone can learn how to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.
As you read this book, you’ll understand how believing you can achieve your goals, working to achieve your goals, and taking full responsibility for your life will get you headed in the right direction.
14. Shoot Your Shot by Vernon Brundage Jr.
Many teenagers and students aspire to be just like their favourite athletes.
That’s precisely what this book is about.
Reading this book provides you with a chance to understand the tips and tricks of successful athletes that can also be integrated into your day-to-day life. As a result, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals.
Shoot Your Shot introduces the fundamental principles that elite basketball players follow, which will guide you as you strive to make the most of your potential.
15. Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By by Cary Siegel
Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? is a fantastic book for students who want to improve their money management skills.
In this book, you’ll discover eight lessons broken down into 99 clear and concise principles to help you manage your personal finances well.
What makes it one of the best books for students is that it isn’t a dry or boring read about money.
Instead, it contains interesting and practical examples to make the material relatable and memorable.
16. Do Hard Things by Alex Harris and Brett Harris
Rather than portraying adolescence as a time of escape from responsibility, Do Hard Things redefines the teenage years as a catapult for a meaningful life.
Through personal anecdotes and practical examples, the authors challenge you to get outside your comfort zone and do challenging things.
As a student, you’ll gain inspiration and clarity about the future through this fascinating book.
In fact, Alex Harris and Brett Harris were teens when they wrote the book.
Read the book and get ready to feel motivated to take on challenges and lead an extraordinary life!
17. You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed
This book invites teenagers to defy self-doubt, fearlessly explore and discover, and develop confidence in themselves.
You Are Awesome is an invitation to embrace change and stop doubting yourself.
Students will benefit from this book’s practicality and positivity. As you read the book, you’ll become more self-aware.
You’ll also become better prepared for whatever life throws at you.
18. A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens by Katie Hurley
This book‘s philosophy centres around the idea that harnessing positive thinking can increase your happiness and motivation to beat stress.
It will also help you to focus on achieving your goals.
A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens introduces principles and strategies to help students take action, overcome teenage anxiety, and build resilience.
This book is especially useful for teensagers who struggle with distorted or negative thinking that’s holding them back.
19. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens: Simple Ways to Keep Your Cool in Stressful Times by Richard Carlson
Being a teen can be tough. Richard Carlson understands this, and explains in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens how teenagers can learn to thrive.
The book covers various topics, including peer pressure, homework, dating, etc., through a series of inspirational essays.
Carlson offers different methods and advice to handle the challenges that teens face.
For example, he recommends that teens always look for the positive in a given situation, and remember that they can make a difference in the world.
This is a must-read book for students!
20. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
Yeonmi Park shares her fascinating story in In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom.
She writes honestly about the fear of living under a dictatorship, the threat of dying from disease and starvation, and even execution.
She fled North Korea at the age of 13 and she hoped to reunite with her sister. She made it to China, only to be forced into human trafficking.
When she finally found freedom in South Korea, she encountered further challenges that she eventually overcame.
This is an exhilarating and heartrending book that will change the way you look at the world.
Don’t underestimate the power of books during your student years.
Why not save this list of the 20 best books for students and make your way through them in your leisure time?
It’s an investment of time that will definitely pay off!
(And if you’d like a free quick action guide to enable you to overcome procrastination once and for all, make sure to download the PDF below.)