13 More Books Top College Students Are Reading to Get Ahead

Current students give advice on what books to read to stay ahead.

It's not just first-year law students who have their noses buried in books. ValuePenguin polled college students of various majors and schools across the country to see what will always remain on their shelves. These are the times that keep these teens and twenty somethings churning through four years of higher education. Whether you're in or out of school, you might want to add these titles to your own reading list.

Previously: 8 Books Top College Students Are Reading to Get Ahead

1. Washington State University communications major Spencer Anderson

You Can’t Make This Up, by Al Michaels - This book is important to me because what Michaels does is what I aspire to do someday. In this book, basically an autobiography, he tells a lot of stories about himself, but also a lot of stories and tips about what it takes to get where he is.

2. Boston Architectural College master's candidate Andres Moreira

Atmospheres, by Peter Zumthor- When one sees Peter Zumthor buildings, you notice that he is someone who cares about detail and space. This is a small book that I carry around with me. It is one of his lectures and he talks about the elements of his designs. Materials, people, poetics, everything that can be assembled to create a great atmosphere.

3. Albion College history major Corey Wheeler

The Autobiography of Malcolm X- This is a favorite book of mine that has informed my outlook as an aspiring leader would be was a great leader because he dedicated his life to helping improve the lives of the people around him and further generations. Also, as a leader sometimes you have to take responsibility when you are wrong and Malcolm did that towards the end of his life. 

4. Mount Ida College dental hygiene major Nicole Cantello

Gifted Hands, by Ben Carson- My friend gave me the book about a year before I was accepted into the program. It was so encouraging reading about a young boy’s unlikely path to success due to his determination and his mom’s guidance. I very much identified with him and the book served as a great reminder of the promise to come for those who work hard to pursue their dreams.

5. University of Minnesota Crookston business management major Delaney Kohorst

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler- I have always been a fan of Amy Poehler, so when her book came out I had to get it, and I’ve read it a ridiculous amount of times. The title of the book itself is one of my favorite parts. “Yes please sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request.” I don’t think being a leader is about having it all together all the time. It is about helping a group of people achieve a common goal. Sometimes you have to talk a lot, sometimes your role is to sit back and listen. I highly recommend reading Yes Please if you haven’t already!

6. University of North Carolina at Charlotte architecture major Noushin Radnia

Racing Alone, by Nader Khalili- This is the first book that comes to my mind when I rethink what highlighted this major to me. It’s a novel that takes you on a journey to look so simple and basic that exists in all the corners of the world. The author is the founder of California Institute of Earth Architecture. 

7. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee information technology major Sam Goerke

Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives, by Dean Buonomano - This book was assigned in the User Usability course and it was quite a change from the normal technical textbook. The book helped me understand some of the human nature of technology. It led to one of my main technology philosophies, which is that it doesn’t matter how cool a new technology is if it’s not useful to the user it’s supposed to be helping.

8. University of Oregon Architecture master's candidate Andrew Loia

Twenty-five Buildings Every Architect Should Understand, by Simon Unwin - This was a great introductory book to the field, showing how different architectural elements have been and can be used. Oh, and any book by Francis D.K. Ching will always be valuable, and beautiful. 

9. Clemson University Architecture master's candidate Amy Trick

The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard - For its tribute to lived, human experiences in architecture.

10. Purdue University communications major Paige Pope

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How To Make the Most of Them Now, by Meg Jay - This should be mandatory reading for everyone in their twenties. It is a beautiful reminder of why and how to pursue the life you want straight from the start.

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert - This is an excellent read for anyone looking to pursue a creative endeavor. 

11. Washington State University communications major Kyla Emme

Black Hawk Down, by Mark Bowden - It sounds weird, but I think it is a wonderful piece of journalism. You can see how the writer really did his research when it came to finding out the events of the ambush from both American soldiers and Mogadishu locals. I liked that he addressed the different perspectives because I know for a fact that certain things would’ve been left out in the media just because of prejudices toward Muslims specifically. 

12. Stanford University communications master's candidate Anita Varma

The Ironic Spectator, by Lilie Chouliaraki - This has also been influential in shaping my thinking about solidarity in media. 

13. Huston-Tillotson University biology major Aeris Broussard

The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B DuBois -- It's a book that inspires me personally to become a great leader. 

Andrew Pentis

Andrew is a former Associate Editor at ValuePenguin. He focused on an array of personal finance topics, from money management to career development.