Five books that will totally prepare you for post-uni life

September 15, 2016
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Feel like graduation is approaching with all the promise of a speeding freight-train? Thinking of failing a subject “by accident” so you can stay at uni forever? Fear not, for the wisdom of ages can be found in the recesses of your local library. By which of course I mean the Kindle store.

If you’re feeling a little gun-shy about graduating, here are five books that will make your transition from the drunken purgatory of uni life to the cold expanse of “the real world” a whole lot less confronting.

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

There are literally fuckloads of books about how to better manage your finances. From Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad series (note: Kiyosaki is mates with Donald Trump – ‘nuff said) to the excellent Total Money Makeover. But there are very few books about how to improve your relationship with money. Your Money or Your Life is one of the best.

The book’s fundamental premise is that because you work for money – exchanging your time and energy for it – you’re essentially converting parts of your life into currency. It then uses this premise to get you to examine all the money-related aspects of your life, from your spending habits and how fulfilled you feel at your job, to how much time your work allows you to spend with family.

Your Money or Your Life is kind of like the Yoda of finance books; not very technical, perhaps, but extremely wise. If you find yourself struggling to choose a career path or chronically blowing your budget, then this is the book for you.

Hamlet’s BlackBerry by William Powers

I know – who owns a BlackBerry anymore? (Apart from certain losers who sit around writing articles, but don’t ask me who they are). Once you get past the slightly dated title, however, this book has never been more relevant.

In Hamlet’s BlackBerry, journalist William Powers sets out to give the reader a framework for coping with today’s world of ever-present internet. That might sound like technophobic fear-mongering from a crotchety old print loyalist, but this research-based book offers a shrewd assessment of both technology’s usefulness and its pitfalls, as well as tips for nailing down that elusive work-life balance.

A must-read for the up-and-coming millennial.

Investing for Australians All-In-One for Dummies

For those who found Your Money or Your Life a little too abstract, this is the book you’ve been waiting for. A thoroughly practical how-to guide on just about every aspect of personal finance, Investing for Australians will turn you into a financial ninja of a person, allowing you to slay any fiscal demon with sharpened dividends of high-yield righteousness.

Just make sure you get the Australian version, or you’ll end up with several completely useless chapters about 401ks, SEP accounts and other Yankee gibberish.

Stop Acting Rich by Thomas J. Stanley

When entering the workforce, it’s not uncommon to develop a case of “affluenza”. What’s affluenza? It’s that feeling you get when you see important people wearing expensive clothes and suddenly you’re all self-conscious because you’re just a uni student with K-Mart shoes and a two-year-old BlackBerry and- anyway, it’s not a nice feeling. But in Stop Acting Rich, the late professor Thomas J. Stanley illustrates how the popular perception of wealth is mostly based on movies, credit card debt and bullshit.

Surveying hundreds of America’s millionaires, Stanley methodically dismantles the popular concept of what a millionaire looks like, replacing it with a far more accurate picture of a frugal, hard-working used-car owner who’s never touched a Rolex in her life.

A kind of antidote to the need to “keep up with Joneses”, this book will save you time, money, and a good deal of anxiety.

Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey

Ever since its publication in 1989, Seven Habits has been cited time and again for changing lives for the better. An inspiring book about aligning your actions with your true motivations, it was the toast of the 1990’s self-help movement.

Even President Bill Clinton was impressed. Taking a break from denying relations with “that woman”, he actually asked author Stephen Covey to advise him on how to integrate the habits into his presidency.

You’ll undoubtedly put them to better use than he ever did.

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and freelance writer, Joel pretends to be clever at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

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