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5 Books Everyone Should Read Before Grad School

With grad school comes a wealth of new experiences. While professors may help you understand subject matter, there are many lessons to be learned outside of lecture halls. To help you prepare for situations not covered in your assigned reading material, our friends at compiled a list of the top 5 books everyone should read before going to grad school. Check them out, then let us know your favorites in the comments below!


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverancegrit by Angela Duckworth

Grad school abounds with the genius and talented. However, according to Angela Duckworth, the most successful students don’t necessarily need either. Instead, Duckworth preaches “grit” is the key to success. Through science and storytelling, Duckworth explains the power of grit and explains how equal parts passion and perseverance separate the mediocre from the triumphant. Apply her psychological assessment of grit to your grad school studies, and you might just finish at the top of your class.


How to Win Friends & Influence Peoplehow-to-win-friends by Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s guidelines will take you much farther than just making a few good friends in grad school. In his book How to Win Friends & Influence People, Carnegie reveals top tips to captivate and impress those around you. Put these tips to use and you’ll build friendships, win debates, and be the group project favorite. As an added bonus, Carnegie loads the pages with anecdotes featuring historical figures and prominent world leaders — references your grad school professors will already expect you to know.


You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourselfyou-inc by Harry Beckwith

Grad school may help you learn what to say, but Beckwith teaches you how to say it. Master the power of presentation and persuasion in You, Inc.. Whether your goal is to learn how to influence group project participants or author an effective email to your professor, Beckwith capitalizes on the importance of a positive personality to help you get what you want.


the-miracle-of-mindfulnessThe Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Superpower your studying. In The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches the art of focusing and meditation as it applies to everyday tasks. Hanh’s steps for mindful living are easy and adaptable. You’ll find yourself applying them to everything, from speaking up in class to digesting reading material. Who knew grad school could be so enlightening?


the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-peopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. Covey’s book has remained a bestseller for over 25 years, and with good reason. Whether you want to polish your note taking skills or improve communication between colleagues, this book provides that extra boost.

Covey dismisses the traditional self-help approach of altering one’s personality, and instead asks the reader to align with “universal and timeless principles” to unlock greatness. After identifying this paradigm shift, Covey dives into the step-by-step process to self mastery, focusing on striking a balance between personal and business strategies. Apply Covey’s 7 habits to your grad school regimen and you could score higher, learn quicker, and — most importantly — enjoy the experience!


For more information on any of the books, click on the book covers or titles above. Do you have any other books you’d add to this list? Have you found any of the books above effective? Let us know in the comments!

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

5 Responses to 5 Books Everyone Should Read Before Grad School

  1. aj October 22, 2016 at 2:53 am #

    Is it me or everyone else? For some reason the link to those books are not working for me.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 22, 2016 at 7:29 am #

      Hi AJ,

      I confirmed that the links are working; however, please let me know if you continue to experience this problem or if others are experiencing a similar problem.

  2. hemanth October 14, 2016 at 12:52 am #

    hey bro,
    im hemanth ,
    i have completed engg in ECE.
    but im confused for which program to join mit

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      Hi Hemanth,

      Unfortunately, we primarily focus on graduate school test preparation and cannot provide you with as detailed advice on graduate school program selection. I would recommend that you discuss with target schools their opportunities to find which program will be the best fit for your goals and skill set!

  3. tangjq September 22, 2016 at 7:37 am #


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