What do you like best about reading? Is it expanding your viewpoints? Is it learning something new? Is it discovering faraway lands? Is it uncovering secrets you never knew before?

There are many reasons to get lost in a book. If you can read, you can literally accomplish anything you choose within this world. Reading is a gift, and it’s a gift I’ve given to my daughter since the day she was born. Not a day has gone by that we haven’t shared a book, talked about a story, or shared in a concept new to us.

Today is her last day of high school. Next year she’s off to college, and to discover more of whom she truly is. And as she makes this giant leap into adulthood, I’ve looked back at all the books that have influenced me over the years, trying to find the perfect list for her to read this summer.

What books are perfect for a young woman about to make her own way into this world? Here’s my list of the books that have influenced me over the past 30 years, and the books that I think will make a difference in your life too.

As You Graduate 15 Books To Read and Be Inspired By

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

As a woman, I think everything starts with the one book that started it all. The Feminine Mystique opens your eyes to how things were when we first started moving forward towards equal rights for women. Feminism has taken on negative connotations in today’s world. And yet the true definition of feminism is equal rights for women. When you know where we’ve come from, what we’ve fought for, and what we stand to lose if we allow the wrong things to happen, you’ll form your own opinions of how to move forward. In this iconic book, you’ll look at the original insight to women’s struggle for equality, and raise consciousness on how we can continue the fight today.

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

I refer back to this book time and time again. Think of it as a step-by-step guide to help you set and achieve your goals, whether it’s to complete a semester at school, or define a project that will take you years into the future. Based on 64 timeless principles used by men and women throughout history, each principle will help you transform where you are today into where you choose to be in the future.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

This book came to me during a difficult period of time. I was operating my first business and currently dealing with two extremely difficult clients. I knew it was time for us to make a change, but I had no idea what that change should be. This book provided me with a lot of a-ha moments, and changed our course of action forever. I wish I would have had some of this insight when I was back in college – it surely would have changed what I did and how I did it from that point forward.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I recently finished this book, one of the newest books to make my list. When you look back through time, and through most of this list as well, a lot of business books are from men. One of the reasons I thoroughly enjoyed Sheryl’s book was because of the candor of the current highest paid woman in corporate America. Unfortunately most women today don’t lean in. They worry about what will be in the future, and stifle their own opportunity because they are afraid of their actions and what will be over time. If you can learn one thing from this book, take away the concept that you should always move forward with every belief in the world that you will succeed. The rest will find a way to happen the way it should.

Flash Foresight by Daniel Burrus

Another book I’ve read recently, this book touches on so many a-ha things that are happening now and will impact us in the very near future. Burrus argues that we all have an innate sixth sense that we can use to see trends and identify future opportunities – if we only train ourselves how to look for them. By looking into the future and seeing opportunities now, you can use that information to build your career and your personal ambitions to your advantage. A huge inspiration as you are moving forward and deciding what to do with the rest of your life.

Think by Lisa Bloom

This book will make you do exactly that … Think. Why are women dumbing down all across America and even the World? Why do we obsess over celebrities, tabloid media, and how we look instead of how smart we are? Ultimately it comes down to how we think. If we can change our focus, we can change the way we approach our lives.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Louise Hay is considered to be one of the all time greatest at self-help. I’m always amazed at stories of women who found their inner-strength in times of crisis, and Louise accomplishes that tenfold. She’s built an amazing empire around her concepts, and her message is a strong one that can help you and inspire you no matter what you’re facing in your current life.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I think every woman at some point in their lives questions where they are and what they are doing. This story is about one woman’s journey through her “questioning” period, and what she did to come to terms with who she is. The one take away from this book is to not be afraid of doing whatever it is you have to do to find yourself.

Quiet by Susan Cain

We live in a world of extroverts. Our school systems are set up to reward extroverts and penalize introverts. Ditto with our workplaces. Yet as an introvert, and as the mother of an introvert, I know now more than ever the power of acknowledging an introverts work and how it can build a stronger future for everyone involved. Quiet is a book that is getting an enormous amount of publicity – and rightfully so – and will hopefully one day make the planners at the top think more about the qualities of an introvert and how there really is a place for everyone at the table, introverts and extroverts alike.

The Power of Less by Leo Babuta

Do we really need “stuff” in our lives? If you know me as my daughter knows me, you know the answer is no. Stuff in many ways holds you back from being and achieving what you are truly meant to do. The sooner you learn to appreciate the little things and do away with things that really don’t matter, the more you’ll find what you’re truly meant to do. Leo’s book is an easy read, filled with information on how to make less a powerful thing in your life. Its one I ready again and again, and I recommend you do too as you move from your teens to your 20’s to your 30’s and beyond.

The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

I was one of the first buyers of this book. And I also purchased the second addition as a Kindle. Its filled with all kinds of ideas on how you look past the norm to find your purpose in life, and make anything you dream into a reality. You are introduced to all kinds of dreamers doing all kinds of things. And while a 4 hour work week may not be reality, (yes, you might have to put in a little more time than that as you build your career), move forward with the concept that technology is the one thing that makes anything possible. Whatever you love, whatever you want to do, whatever you choose to experience, making money around it is more than a possibility.

The Now Habit by Neil Fiore

I think everyone has a little procrastination in them. In this book, you’ll discover an explanation of why we procrastinate, and practical tips for how to move forward and get things done. This book can be a great help as you move into tougher and more challenging courses, and as you move into your career and try to manage a home, a career and a family some day.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

I found this book a couple of years ago. Presented by a 20-something for 20-somethings, I wish I’d had this solid advice when I was first starting out in the world. Not only does he cover career advice and how to make (and save) more money every step of the way, he teaches real-life tips that can easily help you save for the important things you choose to do. Solid advice on what to do with your money and why.

The Dip by Seth Godin

Yes I’m a Seth Godin groupie. When he comes out with a new book, I read it. I follow his blog. And I love watching what he does in the marketing world. His books have meaning and truly make you think, all without a lot of filler words. What he says, he says succinctly. And The Dip is no exception. While I would recommend any of his books, I started with this one because it’s a quick read with a huge message. Sometimes you move down a path convinced it’s the right one. But what if it isn’t? Do you know when to quit? The Dip gives you inspiration to know when to quit and when to stick.

Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer

Jeffrey has a variety of “Little” books, all which are fun reads – think pictures AND a great story. I chose this one because it all begins with your attitude. If you have a YES attitude, a positive outlook, and a desire to try anything, you’ll move forward a lot quicker than the negative. As you move forward in deciding your career and learning all you can about this world, nothing can help you more than having a YES attitude.

Its what I wish for you from this day forward.