Summer Reading List For Millennials

Let’s face it, Millennials – you’re completely lost right now.  Some of you are just out of college and wondering what the hell a recession is.  Some of you are pushing 30 years old but reaching some kind of quarterlife crisis, having hit a ceiling at work, or wondering if you’re happy doing what you’re doing, where you’re doing it.  Some of you, unfortunately, are working three jobs to make ends meet, or are currently out of work for one reason for another.

Times are tough for many out there.  So even though I’m a young Gen-Xer who grew up with grunge music and Ethan Hawke, I thought I’d try to help you by writing up a brief reading list of unique, inspiring books that I’ve read in the last year.  All of them relate to each other in various ways.  In total, they’re an inspiration to be entrepreneurial, to seek markets for your individual talents, and to feel good about yourself for being different from the crowd in some respects.

The first book is The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Wired editor Chris Anderson.  This book is about serving microniches of customers or fans, the decreased costs of communications and transporting goods and information because of the Internet, and how you can become well known, make a living, etc. off a relatively small number of people who really love what you do and will passionately talk about your products, whether those products are songs, services, or widgets.  You can follow the author on Twitter here.

The second book is Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by business author Seth Godin.  This book is about leadership in the current era of personal branding, Web 2.0 marketing, and individuality and entrepreneurialism (even if that’s inside a large organization).  It’s about how people with leadership qualities can more easily than ever inspire people in a movement and lead their tribe, however small, to new places and opportunities.  You cannot follow the author on Twitter here, but I highly recommend his blog.

The third book is Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by cartoonist Hugh MacLeod.   This is a very unique, fun book about the author’s personal experiences as a young advertising copywriter and budding cartoonist living in New York.  Life lessons about being creative and being yourself are written in short, biting chapters interspersed with the author’s terrific cartoons.  You can follow the author on Twitter here.

True, these books are for people from all generations (heck, I found them useful), but I think that will all the stuff going on in the world today that Generation Y might be the most inspired by them.  Whether you’re coming back to college for your junior or senior year, or you’re nearing your third decade on earth and think you’ve got your whole life mapped out for you, I still recommend these books.  At the least, they’ll tell you that you’re doing everything right in an entertaining, smart way.

I also want to give some mad props to someone who I not only personally like and have come to admire a bit, but who I think epitomizes many of the lessons from these three books, Gary Vaynerchuk (VAY NERR CHUCK, got it?)  Gary turned a New Jersey-based family liquor store into a wine emporium into a wine critic video blog into a personal blog about marketing into a keynote lecture extravaganza into a consulting firm into a ten-book publishing deal. Now he does it all with a ton of hard work and a tiny team of helpers.  I suggest watching his videos and catching him speaking in person somewhere;  There’s nothing like it.  His first book, Crush It! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, will be out in October.  I haven’t read it yet, but I have no doubt that it will be awesome.  You can follow Gary on Twitter here.

Please comment on these books if you’ve read them, or add books you think would be useful, below.  And let me know if these books have helped you or people you know out in life!

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This post was written by:

Mark Drapeau - who has written 225 posts on Dr. Mark D. Drapeau.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Jon Hickey Says:

    Thank you for this! I am 25 and have many friends that are experiencing the quarter life blues right now. While I feel empowered by everything that is changing but I know many of my peers are not. I’ll have to check out these books and get my friends to read them as well. I am a big Chris Anderson fan after I listened to Free, so I’m excited to check out Long Tail.

  2. Mark Drapeau Says:

    Thanks Jon. I think that although older, for these purposes The Long Tail is actually more relevant than Free.

    Now, don’t go empowering too many of your peers, or there will be too much competition ;)

  3. Bernie Ritchie Says:

    Hi Mark … Totally agree with your choice and covered them recently also on the Cool Books section of the Management Sushi Blog ….
    And agree with you about Gary V!

    How about also Charlene Li’s Groundwell or Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody? And Brian Solis’ PR 2.0 Blog on the latest insights around PR and social media would also be good for millennials …

  4. Luz Says:

    Hi Mark, beautiful article. I am The Thought Provoking, Irreverent Pearl Necklace Grandmother of the 21st Century. Advocating for Funding Millennials Dreams and Finding their Life Purpose. Check out my latest post.
    Open Letter to Parents of Millennials, Millennials and everybody in between.
    Hugs and see you on the other side.

  5. diamond rings Says:

    Thank you very much for that dazzling article

  6. benjaminjtaylor Says:

    Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity was fantastic. Good to see it on the list.

  7. Mark Drapeau Says:

    Thanks Benjamin. There are many other “good” books, but I wanted to pick three simple, relatively short ones that together could really transform someone’s thinking. And “Ignore Everybody” is one of those.

  8. Peter Says:

    I read a few topics. I respect your work and added blog to favorites.

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