11 Books Every High School Student Should Read

How many hours did I waste reading silly books or studying things that have little or no value to me today?
03/13/2017 12:29 am ET Updated Mar 15, 2017

Eighty-five percent.

That’s the percent of things I estimate I have forgotten from high school.

That’s crazy.

How many hours did I waste reading silly books or studying things that have little or no value to me today?

I have no idea, but I do know the answer is not good.

I’ll be 43 in a few months’ time, which makes me a Gen X’er.

My generation was the last generation to grow up in the 20th century model, aka the Industrial Age.

My son, on the other hand, has only known the digital word. For him, we don’t flip a page, we swipe left. No libraries ― he’s got Google. No phone calls, just texts.

The world has gone and changed itself, but schools, for the most part, haven’t.

But don’t take my word for it, just listen to what Sir Ken Robinson had to say about education in what has to be my favorite TED talk.

I find it amazing that when I listen to my friends’ kids’ stories about school, I hear myself talking.

The words may have changed, but the subjects haven’t.

Math, history, science, art, PE.

Nothing wrong with that, after all they are the fundamentals.

The problem is few very of them are studying graphic design, coding, video editing. Most of them can’t even use Excel.

Heck, some of them don’t even know what Excel is.

Excuse me, but WTF.

From where I stand, many schools fail in helping kids prepare for the world they are about to enter.

I say this out of love, because I spent more than half my life as a teacher.

I do believe that knowledge is power.

But in a world where knowledge is growing exponentially, we must be uber-selective.

Speaking as a time management expert, I can say that knowing what and what not to spend your time on is one of the best time management tips I can offer anyone.

So what’s my solution?

I would start with creating a system based around books that are relevant.

Here’s a list of 11 books that I would have every high school student read. Specifically chosen because they are either short, or light, or both.

The most underrated book I have ever read. Only ever mentioned in one of the many books and programs I’ve gone through (over 700). Makes history come alive. Should be required reading for history teachers and students alike. This book alone will change the way you absorb knowledge. Score: 10/10

Life is all about relationships. Understanding the opposite sex will give you an advantage in dealing with them. This book can help. Score 7.5/10

Probably the single most popular book on the topic of personal finance, and for good reason. It makes you think about how we make money. I read that Will Smith gave it to his son to read when he was 9. Score 10/10

Gary Vee and Tony Robbins are just machines. The hardest working people in personal development bar none. This book is short, hard hitting and resonates with the young crowd. Score 8.5/10

#5 1984

I prefer his classic Animal Farm, but the way the world is changing today, I’d choose this book as part of my course. A scary look at the future. Truer today that we realize. Should be required reading for every student. Score 9/10

There is immense value in having big dreams. A bit dated and somewhat repetitive (my client’s words), but powerful nonetheless. Score 8/10

Feels like an updated version of the classic, The Power Of Positive Thinking. A short, easy read. Score 7/10

Success is easier than we think. An easy to read book on how to achieve anything we want in life. Doesn’t get much easier than this. Clear and to the point. Score 9.5/10

What is really important in life? This short novel does a great job of helping us appreciate just what we have in our lives. Score 9/10

Timeless concepts that are guaranteed to pay off big at work and at home. The stories are a bit dated, but well worth it. Score 9/10

The tsunami story alone will make you rethink how precious life is. The rest of the book offers some light insights into personal development. Score 8/10

There are many other books that didn’t make the cut that are worthy of being chosen such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Atlas Shrugged, The 5 Major Pieces To The Life Puzzle, Rich Woman, Think And Grow Rich, Influence, How To Sell Your Way Through Life and many more.

I wanted to select a wide variety of books that will give students the widest view of just what the world is like and how to deal with it.

Now I ask you, what would be your 11 books?

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