Book Recommendations from our Motivation Monday Guests!


Need something to do this summer to destress? Looking for some inspiration? Want to remember a time when reading was a pastime and not a race to finish before class? Here are some book recommendations from fellow first generation and/or limited income students, just like you:

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

“It’s all about finding your happiness, being mindful, and accepting yourself and others for who they are.”


The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X, Alex Haley, and Attallah Shabazz

“I think this book provides a good example of how a person with no significant educational background can, with the right work ethic, gain the respect and even surpass your peers if you put in the work.”


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“It’s a book about following your dreams, finding your purpose, and overcoming uncertainty. Now that I think about it, it’s time for me to read it again; it’s a classic, it never gets old.”


Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

“It's an amazing book that chronicles Janet’s quest for identity and includes her experience as a first generation, limited-income college student. While I did not read the book until after college, I wish this story had been available to me during undergrad.”


The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation by Natalie Moore

“Often times we forget that we live much of our lives in our own bubble. It’s important to step out of that bubble and think about the ways we can impact our own communities. As individuals, we can make a difference while being mindful and empathetic for those around us who are less fortunate.”


Make it a Real Summer Vacation and take One of these books with you to the Beach

Make it a Real Summer Vacation and take One of these books with you to the Beach


Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream by Sara Goldrick-Rab

“I went to a conference and attended a talk by the author, Sara Goldrick-Rab. This book helped me wrestle with the pain of being a limited-income student by understanding the stories of others like me and that I am not alone. It is full of real-life stories of students who struggle with buying textbooks or helping their families, and Goldrick-Rab’s examples of moving forward are widely helpful for her audience.”


The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer

“The information is timelessly relevant and can help someone no matter what their goals are.”


Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

“This book helped me understand the complexities that technology has created in situations relevant to our everyday lives, like education and health care. I think it’s especially important today since technology can sometimes be relied on too much, instead of just utilizing it as a tool.”


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

“This book changed my view on the U.S. prison system. I would recommend this book and follow up with the documentary on Netflix.”


60 Seconds and You’re Hired! by Robin Ryan

“This book will teach you how to interview, how to talk about yourself, and how to find the right job. Read it now, and then again once a year.”


Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa

“The book really changed my perspective on how students learn in college and how current college students can set themselves up for success against a distracting campus culture. It also addresses areas of college access that would be of interest to first-generation and limited-income college students.”