3 Books to Read Before Starting Your Full-Time Job

When I was an undergrad student, I never made time to read books for leisure.  There were way to many other priorities, so books were left by the wayside.  Since graduating, though, that has changed and I now make time to read.  I’ve absolutely loved reading and do it, typically, twice a day.  The benefits of reading are well documented for those in the business world, so I won’t harp on those today.

In an effort to kick-start reading and get you prepared for your full-time job, we put together a reading list.  We focused on 3 ares: productivity, self-improvement, and financial health.  

Here is CSU’s 3 Books to Read Before Starting Your Full-Time Job:

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

Clearly, the title of this book is attractive.  “You mean to tell me I can get away with working just 4 hours a week?”  That takes a lot of work and will not be applicable for everyone.  But the real lessons in this book are in terms of time management.  What Ferriss is teaching in this book is a way to look at the most important items in your life or job, focus on those and cut out the rest.  He refers to this as the 80/20 rule, since (generally) 80% of the value comes from the top 20% of initiatives.

Reading this book will help you think about ways to prioritize your time and really determine what is the best use of your time.  Time is finite, so don’t waste it!  You will learn methods to prioritize your time so you are adding significant value without spending a ton of time working on menial items.  

The takeaways in this book regarding email are an incredible gift to your time.  Why do we focus so much on email in Corporate America when it does not impact the bottom line?  Ferriss discusses how to remove yourself from your email inbox and let others know the most effective way to reach you is not email.

Warning: this book may make you consider quitting your job even before you start.

The Saint, The Surfer, and the CEO by Robin Sharma

The message this book effectively provides is to live wisely, serve greatly, and love well.  While this book may seem a bit “hippy,” take the messages to heart as they are applicable for your life personally and in business.

Throughout the story, Sharma describes a man who is a bit lost in his journey.  This is comparable to leaving the familiar landscape in undergrad for a new one, Corporate America.  As the man begins to find his way, he runs into a series of characters that provide insightful life perspectives.

The messages, live wisely, serve greatly, and love well, are all important in life and business.  

Being wise in terms of who you surround yourself with, how you communicate, and why you do what you do are critical to your success.  

Serving greatly in business is imperative as you will be working as a team to accomplish your goals - you’ll need to rely on others serving you in order to get things done and vice versa.  

Loving well does not mean you need to be in love your coworkers.  But it means you need to show them respect and appreciate them for who they are and how they impact your life.  

These messages, when taken to heart and implemented into you daily work life will help you see the working world with a different perspective.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Don’t let the publication date (1926) fool you.  Yes, this book is nearly a century old, but its teachings are timeless.  One item you likely did not receive (or did not receive enough of) in undergrad is personal finance.  This book discusses personal finance principles in a story format, based in the old days in Babylon.

With so many students leaving undergrad with a mountain of student-loans, paying off those loans is a major concern.  Clason discusses how to allocate your money to pay off your debts.  Student loan debt is not pertinent in the story, but the writing allows you to easily make the connection to present-day life.  One of my personal favorite lessons relating to repaying your debts is to allocate 20% of your monthly earnings to paying off debts.  Using this mindset (and following the rest of the recommended budget) will help you pay down your student loans so they are not a long-term burden.

Clason also preaches the importance of making your money work for you, or investing.  While earning money is great, making your money grow through investments is really what will make you wealthier.  While the book does not discuss present-day methods to make your money grow, you can infer this can be done through stock market investing, real estate, invest in yourself through a side project, etc.  Once you start putting your money to work, it will create an additional income stream that you can benefit from in the future.

At the least, this book will allow you to start thinking about your current financial situation.  Where are you now?  What parts of your life or finances need to be reevaluated?  This is a perfect book to read leading up to your first few paychecks in Corporate America.


There are thousands of books that will help prepare you for your first job in Corporate America.  CSU focused on productivity, self-improvement, and personal finance to give you a holistic view of your life once you graduate, as all three of these areas will be critical to your success and happiness.  You can get all three of these books on Amazon for no more than $30 total.  That is $30 well spent to focus on preparing yourself for life in Corporate America

Thought Starters

  • What books have you read to prepare you for Corporate America?
  • What are your areas of focus leading into the start of your career?