This is a funny time of year in Manila. It’s not quite rainy, but it’s also not quite summer. You’re no longer in the beginning of the year, but you’re not quite in the middle of it. And of course, graduation. That scent of accomplishment, hope and promise in the air fills every HR department in the city. Looking back to when I graduated, I can’t help but wish that school had prepared me a little bit more for some of the harsher realities — not only of entering the workforce — but also of life in general.

Thankfully, over the years a good amount of soul searching and reading has brought me to the very contented and fulfilled place that I am in now. I can only be grateful for that. But I can’t help but wonder what kind of leg-up I would have had if I had known just a couple extra things before I started my professional career. So with that in mind, I present you with part 1 of my 10 books I wish I had read in the summer after graduation:

 

1. Outliers

 

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Many different aspects of this book have been discussed and debated over the years, primarily Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule. In the rule Gladwell suggests that in order to become an expert in any given field, one must spend 10,000 hours practicing it. He cites many case studies of success stories like Bill Gates, who grew up next to a university computer lab in an era where such access to computing power was rare. Or Larry & Sergey of Google and their Montessori school upbringing, and how it had an effect on their thought processes as they matured. These case studies make for an interesting read, even just for the biographical nature of the piece. But the main hypothesis of the book is that every individual is essentially the sum of all his or her experiences. That who will turn out to be is greatly influenced by who you choose to surround yourself with and what you spend your time doing.

 

2. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

 

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Who doesn’t love some Murakami on a slow afternoon? In this book, he explores the intricate connections between running and writing. As he makes his comparisons, we get to see how running helped him rediscover himself, a process that brought him to a career as a writer. Interestingly, Haruki Murakami is also a veteran marathon runner.

 

3. Hector and the Search for Happiness

 

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This book explores the whole point of living beyond the bounds of the comfortable, and how the pursuit of happiness is trumped by the happiness of pursuit. It’s all about the journey, so make the journey one that you enjoy just as much — or even more — than the destination itself.

 

4. Damn Good Advice

 

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One word: Practical. George Lois’ indispensable lessons and anecdotes serve as key, thought-provoking jump-off points for those who seek success. Each step is borne from a passion to succeed and a disdain for the status quo.

 

5. The Icarus Deception

 

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Have you ever been rock wall climbing? Most people are afraid of the heights, but ask any seasoned climber and she will tell you that the majority of climbing injuries happen in the first 6 feet of the rock wall, nicknamed ‘the drop zone’. Your climbing instructor will always point out that when you are too low, you are actually at more risk than when you are higher up. In The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin takes a break from his usual marketing guru role, using a similar analogy to inspire you to reach new heights. His message: Don’t fly too low, coz you really do have the wings to soar.

 

So, in no particular order, those are the first 5! What do you think so far? Is there a book you wish I had mentioned?

 

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