For many graduate students, the summer months are an important time for self-directed reading and other tasks that have taken a backseat over the fall and spring semesters. For some, this summer’s reading list might include reading a novel that sat untouched over the academic year, reading to prepare for exams, or reading for your research.

Regardless of your stage in your graduate program, consider adding one or two books to your summer reading list this year that will help advance your professional development goals. 

Whether your professional goals relate to improving as a researcher or teacher, improving your relationship with your collaborators and mentors, reflecting on your post-graduate career path, or preparing for life after graduate school, there are many valuable books available to support your learning. Even if your summer is devoted to writing or publishing, there are books that can help you improve your writing process.

Here’s a list of book recommendations for your summer reading, each aimed at helping you reflect on and succeed in a different aspect of your professional development and graduate school journey. The books that are available as an ebook through the library are linked.

On non-academic career preparation and exploration:

On academic career preparation and exploration:

On academic writing:

On personal growth and life planning:

  • The Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well by Amy C. Edmondson
  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  • Journal Keeping: How to Use Reflective Writing for Learning, Teaching, Professional Insight and Positive Change by Dannelle D. Stevens and Joanne E. Cooper
  • Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
  • The End of Average: How to Succeed in a World that Values Sameness by Todd Rose

On succeeding in graduate school:

  • Gifted Black Women: Navigating the Doctoral Process Edited By Brittany N. Anderson, Shaquinta L. Richardson
  • How to Get Your PhD: A Handbook for the Journey by Gavin Brown
  • Ableism in Academia: Theorising experiences of disabilities and chronic illnesses in higher education by Nicole Brown, Jennifer Leigh
  • A Field Guide to Graduate School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum by Jessica Calarco
  • Hooded: A Black Girl’s Guide to the Ph.D. by Malika Grayson

On teaching:

On collaborations and mentorship:

  • Getting Mentored in Graduate School by W. Brad Johnson and Jennifer M. Huwe
  • Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and frankly, you’re not in the mood) by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

Happy reading this summer!

Sophie Major is the Director of GradPro, the Graduate Student Professional Development Resource Hub. They have an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Energy and Resources, and are a first-gen college graduate.

Maria Almeida Reis is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History currently working as a Professional Development Liaison in the GradPro Office of the Graduate Division. Maria previously served as a co-director and the logistics lead of Beyond Academia.