LitStaff Pick: The Best Books for Graduates

The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
and The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

Ah, graduation. That time of hope, expectations, anticipation, and platitudes. As much as I love a good platitude, I left college feeling distinctly unqualified to face the real world. A job, sure, but what about the rest of life, all that practical stuff no one ever taught me? A few life lessons vicariously learned through books would have gone a long way toward building my confidence and smoothing the road stretching before me.

Two important things everyone needs to know but that they don’t teach in school: how to cook, and how to save money. To me, the best resources to have on hand for those two lessons are The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer and The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.

I am a huge fan of cookbooks, as such I have a huge collection.The Joy of Cooking is the one I most often turn to. It has a recipe for everything–just think of a food, and this book will tell you how to make it. More than lists of ingredients and instructions, it offers tips on buying, prepping, and storing foods; menu planning; cooking techniques; even how to stock your pantry and kitchen. Whether you already know your way around a kitchen, or don’t know the difference between jam and jelly, you will learn something from The Joy of Cooking. It is the quintessential cookbook for anyone who doesn’t want to eat takeout every night for the rest of his or her life.

As for finances, well, let’s just say that if I had read this book when I graduated, I’d be a lot better off than I am today. If you’re anything like me, college leaves you so broke that even an entry-level paycheck feels extravagant, and the spending often rises to match. If you’d rather come out ahead than simply try to keep up with the Joneses, you need a solid plan to guide you in the right direction. Temptation is everywhere, and often we don’t even know we need to avoid it until it’s too late. The Automatic Millionaire shows you how to set up your life now to easily–and painlessly–grow your wealth.

So while platitudes and encouragement are nice, a bit of strategically timed practicality can go a long way toward ensuring a happy life for years to come.
-Elisha Dew

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