What Book Should I Give a High School or College Graduate?

Do you have a senior graduating high school or college?
Are you wondering what kind of gift you should purchase for them?
AND you want to give them a book?

Well, I’m glad you asked! In my 8 years of working with college students, figuring out what to purchase a graduating high school or college student came up frequently. I’ve tried an assortment of things from pocket Bibles, to gift cards, to a dinner and no gift!  Over time, better options have presented themselves and certainly, these aren’t the only ones you should give, but I thought I’d share with you my top four suggestions of books I give to graduating seniors.

1. Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung

This inexpensive, small book that a non-reader would actually read is quick and to the point. The aim of this book is to discuss the practicality of God’s will. Many students, and people, struggle with what to do with their lives. Often searching aimlessly for what they want to do with their life, they can waste many years (or semesters!) on trying to “figure out God’s will.” I get it. I mean, none of us want to displease God. But, this generation is often enticed with “changing the world” or “making an impact” that decisions are often paralyzed out of fear of “doing something wrong”  and they simply become inactive in anything at all! Kevin encourages readers to Just Do Something!

2. The Reason for God, Timothy Keller

This, I believe is foundational for every believer, even skeptic. Seriously. I give this book to away constantly. Keller has the ability to, even when you disagree with him, to not rude or condescending about it. His book breaths of understanding and pastoral care. This book is a reflection of the top things he has heard during his time pastoring in New York city. It’s fairly straightforward and actually very helpful. He deals with questions and doubts even the most faithful believers wrestle with today.

 3. Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper

If for anything, this book helps a students build perspective and gain understanding that their life DOES matter and they CAN make an impact. But also, that they wouldn’t live their life for themselves and so “waste their life.” So, this book is about taking risks. This book reinforces the understanding that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to make a lasting difference in the world, rather, know a few, great, unchanging and glorious things that matter and be willing to live and die for them. If anything, this book is about having convictions.

 4. ESV Study Bible

A Bible, really? Yes. A Bible. I love this Bible for a number of reasons, but I think the study notes are balanced and helpful. There are numerable resources in the back that cover topics like Theology, to World Religions. What college students hasn’t dealt with varying belief and religions!? I’m fond of the ESV translation due to it’s style of writing (more like NASB), but also its readability (like HCSB).

What books would you recommend to a high school or college graduating senior? Let me know via the comment section below!