Labster Recommends: 13 books every student should read

If you’re a student and you hear the words high school curriculum, you probably think about your huge calculus textbook, or the carefully selected history book that your teacher assigned to you to ensure that you are up to speed on everything that’s happened in the past.
Of course these books are important, but what about the books that teach you the skills you need for life? Or the books that move something in you and change your perspective of the world? Or the books that inspire you and motivate you to dream big and achieve your goals?
There’s no doubt that these books have an important role to play during your formative years as a student too.
So we asked the Labster team:
“If you had to choose one book to include in the high school curriculum of every student around the world, which book would it be?”
Here’s what they said:

Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

This book has been on the bestseller lists for quite a while now, and there’s no doubt that it’s a popular read among the Labster team as well. Here’s what Zeljko Maric, Product Growth Manager, said about the book:
“This book will change the way you look at the world, our history and the human condition. It’s full of lightbulb moments, where you’ll go, “How did I not see that before?!“ I especially liked the part where Harari explains that all the things we value so highly (money, success, nations, religion, identity, etc.) are basically just stories that we agreed upon, which just shows once again how ridiculous wars, racism, greed, etc. are.”

Madame Curie – A Biography by Eve Curie

“This book is an incredible page-turner. It’s about how difficult it was in Curie’s time to be a woman and at the same time be interested in science. It’s an inspiring story about a young lady who has a strong passion, but who almost loses hope. The book is not only about her hardships, but also about world history, about being a woman in society dominated by men, and of course about her impact and what her discoveries mean to us today.”
-Rasmus Borup, Customer Success Specialist

La vida es así (TV-show)

A book isn’t always the answer – in fact, quite a few people from the Labster team recommend that students learn through other mediums as well, such as TV-shows:
“Why a book? For me it was the TV series “La vida es así” which is a series of cartoons about how the human body works. That is one of the reasons I am a scientist today!”- Ainara Lopez-Cordoba, Content Lead Link and Research Project Manager
“Me too! It was actually one of the things that also made me interested in biology. It’s so detailed and you’d be surprised how scientifically correct it is!” – Sarah Stauffer, Simulation Director

High Performance Habits – How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard

“Schools teach us a lot about the skills we need in our future careers, but I rarely see them teaching the habits that we need to succeed in our careers and studies. Creating powerful daily habits and rituals has been one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done for my own studies and career. This book summarizes years of research on top performers, and gives you very actionable insights on how you can build up powerful habits that will empower you to leverage the full potential of the skills you learn in school to truly succeed in your career and life long-term.”
-Michael Bodekaer, Co-Founder and CTO

Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement by Peter Singer

“I think people should have the right to make their own choices in life, but they should make these choices through being informed rather than being ignorant. And what better time to inform them than when they are students learning, growing, and seeking out information.”
-Amanda Persi, Communications and Productivity Manager

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series was another popular choice amongst the Labster team. Here’s what Andra Salcudean, Visual Brand Designer, said about growing up with J.K. Rowlings magical universe:
“I’d say Harry Potter, one book per year… I grew up with it. It was the first book that came out when I was in the 2nd grade and the last ones came out during my last years of high school. It’s the perfect journey to adulthood, carrying the reader towards emotional maturity along with the characters. There are countless examples of friendship, loyalty, boldness, greatness and intelligence in that book and I’d love to be a kid again and discover it anew.”

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

“Atlas Shrugged is essentially a philosophy, written as a very compelling story about a man who “stops the engine of the world” – in other words, in a corrupt world (according to the author’s view) the book brings the reader through the systematic collapse of the “world” although the book focuses on the USA. It can be a tough read (very sophisticated level of English, long, etc.) with larger-than life characters. Many see the book as a “bible” for very conservative individualists/capitalists. I see the book as a reminder for the power for having values, principles and the amazing influence that one (or a small group of people) can have on “the world” even if I don’t subscribe to the underlying philosophy. Nonetheless, the book is without a doubt a modern classic and is able to drastically alter (or strengthen) one’s view of the world. At the very least, it holds up a very clear mirror for comparing your world view to the view of the story. For this reason, I think this book should be a part of every education.”
-Robert McKenzie, Head of Engineering

Value Proposition Design by A. Osterwalder, Y. Pigneur, G. Bernada and A. Smith

“I read this book in marketing school, and it talks a lot about finding value in your product and shaping it to meet your customers. I think this theory can also be reflected in how we as humans are trying to shape ourselves and give value to others, which is hugely important.”
-Yater Dabbo, Marketing Coordinator

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

“My father made me read this book as I was an awkward kid growing up and while it didn’t make me popular, it definitely gave me some great life lessons I still use to this day. I heard Warren Buffet had a similar reaction to it when he read it as a child.”
-Tom Natt, Head of Global Sales and Customer

Life Lessons by Elisabeth Kübler Ross and David Kessler

“Simply because it reminds me that our days are numbered and we should make the best of them.”
-Natalia Wyrwinska, Senior Tech Recruiter

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

“Because everyone, especially from an early age, should realize that the present moment is all there ever is. The majority of people spend their energy on either the past, or the future and they forget to be focused on the present. The present moment is key to happiness, enjoyment and fulfillment.”
-Thomas Hedegaard, Content Developer

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“This is a tiny, 50-page book about a big idea: gender equality, and why all women and men should be fighting for it. Adichie is one of my favourite authors, and her books are all terrific, but what I love most about this particular essay is how boldly, honestly and generously she makes her case. As a reader, you are forced to reflect on the many expectations we put on women because they are women, and men because they are men, and how we can work to change that. This book is a brilliant call-to-arms which will spark discussion in classrooms everywhere!”
-Elisabeth Glomseth, Project Development Officer

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

“Because nothing is impossible, just improbable.”
-Patrick Edvardsson, Sales Operations Manager

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