News & Media

What Books Should My College-Bound Student Be Reading?

“I am now trying to prepare myself for college and what lies ahead. I am inquiring as to whether John Baylor has a list of suggested books that aspiring college students should read. I know there are many such lists out on the internet but after going through JBP I respect highly what Mr. Baylor teaches. I hope that you can provide me with a list.”

That email made my day.  So here’s how I responded:


The Wright Brothers by David McCullough— a quintessential American story that inspires

Wilson by A Scott Berg— Another turn of the century history lesson.  This one is about an idealistic President who once held the world in his hands.

The Brothers by Stephen Kinzer— about the Dulles brothers who together waged their own cold war with disastrous consequences that we still feel today.

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin— anything by her is great (especially Bully Pulpit), and this candid autobiography is difficult to put down.

Brothers by George Howe Colt—sensing a fraternal theme?  I love this book because the author is among the best in his generation (Michael Lewis, Mitch Albom) and because it offers a unique history of famous brothers and the author’s own.

Social Commentary:

The Triple Package by Amy Chua— a controversial, provocative book about the three traits shared by successful immigrant groups, attributes parents can infuse into their own children.

Classic Literature:

A Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger— the book that awakened me in my youth


Over This by Frank Deford — a fun, substantive ride through six decades of relationships with famous sports people, written by one of the profession’s best ever.

Coach by Michael Lewis— a short book that may be the best two-three hours a person spends this month

Moneyball by Michael Lewis— not just for baseball fans, for those looking for an edge to get into and win any game

John Baylor is a father, husband, author, Stanford grad, broadcaster, and owner of John Baylor Prep. The mission of JBP is to help families and schools create two- and four-year college graduates with minimal debt. You can listen to the John Baylor Prep Show by subscribing on iTunes or by going to The show also runs on Nebraska stations KHUB (1340 AM) in Fremont, KNCY (1600 AM) in Nebraska City, KLIN (1400 AM)in Lincoln. Check listing for days and times.


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