100 books like How to Raise an Adult

By Julie Lythcott-Haims,

Here are 100 books that How to Raise an Adult fans have personally recommended if you like How to Raise an Adult. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Free-Range Kids: How Parents and Teachers Can Let Go and Let Grow

Sara Zaske Author Of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

From my list on raising self-reliant children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer who lived in Germany for more than six years with my family. That experience opened my eyes to a different way of parenting in a country that had learned hard lessons about too much authoritarian control. It also taught me that much of what we believe is “true” about raising kids is actually cultural—and therefore, can be changed. In addition to my book about raising kids in Germany, Achtung Baby, I’ve written extensively on raising self-reliant kids, including articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Time.com among others.

Sara's book list on raising self-reliant children

Sara Zaske Why did Sara love this book?

No other book – and arguably no other personality – has done more to help loosen the lock-hold helicopter parenting has on our kids than Free-Range Kids and Lenore Skenazy. The book is a primer on ways to give your kids the freedom to grow up while it tears apart many of the paranoid parenting myths: from child predators lurking on every corner to the overblown dangers of choking on uncut grapes. Even better, Skenazy is hilarious and her book is great fun to read.

By Lenore Skenazy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free-Range Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Free Range Kids has become a national movement, sparked by the incredible response to Lenore Skenazy's piece about allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway alone in NYC. Parent groups argued about it, bloggers blogged, spouses became uncivil with each other, and the media jumped all over it.

A lot of parents today, Skenazy says, see no difference between letting their kids walk to school and letting them walk through a firing range. Any risk is seen as too much risk. But if you try to prevent every possible danger or difficulty in your child's everyday life, that child never…


Book cover of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

Sara Zaske Author Of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

From my list on raising self-reliant children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer who lived in Germany for more than six years with my family. That experience opened my eyes to a different way of parenting in a country that had learned hard lessons about too much authoritarian control. It also taught me that much of what we believe is “true” about raising kids is actually cultural—and therefore, can be changed. In addition to my book about raising kids in Germany, Achtung Baby, I’ve written extensively on raising self-reliant kids, including articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Time.com among others.

Sara's book list on raising self-reliant children

Sara Zaske Why did Sara love this book?

An evolutionary psychologist, Gray argues that human children, like all mammals, learn best through play. He advocates for a learning process that is kid- and play-driven. Using an innovative school as a model, Gray makes a compelling case for revolutionizing education by putting it in the hands of the kids themselves. Even if you can’t send your child to one of these schools, this book will give you many ideas on how to let your kids take charge of their own academic interests and pursuits which will ultimately help them grow up to take better charge of their own lives and happiness.

By Peter Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free to Learn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Free to Learn , developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong…


Book cover of Mommy Laid An Egg: Or, Where Do Babies Come From?

Sara Zaske Author Of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

From my list on raising self-reliant children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer who lived in Germany for more than six years with my family. That experience opened my eyes to a different way of parenting in a country that had learned hard lessons about too much authoritarian control. It also taught me that much of what we believe is “true” about raising kids is actually cultural—and therefore, can be changed. In addition to my book about raising kids in Germany, Achtung Baby, I’ve written extensively on raising self-reliant kids, including articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Time.com among others.

Sara's book list on raising self-reliant children

Sara Zaske Why did Sara love this book?

When my daughter was in first grade in Germany, her teacher read this book to her entire class. Sex education is considered a right in Germany since knowing how your body works is essential for your reproductive health. In the U.S. it’s left to us as parents to teach sex ed to our kids—which I’d argue is less than ideal, given the high costs of keeping kids ignorant. (The U.S. has higher rates of teen AIDS, teen pregnancy, and abortion than Germany.) If you don’t know how to broach this subject, this book is a good, age-appropriate, place to start when your young kids first begin asking questions.

By Babette Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mommy Laid An Egg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two children explain to their parents, using their own drawings, where babies come from.


Book cover of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Nate G. Hilger Author Of The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parents and Fix Our Inequality Crisis

From my list on how self-help isn't a magic parenting solution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an economist fascinated by the ways that early opportunities shape lifelong success. My interests go way back to the big public schools I attended in Southern California, where I watched some kids benefit from tutoring, counseling, coaching, and other private resources that most kids couldn’t access. I went on to get a PhD in economics, then taught at Brown University and advised Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign on child development policy. After years of research and teaching – and becoming a dad myself – I wrote The Parent Trap to expose the monumental challenges facing so many parents and the solutions most likely to make a difference.

Nate's book list on how self-help isn't a magic parenting solution

Nate G. Hilger Why did Nate love this book?

As a writer, I admire this book as a great work of creative nonfiction. The book uses captivating stories and research to make a deep point with bipartisan appeal. Yes, “character” matters. That impulse to exert effort, that strength to persevere through challenges, that discipline and self-control, and patience – all the stuff that many people especially on the Right celebrate as “personal responsibility” can and does drive success. But where does “character” come from? Mostly it doesn’t come from individual choices or innate endowments determined at birth. It comes from environmental influences – opportunities and safeguards we provide for children’s development – and that many people especially on the Left try to provide through public policy. If entire demographic groups appear more likely to lack “character,” that reflects our shared collective refusal to make character-building opportunities more widely accessible. 

By Paul Tough,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How Children Succeed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why character, confidence, and curiosity are more important to your child's success than academic results. The New York Times bestseller. For all fans of Oliver James or Steve Biddulph's Raising Boys, Raising Girls, and The Complete Secrets of Happy Children.

In a world where academic success can seem all-important in deciding our children's success in adult life, Paul Tough sees things very differently.

Instead of fixating on grades and exams, he argues that we, as parents, should be paying more attention to our children's characters.

Inner resilience, a sense of curiosity, the hidden power of confidence - these are the…


Book cover of The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives

Thomas Lickona Author Of How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain

From my list on raising good children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a developmental psychologist and former professor of education. My life’s work and 10 books have focused on helping families and schools foster good character in kids. Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility is credited with helping launch the national character education movement. My first book for parents, Raising Good Children, described how to guide kids through the stages of moral development from birth through adulthood. My focus these days is kindness and its supporting virtues. My wife Judith and I have two grown sons and 15 grandchildren, and with William Boudreau, MD, co-authored Sex, Love, and You: Making the Right Decision, a book for teens.

Thomas' book list on raising good children

Thomas Lickona Why did Thomas love this book?

This thought-provoking book by Bill Stixrud (a clinical neuropsychologist) and Ned Johnson (an SAT tutor) pops up on other “best books” lists on parenting. It deserves to be there. But it’s not, as the title might suggest, a prescription for “hands-off” parenting. On the contrary, it shows us how to actively help our kids become better decision-makers by giving them lots of guided practice in making decisions they’re capable of handling, such as: “Should I take on the challenge of moving to the next grade in school, or spend another year learning the important skills I didn’t learn very well this year?” (but definitely not decisions where, for example, danger is involved—like going to an unsupervised party).

In short, raising a “self-driven” child means doing more of a different kind of parenting—in a collaborative, mutually respectful relationship that’s more rewarding for both parent and child. It means looking for opportunities…

By William Stixrud, Ned Johnson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Self-Driven Child as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Instead of trusting kids with choices . . . many parents insist on micromanaging everything from homework to friendships. For these parents, Stixrud and Johnson have a simple message: Stop." -NPR

"This humane, thoughtful book turns the latest brain science into valuable practical advice for parents." -Paul Tough, New York Times bestselling author of How Children Succeed

A few years ago, Bill Stixrud and Ned Johnson started noticing the same problem from different angles: Even high-performing kids were coming to them acutely stressed and lacking motivation. Many complained they had no control over their lives. Some stumbled in high school…


Book cover of My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student

Andrea Malkin Brenner Author Of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)

From my list on under-prepared first-year college students.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having worked on college campuses for 25 years as a professor, administrator, and first-year experience program designer, I’ve seen first-hand how freshmen are increasingly failing at “adulting” because they are unprepared for the realities of campus life. I take on this needed preparation as co-author of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There) and as the creator of the Talking College™ Card Deck, discussion prompts for college-bound students and their parents/guardians. I share my insider knowledge with college-bound students and their parents at talks and workshops throughout the U.S. My goal is to help both groups thrive as they prepare for the upcoming transition.

Andrea's book list on under-prepared first-year college students

Andrea Malkin Brenner Why did Andrea love this book?

Anthropology professor Rebekah Nathan made the bold decision to do what anthropologists do best: live amongst those of a misunderstood culture. After fifteen years of teaching at a large university, she left her faculty position and went undercover as a freshman. Nathan moved into a dorm, ate off the student meal plan, and enrolled in courses as a full-time student. The book is filled with thoughtful insights about the challenges first-year students face, including academic stressors, looming student debt, and an increasingly disengaged student culture. My Freshman Year exposes a realistic view of the new transactional-cultured university campus, while simultaneously offering a compassionate peek into the daily struggles of new students.

By Rebekah Nathan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Freshman Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After more than fifteen years of teaching, Rebekah Nathan, a professor of anthropology at a large state university, realized that she no longer understood the behavior and attitudes of her students. Fewer and fewer participated in class discussion, tackled the assigned reading, or came to discuss problems during office hours. And she realized from conversations with her colleagues that they, too, were perplexed: Why were students today so different and so hard to teach? Were they, in fact, more likely to cheat, ruder, and less motivated? Did they care at all about their education, besides their grades?Nathan decided to put…


Book cover of At the Intersection: Understanding and Supporting First-Generation Students

Andrea Malkin Brenner Author Of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)

From my list on under-prepared first-year college students.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having worked on college campuses for 25 years as a professor, administrator, and first-year experience program designer, I’ve seen first-hand how freshmen are increasingly failing at “adulting” because they are unprepared for the realities of campus life. I take on this needed preparation as co-author of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There) and as the creator of the Talking College™ Card Deck, discussion prompts for college-bound students and their parents/guardians. I share my insider knowledge with college-bound students and their parents at talks and workshops throughout the U.S. My goal is to help both groups thrive as they prepare for the upcoming transition.

Andrea's book list on under-prepared first-year college students

Andrea Malkin Brenner Why did Andrea love this book?

The editors and contributing authors present research and theory interspersed with unique personal experiences of the journey taken by first-generation students as they move through college. The volume provides the reader with up-to-date data on two- and four-year colleges, and discusses the intersection of first-generation status with varied student identities including LGBT, low-income, African-American, Latinx, Native American, and undocumented. The last section of the book offers an introduction to practices, policies, and programs across the U.S., and directs educators, policymakers, and administrators to make campuses inclusive for diverse first-generation college students. At the Intersection is a resource for understanding and effectively responding to first-generation students’ divergent, shared, and intersectional identities in order to understand and alter their access, retention, learning, and well-being on the college campus.

By Robert Longwell-Grice (editor), Hope Longwell-Grice (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Intersection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The experiences of first-generation college students are not monolithic. The nexus of identities matter, and this book is intended to challenge the reader to explore what it means to be a first-generation college student in higher education. Designed for use in classrooms and for use by the higher education practitioner on a college campus today, At the Intersections will be of value to the reader throughout their professional career.

The book is divided into four parts with chapters of research and theory interspersed with thought pieces to provide personal stories to integrate the research and theory into lived experience. Each…


Book cover of Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities

Andrea Malkin Brenner Author Of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)

From my list on under-prepared first-year college students.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having worked on college campuses for 25 years as a professor, administrator, and first-year experience program designer, I’ve seen first-hand how freshmen are increasingly failing at “adulting” because they are unprepared for the realities of campus life. I take on this needed preparation as co-author of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There) and as the creator of the Talking College™ Card Deck, discussion prompts for college-bound students and their parents/guardians. I share my insider knowledge with college-bound students and their parents at talks and workshops throughout the U.S. My goal is to help both groups thrive as they prepare for the upcoming transition.

Andrea's book list on under-prepared first-year college students

Andrea Malkin Brenner Why did Andrea love this book?

High school graduates with disabilities are often unaware of today’s new and rapidly developing options and limitations to postsecondary educational resources. This comprehensive guidebook provides excellent strategies for students who will be requesting disability access in preparation for the transition from high school into two and four-year colleges. Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities includes an array of this information for both college-bound students and disability support staff. These include user-friendly campus resources, lessons for understanding and requesting access to campus accommodations, support for applying for financial aid, and strategies for meeting professional expectations.

By Meg Grigal (editor), Joseph Madaus (editor), Lyman Dukes III (editor) , Debra Hart (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities provides effective strategies for navigating the transition process from high school into college for students with a wide range of disabilities. As students with disabilities attend two and four-year colleges in increasing numbers and through expanding access opportunities, challenges remain in helping these students and their families prepare for and successfully transition into higher education. Professionals and families supporting transition activities are often unaware of today's new and rapidly developing options for postsecondary education. This practical guide offers user-friendly resources, including vignettes, research summaries, and hands-on activities that…


Book cover of The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids

Andrea Malkin Brenner Author Of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)

From my list on under-prepared first-year college students.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having worked on college campuses for 25 years as a professor, administrator, and first-year experience program designer, I’ve seen first-hand how freshmen are increasingly failing at “adulting” because they are unprepared for the realities of campus life. I take on this needed preparation as co-author of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There) and as the creator of the Talking College™ Card Deck, discussion prompts for college-bound students and their parents/guardians. I share my insider knowledge with college-bound students and their parents at talks and workshops throughout the U.S. My goal is to help both groups thrive as they prepare for the upcoming transition.

Andrea's book list on under-prepared first-year college students

Andrea Malkin Brenner Why did Andrea love this book?

In the year of her tenth reunion, journalist Alexandra Robbins returns to her former high-pressure public high school in Bethesda, MD. For the next year, she follows eight intelligent, motivated, and overachieving high school students through their daily lives. The author presents a host of complicated issues plaguing high-achieving suburban high schools including intense stress amongst students in AP courses, an epidemic of cheating, parental pressures to perform, unprescribed ADD drug use, and a cutthroat college admissions process. Although this is a nonfiction book scaffolded by investigative journalism, it reads like a novel. Robbins presents a clear warning to students as they navigate the pressures of achieving at peak levels and to parents about how serious the “Ivy-league obsession” is in American culture.

By Alexandra Robbins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Overachievers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of Pledged returns with a groundbreaking look at the pressure to achieve faced by America's teens

In Pledged, Alexandra Robbins followed four college girls to produce a riveting narrative that read like fiction. Now, in The Overachievers, Robbins uses the same captivating style to explore how our high-stakes educational culture has spiraled out of control. During the year of her ten-year reunion, Robbins goes back to her high school, where she follows heart-tuggingly likeable students including "AP" Frank, who grapples with horrifying parental pressure to succeed; Audrey, whose panicked perfectionism overshadows her life; Sam, who worries his…


Book cover of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Raising Self-Reliant Children

Mark E. Crawford Author Of When Two Become Three: Nurturing Your Marriage After Baby Arrives

From my list on growing great kids and maintaining a great marriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a clinical psychologist for over thirty years, a husband for thirty years, and a father for twenty-seven years. Being the best husband and father that I can possibly be is my highest priority. I sincerely believe that healthy families are the building blocks of healthy societies. Being a good spouse and a good parent (at the same time, no less) is challenging, to say the least. However, creating a family full of love, laughter, and support during the inevitable difficult seasons of life is worthy of a lifetime of study and effort. I’m constantly looking for resources to help me and others to pursue this goal. 

Mark's book list on growing great kids and maintaining a great marriage

Mark E. Crawford Why did Mark love this book?

This book is one of the first to point out the pitfalls of “helicopter parenting,” even before the term became widely known. Wendy was one of the first people to point out that as a culture, we were starting to become far too over-protective as parents and how this robs kids of the experiences necessary to become resilient and resourceful. As a psychologist, I was seeing the same trend, and this book was extremely validating and empowering as I worked to help parents see that “hovering” and smoothing every bump in the road was actually counter-productive. This book has been around for a while, but it is still as relevant as when it was first published. 

By Wendy Mogel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Blessing of a Skinned Knee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author and host of the podcast Nurture vs Nurture Dr. Wendy Mogel offers an inspiring roadmap for raising self-reliant, ethical, and compassionate children.

In the trenches of a typical day, every parent encounters a child afflicted with ingratitude and entitlement. Parents want so badly to raise self-disciplined, appreciative, and resourceful children who are not spoiled. But how to accomplish this feat? The answer has eluded the best-intentioned individuals who overprotect, overindulge, and overschedule their children's lives.

Sharing stories of everyday parenting problems and examining them through the lens of the Torah, the Talmud, and important Jewish…


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