Author Topic: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?  (Read 1669 times)


  • Stubble
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Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« on: June 18, 2017, 02:39:16 PM »
There used to be a great thread on life skills books for kids somewhere here on the forum. I've searched and can't find it... so, hopefully someone can either point me to it, or give me your particular recommendations for useful books for teens.

I'm thinking of encouraging my DS13 to read specific books this summer. He's moving into Jr. High in September and really struggles with organization and study skills - and he's been placed in all honors courses. Argh! I'm hopeful we can help him learn some useful skills before this next year starts... I'd also like to find books that discuss basic life skills. The idea would be we'll read them as a family and discuss/implement.

He'd prefer books that are amusing/good reads (xkcd's "What If" book was right up his alley... if only they wrote life skill books...).



  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 07:18:23 AM »
I remember "The Seven Habits of Highly Productive Teens" made a big impact on me at a similar age. Also Malcolm Brain (?)'s "The Teenager's Guide to the Real World" (this will now be even more comically out of date than it was when I read it, but still worth a gander).


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 07:55:30 AM »
Great thread. Sadly, I don't have anything to recommend, outside of standard older, more adult oriented favorites of mine, like The Magic of Thinking Big, Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends And Influence People. I am planning to selectively go through these with my 12 year old son at night before bed and hope that it seeds his brain.
My son struggles with organization skills too, and is also in honors classes, very similar situation.
I'm also teaching a Personal Management merit badge class for Boy Scouts, and am trying to incorporate some of these ideas as well, and some MMM lessons as well. Looking forward to hearing suggestions too.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 09:00:10 AM »
It's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens", by Sean Covey, and it is based on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. Great book. I highly recommend it.

For parents, "Smart but Scattered" is also a good one.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 09:08:43 AM by Freedomin5 »


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2017, 07:16:35 PM »
I am a big fan of "Learing by doing"..  as in not from books.

What activities / issues can you throw them into so that they can safely learn from mistakes and life experience?


  • Stubble
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Re: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2017, 07:21:56 PM »
Although I haven't read it, my wife's grandfather gave each grandkid "The Richest Man in Babylon" around that age. It was pretty meaningful for a lot of them, although for some it just seemed like a family rite of passage.

I read the historical fiction of G.A. Henty as a teen and while it didn't teach life skills, I did learn history while seeing upstanding character in action, which I think was pretty valuable for life. Those might be a little advanced for a 13yo.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” Mother Teresa


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 02:19:01 PM »
I don't have books to recommend but I think just 2 simple organizational skills/habits got me through high school with a GPA >4 (lots of honors/AP classes).

1) writing every assignment+deadline/test date down in a planner when it was announced/assigned (tests usually appeared ~1 week ahead). It was basically a to-do list. If something still needed done it got carried over to the next day, etc.
2) Having a place to put any handouts, papers, etc. I preferred a notebook, binder, or folder for every class, depending on amount of notes/handouts, and one for miscellaneous, but the most important thing was having a place to put things.

A third one I probably could have used but managed without is basic time management/organization--it would have saved me some late nights if I'd learned to motivate myself to do the less pleasant assignments when I had time and decided to, not just when the pressure was on...but I could have used some guidance and coaching with that, except my parents were procrastinators and it would have been I was a teenager and probably wouldn't have listened.

Our planners had excerpts from "7 Habits" and I found them fun to read. Aspirationally. I guess they taught me that whole "urgent/not urgent-important/not important" grid for thinking about prioritizing tasks?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Books for Teens (life skills) - your recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2017, 08:14:50 PM »
Smart Girls Guides, by American Girl.  My pre-teen devours them and then re-reads them. Nicely written, with some respect to diversity, and finances too.  They have solid advice, nothing different than the advice I'd give, really, but sometimes it helps to have a source other than Mom.