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Book Recommendations For PhD Candidates

Book recommendations for PhD candidates

I enjoy reading quite some, as long-term readers of this blog know (I read over 110 books last year, after all). So, I recently did some triaging of my favorite non-fiction books to generate some lists of book recommendations.

Here go my recommendations for PhD candidates:

Here’s the complete list with extended summaries for each book, including their relevance for PhD candidates, along with the Goodreads links:

  1. Planning and Passing Your PhD Defence by Olga Degtyareva and Eva Lantsoght 😉 This book is a comprehensive guide for PhD candidates approaching their thesis defense. It covers strategies for success and common pitfalls to avoid, breaking down the defense process into manageable steps. The book’s practical advice builds confidence and clarity, ideal for students navigating the critical stage of their doctoral journey. Goodreads Link (and please leave me a review!)
  2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Duhigg’s exploration of habit formation and change is invaluable for PhD candidates looking to develop productive research routines. The book explains how habits work and provides a framework for adopting new, more effective behaviors, empowering students to create a disciplined approach to their research. Goodreads Link
  3. The A-Z of the PhD Trajectory: A Practical Guide for a Successful Journey by Eva O. L. Lantsoght 😉 😉 In this book, I offer a roadmap for each phase of the PhD trajectory, addressing both technical and emotional challenges encountered. This book serves as a mentor in print, providing guidance, support, and advice to navigate the complexities of doctoral studies. Its practical nature makes it an indispensable companion from start to finish. Goodreads Link
  4. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s autobiography, while not a typical academic guide, offers timeless wisdom on self-improvement, intellectual curiosity, and the value of discipline—qualities essential for PhD candidates. His life story is an inspiration for lifelong learning and innovation, serving as motivation for students on the rigorous path of a PhD. Goodreads Link
  5. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. King’s blend of memoir and master class on writing offers invaluable lessons on the craft that can benefit PhD candidates tasked with extensive writing. It emphasizes discipline, creativity, and the importance of revision, applicable to writing a thesis. By far my favorite book about writing – so I recommend it often and to all of us who write. Goodreads Link
  6. Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby. Swaby’s collection of profiles on pioneering women in science is a source of inspiration for PhD candidates, especially those facing gender biases in academia. The book highlights the perseverance and contributions of these scientists, encouraging students to pursue research with determination. Goodreads Link
  7. A Scholar’s Guide to Getting Published in English: Critical Choices and Practical Strategies by Mary Jane Curry. This book is a strategic guide for non-native English speakers and international PhD candidates aiming to publish in English-language academic journals. It addresses challenges of academic writing and publishing, offering clear advice for navigating the publication process. Goodreads Link
  8. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. Hadfield’s experiences as an astronaut provide metaphors for discipline, preparation, and adaptability in a PhD program. The book offers a unique perspective on tackling challenges, relevant for students managing academic pressures. Goodreads Link
  9. The Debunking Handbook by John Cook. Cook’s book is crucial for PhD candidates developing critical thinking and communication skills, especially for research involving debunking myths. It provides strategies for countering misinformation, a vital skill in academia – and beyond, for those interested in public outreach. Goodreads Link
  10. The Little Book of Contentment by Leo Babauta. Babauta’s guide offers strategies to find contentment amidst the PhD journey, emphasizing mindfulness and gratitude. It’s a reminder of the importance of well-being in achieving academic and personal success. Goodreads Link

These books provide a diverse range of perspectives and practical advice, making them valuable resources for PhD candidates.

What are some of your favorite books for PhD candidates?

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