Tara Parker-Pope decided to gather all the science and research about marriage and relationships into one book. Her impetus was the failure of her own marriage; she wanted to know if she could have done anything to prevent her divorce.
This self-help book is unusual in that the author isn’t spinning conjecture; her “advice” is all based on research. Some of the most interesting studies were about arguments; turns out the subject matter and frequency is less important than the level of scorn. She also warns that the first three minutes of an argument are critical. The outcome can be less damaging, the more open and less explosive you are.
For Better is full of practical advice about how differences in financial style, child rearing and household chores affect a relationship.
Often, commonly held wisdom was not found to be the case in real life. Very useful for long-married and newly married couples.
Let’s face it. What most graduates want (and get) is money. Hard, cold cash. Not microwaves, techno gadgets or pillows for the dorm, but dollars with which they can select their own microwaves, techno gadgets and pillows for the dorm.
Still, if you’re looking for something a little more meaningful or sentimental, there’s plenty of inspirational, faith-based guides available. Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life comes to mind. It’s subtitle is, “What on Earth am I Here for?” so it’s appropriate for any age group, not just graduates.
If you’d rather pick a more secular title, something that has credible advice, but with a short enough format that most teens will still actually read it, try Maria Shriver’s And One More thing Before You Go. It’s only 61 pages long and has 10 quick chapters, including these topics:
- Learn from your mistakes
- Have a little gratitude
- Keep a childlike quality
Interestingly enough, it ends with advice from teenage girls to their moms. Hmmm, perhaps that’s really the intended audience all along!
A final suggestion is What I Know: Uncommon Wisdom and Universal Truths from 10-year olds and 100-year olds. by Roger Emerson Fishman. This small, square gift book has lots of photos and could be enjoyed by both young and old.