Graduation speeches are known for being boring and soon-forgotten, but occasionally one overcomes the stereotype and becomes popular. Some are so relevant that they are published. A few have become best sellers. One of the best examples of this is Anna Quindlen’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life that sold more than a million copies after its publication in 2000.
Other, more recent entries into the field are:
- Congratulations, By the Way by George Saunders
- You Are Not Special – And Other Encouragements by David McCullough
- The Same Sweet Girl’s Guide to Life: Advice from a Failed Southern Belle by Cassandra King
- Dream More by Dolly Parton
- The Make Good Art Speech by Neil Gaiman
- This is Water; Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace
Further advice for recent graduates can be found in:
- Twenty-Something Manifesto by Christine Hassler
- I Just Graduated, Now What? by Katherine Schwarzenegger
- Life After College by Jenny Blake
- How to Survive in the Real World by Andrea Syrtash
The Reference Department's database Masterfile Premier contains a wide range of commencement addresses as well as other important speeches in the publication Vital Speeches.Here is just one from that collection called What to Worry About (And What Not To). It was given by David Brooks to the graduates of the University of the South in May 2013.