Graduation Speech Inspired Books

It’s that time of year again when both college and high school students will be gathering in caps and gowns to hear speakers impart wisdom with which to launch them into the next phase of their lives. Plenty of writers have already done this, and then published those words. Here are just a few (brief) reads that were once speeches, and the videos that inspired them.

Congratulations, By The Way by George Saunders – From his 2013 speech at Syracuse University


If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? by Kurt Vonnegut – Based on a variety of speeches he gave over the years, including this one from 1999 at Agnes Scott College.


Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman – From his 2012 speech at the University of the Arts.


Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling – From her 2008 speech at Harvard University.



You Are Not Special… And Other Encouragements by David McCullough, Jr.- From his 2012 speech at Wellesley High School.