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30 Books Everyone Should Read Before They’re 30
The web is grand. With its fame for hosting informative, easy-to-skim textual snippets and collaborative written works, people are spending more and more time reading online. Nevertheless, the web cannot replace the authoritative transmissions from certain classic books that have delivered (or will deliver) profound ideas around the globe for generations.
The thirty books listed here are of unparalleled prose, packed with wisdom capable of igniting a new understanding of the world. Everyone should read these books before their thirtieth birthday.
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Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
A powerful story about the importance of life experiences as they relate to approaching an understanding of reality and attaining enlightenment.
1984 still holds chief significance nearly sixty years after it was written in 1949. It is widely acclaimed for its haunting vision of an all-knowing government that uses pervasive, twenty-four/seven surveillance tactics to manipulate all citizens of the populace.
The story surveys the controversial issues of race and economic class in the 1930s Deep South via a court case of a black man charged with the rape and abuse of a young white girl. It’s a moving tale that delivers a profound message about fighting for justice and against prejudice.
A nightmarish vision of insane youth culture that depicts heart-wrenching insight into the life of a disturbed adolescent. This novel will blow you away … leaving you breathless, livid, thrilled, and concerned.
This masterpiece is so enormous even Tolstoy said it couldn’t be described as a standard novel. The storyline takes place in Russian society during the Napoleonic Era, following the characters of Andrei, Pierre and Natasha … and the tragic and unanticipated way in which their lives interconnect.
A famous quote from the book states, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” This accurately summarizes the book’s prime position on the importance of individual human rights within society.
Gladwell looks at how a small idea, or product concept, can spread like a virus and spark global sociological changes. Specifically, he analyzes “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.”
Arguably one of the best children’s books ever written, this short novel will help you appreciate the simple pleasures in life. It’s most notable for its playful mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie.
One of the greatest fictional stories ever told, and by far one of the most popular and influential written works in twentieth-century literature. Once you pick up the first book, you’ll read them all.
This is a tale that lingers on the topic of attaining and maintaining a disciplined heart as it relates to one’s emotional and moral life. Dickens states that we must learn to go against “the first mistaken impulse of the undisciplined heart.”
Probably the wisest poetic prose of modern times. It was written during World War II, and is still entirely relevant today … here’s an excerpt: “The dove descending breaks the air/With flame of incandescent terror/Of which the tongues declare/The only discharge from sin and error/The only hope, or the despair/Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre–/To be redeemed from fire by fire./Who then devised this torment?/Love/Love is the unfamiliar Name/Behind the hands that wave/The intolerable shirt of flame/Which human power cannot remove./We only live, only suspire/Consumed by either fire or fire.”
This book coined the self-titled term “catch-22” that is widely used in modern-day dialogue. As for the story, its message is clear: What’s commonly held to be good, may be bad … what is sensible, is nonsense. Its one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century. Read it.
Set in the Jazz Age of the roaring ’20s, this book unravels a cautionary tale of the American dream. Specifically, the reader learns that a few good friends are far more important that a zillion acquaintances, and the drive created from the desire to have something is more valuable than actually having it.
This book does a great job at describing situations of power and statesmanship. From those on political and corporate power struggles to attaining advancement, influence, and authority over others, Machiavelli’s observations continue to apply.
Thoreau spent two years, two months, and two days writing this book in a secluded cabin near the banks of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. This is a story about being truly free from the pressures of society. The book can speak for itself: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
A gripping and enduring work of philosophy on how life should be lived, justice should be served, and leaders should lead. It also gives the reader a fundamental understanding of Western political theory.
This is the kind of book that blows your mind wide open to conflicting feelings of life, love, and corruption … and at times makes you deeply question your own perceptions of each. The story is as devious as it is beautiful.
Nine hundred pages of simple instructions on how to cook everything you could ever dream of eating. Pretty much the greatest cookbook ever written. Get through a few recipes each week, and you’ll be a master chef by the time you’re thirty.
Franz Wisner had it all … a great job and a beautiful fiancée. Life was good. But then his fiancée dumped him days before their wedding, and his boss basically fired him. So he dragged his younger brother to Costa Rica for his already-scheduled honeymoon and they never turned back … around the world they went for two full years. This is a fun, heartfelt adventure story about life, relationships, and self-discovery.
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