Books to read…

So after some research I have found many sites that all give lists of 30 books to read by the time you are 30.  Some lists have common books, but I wanted to share what I have found and then from here compile my own list.

Below is a list of all of the sites that I have browsed combined:

List from: http://www.flavorwire.com/298020/30-books-everyone-should-read-before-turning-30?all=1

The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer

Two of the oldest existing works of Western literature, these stories have in some way informed almost every quest and adventure tale written in the last thirteen centuries or so. Plus they’re frankly rollicking good tales. Especially if you read them in Greek.

The Secret History, Donna Tartt

Tartt’s obscenely beloved first novel — pagan rituals, elusive love affairs, youths murderous and studious in equal measure — should be read freshman year of college, during the winter. Trust us.

Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson

A ferocious collection of short stories told from the perspective of a strange young addict in a small Iowa town. It will knock you down, no matter how old you are.

The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor

The master of Southern gothic’s sharply spun tales whirr with comedy, grotesquerie, and insight.

Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare

We expect that by the time you’re 30 you’ll have read several Shakespeare plays — we recommend one per year at least, starting at age 12 — but this one is our favorite.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

Think of him what you will, but everyone should read at least one Hemingway novel. In our experience, this one gets better the more you think about it, so we recommend reading it as early as possible.

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

The modern classic of post-apocalyptic novels, it’s also one of the best in a genre that’s only going to keep on exploding.

Maus, Art Spiegelman

A more perfect and affecting Holocaust book has never been written. And this one has pictures.

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

One of the best science fiction novels of all time, recommended even for staunch realists. Serious, complicated and impossible to put down. Plus, Card’s masterpiece trusts in the power of children, something we all need to be reminded of once in a while.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Yes, even for guys.

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

Eugenides’s family epic of love, belonging and otherness is a must read for anyone who has ever had a family or felt like an outcast. So that’s pretty much everyone, we’d wager.

Ghost World, Daniel Clowes

Clowes writes some of the most essentially realistic teenagers we’ve ever come across, which is important when you are (or have ever been) a realistic teenager yourself.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac

Kerouac’s famous scroll must be read when it’s still likely to inspire exploration. Plus, then you’ll have ample time to develop your scorn towards it.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

A seminal work in both African American and women’s literature — not to mention a riveting, electrifying and deeply moving read.

Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s hilarious, satirical fourth novel that earned him a Master’s in anthropology from the University of Chicago.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

One of the most beautifully written books in the English language, Nabokov will teach you a host of new words, not to mention new ways to think.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

The best large-scale fantasy epic out there, period. Required reading even for those who typically don’t go in for broadswords and beasts.

1984, George Orwell

After all, Big Brother is watching you.

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

We vastly prefer Franny and Zooey, but we still think everyone should read Catcher as a teen. We know he’s obnoxious, but push on — you’ll miss a lot of cultural references if you don’t. And hey, you might be one of those people who’ll love Holden for life.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great American Novel is still beautiful, heartbreaking and incredibly relevant in the 21st century.

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Possibly the best book in the Western canon — horrifying, deeply strange, and epically wonderful.

Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Yes. Read it now. Once you read it, you’ll have to read it again at least twice, and you know it’s more than a thousand pages, so you’d better get started.

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

You need to know what your classmates are capable of when their childish veneer begins to wear.

Don Quixote, Miguel De Cervantes

One of the earliest canonical novels, it remains one of the greatest.

The Trial, Franz Kafka

Better to read a lot of Kafka before your life becomes too Kafkaesque. It’s always good to be prepared.

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

An artful and introspective study of time and family, this book is one of the pillars of modernism and a gorgeous read besides.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Bradbury’s classic dystopian future is one where books are not allowed. Not only will it captivate you, it will make you want to read everything in sight — while you can.

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

Called “the quintessential American picaresque of the 20th century,” Ellison’s bildungsroman spreads beyond race and class to a mediation on humanity itself.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Complex and satisfying, read this book to settle into Scout’s curious worldview and experience Atticus Finch, one of the greatest literary characters of all time.

Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

To infuse all of your future adventures with a little extra literary joy.

List from: http://www.marcandangel.com/2008/08/11/30-books-everyone-should-read-before-their-30th-birthday/

  1. 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.
  2. 1984 by George Orwell – 1984 still holds chief significance nearly 60 years after it was written in 1949.  It is widely acclaimed for its haunting vision of an all-knowing government which uses pervasive, 24/7 surveillance tactics to manipulate all citizens of the populace.
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – The story surveys the controversial issues of race and economic class in the 1930’s 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.
  4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – 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.
  5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway – A short, powerful contemplation on death, ideology and the incredible brutality of war.
  6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – 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.
  7. The Rights of Man by Tom Paine – Written during the era of the French Revolution, this book was one of the first to introduce the concept of human rights from the standpoint of democracy.
  8. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – A famous quote from the book states that “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.
  9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – This novel does not have a plot in the conventional sense, but instead uses various narratives to portray a clear message about the general importance of remembering our cultural history.
  10. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin – Few books have had as significant an impact on the way society views the natural world and the genesis of humankind.
  11. The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton – A collection of thoughts, meditations and reflections that give insight into what life is like to live simply and purely, dedicated to a greater power than ourselves.
  12. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – 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.”
  13. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham – 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.
  14. The Art of War by Sun Tzu – One of the oldest books on military strategy in the world.  It’s easily the most successful written work on the mechanics of general strategy and business tactics.
  15. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – One of the greatest fictional stories ever told, and by far one of the most popular and influential written works in 20th-century literature.  Once you pick up the first book, you’ll read them all.
  16. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – 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.”
  17. Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot – 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.”
  18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – 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 20th century.  Read it.
  19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Set in the Jazz Age of the roaring 20’s, 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.
  20. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – This novel firmly stands as an icon for accurately representing the ups and downs of teen angst, defiance and rebellion.  If nothing else, it serves as a reminder of the unpredictable teenage mindset.
  21. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A smooth-flowing, captivating novel of a young man living in poverty who criminally succumbs to the desire for money, and the hefty phychological impact this has on him and the people closest to him.
  22. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – This book does a great job at describing situations of power and statesmanship.  From political and corporate power struggles to attaining advancement, influence and authority over others, Machiavelli’s observations apply.
  23. Walden by Henry David Thoreau – 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.”
  24. The Republic by Plato – 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.
  25. Lolita – 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.
  26. Getting Things Done by David Allen – The quintessential guide to organizing your life and getting things done.  Nuff said.
  27. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – This is the granddaddy of all self-improvement books.  It is a comprehensive, easy to read guide for winning people over to your way of thinking in both business and personal relationships.
  28. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – A powerful and alarming look at the possibilities for savagery in a lawless environment, where compassionate human reasoning is replaced by anarchistic, animal instinct.
  29. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Steinbeck’s deeply touching tale about the survival of displaced families desperately searching for work in a nation stuck by depression will never cease to be relevant.
  30. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – This anticommunist masterpiece is a multifaceted novel about the clash between good and evil.  It dives head first into the topics of greed, corruption and deception as they relate to human nature.
  31. BONUS:  How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman – 900 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 30.
  32. BONUS:  Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner – 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

List from: http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/11/13/30-books-before-30/

  1. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert – Gilbert, a Harvard professor of psychology has studied happiness for decades, and he shares scientific findings that just might change the way you look at the world.  His primary goal is to persuade you into accepting the fact that happiness is not really what or where you imagined it would be.  This is my favorite book on happiness by a long shot.
  2. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck – Pretty much the granddaddy of all self-improvement books, it’s easily one of the best nonfiction works I’ve ever read.  By melding love, science and spirituality into a primer for personal growth, Peck guides the reader through lessons on delaying gratification, accepting responsibility for decisions, dedicating oneself to truth and reality, and creating a balanced lifestyle.
  3. Getting Things Done by David Allen – The ultimate ‘organize your life’ book.  Allen’s ideas and processes are for all those people who are overwhelmed with too many things to do, too little time to do them, and a general sense of unease that something important is being missed.  The primary goal of this book is to teach you how to effectively get your ‘to-do inbox’ to empty.
  4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Covey presents a principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems by delivering a step-by-step guide for living with integrity and honesty and adapting to the inevitable change life brings us everyday.  It’s a must-read.
  5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – This novel is an explanation of what hasbeen and always will be at the core of America’s prosperity: freedom and capitalism.  It should be required reading for every American.  All 1,069 pages are worthwhile.  Hands down, Atlas Shrugged is one of the best, most influential books I’ve ever read.
  6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – More parable than novel, ‘The Alchemist’ uses the story of young shepherd Santiago’s search for his personal legend as an allegory for everyman’s struggle to break from the comfortable confines of conformity and pursue his life dreams.  Along the way, of course, our young everyman is beset by numerous setbacks, testing his resolve and forcing him to become attuned to the Soul of the World in order to survive.  By paying attention to the details in the world around him, which serve as omens guiding him towards his goal, young Santiago becomes an alchemist in his own right, spinning unfavorable circumstances into riches.  I’ve read this tale a few times now and it always provides priceless inspiration.
  7. Walden by Henry David Thoreau – 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.”
  8. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz – Schwartz gives the reader useful, proactive steps for achieving success.  He presents a clear-cut program for getting the most out of your job, marriage, family life and other relationships.  In doing so, he proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction in life.
  9. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely – Looks at the reasons so many of us continuously make irrational decisions on a daily basis.  It’s a scientific but easily readable and unquestionably insightful look at why we do what we do on a daily basis, and why we never change our ways even though we often ‘know better.’
  10. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss – Ferris challenges us to evaluate our perspective on the cost and availability of our dreams, and he teaches us that hard work isn’t very hard when you love what you’re doing.  Although there’s certainly some pages of self promotion within, Ferris provides invaluable tips to help us remain aligned with our goals, set expectations on our terms, and eliminate unnecessary time-sinks while increasing our overall effectiveness.
  11. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – Easily one of the best and most popular books on people-skills ever written.  Carnegie uses his adept storytelling skills to illustrate how to be successful by making the most of human relations.
  12. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – A short, powerful novel about the importance of life experiences as they relate to approaching an understanding of self, happiness and attaining enlightenment.
  13. 1984 by George Orwell – 1984 still holds chief significance nearly 60 years after it was written in 1949.  It’s widely acclaimed for its haunting vision of an all-knowing government which uses pervasive, 24/7 surveillance tactics to manipulate all citizens of the populace.  In today’s world of continuous online connectivity, Orwell’s visions hit pretty close to home.
  14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Set in the Jazz Age of the roaring 20’s, 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.
  15. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Steinbeck’s deeply touching tale about the survival of displaced families desperately searching for work in a nation stuck by depression will never cease to be relevant.
  16. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason – The best book on money management ever written.  Although only 145 pages, this book is packed to the brim with powerful, life changing information.  I’ve read it three times and I still pull new pearls of wisdom out of it.  Babylon should be mandatory reading beginning at the grade school level, then again in college, and should be given as a gift right along with a college diploma.
  17. Quitter by Jon Acuff – If you’re looking for an honest account of what it’s like to make the transition from your day job to your dream job, this book is for you.  The author doesn’t sugarcoat the journey or convince you that it’s worth making stupid decisions now that you’ll pay for later.  He stays grounded in reality while inspiring you to truly connect with the things you’re passionate about, and he gives you hope and a plan for getting yourself there.
  18. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer – The creator of the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series reveals secrets to success with sixty-four timeless principles packed into this one book.  Sixty-four principles may seem like a lot, but each receives a concise, easy-to-digest chapter that challenges readers to risk creating their lives exactly as they want them.  This is easily one of the most practical books I’ve ever read on achieving your dreams.
  19. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz – Faced with too many options or decisions in your life?  We feel worse when we have too many options.  This book will make you feel better and change the way you look at them.  Schwartz discusses people making difficult decisions about jobs, families, where to live, whether to have children, how to spend recreational time, choosing colleges, etc.  He talks about why making these decisions today is much harder than it was thirty years ago, and he offers many practical suggestions for how to address decision-making so that it creates less stress and more happiness.
  20. The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman – Unfortunately, the title may limit the market to business people, but the truth is we are all in the business of managing and selling ourselves no matter what our occupation.  What makes this book warrant such a strong statement is the fact that it’s a comprehensive synthesis of all of the concepts you need to know to understand business inside and out.  There are no complex models to learn or outdated theories to memorize just to get marks or pass exams.  What you get is a clear, comprehensive set of ‘rules of thumb’ for any possible scenario you might encounter in running a business (or just your life in general).
  21. The Art of War by Sun Tzu – One of the oldest books on military strategy in the world.  It’s easily the most successful written work on the mechanics of general strategy and business tactics.
  22. The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowieckiv – Great examples of how groups of diverse people acting independently are smarter than any one person in the group.  This is one of the most entertaining and intellectually engaging books I’ve come across in a long while.  The author has a gift for making complex ideas accessible, and he has a wonderful eye for the telling anecdote.  The material within has huge implications for management, markets, decision-making and more.
  23. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz – The authors worked with the best athletes and executives for years and found that the best ones knew how to push themselves, then recuperate, push, recuperate, and so forth.  Take this same approach to your emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual life, and it’s a powerful metaphor.  Think of sprints, not marathons.  Be fully in whatever you’re in, then give time to recuperate.  But push further each time, past your comfort zone, like a good exercise plan.
  24. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath – An easy to read psychology book about real ways to make change last – both personal and organizational.  So many powerful insights, based on fact not theory.  Inspiring counterintuitive stories of huge organizational change against all odds.  Highly recommended for people in all walks of life.
  25. The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz – I have read so many books promising joy in my life, yet I have read none as simple and practical as that of ‘The Four Agreements.’  This book is a beautiful instruction guide to achieve a life of freedom and happiness.  The author teaches four lifestyle commitments which can transform life into the realization of your own personal dream.  Simply put, this small book has made profound positive changes in my life.
  26. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt – The chapters are short, the prose is easy to follow and the logic is compelling.  I’ve never seriously studied economics in my life, yet I had no trouble following the reasoning in this book.  This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand basic economics and the keys to widespread prosperity in the long run.
  27. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – It is unfortunate that in America, arguably the greatest nation in the free world, few people including those with high incomes understand the value of investing and the proper use of money strategies.  You can live off your income, but you can’t get wealthy off your income.  True wealth is the result of using principles described in this book.  This is a classic, must read for everyone.
  28. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – This novel is hilarious and depicts some pretty insightful observations about life, people, and the world in general.  Under it all, it’s an enjoyable read that will leave you yearning for more.  If you don’t like science fiction, it doesn’t matter; read this book just for the laughs.  The most amazing thing about Adams’ humor is the fact that everyone seems to get it.
  29. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – The themes within primarily involve racial injustice and the destruction of human innocence.  The author also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South.  It’s simply a classic piece of our American history that depicts racism and prejudice, childhood innocence, and the perseverance of a man who risked it all to stand up for what he believed in.
  30. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey – The plot followers a sane man that, due to a brush with the law, opts for being committed in a mental asylum rather than be incarcerated with hard labor.  Upon his entry into the secluded world of the asylum, he strips all the barriers formed and starts laying his own rules, in his own way.  This leads to problems with the head honcho of the place.  The rollercoaster that the protagonist takes the inmates through finally leads them to realize the ultimate goal.  That man, no matter the situation, can always hold his destiny in his hands.
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