30 Books to Read Before 30
Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. –P.J. O’Rourke
This was a post originally intended for my other blog over at deadat30. I didn’t think it was relevant to this site, intended purely for content relevant to the 7 Summits Project.
I realised however, that what I’m intending to do with this project is to promote education and it’s importance, particularly to developing minds. What better way to self-educate than by reading some of the seminal works written by some of the worlds greatest minds and observers of human behaviour.
This is by no means a be-all and end-all list I’ve put together. It is simply 30 books I have read that have shaped how I view the world and have influenced my mindset and the context of my own standing in life. I want to pass that on in the hope that they will bring the same to your own life. There’s a pretty diverse range below and I guess that sums up the way I usually read.
So without further ado…
Poses the suggestion that the mental turmoil experienced as a result of committing a crime is perhaps the greatest punishment of all. Powerful book and a great place to start if you are looking to delve into who I consider to be one of the greatest writers of all. More info →
Hands down the funniest book I've ever read. A satirical and sarcastic look at terrors of war, it loses much of it's humor in the second half and takes a darker tone. More info →
Richard Branson has lived one hell of a life. The most motivating and inspiring biography I've read. More info →
Written as a 'children's book', this is the greatest satirical work I have read. I recommend you brush up on your early 20th century soviet history so you can fully appreciate the brilliance of this book. More info →
An autobiographical account of the authors 4 1/2 year ordeal as a hostage at the hands of radicalist Shi'ite Militiamen. Talks about the depths of despair and desperation he sunk to and the strong bond formed with a fellow hostage. Really sucks you in and makes you apart of his reality. More info →
Attempts to demonstrates life after war, living with the post-traumatic stress it inevitably brings. Very hard book to review, I think everyone could interpret it in a different way. More info →
A series of memoirs and reflections by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. A book full of wisdom from an exemplary practitioner of the stoic philosophy he endorses. If you ever need a mentor to help you overcome life's adversities, read this. More info →
Clever metaphorical piece on the effect of mental illness from a first person point of view. More info →
"The art of long-term travel". Shows how it is entirely possible to live the dream of a soul-freeing 'vagabond' lifestyle, breaking out of any preconceived notions that may be holding you back. More info →
Great book on the unpredictability of human nature. Chilling account of a true-crime story which examines the two antagonist's psychological profiles in detail. More info →
Felix originally wrote this as an 'anti self-help' book on the perils of pursuing 'filthy lucre' but it's message has been misinterpreted, spurning many a wannabe entrepreneur to attempt to follow his path to wealth. It's message wasn't lost on me however.. Not only is it probably the most honest advice on what it takes to get rich, it's a hilarious read. More info →
I wasn't going to put this on here since I'm sure everyone's already heard of it, if not read it. It's such an influential and well written piece of literature however, it's best to be sure. More info →
This is a challenge to read. Written in Scottish phonetic dialect this takes a while to understand. It is however awesome and examines addiction in a first hand way like nothing else I've read. Can almost be looked at now as a period piece of early 90's bored youth in Scotland and the UK. The hangers on of the punk era with harder drugs and less hope.* More info →
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this book but in my opinion, that doesn't take away from it's core message, that education is key to resolve many of the worlds issues. Since the scandals arose a few years ago it also provides another valuable lesson; the pitfalls of 'hero-worship'. More info →
Ignorance is bliss. That is the premise of the future world created by Ray Bradbury, where books (knowledge) are burned so it's citizens don't have to think and therefore deal with the harsh realities that may arise as a result. This should be compulsory reading in schools as a warning to future generations. More info →
Very scary to see how prophetic this book was, written way back in 1949. Even scarier to see the potential future we may end up in if we let things continue the way they are going.. More info →
Lesson 1: Don't smuggle drugs in South America. Written from a first person perspective living in one of the strangest prison systems in the world. Only in Bolivia.. More info →
Described as the greatest novel ever written this just about lives up to its enormous reputation. It is a sprawling Operatic drama of family and fortune set in pre revolution Russia. There are dozens if not hundreds of characters and locations so it is difficult to keep up sometimes. Ultimately it is tragic and beautiful and there are layers of meaning under other layers of meaning. This is a long haul read and ultimately worth it.* More info →
This is a must read for anybody who has ever had a Grandad. Written with such a succinct use of the English language. It will bore you if you don't love the symbolism and poetry of the whole thing. Powerful book.* More info →
This is the book that inspired to movie Blade Runner and the storyline is similar but fleshed out in more detail in the book. Explores themes way ahead of its time in terms of AI and what it takes to be a human.* More info →
You can blame all the current vampire obsession on the author of this book. Originally written in 1897, there is nothing sexy or alluring about Bram Stokers creation, a dark and horrific figure with an unquenchable bloodlust. Very creative plot development, using diary entries of a handful of characters to tell the full story. More info →
What do you think? Anything you’d add or leave off this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
There are literally dozens more books I could’ve added to this list but I have limited it to 30 to fit the title ’30 books to read before 30′. Another list may be coming in future..
*Credit to Tim Byng for the reviews. He summed them up well so I didn’t care to change anything.