10 Books Every Man Should Read Before the Age of 30
Sir Francis Bacon wasn’t kidding when he said, “knowledge is power.” Great men have built influential empires and lasting legacies based on the ideas they gleaned from great books. The classics teach us who we are, where we’ve been, and how to get where we want to go. Plus, women like men who are polite, well groomed and, yes, well read.
So it’s time to man-size your brain with this list of books every man should read before unceremoniously sliding out of their twenties.
This series of personal writings and moving observations by the great Roman emperor was penned between 161–180 CE. Since that time, many have come to cherish it as a guide to life or as the ultimate self-help book. It’s a work of great spirituality that reveals the emperor’s noble and intelligent character, practical wisdom, and the basic tenets of Stoicism.
The Old Man and the Sea
Hemingway is the ultimate man’s man writer, and this novel, published in 1952, is one of his most famous achievements. Hemingway’s short, direct prose makes ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ a pretty quick read, but you won’t want to put down this deep, absorbing and influential tale of struggle, death and defeat.
The Complete Book of Etiquette
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
On the Road
Master and Commander
Looking for some action and adventure on the high seas? How about a tale of friendship, sacrifice, and endurance? O’Brian’s popular historical novel offers up these themes in a rousing read that never glamorizes the grit and hardships its characters live through. This is the great, epic naval novel that set the standard for all naval fiction to follow (including ‘star Trek.)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Chabon is a great modern American writer who mixes several different literary influences, as well as historical facts and fiction and personal experiences, into his work, including this, his Pulitzer Prize winner released in 2001. ‘Kavalier & Clay’ takes place before, during and following World War II and follows two Jewish cousins who become influential figures in the comics industry. It’s a book about passion, which is sure to inspire you to do what you’re passionate about.
Sometimes making sense of the sadness is something we all need, and Sartre’s Nobel Prize winning examination of existential crisis is a deep and relatable read for anyone who has ever come of age and thought, “Is this it?” Sartre claims this to be the best of his works, and we tend to agree. It’s also the most powerful and universally relevant.
Comic books are art. I don’t think we need to defend that statement anymore, do we? Ennis and Dillon’s ‘Preacher’ is one of the most artistically relevant and ambitious comic book series to ever hit the shelves. This must-read collection cautions against blind faith and encourages an analytical mind that asks questions and challenges toe dark side of the mainstream. Plus it’s loaded with dark humor, heart, and fantastical action scenes no big budget movie could faithfully recreate.
Tropic of Cancer
Miller’s classic is known for its candid examination of sexuality, which got it banned after its first printing in 1934. Later, when it arrived on American shores in the 1960s, its publication kicked off a wave of trials and public arguments that challenged obscenity and pornography laws. Some view Tropic of Cancer as highbrow porn, and some see it as a bold, important and deeply complex work of art that helped pioneer a fearless writing style and opened up the minds of an entire culture to a new era of deep expression and activity.