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19 Books that can change your life. Read them before you reach 30.

Books offer wisdom that we ourselves might need years to figure out. Between 20 and 30, we all would undergo lots of struggles and have lots of doubts. Below are 20 books that can make your way much clearer, promising and easier.

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job – Jon Acuff


Through wit and experience, Jon Acuff takes us through a journey from dispising your current job to getting your dream job. Acuff shows us the way by making sure we don’t quit too soon or too late.

This is a fun and very helpful read for those who want to make the jump and make their dreams a reality.

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg


Through the use scientific studies, author Charles Duhigg shares his labor of love by breaking down how habits are created and how we fail to stop them in life and in business.

This is an excellent read for anyone looking to break bad habits and start new ones that lead to success.

Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey


For over 20 years, personal finance coach and radio personality Dave Ramsey has brought his no nonsense advice to a very easy to follow how-to guide. His baby steps from establishing an emergency fund to living on cash are priceless.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life – Henry Cloud and John Townsend


Having problems with people who keep stumbling into what you feel is your personal boundary? Whether you are looking for help emotionally, physically, or mentally, Boundaries is the book you want to read.

Authors Henry Cloud and John Townsend give you the blueprint for setting clear boundaries in any facet of your life.

The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau


Much like Tim Ferriss, Chris Guellebeau is a world traveling writer. In The $100 Startup, the author cites example after example of people who start businesses with very little money and make their businesses much larger.

This book offers great inspiration for those who want to start a side business.

Do The Work – Steven Pressfield

do the work

Known best for his fiction writing (The Legend of Bagger Vance) and his first book on work, The War of Art, Pressfield helps guide us through what it takes to get through any project we might be working on. A short and easy read, Do The Work is simple, yet very inspirational for those who long to do something outside of their own comfort zone.

Pressfield writes:

“The opposite of fear is love – love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.”

The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success – Andy Andrews


After being rejected by over 50 publishers, Andy Andrews finally published this book in 2005. Written as a fictional, but motivational, historical book, the story follows 46 year old David, who after losing his job is involved in a nasty car accident. While out cold in the hospital, David is transported back in time and meets Lincoln, Truman, and 5 other great historical leaders. He learns wisdom from them in their toughest hours.

Andrews writes:

“Those who are critical of my goals and dreams simply do not understand the higher purpose to which I have been called.”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel Pink


Daniel Pink shows us that science and business are in very different realms in the 21st century. Science shows us that we are moving beyond the carrot and stick style of management (Motivation 2.0) to a self-motivated autonomy where employees are working with purpose, mastery, and in a state of flow (Motivation 3.0).

This book is great help for those of us trying to understand our purpose.

Essentialism – Greg McKeown


Less is more. That’s it. One great method Greg McKeown uses is a filter for choosing what to do in our lives. If the choice you need to make isn’t a 9 or 10 (10 being something you have to do), then don’t do it.

I highly recommend this book for pairing down your life and making a systematic discipline in whatever you do.

48 Days to the Work You Love – Dan Miller


Career coach and author Dan Miller is a firm believer in getting people to realize that we all have certain skills, abilities, and passions. This book helps us understand that the road to happiness is finding work that is gratifying and profitable. 85% of the job search is understanding yourself and the other 15% is finding work that fits you.

It could save you thousands of dollars in unwanted student loans by helping you find a career that fits you.

The 4 Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss


Originally published in 2009, Tim Ferriss introduced the Lifestyle Business to the world. After having a panic attack while traveling in Spain, Ferriss maps out how to build a business that can be run from anywhere in the world. In addition, he shows how to live very well in cities around the world.

While I would not suggest what Tim does is for everyone, his concepts and ideas are worth the read.

Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller


While considered a Christian book, Donald Miller takes us on his unsuspecting journey to find his faith in Christ. As a college student in his late teens and early twenties, Miller takes us on his interesting ride of finding his faith in a city (Portland) not known for its religious fervor.

Donald’s conversational style of writing makes this an enjoyable read for anyone looking to understand their own faith walk.

How to Win Friends and Influence People –  Dale Carnegie


This classic self-help book has been around since the 1930s. Based upon what Carnegie learned from interviews with the business giants of the day (including Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison), the author lays out ways to maximize your potential through understanding how to interact with others.

This book is still relevant today as it was 70 plus years ago.

The Energy Bus – Jon Gordon


Written in a inspirational fictional format, this fascinating book follows the hard luck times of a marketing team leader who is on the brink of losing his job. Forced to ride the Energy Bus because his car needs a lengthy repair, our protagonist learns the 10 rules of injecting fun and positive energy into his work and family life.

This is a quick and powerful book for anyone looking to turn their situation into a positive one.

Man’s Search for Meaning – Victor Frankl


After surviving four Nazi death camps and watching much of his family die, Frankl became a psychiatrist. Countering Freud’s contention that man’s sole desire is finding pleasure, Frankl contends that what really drives men is their pursuit for meaning in their lives.

While rather deep at times, Man’s Search for Meaning is a must-read.

The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino


Don’t let the title scare you. This book, while having some relation to sales and salesmanship, is more about living a life of servant leadership.

The Greatest Salesman is a quick read but leaves you feeling inspired.

Confessions of a Terrible Husband: Lessons Learned From a Lumpy Couch – Nick Pavlidis


While not every 20-something will think of being a husband, Nick Pavlidis takes us through his journey from being a self-absorbed jerk to a loving husband.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain


Here’s a must-read for anyone looking to understand why they feel exhausted when they’re done talking to a group of people. Through psychology and neuroscience research, Susan Cain does a brilliant job of explaining how one third of us (introverts) cope with the rest of the extroverted population.

The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday


Through the use of stoicism, or the the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience, this book shows that the way to success is through the very path that stands in the way of success. Ryan Holiday takes us through a myriad of leaders who have used stoicism to overcome any obstacle.

This is a delightful read for anyone stuck on a project in need of help.


If you read more than one book per year, you are way ahead of the crowd. Take the time to read one or any of these great books. Then apply what you learn. You will grow immensely from it.

If there are any other books I missed, let me know. Please share and leave a comment.

Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via

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