Since time immemorial books have been our way to preserve knowledge, record our legacy, and share stories to entertain and inspire.
Unfortunately at the current time I’m publishing this article we are hit by the COVID 19 pandemic and this means that books are now more relevant than ever. As we are inside our homes social distancing we can use that time wisely and save not only our lives but the lives of our loved ones.
That being said, we are well off into the 21st century, the age of computers, social networks and rapidly advancing technology.
Unfortunately, the school systems won’t or can’t keep up and that means that during our schooling we end up learning a lot of useless things while being deprived of the knowledge that could be of greater use to us. This is the reason I made this list of 10 books that you should read by the age of 25.
In this list, you will find books that cover varying subjects which can help you in later life.
Please leave your thoughts, would you add a different book? If you like these kinds of lists I could make another one in the near future.
1. Sun Tzu – The Art of Warfare
Sun Tzu is a very mysterious and controversial historical figure.
By some estimates, Sun Tzu lived in the 6 century BC. He started working as a mercenary, which put him in the front lines of various skirmishes, where he could hone his strategical and tactical prowess. With those skills, he became a military adviser to the king of Wu (present-day China) and helped him to turn the kingdom of Wu into a regional power.
Even if the life of Sun Tzu is up to debate, one thing is certain, we have the Art of Warfare.
As humans we are born to fight, to struggle, and to strive to become better. If we look at our lives as one giant battlefield the Art of Warfare is no longer a military manual, it becomes a guide of sorts that can help you to achieve career goals and to beat many of life’s challenges.
This is one of my favorite quotes from The Art of Warfare: “If you know yourself and the enemy, you need not fear a hundred battles, if you know only yourself you will lose as often as you win, and if you know not only yourself but your enemy, you will lose every battle
2. Robert Green – 48 Laws of Power
Even if we are heading into a new decade of the 21st century, during our long history interpersonal relationships have stayed pretty much the same, albeit with minor changes.
This means that the 48 Laws of Power first published in 1998 was relevant then, it is relevant now in 2020 and it will stay relevant for a long time.
Through interesting historical anecdotes, Robert Green has shared some interesting and useful advice which can help you to succeed in your endeavors.
I will share with you two of those laws in order to make this book more appealing to you.
1. Don’t one-up the master: wherever you live, whether it’s the USA, Russia, China, India, Serbia, Croatia, France, etc, no one and I mean no one in a position of authority doesn’t appreciate when you show that you are more knowledgeable or capable than them.
2. Despise the free lunch: No one will give you anything for free, or as my high school teacher said: “the only ones who can give you something for free are your parents”.
A lot of people think that they will get something for nothing via gambling, lottery, doing scams, etc. Unfortunately, you will lose a lot more than you gain.
3. Adam Fusler – Dressing the man
You know the saying dress for success, this book is the ideal guide for that.
It is a treasure trove of advice such as: how should a dress shirt or a suit fit, how to tie a tie, how to match colors and patterns, how to leverage the power of clothing, and much more.
When you are young, fresh from high school, or college, money can be an issue, especially when you want to build yourself a versatile wardrobe.
Your wardrobe is important for you for one simple reason, what you wear is what you tell about yourself to the world, and that picture matters when you are looking for a job or when you want to score a date with that girl you met at Starbucks.
Judging people based on how they dress is shallow, but life isn’t fair. When another person sees you the will form an opinion about you in just 8 seconds. Guess what they will focus on first.
So my advice to you would be that you read this book before the age of 25 so you can leverage the power of style to your advantage.
When you read this book you will gain a grasp on the “rules of classic fashion” and you will also know when to break them and when to experiment and make a style that is your own.
4. Dale Carnegie – How to win friends and influence people
To use a quote of Dale Carnegie: “in a successful career skill makes 30% of success and interpersonal skill make the other 70%”
Instead, some boring advice Dale Carnegie shares interesting anecdotes from the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Tedie Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, and other prominent people to showcase how we can use the advice given in the book so we could win friends and influence people.
One piece of advice that personally helped me was that we should criticize less because criticizing does more harm than good.
Dale Carnegie shares the story of one janitor who worked in a big American firm. This janitor wasn’t motivated and did a slow and sloppy job, he never got a “good job” from his colleagues and was laughed at. One of the executives in the firm said to the janitor “good job” and to “keep up the good work”. Just after a few days, the janitor did a better job than he did in a year.
There is one thing I should mention, when reading this book you might get the impression that the people in this book we all saints, they weren’t. Carnegie gives a pretty picture of the lives of the people he writes about. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a lot from this book, you can.
Read this book not only to gain an advantage in life but to become a better and more mindful person.
5. Antoine de Saint – Exupéry – The Little Prince
As you can see, most of this list is comprised of non-fiction books. There should be at least one fiction book on this list and there is no better book than the Little Prince
We can learn a lot from books and there are novels which can inspire and educate us in other ways. Novels enable us to visit faraway lands, distant galaxies, the depths of oceans, whatever you can imagine.
You might ask: Isn’t the Little Prince a children’s novel.
Well yes but actually no.
De Exupéry wrote this book having adults in mind. The little prince was Exupéry’s way to send a message that we often lose the best parts of ourselves when we grow up.
Children have a certain naivete, they want to play and to make friends, they are curious and find everything fascinating and they annoy us with endless questions. Just remember when you were a child if we had just one toy and our imagination to have fun for days on end.
Exupéry shows us that growing up is just fitting into a societal “mold”. With the process of “growing up,” we lose that childlike imagination, spunk, and innocence or as the famous writer Meša Selimović wrote, “The need to help is natural, you need to learn to hate”.
The Little Prince also tells us about relationships with other people. The prince in the story has his rose to which he gave his heart to, to the same rose which broke his heart and which he ultimately left. Through his journey, the prince found out the meaning of love. Not the type of love which is seen in Hollywood movies but a real love which is worth living for, which fills our hearts but which can also hurt.
If you read this book as a child, try re-reading it, The Little Prince has something for everyone.
6. Stephen Covey – The 7 habits of highly effective people
All of the aforementioned books offer us valuable advice and even life lessons, but if you don’t apply that advice then you are better off not reading the books on this list.
This is also the case with this book. Covey gives us the 7 habits that can fundamentally help you to achieve your professional goals.
In short, this is the book for the 21st-century man.
Let me share with you two of my favorite habits from this book.
1. First, understand to be understood: one of the better examples of this principle is the success of the mobile manufacturer Xiaomi in 2018. and in 2019. They wanted to attract younger buyers as they are the biggest demographic group that buys mobile devices. To do that they made the famous flagship killers Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 and Xiaomi K20 pro that was offered for an affordable price. They did this because the manufacturer only used 4%. Xiaomi also didn’t use TV ads but instead, they used word of mouth and YouTube influencers to talk about their phones. And now they are the 3rd largest producer of mobile devices in the world.
2. Sharpen the knife: Will you cut meat with a dull knife. Of course not!
This principle is about the skills that we learn in our lives.
Let’s say that you learn German or you are a good tennis player, do you think that Novak Djokovic or Nadal would be the best tennis players if they didn’t train every day.
You have a talent, every living person on this planet has a talent, You have to find it and to hone it if you want to truly succeed.
7. James Clear – Atomic habits.
The previous book – The 7 habits of highly effective people talks about habits, why then am I talking about another book that discusses the topic of habits.
Clear’s book doesn’t talk about a certain habit or habits but about the very process of habit making, how to build a good habit, and get rid of bad habits.
If you want to have a habit that sticks it has to be: obvious, easy to follow, attractive and to have a certain reward attached to it and the revers for bad habits like, smoking, alcoholism, watching porn, overeating etc.
Is this book the end all, be all. No, it isn’t
This book is good to read before the age of 25 because of its simplicity. It goes into the habit making process just enough not to become boring and to remain easy to understand.
8. Dave Ramsey – Total Money Makeover.
Ah yes Dave Ramsey, you either love him or can’t stand him.
You can’t deny the man writes a good book. Most of his advises are common sense, and that’s the reason why this book is a good first read book for young people that are starting to manage their finance.
Unfortunately, life for young people is not easy at all, most jobs require a college diploma which is just a massive chunk of debt nowadays, and only now trades are starring to get relevant again. As someone who is still relatively young if you are going to college or have just finished high – school, find a first job to learn the value of work and money and to learn how to manage money.
I have read this book during my second year of college when money was scarce and I was S T U P I D with money. Some of advises that helped me was to have a fund for a rainy day, not to use credit cards and, to pay my debts on time as if my life depended on it.
As previously mentioned these are common sense basic advice that is a good starting point for you to go then read books that go more in-depth about money managing.
9. Mark Bittman – How to cook everything.
This book is long, about 1000 PAGES LONG
This blog was made not only to share lifestyle advice but to share some interesting recipes. Let’s be clear I am an amateur cook at best and this book has helped me to improve my cooking skills.
Don’t be frightened about the length of this book. It is divided into sections so you can just go into the section about breakfast, lunch or recipes with eggs, fruits, or rice.
Even if you are an amateur or a pro you will find something for you.
Not only should you read at least 10% of this book by the age of 25 but you should know how to make at least 10 – 20 recipes.
Cooking can be boring and that’s why the recipes are mostly easy to make meals that don’t require you to have the yellow flower from Madagascar or puffin meat but just the ingredients that you can easily find at your grocery store.
While the pandemic crisis is upon us, why not use that time to practice cooking.
10. Brian Keane – The Fitness Mindset.
As the Romans said – Mens sana in corpore sano – In a healthy body is a healthy mind.
While you are young you have the luxury to eat fatty and junk food.
But after the 25-year mark, our metabolic processes start to slow down, slowly but surely. That is why you should read these books before the age of 25. Just think of your health as a savings fund. If you invest in your health you will see tenfold returns when you are older.
Keane’s book is easy to understand with practical advises about the value of meal prepping, the right diet, and proper exercise.
If you don’t take care of your body than all of the books, advises and money is worthless to you.
I hope that you didn’t find this list boring. These are the books that I have read myself and can recommend to you to read before the age of 25, but even if you are older. You are never old enough to learn something new.
If you want to buy these books the best place to do that is Book depository which offers a LOT of books at reasonable prices and a generous shipping policy