I’m trying to start a book collection. As a man in my early 20s what are some books you think I should absolutely read to help me grow more in confidence, knowledge, awareness?

I’m trying to start a book collection. As a man in my early 20s what are some books you think I should absolutely read to help me grow more in confidence, knowledge, awareness?


Meditations by Marcus Aurelius would be my pick if I had to pick one.




About to comment this but figured someone already had. This is the choice here.


I haven’t read it myself and can’t speak on its difficulty on understand it but an alternative you could consider to Meditations, “How to Think Like A Roman Emperor”.


The Count of Monte Cristo and The Sun Also Rises are two books I found myself relating to way too much despite them being written a long time ago. There is a certain timeless quality to the way the human condition is portgrayed in these books.


I heard The Count of Monte Cristo is amazing!


That book is so much fun. If you like revolutionary history and adventures, it's a great a place to be


Seconded the Count of Monte Cristo one of my favorite books of all time. The Sun Also Rises on the other hand ... I had to read Hemmingway in school and hated him but as I've grown up I start to identify with his writing more and more.


I thought i hated Hemingway in high school. Turns out, I hated being forced to read him and process him in "school time". One of my favorites now. Count of Monte Christo is the literary equivalent of a banger.


Calvin and Hobbes collection. Reminds you not to take life too serious.


Criminally underrated response right here


It's surprisingly insightful and beautifully human.


Most anything by cormac mccarthy, can't recommend suttree enough.


Just to warn people - he writes without any conventional punctuation and his prose is stripped down like a prison shower.


Man, I tried reading Blood Meridian. His style of writing was unbearable and had to reread pages on several occasions. Gave up halfway through, I guess I'll try it again in the future.


Go back to it. I too, like many before, failed my first read. When I tried again, I was captivated. I still think of the book often as passages randomly seem to be triggered in my mind.


I'll need to try again. I like tough reads but man, I'm asleep after a page. So many people who's taste I respect love him though, man, so idk. Guess I'm lacking.


I have to agree with you on this. A very tough read for me. I prefer no country for old men or the border trilogy.


The Road is an incredible read.


How can we tell ourselves we are the good guys if we don't do good things? Favorite quote from that book.


I’m reading Blood Meridian rn and I’ll finish it but I don’t love it


College textbooks.


Well true


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a great one


Animal farm and 1984


Don't forget Brave New World


Also Huxley's final novel Island! It's a perfect contrast to Brave New World.


Both very good recommendations. I would add Farenheit 451 to the list of books in that genre.


Just reread both of these (technically listened to them) and just as good and even more relevant today.


Animal farm is BRILLIANT. Basically a step by step explanation of why there is and will never be absolute and true equality in the world.


1984 I don't understand why people recommend it so often or enjoy it. I've read it twice. The second time thinking I must have missed something. It's not good.


It's not meant to be enjoyed. It's a warning.


Whenever this sort of thread comes up, I notice a lot of the recommendations are from high school curricula, presumably they are more common because more people will be likely to have read them and unfortunately a lot of people stop reading after high school.


I didn't read it until I was 29. I heard so much about it that I convinced myself to read it. Huge let down.


Am I the only one who thinks the sex/implied sex in 1984 is hot? I'm cursed cuz I read it at my sexual awakening?


Aren't they sneaking away to meet in an old green house or something? Where were they meeting?


David Goggins - Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds (how to do 200% at any task and grow confidence) Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince (basic knowledge how politics work. Yes, since 16th-century not much have changed) Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace Fyodor Dostoevsky - The Idiot / The Brothers Karamazov George Orwell - 1984 (with each year this book is more and more realistic)


"Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Marie Rilke. One of my favorites from college. Thoughtful & beautiful.


21 lessons for the 21st century\^ it is a must read, believe me!


*The Brothers Karamazov* is frequently referenced as the ONE book that teaches you everything you need to know. I haven't read it yet, but I read *Crime & Punishment* and it had a similar effect on me.


C&P is better; but brothers still good read


Rodya is a more interesting main character I think and of course the cat and mouse aspect but brothers does cover all corners.


Sun Tzu: the Art of War


Most definitely


I came here looking for this comment. I had to scroll much further than I thought I would have.


The art of happiness by the Dalai lama and Howard c. Cutler M.D and How to Win Friends and influence people, by Dale Carnege.


If its knowledge you seek, I recommend the complete anthology of the cthulhu mythos.


I found 'illusions: adventures of a reluctant messiah' by Richard Bach gave an interesting perspective on philosophy (it's not a religious book - the same author wrote another book called 'Jonathon Livingston Seagull' which presents ideas that form a decent foundation for the kinds of growth you're hoping to achieve.)




M&HS currently reading


Stephen King, Dark Tower




Skip Atlas Shrugged and read the Iron Heel by Jack London instead. Far more entertaining and enlightening work. But mostly read books like the ones you want to write. Also I am going to plug a book about writing by one of my favorite creative minds, Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer by J. Michael Straczynski.


East of Eden. It a wonderful book and will give you a new perspective on life. In terms of pure entertainment and fascination, I suggest Shogun.


I second Shogun


Setting aside the foundational fiction/nonfiction books you may have read in college, here are some of my favorites that I can’t recommend highly enough. Nonfiction: Cosmos, Dark Money, Just Mercy, Why Nations Fail, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Cleopatra, The Romanovs. Fiction: Americanah, White Teeth, Wind Up Bird Chronicle, If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller, 100 Years of Solitude. If you’re curious about any of these in particular, I’m happy to expand on the “why”!


Hey, just mentioning this because I also listed Malcolm's auto, figured you'd be interested. His daughter Ilyasah has a few books out, even kids books, and she's dope af. Very much in the same vein as her father in terms of social justice and personal growth.


That’s awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll definitely check out her books.


I read 100 Years of Solitude in college. I often remember it at the oddest times and something clicks and I recognize another layer or tidbit that I hadn't caught the 1st time through.


Same. 100 Years of Solitude holds up on rereading.


*Conjectures and Refutations* by Popper. One of the best books I've ever read on epistemology, or any other subject.


I did not expect to see someone suggest Popper.


It's sad that's he's so poorly known outside of the philosophy world.


Indeed. But there are so many great academics that aren't very well known. His works are great even just with respect to ways of thinking better.


John C. Maxwell is a must speaking about confidence and leadership. I totally recomend it.


The better angels of our nature.


The last lecture by Randy Pausch


Great Book!


Travels- Michael Crichton Following the Equator- Mark Twain Full Tilt- Dervla Murphy


The Meditations The Autobiography of Malcolm X The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt/Theodore Rex/Colonel Roosevelt A Confederacy of Dunces Portnoy's Complaint The Trial


The Game by Neil Strauss.


A good start is 'Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf' also called 'The Harvard Classics'. A collection of 50 books, lectures and other important scripts. A great addition to any collection is finding them and building your own 5 foot shelf. Add the Gulag Arcapelogo, a must read for everyone, Steinbach and Truman Copote, Shakespeare is obvious, Poe and the horror classics are a lot of fun too. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is wonderful, a great story told in a few pages. I have 20 different volumes of that title, Some are worth 10 cents (but I love it's drawings) some are worth several hundred or more, and collectors often overlook them, so they're easy to find and value can be surprising... books without dust jackets are not as valuable but buy them for other reasons... the true value is the story. One good tip is if it's old and cheap and has a dust jacket buy it! 1st. editions are the most valuable but other editions can be valuable as well. Either way, they will look great, be fun to read, and my 25 cent Steinbach just sold for more than $500... and I have another! 25 cents each at Value Village. Remember that 1st. rule ... If it's old and has a dust jacket ... Buy it!


The 4 agreements


As important as it is to have the classics remember to include stuff you just like. If you like Game of Thrones, have game of thrones.


In terms of philosophy I’m quite fond of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, and Takuan Soho’s The Unfettered Mind. The former is one of the foremost texts on Stoic philosophy, and the other is a text and instructional guide applying Zen Buddhism to sword fighting and combat philosophy, but somehow manages to be really good in a more generalist sense too. When it comes to fiction, on the other hand, I have several recommendations. The first is Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. It’s depressing as all hell, but it’s excellent for melancholy self reflection. The next is basically most of David Gemmell’s Drenai series, but specifically Legend, his first book. They’re heroic fantasy novels, that are simultaneous deconstructions and reconstructions of the concept of the hero, and are really good for figuring out what kind of person you want to be. They also have some kickass action to boot. Finally, but most importantly, is literally anything written by Sir Terry Pratchett. The man somehow managed to make a comedy fantasy series that’s somehow deep, thought-provoking, and excellent for starting your own thoughts and beliefs about being a good person. Also genuinely hilarious. I’d mainly recommend the Night Watch sub series of the main Diskworld series, or the Death sub series. They’re both about self discovery, personal growth and redemption. Of those two sub series I like the books Night Watch and Reaper Man the best. Reaper Man always makes me cry, because it’s one of those books that breaks your heart in all the right ways. The kind of book that when it’s done you don’t know whether to cry or laugh or just sit there and think. A lot of his books tend to be really funny, and then just hit you like a sledgehammer. Like Hogfather, a book where Death takes up the role of the local Santa analogue because he’s gone missing. The Matchstick scene, and the Little Lies speech alone make that book, and the film version of it, worth the read or watch.


I’d go with Jon krakauer’s “Into the Wild.” It’s a reminder of the importance of the search in life.


48 Laws of Power is a good read


Get a couple cookbooks while you’re at it. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Hazan and The Joy of Cooking are good places to start


Anything by Hemingway. Yes, it’s cliche but it’s cliche for a reason. As a Christian, CS Lewis’s nonfiction books make me think a lot


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Tried and true classic about how to genuinely connect with other people - which at the end of the day IMO is what life really boils down to.


It doesn't really matter, it's not like you are going to have some fraiser crane judging your collection.


But what if Lilleth stops by..?


The Bible.


Thank you but I’m not that religious sorry


I'm not either, but this book has shaped every aspect of our society. Would also recommend the Qur'an.


Neither am I. There’s some good lessons in there though.


Some really shit ones too.


So, you dont believe in unicorns? Cause they are in the Bible.


I’ll give you some authors! Steven covey wrote some well received books In the past few decades. Malcolm Gladwell and Adam grant are currently writing books that are quite relevant today Brene brown has done an incredible amount of research and writing that everyone should find valuable


you MUST have george orwells war of the worlds and 1984 along with dale carnigies book how to win friends and influence people.


Eckhart Tolle - The power of now


The Alchemist. The Road. The Stand


Anything by Jordan Peterson


I'm a fan of him but wasn't of his 12 rules for life. Started out strong but just got pointless after a while. Big fan of his talks though.


The satanic bible, read the parts until it starts describing incantations and "magic" it is actually a really interest ing lifestyle and it's not really expensive. I think it was less than 100 pages, at least the important part is. This has nothing to do with an actual satanic God, and more with a lifestyle to be the best you can be.


You're doing it wrong. Your love of reading leads to your having a book collection. Not the other way around. And since you're asking for recommendations..that tells me your reading palate hasn't developed yet or you don't have 1. My 2cs. Good luck


I have to disagree. Even after years of reading there will always be fabulous books you would've never discovered without recommendations plus the kind of books you like might change over times. Personally I've discovered many great authors after searching through my MILs collection and I also learned new things about my taste because her booked touched themes that just never came up in any book I would've picked for myself. What I want to say is that it's never wrong to broaden the horizon of books to read.


Recommend to me a book you swear by. Any genre. Nothing from the self help section😁 Thanks


Since I'm reading my books primarily in German I doubt it'll help you but currently I'd go for Auris or die Känguruchroniken 😁


The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea.


Sounds cryptic


**Every Man Dies Alone** a.k.a **Alone In Berlin** by Hans Fallada - A german couple wage a small propoganda war against the Nazi party by leaving anti party post it notes around Berlin. Based on a true story. **The Choice** by Edith Eger **Fight Club** by David Fincher. **Five Regrets of the Dying** by Bronnie Ware **Assassins Apprentice** by Robin Hobb **Why We Sleep** by Matthew Walker


Fight Club is by Chuck Palahniuk


My general advice is that "less is more" when it comes to "self-help" type books. The principles that will help you to live a good life aren't really THAT numerous, and picking out a few books to read periodically will do you much more good than trying to keep the lessons from a dozen or more different ones straight in your head. My specific recommendations are: * The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey * 12 Rules for Life - Jordan Peterson * How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big - Scott Adams If you read 12 Rules and like it, he published another book recently called "Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life" which is also good.


William B. Irvine "A Guide to the Good Life" Jordan Peterson "12 Rules for Life" Mark Manson "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F\*ck"


Johny got his gun, Dalton trumbo... Anti war fiction book. Talks about a guy who is disfigured by war, really interesting.


'Tragedy and Hope,' absolutely. By 'Carrol Quigley,' if you read that you might gain my respect.




Read batman. Every question can be answered by I am Batman.


Just pick a topic or a genre you like, read something on that topic or that genre. If you don't like it 20% in just quit and try something else. When you find something you find interesting note which topics in particular interest you and seek out more of that. Repeat. Once in a while try something completely different to reboot the algorithm. I promise you you won't really have a problem finding books you want once you get started. It'll be the opposite. Don't read a book because you "should". There is no point. If you find it as a part naturally feeding your own interests it'll be of infinite more value.


Think and grow rich by Napoleon hill.


The 80/20 principle by Richard Koch


Maddaddam trilogy


Good choice, underrated trilogy. Oryx and Crake is a masterpiece.


Check out Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. Solid book which covers your knowledge criteria well with a variety topics discussed.


Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turgenev


"How to be miserable" by Randy J Patterson. It does teach you plenty about psychology, it's super funny, and quite the easy read. Also, it might just help you pinpoint what makes you feel down. Another one is "Tribe" by Sebastian Junger. Also fairly short (less than 100 pages), and it goes over certain societal values, belonging, camraderie, and community. Loved it


The thing that I like about books is you know and understand how there feeling there hope,suffering and heartbreak. I think you should read the Percy Jackson series it perfectly incapulates the feeling with Greek mythology as the main focus a humor sprinkled in now and again


The Practicing Stoic by Ward Farnsworth


Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink


The happiness trap


Everything by Bradbury. Everything by LeGuin. The autobiography of Buck O'Neil, "I Was Right On Time." "Go Like Hell," a beautiful retelling of the Le Mans battles between Ford and Ferrari with a focus more on the people than the racing. "I Will Never Forget," a multi-volume series of interviews with Negro League ballplayers. "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," I mean talk about a lesson in personal growth. "Growing Up X," effectively a memoir with an enthralling narrative by Malcolm's youngest daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz. "Engines of Change," a sociological examination of the cultural impacts on America of 15 different makes of car.


The White tiger by avarind adiga I’ve read it two and a half times


Recent: The Martian by Andy Weir (space thriller with a very sassy and sarcastic character; Matt Damon does well in the movie but it cuts out a lot from the book) In last decade: Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (thriller and also coming of age story) Biography: Bolivar by Marie Arana (it's surprising how complex the revolutions of Latin America were. Really gives you context for today's politics of the region) Classic: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Verne was an incredibly talented writer)


Meditations by Marcus aurelius, the art of war, the tao te ching, the kybalion


The Vampire Lestat, by Anne Rice x


The Glass Castle, That Was Then This Is Now , 1984, , Animal Farm and especially To Kill A Mocking Bird and The last lecture


Rich Dad, Poor Dad. No more Mr Nice Guy The One Thing Boyd or Certain to Win His needs, her needs.


Justice: what’s the right thing to do? By Michael Sandel. Based on the Harvard course of the same name. It’s a brilliant and unbiased overview of how we came to our western ideas of morality and justice. It was the basis of the tv series “The Good Place”. If everyone read this book we’d all have a bit more nuance in our beliefs and political opinions.


The Alchemist by Coelho. The Black Swan by Taleb.


This is a list of books that I like most. For self improvement, Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov For the soul, Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky For fun, Nervous People and Other Satires by Mikhail Zoschenko


The picture of dorian gray, no book had a greater impact on me


Pet Sematary is a really great look into the mind and psychology, and dealing with grief. It’s a really good read. Nothing like the movie.


Man search for mean by Viktor Frankl book change my life.


Anything by Dostoevsky. I’d also recommending a lot of classic literature, and books found in the great books collection. I am also in my early 20s and am going through a a lot of the classics, and there is so much you can learn from these classics. I’d also recommend Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I just finished Cancer Ward by him. It is one of the most moving books I have read and deals with a lot of issues about life. And the Gulag Archipelago is a must read to understand the history and suffering of the USSR, while also tackling many existential issues of life.


‘The Practicing Mind” by Thomas M. Sterner. It seriously helps you stay present and focus on doing whatever you might be doing. Points out things mentioned in stoicism in general and ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg (another great read).


Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson


Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs


"The Power of Now" ~ by Eckhart Tolle


The art of war. Best book you will ever have


Anything by Erik Larson.


"Who moved my Cheese?" was fucking amazing. It's mainly for business but you can easily put some of those teachings into everyday life.


hard times, create strong men


I'm gonna be that guy that says "12 Rules for Life," by Jordan Peterson.


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book opened my eyes to spirituality


Crime and Punishment. Ex student basically not exactly knowing why he feels what he feels and acting on it, then dealing with the very human consequences on his psyche. Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche. Will have you thinking about morality, and religion too Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Great little “blueprint”, as I see it, on how to deal with life in a more stoic manner. Really utilizing logic and trying to step back from the pathos when dealing with life and it’s problems


Your Money or Your Life - Vicky Robin Meditations - Marcus Aurelius Influence - Robert Cialdini (sp?) The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham Random Walk Down Wall Street - Burton Malkiel Any platonic dialogue with Socrates - pay attention to how he challenges what seem like obvious assumptions Anything by Burtrand Russel No More Mr Nice Guy Manna - Marshal Brain Age of Reason - Thomas Paine


The Alchemist is an excellent addition to any collection


Jordan Peterson (12 rules for life and the sequel) How to influence people and make friends (Dale Carnegie)


Maus by Art Spiegelman. One of the most powerful books I've ever read.


"The Way I Heard It": True Tales for the Curious Mind with a Short Attention Span...by Mike Rowe. Light reading and entertaining.


Wolf of Wall Unbroken Cocaines son Great books, all memoirs. Lessons of each quality woven throw, just more entertaining than a self help book.


Simon vs the homo sapiens agenda. Its about a gay kid being blackmailed about coming out




Slaughterhouse Five


Medici effect


“Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins “Discipline Equals Freedom” by Jocko Willink Both books have seriously opened my eyes and changed my life for the better.


Here is a top 3 list: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Archer by Paulo Coelho, 48 Laws of Power. Honorable mentions: The Laws of Human Nature & The Alchemist.


The Haynes guide for a car you or a loved one owns


Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Flow the Psychology of the Optimal Existence. Through Hikers Eyes, The Book of Five Rings. In Search of Sandhill Cranes (not really a book that will improve your life or philosophical and isn’t even a HS graduate reading level but I love it and have to recommend it whenever books are mentioned) Calvin and Hobbes. I’ll probably think of about 20 more as I sleep but I think this is a good start……


Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach


For spiritual awareness, I’d check out the alchemist or the little prince. An interesting perspective on humanity is Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. All are quick but meaningful reads and books I’m glad I checked out in my 20s.


Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.


The 36 Stratagems - It falls in line with Sun Tzu's the Art of war but I feel it reads better in my opinion.


Don't know if anyone has already suggested it but Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is fantastic. Basically an account of all the significant events from the big bang until now, that have lead human kind to where it is today (to the best of our knowledge.) He has a sequel called Homo Deus which is his prediction of where we will end up in the years to come. They are very informative, interesting, and for me they are a reminder of just how unbelievably fortunate and miraculous it is that we are here, now, living as we are.


Guns germs and Steel, uncle Tom's cabin, rich dad poor dad the Bible,The free agent lifestyle.


The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Awesome fantasy story with a shitload of content mixed with interesting perspectives on mental health and ideas around redemption, justice, social hierarchy, etc. Good read for both pure enjoyment and, if you feel analytical, from an intellectual perspective as well.


Klara and the Sun


Read whatever gets your blood pumping - don't let it feel like a chore. My top 5 writers will always be: Orwell, Bukowski, Verne, Didion, and Carver. A lot of literary 20 somethings love the beatniks so they may also be a good tree to shake.


Counte of Monte Cristo Cryptonomicon




Im surprised how lame some of these suggestions are, like has anyone actually read meditations? Its painfully boring. Read some fiction in your 20s, something to help you find your own voice, thats where confidence comes from. Knowledge and awareness come from getting old, dont let it happen to you. Some fun and smart books are: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, Douglas Adams Discworld series, Terry Pratchet Everything by JRR Tokien Kats Cradle/Galapagos anything by Kurt Vonegut The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay or anything by Michael Chabon Short stories by Jorge Louis Borges Catch-22, Joseph Heller Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet Moby Dick, Herman Melville Shogun, James Clavell Johnathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke


Tribe by Sebastian Junger is a must read IMO. Anything by Malcolm Gladwell.


April fools day by Bryce Courtenay. I read it as a teenager but this book has stayed with me


The Martian, by Andy Weir. I've been told it's weird that my favorite book to read in times of stress is about a guy stranded on Mars and fighting for his life, but honestly it puts me in such a great mindset. The main character's attitude towards is problems is the attitude I strive to have. Being realistic and not sugarcoating things, but still being optimistic and brightening the mood with humor. Working diligently to find solutions and being willing to look back and past mistakes and admit you were wrong. And you'll learn some science and engineering to boot!


Siddhartha by Hesse. I come back to it because it’s a short life story that’s not to complicated yet makes you think about the world and intersections around you


Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. An incredible historical fiction novel about the Spartans and the battle of the 300. From Here to Eternity by James Jones. Another historical fiction about privates in the US army right before Pearl Harbor.


The Game by Neil Strauss




Isn’t that a movie


Atlas Shrugged


I was going to say this but it’s so divisive and most people don’t like it.


If you want to read it fine, but if you want to balance it out, read it in conjunction with The Iron Heel.


Thanks for the recommendation.


It is definitely a slow read, but if you stick with it, I think it's worth it. It just brings up good questions about the level of how much a person should give verse self interest. No matter if you like the conclusion or not, it does make you consider peoples roles in society.


Atlas Shrugged and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.


It depends on what you want to be knowledgeable and aware of. If you’re an American (or just part of the Western world) it would do you well to have an understanding of Christianity, it’s origins, significant thinkers, and controversies. Whether or not you’re religious, the Bible belongs in everyone’s collection. Haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard nothing but praise for Tom Holland’s book *Dominion*. Basically anything by CS Lewis, but in particular *The Abolition of Man* and *Mere Christianity*. I’m not a fan of Augustine, but he was a HUGE influence in the formation of Western civilization, so *Confessions* and *The City of God* are relevant.