Someone totally real and not from a HBO show once said, “A mind needs a book like a sword needs a whetstone.” Reading is the key to sharpening your wits, and in turn, bettering yourself as a person. The more challenging the better. Think of it as a three hundred page benchpress for your brain. Here are the BH prescribed non-fiction books every man should read before turning 30.
Roger Fisher & Daniel Shapiro
For all you budding professionals, negotiations will just come with the territory at some point in your career. Whether it be with a client, or someone within your own folds, it’s easy to get it very wrong. Being too removed, being too aggressive, the list goes on. Beyond Reason brings the collective expertise of a seasoned business negotiator and a Harvard psychologist to teach you how to navigate the emotional dimensions of it all. With Beyond Reason, you can turn a disagreement to a mutually beneficial understanding, and come out on top of affairs for the better.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen R. Covey
This best-seller has been embedded into the modern hustle culture for some time now. Its influence twenty-nine years on is simply incredible. CEOs, entrepreneurs, and titans of industry alike have credited their success to the tenets of this book… to some degree anyways. The Habits of Highly Effective People is a book that can help you “… get back on track…” professionally or personally.
This is where we start delving into the classics. Early political theorist and diplomat, Machiavelli, details the ruthless strategies necessary in maintaining power. This was originally written in the context of being a political manifesto, dealing with the affairs of Italy as a state, but the principles involved can be applied to your every day life today. Go forth and conquer.
The Art of War
The Art of War exists on this list, as with modern life, in the same spirit The Prince does. Incidentally, Machiavelli has his own Art of War. The defining difference between Sun Tzu and Machiavelli’s work is, where the latter deals more directly with people (being political), the former deals more with affairs and interactions (being militaristic). That being said, there is much to learn about competition and leadership in The Art of War that you can still apply to this day.
There really is nothing quite like a bit of Socratic philosophy to opening your mind. As different at Ancient Greek life may be, the ideals discussed are universal. The nature of justice, and how it extends beyond civil life as a nebulous concept; is justice truly a balance or the stronger of two competing interests? Questioning the systems in place; is democracy all it’s cracked up to be? The soul of an individual, and its potential for immortality; is existence really so fleeting?
Critique of Pure Reason
If Beyond Reason is the emotionally in-tuned, friendly younger sibling that everyone finds accessible, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is the angsty, intellectual goth of an older brother that many don’t really want to hang with. In any case, there’s a reason this is one of the most influential philosophical works in history, and that definitely has something to do with the mindbending but dry analysis of pure reason. This is the Weetbix and no-milk of logic readings, and something your mind will come out for the stronger upon completion.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom
I’m well aware that by and large, most of these works have been fairly dry. These last two are much more fun, I assure you. T.E. Lawrence was an incredible figure in history who was instrumental to the Arab revolt of 1916. The film, Lawrence of Arabia, is actually based on his exploits. Seven Pillars of Wisdom tells the fascinating and personal story of his experiences, right at the epicentre of a Great War. So fascinating and personal that most are almost inclined to pass it off as a novel disguised as non-fiction. Churchill himself called it, “… the greatest [book] ever written in the English language… As a narrative of war and adventure it is unsurpassable.”
Steven Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Applied statistics are rarely enjoyable, until it’s put into such lessons as what the KKK has in common with real-estate agents, why drug dealers still live with their mums, and parenting: the effects of giving your kid a ghetto sounding name. This is the best introduction to causation studies, and hands down the funnest ways one can learn about non-traditional (and traditional) economics. Bonus points for being the easiest to read out of all the books in this list.