I’ve been batting around an idea for a while, and i’ve decided to move forward with it. For a few weeks i’ve been debating if I should create a list of all the books I would like to read before I turn 30. A few months ago I turned 24, and I tell anyone who will listen that my favorite hobby is reading, the problem I have of course, is the same problem every reader has: not enough time to read. At this time in my life I read about one hour a day, at different points in my 20’s i’ve had times I was able to read four hours a day. The past year has been a busy one, I got married, had a child, and am busier than ever at my full time job as well as my elected position on the city council in my town. Recently I’ve been focusing on simplifying and streamlining different things in my life to have more time to spend with family, friends, and books.

Below I will post a list of all the books I am planning to read (if you’re impatient and nosey just scroll down now), currently the list is 50 books long, however I can see myself adding to this list. I can also see myself stressing out over this list for the next six years so I really hope I learn how to balance this. When looking over this list it is very obvious that I have books on here covering all sorts of topics, something I hope that will make me well rounded. Some of these books I don’t even think  I’ll agree with but I’m going to read them anyway to strengthen my viewpoints, and to understand the objections to my beliefs better, as well as to counter balance some of the thesis some authors make (ex: 1984 v Orwell’s revenge).

Some of the books on this list have been recommendations I’ve picked up from listening to a wide spectrum of people, as well as a few lists such as Ryan Holiday’s or Frank Powell’s. I will also post a list of honorable mentions, which will consist of books I’m currently reading, or books I will read but didn’t feel necessary for the list.

According to an online calendar counter I have 128 months until my 30th birthday, which means I have to read about two books from the list a month. Now realistically that won’t always happen, especially since I will still be reading many other books along these, so while I can’t predict the exact future, I am really hoping that I can accomplish some of my career goals before then, allowing me to spend more time reading.  Also, for some people, 50 books in 6 years is nothing, the average CEO reads about 60 books a year, and someone link Ryan Holiday for instance, reports reading hundreds of books a year. So no, I don’t think this is a monster list I will have to spend every waking minute on, it’s just something to help guide me when deciding what to read next.

Below is the list, it is in no particular order, tell me what you think at votebechtel@gmail.com.


  1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  2. Modern Times by Paul Johnson
  3. 3.Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  4. The Snowball by Alice Schroeder
  5. Titan by Ron Chernow
  6. The Power Broker by Robert Caro
  7. An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling
  8. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  9. Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis
  10. 1984 by George Orwell
  11. Orwell’s Revenge by Peter Huber
  12. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  13. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
  14. Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  15. Sexual Personae by Camille Paglie
  16. John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman
  17. On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers
  18. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
  19. Humbug by P.T. Barnum
  20. Made in America by Sam Walton
  21. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  22. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  23. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  24. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  25. Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
  26. Bobby Kennedy by Larry Tye
  27. The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald
  28. Just as I Am by Billy Graham
  29. Miles Gone By by William F. Buckley Jr
  30. Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxes
  31. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  32. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
  33. Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot
  34. End of the Spear by Steve Saint
  35. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
  36. Destiny and Power by Jon Meacham
  37. Truman by David McCullough
  38. The Years of Lyndon Johnson set by Robert Caro
  39. A Patriot’s History of the United States by Larry Schweikart
  40. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
  41. Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
  42. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  43. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  44. Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton
  45. Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan
  46. Decision Points by George W. Bush
  47. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
  48. Stress Test by Timothy Geithner
  49. The Creature from Jekyll Island by Edward Griffin
  50. A Personal Odyssey by Thomas Sowell
  51. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  52. This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff