9 Books You Must Read Before You're 30

If you're creeping up on turning 30, or maybe 30 has even come and gone, there are a few universal truths it's time to accept: It's all downhill as far as your knees are concerned.

The time has come to start crossing things off instead of adding more to your bucket list. And you're probably never going to sit down and read that copy of War and Peace sitting on your shelf. Maybe that last one's just me. Either way, though time marches steadily on, there is still plenty of it left for a few books that can make an impact on your life without having to trudge through any traditional classics.

1. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Repair by Judy Ostrow

Whether you are living in an apartment complex or you just bought your own home, there is no reason to call a repairman every time something small needs to be done around the house. You may not believe it, but you are capable of tightening faucets and patching dings in the drywall. All you need are supplies and a few instructions.

2. The Money Class by Suze Orman

If you haven't already started planning for your financial future then today is the day to plan for tomorrow. Suze Orman is a bestselling author on financial matters because her advice is spot on and easy to understand. If you can't commit the time her book deserves, at least check out her website. Your wallet will thank you.

3. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten

Everyone needs to know how to feed themselves and in this day and age of great appliances, if you can read you can cook. Simple recipes in cookbooks like this one by the Barefoot Contessa can make a beginner turn out meals a chef would be proud of. And you won't have to live off Ramen noodles in your 30s unless you want to.

4. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

At this point in life everyone either has kids or knows someone with kids, and it's been longer than you care to admit since you were a kid. It's time to reconnect with your inner child so you can better connect with the children around you. And everyone's day can be improved with a fun poem.

5. The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale

For something that's really only a long short story in length, I cannot describe how much this work has meant to me over the years. It is the ultimate lesson in patriotism, thinking before you speak, and the true importance of home. The book is now in the public domain and a free complete copy can be obtained from Project Gutenberg.

6. The Foundational Text For a Different Religion

The best way to foster tolerance is through understanding. Books like the Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, and the Tao Te Ching, just to name a few, are filled with insight on living a life of harmony. Reading the guiding text for a religion you aren't familiar with will give you an expanded understanding of people of other cultures. You might even find something that speaks to you that you can incorporate into your own philosophy.

7. Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

I have been laughed at in the past for having read this book because many people do not understand what it's really about. It does not teach you how to fix a motorcycle, but it does teach you how to examine the various parts of your life and world. One of the lessons in the book is that how you experience your world depends greatly on your attitude. It holds lessons everyone can benefit from, especially entrepreneurs.

8. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Originally a treatise on military strategy, The Art of War is now the go-to guide for how to succeed at business. It's applications go beyond just the corporate world. Whether you are fighting to get a promotion or just fighting to get through a rough patch, you can find motivation in this book. It's another one in the public domain. One translation of the full text can be found here.

9. A Smutty Novel

Genre doesn't matter here. Whatever gets your motor running, have at it. You're an adult. Smut won't hurt you, but it might give you some great ideas. Maybe you're a Fifty Shades of Grey kind of person. No judging here. If you lean toward fantasy novels, try Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. In paranormal romance you can't go wrong with Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. There is smut out there for everyone if you go looking for it.