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10 Books Everyone Should Read In Their 30s


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If you are currently in your 30s, you will know that it is full of daunting contemplations and self-reflection. For instance, what do I want to do with my life? What are my values and aims? Who do I want to settle down with? If this sounds like you, don’t panic. This article presents a collection of the best books for everyone to read in their 30s. These books are here to help answer some of the big questions in life. 

Key points 

  • Your 30s are often accompanied by deep contemplation and constant self-reflection. This article recommends a list of books everyone should read in their 30s to help tackle some of life’s big questions. 

  • In this list are books that address a range of topics, including relationships, work, and parenting. 

  • Titles that make our top 10 list include Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Atomic Habits by James Clear, and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. 

10 best books everyone should read in their 30s

1. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a self-development and self-help book that tackles the concept of unlocking true happiness. Author and psychologist Csikszentmihalyi argues that a state of consciousness — known as ‘flow’ — makes an experience truly fulfilling. 

During ‘flow,’ people can enjoy numerous benefits, including creativity, total investment in life, and happiness. Furthermore, Csikszentmihalyi explains that ‘flow’ can be regulated and is not simply random. Indeed, he argues that happiness is not a guarantee in life and must be nurtured by the individual. 

Flow helps inform the reader how to use this state of consciousness to find happiness and real satisfaction and live optimal lives. If you are looking for a handbook for finding true contentment and joy, this book should be on your to-read list.

2. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts by Gary D. Chapman

The 5 Love Languages is the ultimate guide to love. It teaches you how to stay in love and keep the fire alive despite the trials and tribulations of day-to-day life. The author has a decorated history in pastoring and marriage counseling and uses the knowledge gained from experiences to educate the reader. Many readers across the globe have credited his book with transforming their relationships. 

Chapman details how to give and receive love in a way that allows you to feel a more profound intimacy with your other half. The 5 Love Languages is enlightening and practical, providing actionable advice to improve your relationship effectively. Though it was originally published in 1990, it has since been updated to account for modern relationship challenges, maintaining its relevance in 2023. If you have reached a crossroads in your relationship, are looking to rekindle that flame, or just want to learn more about love, The 5 Love Languages is a perfect choice for your bookshelf.

3. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

Being in your 30s, you are probably already fed up with the responsibilities, stress, and long hours that generally go hand in hand with work. But what if you could work less, earn more money, and have more time to do what you actually want? The 4-Hour Workweek teaches you how to do just that. Author Timothy Ferriss researched how this could be achievable, successfully applied it to his life, and shared all of his learnings in this bestselling book. 

The 4-Hour Workweek informs the reader how to enjoy the ultimate lifestyle and loosen the shackles of work. Ferriss sprinkles gold dust advice throughout this guide, including the following:

  • how to eradicate half of your workload in just two days;

  • how to exchange a relentless career for small bouts of work;

  • how to reap all the rewards of work without waiting until your career is over.

If you want to revolutionize your relationship with work and create more time for what matters to you, The 4-Hour Workweek is worth a read. 

4. Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear 

James Clear is a leading expert in habits. Atomic Habits demonstrates actionable tactics so you can learn how to remove bad habits and make good ones. Atomic Habits reveals simple behaviors that you can use to help habit formation (and dissolution). This is significant because even small habits hugely impact our lives, including who we are and what we accomplish, so adjusting our habits can lead us to revolutionize our daily lives. 

Along with a guide to building and breaking habits, Atomic Habits also includes:

  • stories from well-known figures (such as Olympians and comedians) who have utilized this science to reach the top of their game;

  • advice on how to improve your motivation;

  • insights into how to make time in our busy schedules for new habits.

So, if you have a habit that you want to break — such as biting your nails or smoking — or you want to improve your overall quality of life, Atomic Habits should be at the top of your wishlist. 

5. How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is one of the best books for moms and dads in their 30s. Parenting experts Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish have created this ultimate guidebook on parenting to teach you how to behave effectively with your children. It is a bestselling book and has garnered much praise from people worldwide, so much so that it is often referred to as ‘the parenting Bible.’ 

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen aims to help readers form better relationships with children of any and every age. Some especially interesting teachings in this book include the following:

  • how to convey anger without being mean;

  • how to deal with a child’s negative feelings;

  • how to rectify arguments calmly.

This book is perfect if you want a more meaningful and enriched relationship with your children.

6. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This next book is all about the mind and how we think. Thinking, Fast and Slow is written by psychologist and Noble Prize-winner Daniel Kahneman and details the two different systems that determine how we think. The first system involves quick and intuitive thoughts, while the second involves slower and more rational thinking. 

This book demonstrates how these two systems battle for control over our actions and behaviors. In this eye-opening read, Kahneman reveals practical strategies to foster slower and more intelligent thinking, helping you make improved life decisions and become an expert thinker. 

Thinking, Fast and Slow, is fundamental reading and will revolutionize how you view thoughts if you have even a vague interest in the inner workings of the mind. 

7. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

If you regularly find yourself working hard and doing too much yet not feeling productive, Essentialism is your go-to handbook. Greg McKeown explains in this guide that you should not be preoccupied with getting as much done in as little time as possible but rather be concerned with getting the right things done. It is an approach for substantiating what is absolutely necessary and taking everything else out of the equation for us to have the best involvement in what is truly important.

By determining what is ‘essential’ and being more selective about this, we present ourselves with the power of deciding where to place our effort and time instead of having it decided for us. So, if you are fed up with feeling overworked and unproductive, explore this book and teach yourself the ‘disciplined pursuit of less.’

8. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Stoicism is a school of philosophy that comes from ancient Rome and Greece. It is a philosophy that decreases negative emotions, increases positive ones, and helps people fine-tune their virtues. The Daily Stoic draws on this ancient philosophy and answers hard-hitting questions, such as:

  • How do you overcome grief?

  • Where can happiness be found?

  • Where do we find meaning?

  • How should we deal with anger?

The Daily Stoic is presented as a page-a-day manual for living a great life and draws upon quotes from well-known Stoic philosophers in history, such as Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca. This book will provide you with all the Stoic knowledge you need to overcome any problem and find the happiness and strength to live a remarkable and serene life. 

9. Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Never Split The Difference is mandatory reading if you are wondering how to be a fantastic negotiator, whether for your professional or personal life. Author Chris Viss (a former FBI hostage negotiator) shares his approach to this difficult ability.

In this book, Voss relays the core principles he relied upon in his previous job that helped his negotiations succeed. Is there anyone better to teach negotiation than someone who used it to save people’s lives? 

Voss argues that simple behaviors and actions can affect a negotiation, such as:

  • what sort of questions you ask;

  • how you begin the conversation;

  • the tone of your voice.

So, if you want to get a pay rise or overcome a conflict at home, Never Split The Difference will provide you with everything you need to get the deal you want. To discover more top books on negotiating, check out our book list of the best negotiation books.

10. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

12 Rules for Life does what it says on the tin. Psychologist Jordan Peterson provides the reader with 12 practical rules for life in the modern-day, drawn from the world’s wisdom and history. By absorbing the knowledge provided in the 12 Rules for Life, you can find a life full of meaning and responsibility. 

In essence, this book is a manifesto for individual change and self-growth. Each of the 12 rules is joined by a clear example to help put his writings and arguments into context. Rules laid out in this book include petting a cat when you cross one in the street and standing up straight with your shoulders back. 

12 Rules for Life is compulsory reading if you are looking for a book that will question your instinctive beliefs, alter how you approach life, and enable you to embark on a journey of self-growth. To discover more books on self-growth, check out our key insights from the best personal development books.

Get more insights with Headway

Your 30s are a transitional decade in life. It is when most of us ask ourselves the big questions and make some of the toughest decisions in life so far. 

A fantastic way to help you deal with these challenges is to read self-help books and seek advice to help you tackle these issues. However, life has a habit of getting in the way, and finding the time to learn and work on self-development can be challenging. 

It is for this reason that Headway is so useful. Headway is a brand designed for people who wish to grow despite having a busy lifestyle. We offer daily insights, 15-minute book summaries, challenges, book lists, personalized features, and more to help you on your journey of self-growth. 

Download the Headway app to start your journey to becoming a happier, more successful, and more confident 30-something-year-old!


How long should you read a day?

It is believed that a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes of reading a day can be fantastic for our brain health. 

What is the most life-changing book to read?

The answer to this depends on the individual. However, the titles listed in this blog are notorious for being insightful, knowledgeable, and imparting valuable information that can transform lives.

What is the fastest-selling book in 24 hours?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

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