20 Books Every Teenager Should Read

books every teenager should read

I hate being nervous. But I am.

I’m speaking in front of 1000 teenagers today for “Internapalooza”.

This is how I like to spend my Sundays.

I was a lazy, disrespectful teenager. I’m impressed with any kid who shows up to hear me talk on a Sunday afternoon.

My life was a mess in my 20s and 30s.

I know that “it all worked out for the best”. But…still…I wish I had these books to read. Heck, I even wrote one of them so I guess I couldn’t have read them.

I picked specifically these books for this crowd.

These books are all simple for a teenager to read and take at least one lesson from.

Remember to focus on one rule:

HELP PEOPLE WITHOUT ANY EXPECTATION OF GETTING HELP BACK

That’s super power #1.

Then…reading.

Use these books as starting points to read 20 more books and listen to 20 podcasts.

Go for it:

TOOLS OF THE TITANS” by Tim Ferriss

Only the best lessons from 100+ peak performers.

 

TURNING PRO” by Stephen Pressfield

Amateurs talk about money. Professionals talk about ideas.

And 1000 other tips.

 

TED Talks: The Official Ted Guide to Public Speaking” by Chris Anderson

Most important professional skill in life: how to communicate.

 

ANGEL” by Jason Calacanis

A guide for investing in the best startups. Also a guide for founders to stand out.

 

PURPLE COW” by Seth Godin

How to stand out in the crowd and provide value.

 

THE ESSAYS OF WARREN BUFFETT” by Lawrence Cunningham

The best businessman in history explains in simple terms from his own examples.

 

THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY” by Ryan Holiday

Build a mindset for turning adversity into success.

 

ZERO TO ONE” by Peter Thiel

A guidebook to modern capitalism.

 

CRUSH IT” by Gary Vaynerchuk

Get value in every possible outlet of life.

 

I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP” by Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart is a one-man media empire. Who failed and failed and worked and persisted and failed again and persisted and finally hit some tipping point that helped him break through.

SICK IN THE HEAD” by Judd Apatow

A fanboy interviews his heroes….and then becomes one.

 

EXTREME OWNERSHIP” by Jocko Willink

Take blame for every problem. And then solve it.

 

THE LONG WALK” by Stephen King

Horror fiction. About persistence. Starring teenagers who die.

 

WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT.” by Sean Platt

Structure a story. How to work fast. How to make money from it. Repeat.

 

DISPLAY OF POWER” by Daymond John

Classic rags to riches.

 

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS” by Don Miguel Ruiz

Be a person of your word. No higher quality.

 

GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

The scientific conclusion on what makes success.

 

ALWAYS EAT LEFT-HANDED” by Rohit Bhargava

“15 Surprisingly Simple Secrets of Success”. And they really are simple so I’ll keep the description at that.

 

REAL ARTISTS DON’T STARVE” by Jeff Goins

Your ideas and creativity are worth money.

 

CHOOSE YOURSELF” by me. (and “REINVENT YOURSELF“).

Normally I wouldn’t recommend my own books.

A) It feels arrogant or like I’m trying to push them. Trust me I don’t make money on 70 cents.

B) I publish writing every day for free.

But the book “Choose Yourself” is specifically my story combined with things I wish I knew when I was much younger.

An approach to living where I wouldn’t be dependent on all the forces around us that try to push their own agendas on us: corporations, governments, schools, peers, parents, etc.

Not that their agendas are bad. I’m not making a judgment.

But ultimately, each person is happiest choosing their own specific path in life and nobody else’s.

If you only follow someone else’s path, you will get lost.

Instead of getting lost in the maze, create the maze.

  • Ryan Murray

    Really surprised to see Choose Yourself on the list, and the Kevin Hart book. You always write how Reinvent Yourself is the work your most proud of. Is the Kevin Hart book funny? I can’t wait to pass this list on to my son (high school junior). Keep doing your thing James! I find your work so inspiring!

  • Ted Scarborough

    Thanks for doing it James. More kids need to understand these ideas! What a cool time this is for them.

  • JohnG

    These are great books for anyone to read, not just teens. I always thought “The Long Walk” would make a great movie or even could be adapted into a stage production.

  • JanDana

    Good books,but male dominated.

  • Every teenager? I think we could all benefit from many of these books, regardless of age, but yes, I get it. I wonder if I can get my teenager to glance at even one of these. Regardless, I’ll take a look at them myself! Thanks for sharing!

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  • James Buechler

    Thank you, I got the Judd Apatow book. I haven’t been enjoying your podcast very much in the last few months with all of the military subjects that you interview, like snipers and things like that.

    I’ve been surprised as you have spoken against War a lot.

  • Great list James! I’ve got some new titles on here that I haven’t read yet. Thank you.

  • Jamie Moffat

    How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie should probably be added; provides a lot of great insight to human nature etc that jives well with the understandings you lay out… He does a great job of hammering home the importance of sincerity, which goes hand in hand with authenticity.

    Lots of other more esoteric titles to add, but if I could only pick one book to add to the curriculum that would be it – very accessible read with lots of concrete examples

  • walker652352

    A good and famous book list we can see in here those children are like to read so more. I hope many others people also be interest to get these books in here.

  • Alisha P

    I love it , I can’t wait to read them all so number one here I come lol thanks your the best!