How many times have you heard about some person that decided to pursue something simply because she read a book? It happens all time.
Until I was 17, I believed that reading was something you had to do at school, or something that you did for entertainment. I hated reading.
But when I read The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene, I discovered another aspect of reading. There was a lot of talk about how that book teaches you how to get power. At the time, that notion sounded appealing to me so I picked up the book.
This is what I discovered: Reading teaches how to do things. Do you want to become better at relationships? Read a book. Want to get in shape? Read a book.
There’s a book for everything. Elon Musk learned how to build rockets that actually go into space by reading books.
Books define you. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
Almost everything I know today I’ve learned from books. And for the past year, I’ve been tearing up books. In this article you‘ll find 100 great books that influenced me.
I’ve ordered them in two categories to keep it simple: The first 78 books are nonfiction and the rest is fiction (that ratio is also how my full library looks like). I’ve sorted them alphabetically—I find it impossible to make a top 100 because every book in unique in its own way.
The below links are to Goodreads (not affiliated) so you can check the description and reviews. I’ve also added several quotes from books that capture the book’s message.
I hope you’ll discover at least 10 books that you decide to read—and that they may improve your life.
- Meditations by Aurelius, Marcus
“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
- Predictably Irrational by Ariely, Dan
“Individuals are honest only to the extent that suits them (including their desire to please others)”
- Contagious by Berger, Jonah
- Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life by Branson, Richard
“Whatever your goal is you will never succeed unless you let go of your fears and fly.”
- The Charge by Burchard, Brendon
- Quiet by Cain, Susan
“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”
- In Cold Blood by Capote, Truman
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie, Dale
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Carnegie, Dale
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini, Robert B.
“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”
- The Richest Man in Babylon by Clason, George S.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey, Stephen R.
- Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly
- The Essays of Warren Buffet Lessons for Investors and Managers by Cunningham, Lawrence A.
- Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Currey, Mason
- The Selfish Gene by Dawkins, Richard
“We are survival machines — robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.”
- Managing Oneself by Drucker, Peter F.
- The Power of Habit by Duhigg, Charles
- The Lessons of History by Durant, Will
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dweck, Carol S.
- Discourses and Selected Writings by Epictetus
“It is a universal law — have no illusion — that every creature alive is attached to nothing so much as to its own self-interest.”
- Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss
- Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Frank, Anne
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Frankl, Viktor E.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Franklin, Benjamin
- Civilization and Its Discontents by Freud, Sigmund
“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”
- The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Gandhi, Mahatma
- Stumbling on Happiness by Gilbert, Daniel
- The Tipping Point by Gladwell, Malcolm
- Purple Cow by Godin, Seth
- The Intelligent Investor by Graham, Benjamin
- Mastery by Greene, Robert
- The 48 Laws of Power by Greene, Robert
- A Brief History of Time by Hawking, Stephen
“The universe doesn’t allow perfection.”
- Made to Stick by Heath, Chip and Dan Heath
- A Moveable Feast by Hemingway, Ernest
- Kon-Tiki by Heyerdahl, Thor
- The Obstacle Is the Way by Holiday, Ryan
“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”
- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by Irvine, William
- Steve Jobs by Isaacson, Walter
- Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Jackson, Phil
- Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Jeffers, Susan
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman, Daniel
- The Story of My Life by Helen Keller — “Knowledge is love and light and vision.”
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Kiyosaki, Robert T.
“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
- Steal Like an Artist by Kleon, Austin
- Into the Wild by Krakauer, Jon
- The Story of the Human Body by Lieberman, Daniel E.
- Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Lieberman, Matthew D.
- The Prince by Machiavelli, Niccolò
- The Greatest Salesman in the World by Mandino, Og
- Born to Run by McDougall, Christopher
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by McKeown, Greg
“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”
- The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Morris, Edmund
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Murakami, Haruki
- How to Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds by Nightingale, Earl
- Confessions of an Advertising Man by Ogilvy, David
- The War of Art by Pressfield, Steven
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
- Spark by Ratey, John J.
- King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero by Remnick, David
- The Four Agreements by Ruiz, Miguel
- The Magic of Thinking Big by Schwartz, David J.
- Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Schwarzenegger, Arnold
- Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
- On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”
- Start with Why by Sinek, Simon
- Pimp: The Story of My Life by Slim, Iceberg
- The Elements of Style by Strunk Jr., William
- Walden by Thoreau, Henry David
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
- The Power of Now by Tolle, Eckhart
- The Art of War by Tzu, Sun
- Sam Walton: Made In America by Walton, Sam
- The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Warhol, Andy
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
- When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: by Weintraub, Jerry
- The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are by Wright, Robert
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X by X, Malcolm
- Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Ray
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
- Post Office by Bukowski, Charles
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Carver, Raymond
- Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
- American Psycho by Ellis, Bret Easton
“All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.”
- Invisible Man by Ellison, Ralph
- Ask the Dust by Fante, John
“You are nobody, and I might have been somebody, and the road to each of us is love.”
- The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, F. Scott
- The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway, Ernest
“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
- Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous
- On the Road by Kerouac, Jack
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Kesey, Ken
- Bright Lights, Big City by McInerney, Jay
- Utopia by More, Thomas
“A pretty face may be enough to catch a man, but it takes character and good nature to hold him.”
- 1984 by Orwell, George
- Animal Farm by Orwell, George
- Fight Club by Palahniuk, Chuck
- The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger, J.D.
- Death with Interruptions by Saramago, José
“One cannot be too careful with words, they change their minds just as people do.”
- What Makes Sammy Run? by Schulberg, Budd
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Thompson, Hunter S.
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut, Kurt
“And so it goes…”
- The Time Machine by Wells, H.G.
I can’t guarantee you’ll find every book on this list appealing. Like I said before: Only read books you’re passionate about. But make sure you’re always reading. And whether you read these books now, or in 10 years, I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I did.
Also, if you want to share a must-read book, please comment below or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.