The 85 Best Books to Read List: Book Recommendation by Topic

  • Post last modified:December 11, 2020
  • Post category:Books

Looking for your next book to read? I’ve got you covered.

Below, I have compiled the ultimate best books to read list, spanning multiple genres and fields.

So, whether you are into nonfiction or fiction, business or personal finance books, or you are just looking to get lost in a thrilling romance novel, I might just have the perfect book for you.

Indeed, every year millions of books are published, and so book recommendations are the best ways to sort through the large pile and find the hidden gems.

Hidden gems that may just change your life, as they have mine.

As an avid reader (I read about 100 books per year), I have read most of the books below, or they are on my personal books to read list.

Therefore, I’ll try my best to update this list to include more contemporary books as I read them. (Every subcategory is limited to a top-five list, and the books may change with each update.)

All right. Enough of the babbling, let’s get right into it. Shall we?

— Nonfiction Books to Read List — 

Work/Productivity books

These books will teach you how to become a productive and effective person and how to avoid all the distractions our current world — i.e social media, Netflix, or any other thing that won’t just let you finish that book, study for that test, or finish that work project.

1. Deep Work by Cal Newport

2. The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

3. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

4. Getting Things Done by David Allen

5. The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

 

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work by Cal Newport | Best Books to Read List

This is my all-time favorite productivity book. I discovered Deep Work when I needed it the most, and it drastically changed my work life.

In the book, Cal argues that the ability to focus on a demanding task without getting distracted is becoming increasingly rare, especially in our distraction-prone world.

Cal states emphatically that deep work, if mastered, will help the reader achieve seemingly extraordinary results.

What’s in it for you:

  • An ultimate guide to achieving focused success in a distracted world.
  • A detailed action plan on how to become a successful deep worker.
  • The path to becoming better at what you do and how to stand out in an increasingly competitive world

I would recommend Deep Work to anyone struggling with committing to a work schedule and producing tangible results.

If you have realized that social media or any of the current technologies is a big problem and is stealing valuable chunks of your time, then Cal will teach you how to win back your time and your life while producing your best work.

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The One Thing book cover

The premise of this book is that focusing on the one thing that matters most will bring you remarkable results.

The One Thing emphasizes that focusing your energy on one thing at a time will lead to a rewarding life.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to achieve better results in less time.
  • How to achieve extraordinary results in every aspect of your life.
  • How to reduce stress and build momentum towards your goals, and so much more.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is overwhelmed by the demands of their work and personal lives and who wants to live a better, more rewarding life.

In short, The One Thing will teach you how to achieve more with less by mastering your one thing — your craft, job, or talent.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism book cover

Essentialism will teach you how to discern everything that is essential in your life and get rid of everything that is not. And by doing that, you can now make substantial contributions to the things that really matter.

What’s in it for you:

  • Regain control of where and when you spend your energy and time.
  • A new systematic way of doing less in every aspect of your life.
  • Practical and actionable guide to help you prioritize the important things.

I would recommend Essentialism to anyone who feels overwhelmed and wants to simplify their lives while doing less in a better way.

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done book cover

Getting Things Done has been lauded as the ultimate book on personal organization.

What’s in it for you:

  • A whole new way of dealing with professional and personal tasks.
  • Proven principles to getting things done.
  • The right mental skills to navigate the current world of multitasking and work overload, and so much more.

I would recommend this book to professionals who often have unfinished tasks on their to-do list and who need a simple, effective way to get things done.

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

The 80:20 Book cover

Who hasn’t heard about the 80/20 principle? The principle that states that 80 percent of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts.

In this book, Koch goes deeper into this principle and explains how it can be leveraged to achieve extraordinary results.

What’s in it for you:

  • One of the secrets of highly productive people and companies.
  • How to achieve more with less by focusing on the 20% that matters
  • A simple guide to improving your effectiveness and career and to achieve exceptional results.

I would recommend The 80/20 Principle to anyone who wants to tap into the immense potential that comes with concentrating on the 20 percent that really matters.

Inspirational/Spiritual Books

These books will inspire you to live a more fulfilling and spiritual life. They deal with spirituality, happiness, the meaning and purpose of life, and how to overcome life’s inevitable obstacles.

1. Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

2. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

3. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

4. What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl by Richard Koch

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

Falling Upward is a spiritual book that teaches you how to grow through failure and the habit of doing the wrong things instead of right.

In the book, Richard takes an opposite stance on everything that is deemed as a failure in this world.

He states that loss is actually gain, and all those who lose in life are the ones who actually understand what it means to win.

The book also explores what it means to grow old and how old-age means much more than the negative connotations associated with it.

What’s in it for you

  • Explains why old age is filled with spiritual richness.
  • A counterintuitive look at how spiritual growth happens.
  • Explains how loss may actually be gain.

I would recommend Falling Upward to anyone who has experienced some form of failure in life and seeks a way to turn their loss into gain.

The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

Written by two of the most joyful people in the world, The Book of Joy is the authors’ way of giving back to the world.

The whole premise of the book seeks to answer the following profound question: “How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?”

What’s in it for you:

  • The answer to the previous question.
  • The nature of true joy and its eight pillars.
  • Insightful stories full of wisdom and great takeaways.
  • The foundation of lasting happiness.

I would recommend this book to anyone who struggles with anxiety and depression and who needs a little bit of joy in their lives.

The most important question you have to ask yourself is, how do you find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Can't Hurt Me book cover

In Can’t Hurt Me, the author shares his inspiring story as he had to overcome several seemingly impossible obstacles to reach where he is today.

Behind his story is his belief that most of us only tap into 40% of our abilities, and through his illuminating story, he offers the reader a path that they can take to reach their full potential.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to push past fear and pain to accomplish your goals.
  • The path to realizing your full potential, and so much more.

I would recommend Can’t Hurt Me to anyone who needs the motivation and inspiration to take action and never give up in life.

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

In What I Know For Sure, Oprah shares all the life lessons she has gleaned over the years as a television host, owner of a television network, and an African-American billionaire.

What I Know For Sure is a wonderful source of inspiration and is the author’s gift to the world.

What’s in it for you:

  • Thoughtful gems that are full of insight and revelation.
  • A guide to becoming your best self.
  • Powerful words laced with truth and a little bit of candid humor.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to look at life through a new set of eyes, one that finds joy in the little things.

Man's Search For Meaning book cover

Man’s Search for Meaning is a gripping account of the author’s time in Nazi concentration camps, and his efforts to find meaning and purpose despite his sorrow and struggle.

In the book, Frankl explores the human will to find meaning, even in inhumane circumstances.

Through his own struggles, Frankl attempts to answer the following question: What is the meaning of life?

What’s in it for you:

  • How to find purpose and meaning in life, in spite of all obstacles.
  • How to find strength in times of great despair.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is trying to find purpose and meaning in their lives.

Success/Mindset Books

These books will completely change your mindset on success, wealth, and what it takes to stand out in life.

1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

3. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles

4. Born to Win by Zig Ziglar

5. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich book cover

One of the most popular self-help books of all time, Think and Grow Rich will teach you the fundamentals of building wealth and fortune.

The book is based on 13 principles that were gleaned from success stories of past greats such as Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and several other wealthy men of their time.

What’s in it for you:

  • The secrets that could bring you a fortune.
  • The Law of success principle, and so much more.

If you are looking for a book that will be a real game-changer on your path to success, then Think and Grow Rich is the right choice for you.

The 7 Habits was written for both leaders and regular folk alike.

It offers a simple and no-nonsense path to avoid burning out and to perform at your peak consistently.

What’s in it for you:

  • Habits that work!
  • A principle-centered approach that solves both professional and personal issues.
  • Principles that will help you adapt to change and take advantage of its opportunities.
  • And so much more!

If you are looking for a way to improve both your personal and professional life, then The 7 Habits is perfect for you.

The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles

The Science of Getting Rich book cover

Written in the early 1900s, The Science of Getting Rich is still as relevant today as it was back then.

The premise is that we live in an abundant Universe and that we all have the ability to become rich.

Wallace even makes bold declarations that this book is the only one you need to get rich.

What’s in it for you:

  • The exact science of getting rich and everything you want.
  • The abundant mindset.
  • And so much more!

Based more on philosophy than actual science, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read philosophical titles.

Born to Win by Zig Ziglar

This book promises to teach you the surest path to success and to help you tap into your full potential.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to discover your untapped greatness.
  • The seven key areas that will help you achieve balance and become a more rounded person
  • How to discover your unique behavioral style and use it to build stronger personal and professional relationships.
  • How to become an effective communicator.
  • And so much more!

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how to win in life and business.

The Power of Your Subconscious book cover

This book will provide you with the necessary tools to unlock the power of your subconscious mind.

This may not be news to you, but your subconscious mind plays a bigger role in your life than you recognize.

From regulating your breath and heartbeat to controlling your digestive system and making memories, your subconscious mind makes up almost 95% of your brainpower

What’s in it for you:

  • How to improve your relationships, finances, and overall well-being.
  • A miracle-working power that will provide you with freedom, happiness, and peace of mind.
  • The ability to accomplish anything you set your mind on.
  • And so much more!

If you’ve ever been curious about the power of your subconscious mind, then you definitely need to check out this book.

Books on Health: body and mind

These are books that will help you to improve your personal health, both body and mind.

1. How Not to Die by Michael Greger

2. Unlimited Memory by Kevin Horsley

3. Limitless by Jim Kwik

4. You Can Heal Your Life by Louis Hay

How Not to Die by Michael Greger

How Not to Die book cover

How Not to Die contains information on diet and nutrition that will help you prevent many diseases and live a healthy, stress-free life.

In the book, Greger will teach you how to avoid so many of the illnesses that lead to premature death, such as heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc.

What’s in it for you:

  • Information on the right diet and nutrition to help you live longer and healthier.
  • Advice backed by strong scientific proof.
  • How to prevent and treat the top 15 causes of premature death.
    And so much more!

I would recommend How Not to Die to anyone who wants to improve their lifestyle and live a healthier, longer life.

Unlimited Memory by Kevin Horsley

Unlimited Memory book cover

Unlimited Memory will teach you how to learn faster, achieve more, and be more productive.

The premise is that most people don’t tap into even 10% of their memory potential, and this book will teach you how to unlock your full potential.

What’s in it for you:

  • Scientifically backed advice from the world’s top memory experts.
  • How to concentrate and remember anything at will.
  • The best strategies to help you improve your memory.
  • How to remember more in less time.
  • And so much more!

If you are keen on improving your concentration and memory power, then this book will teach you how to do just that.

Limitless by Jim Kwik

Limitless book cover

Written by the world’s number one brain coach, Limitless is the bible for mental growth and brain fitness.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to accomplish more by changing your mindset, motivation, and methods.
  • How to learn new habits faster and stick to them.
  • How to unlock your brain’s superpowers.
  • And so much more!

I would recommend Limitless to anyone who wants to accomplish more success by harnessing the power of their brains.

You Can Heal Your Life book cover

Written by a well-known leader in the self-help genre, You Can Heal Your Life will teach you how to do the mental work required to live a more joyful, happier life.

The premise is that if you are willing to do the mental work, then you can heal almost everything in your life.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to make your thoughts work in your favor.
  • How to heal almost everything, including disease.
  • How to recover from past hurt and feelings.
  • How to create new, better experiences and a life worth living.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to live a more positive and happy life.

Business Books

These books will teach you the necessary skills to succeed in business and are especially geared towards entrepreneurs.

1. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

2. Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

3. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

4. Company of One by Paul Jarvis

5. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

tools of titans book cover

This book contains all the tactics, tools, and advice from world-class performers and masters from various fields in the world.

What’s in it for you:

  • Distilled wisdom from world-class performers.
  • Practical and actionable advice.
  • Save years of wasted effort by applying the tactics and techniques that work.
  • Life-changing advice, and so much more!

Tools of Titans is the ultimate bible for anyone looking to become a master and top performer in their field.

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

The core of this book is that you can work smarter, faster, and better by managing how you think and not what you think.

What’s in it for you:

  • Eight crucial productivity concepts that will help you get so much done.
  • The key things that separate the merely busy from the truly productive.
  • How to improve at the things that you already do.
    And so much more!

If you are looking for a unique way to improve your work, then this is the book for you.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup book cover

The premise is that many startups fail, but several of those failures can be prevented.

The Lean Startup offers a novel approach for building businesses and launching products.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to continuously test business ideas and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • The scientific approach to building successful companies.
  • How to build a company that leverages capital and human creativity more effectively.
  • And so much more!

In this current world, it is important that companies — whether companies of one or Fortune 500 organizations — learn to innovate and adapt to changing circumstances rapidly.

The Lean Startup is perfect for individuals or organizations who want to learn how to thrive in our rapidly changing world.

Company of One by Paul Jarvis

company of one book cover

The premise is that more can be less, and a company can stay small while still growing in revenue and expansion.

The author argues that in this current world, it is possible to work for yourself, set your own hours, and become a successful and highly-profitable company of one.

What’s in it for you:

  • A novel approach to staying small while still growing in revenue and/or customer acquisition.
  • How to deliberately remain small and profitable as a business.
  • How to avoid the headaches that come with dealing with the duties of a giant company, employees, meetings, etc
  • How to build a business that offers you freedom and an ability to pursue the more meaningful pleasures of life.
  • And so much more!

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to build a business that allows them to live the life that they want.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

the $100 startup book cover

The premise of this book is that you can start a side hustle with as little as $100.

The author argues that you no longer need to work a nine-to-five to pay the bills, but by starting a small company of your own, you can work your way up to being your own boss.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to earn a good living on your own terms.
  • How to work less and live more.
  • Knowledge and insights from 50 people who started their own successful businesses with $100 or less.
  • And so much more!

Don’t quit your nine-to-five job until you read The $100 Startup.

Personal finance books

These books will teach you everything about personal finance — budgeting, investing, retirement funds and 401(k)s, saving, etc.

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

3. The Broke and Beautiful Life by Stefanie O’Connell

4. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

5. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley

[Further reading: 31 Greatest Personal Finance Books of All Time]

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich dad poor dad book cover

One of the bestselling personal finance books of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad features the author’s story of growing up with two dads — his biological dad and his best friend’s dad — and how these men shaped his thoughts about money and investing.

In the book, Kiyosaki will radically change your mind about all that you know about money.

What’s in it for you:

  • Differentiates between working for money and having your money work for you.
  • Differentiates between assets and liabilities.
  • Explains why parents cannot rely on the education system to teach their kids about money.
  • And so much more!

Rich Dad Poor Dad is geared towards beginners in the personal finance genre and also parents who want to educate their kids about money.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

the richest man in babylon book cover

Through entertaining storytelling, The Richest Man in Babylon will show you the path to financial independence.

What’s in it for you:

  • Parables about personal finance based on age-old wisdom.
  • A profound solution to your financial dilemma.
  • The sure way to prosperity, joy, and personal wealth.
  • And so much more!

If you enjoy reading parables laced with profound insights, you better check out The Richest Man in Babylon.

The Broke and Beautiful Life by Stefanie O’Connell

One of my favorite personal finance books, The Broke and Beautiful Life will teach you how to live your life to the fullest while still on a budget.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to effectively manage your money.
  • Practical tactics to help you make better financial decisions.
  • How to chase your dream while still on a budget.
  • Excellent advice on investing and budgeting.
  • And so much more!

The Broke and Beautiful Life is perfect for folks in their 20’s who want to live a good life without sacrificing their financial freedom.

the total money makeover book cover

The premise of this book is simple: you can either control your money or vice versa.

What’s in it for you:

  • Simple, straight forward plan that will revolutionize your money game
  • Discover the 10 most dangerous money myths — that may kill you.
  • Practical, based-on-results advice.
  • Key tactics to paying off all your debts.
  • And so much more!

If you are tired of all the get-rich-quick schemes and false money hacks that have left you drained and in debt, then The Total Money Makeover is just what you need.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley

The Millionaire Next Door book cover

The Millionaire Next Door will teach you the habits and traits that are shared among millionaires.

What’s in it for you:

  • The seven common traits of the wealthiest.
  • Exploded myths about the truly wealthy.
  • How the rich get to where they are and how you can too.
  • And so much more!

If you are curious about the lifestyle of the rich, The Millionaire Next Door will teach you everything you need to know.

Philosophy Books

These books dwell on topics related to philosophy, the meaning of life, and how to live well.

1. Letters from a Stoic by Lucius Seneca

2. The Manual for Living by Epictetus

3. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

4. The Republic by Plato

5. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Letters from a Stoic by Lucius Seneca

Letters from a stoic book cover

Written by one of the most famous Roman philosophers, Letters from a Stoic details the author’s principles and observations on life.

What’s in it for you:

  • Profound observations on daily life.
  • Teachings of Stoicism that are relevant to our present times.
  • Deals with philosophical themes, such as the fear of death, friendship, and virtue.

If you are in search of wisdom and understanding about life, then look no further than Letters from a Stoic.

The Manual for Living contains advice on stoicism that is excellent for living well.

What’s in it for you:

  • Pearls of wisdom on life.
  • Quick and easy read.
  • Profound age-old knowledge and truths.
  • And so much more!

The Manual for Living is perfect for the avid lover of philosophical books.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

the daily stoic book cover

The Daily Stoic is a guidebook that provides the reader with daily ounces of classic wisdom about living a good life.

What’s in it for you:

  • Daily wisdom and insights based on Stoicism.
  • The path to self-knowledge and the strength to live well.
  • Timeless knowledge that is relevant in today’s complex world.
  • And so much more!

A perfect guidebook for those in need of a daily dose of philosophical wisdom.

The Republic by Plato

The Republic book cover

One of Plato’s most remarkable writings, The Republic deals with themes of justice and the ideal state, and also focuses on the philosopher’s role in society.

What’s in it for you:

  • An excellent discourse on the philosopher’s role in society.
  • Explains the conflict between the world of senses and the world of ideas.
  • An eye-opening and fascinating book.
  • A true classic!

Lovers of classic literature and philosophy would appreciate this great work.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Meditations book cover

Meditations consists of a series of writing by 2nd-century Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius as he reflects on his life and Stoic philosophy.

What’s in it for you:

  • Powerful ideas and insights from a Roman emperor.
  • A guide for self-growth and development.
  • Simplified and straightforward text.

Meditations is great for lovers of Stoic philosophy.

Relationship books

These are books that will help you to improve your romantic relationships and be a better lover and partner — and probably live happily ever after, too.

1. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

2. On Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton

3. The Mathematics of Love by Hannah Fry

4. Getting the Love That You Want by Harville Hendrix

5. Eight Dates by John Gottman

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The 5 Love Languages book cover

With over 12 million copies sold and an almost perfect rating on Amazon, The 5 Love Languages is almost certain to revolutionize your love life.

What’s in it for you:

  • The secret to transforming your relationships.
  • Proven tactics for showing and receiving love.
  • Practical, insightful, and actionable advice that works.
  • And so much more!

The 5 Love Languages is perfect for couples who want to experience deeper, richer intimacy.

On Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton

A story that explores the mysterious inner workings of the heart and mind, On Love follows a man and a woman who fall deeply in love after they meet on a flight from Paris to London.

The rest of the story explores each stage of their relationship from their first kiss to their first argument, and so on.

What’s in it for you:

  • A philosophical explanation of how the heart and mind work.
  • A wonderful story of how love happens.
  • A beautifully written, emotional story that will touch you to the core.

I would recommend On Love to anyone who enjoys reading love stories.

The mathematics of love book cover

This book promises to help you understand your love life by using mathematical patterns.

What’s in it for you:

  • An intriguing journey that will open your eyes to hidden love patterns.
  • A better way to navigate the complicated shores of love.
  • How mathematics can be applied to love.
  • And so much more!

If you love mathematics or are even curious about it, then you’d definitely love to see how it can be applied to love.

Getting the Love That You Want by Harville Hendrix

This book is geared towards helping you experience more satisfying and healthy love relationships.

What’s in it for you:

  • The reason why you choose a particular mate.
  • Bring more joy and laughter to your relationship.
  • How to enjoy a passionate friendship with your partner.
  • The art of listening to what your partner is really saying.
  • And so much more!

Getting the Love That You Want is perfect for couples who want to build a strong foundation for their relationship.

Eight Dates by John Gottman

Eight Dates book cover

Written by two of the best marriage researchers in the world, Eight Dates will help you strengthen your relationship by focusing on eight essential topics, such as sex, money, and trust.

What’s in it for you:

  • The four skills needed for intimate conversations.
  • Expert relationship advice from 40 years of research.
  • Eight topics to strengthen long-term relationships.
  • And so much more!

If you’ve never had a serious talk with your partner, Eight Dates will help foster an open and supportive love relationship.

Autobiography books

These books are about powerful men and women — living or dead — who have left their indelible mark on our world.

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

3. Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson

4. The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane

5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming is a revealing, closeup memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

What’s in it for you:

  • A memoir of one of the most iconic women in the world.
  • A powerful memoir that invites readers into Michelle’s world.
  • The untold story of how Michelle met her husband, Obama, and their rise to the top.

In this compelling memoir, Michelle reveals it all, her triumphs and failures, her joys and disappointments.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in reading a compelling story about one of America’s most iconic women.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

This memoir reveals Trevor Noah’s unexpected rise from apartheid South Africa to the prestigious desk of The Daily Show.

What’s in it for you:

  • A compelling story of a young boy who built himself up from scratch.
  • Dramatic, hilarious stories that will keep readers entertained throughout.
  • And so much more!

If you know Trevor Noah, then you know this book is going to be a fun read.

Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson

Written by a man who survived 9 bullet wounds, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter documents Jackson’s rise from the dead and how he managed to survive all the tribulations from his past.

What’s in it for you:

  • Cutting-edge advice from a man with street smarts and corporate savvy.
  • A story of fearlessness and the ability to adapt to change.
  • Both a memoir and a self-help guide to success in a complicated world.

If you want to listen to advice from a man who literally rose from the dead to become one of America’s most iconic rappers, then Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter should be your next read.

In this fascinating memoir, Gucci Mane lays down his remarkable story in his own words.

What’s in it for you:

  • Insight into the life of one of the most iconic rappers of the last decade.
  • An unpredictable, wild account of one man’s life.
  • A deeper understanding of the man and musician, Gucci Mane.

Mane started writing his autobiography after he returned from federal prison in 2016, practically a changed man with a new outlook on life.

Readers interested in self-transforming stories will enjoy this compelling tale.

i know why the caged bird sings book cover

This is a beautiful story about Angelou’s childhood and life in the American south of the 1930s.

She depicts the joy and kindness, the pain and cruelty of this world, while still maintaining a strong outlook on it all.

What’s in it for you:

  • A powerful story of a Black American woman.
  • A poetic and emotional book that will touch the hearts and minds of readers.
  • A story of a lonely child in a world filled with prejudice and bigotry and how the power of words can make everything right again.

If you love poetic writing, you are sure to enjoy this gripping memoir.

Psychology/Influence Books

These are books on human psychology and influence and are geared towards our social nature and how the human mind works.

1. How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

2. Influence by Cialdini

3. The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

4. Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

How to win friends and influence people book cover

A timeless classic, How to Make Friends and Influence People is often the most recommended when it comes to the art of making friends and social success.

Drawn from over 25 years of personal experience and research, this book will teach you everything you need to know about social human nature.

What’s in it for you:

  • Techniques that will help improve your life and personal relationships.
  • Tested and proven advice on how to understand and deal with people.
  • Powerful and memorable stories and anecdotes.
  • And so much more!

Take it from me: This book will change your life and relationships.

If you struggle with making friends and navigating social interactions, this book is your best bet to improve your social skills.

Influence by Cialdini

Influence book cover

A classic on influence and persuasion, Influence delves into why people say yes and how to use the fundamental principles in business and everyday situations.

What’s in it for you:

  • The six fundamental principles of persuasion and influence.
  • How to become a skilled persuader.
  • How to protect yourself from dishonest preseason tactics.
  • And so much more!

This book is highly recommended to salesmen or anyone involved with sales and getting people to say yes to a product or service.

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature book cover

In this book, Greene distills ancient wisdom and philosophy to examine the drives and motives of humans.

What drives people to do what they do? How do they think and rationalize?

Greene emphasizes that knowing why people do what they do is an important tool in today’s irrational world.

What’s in it for you:

  • Ancient wisdom and philosophy that is still relevant to today’s world.
  • How to master self-control.
  • How to detach yourself from your emotions.
  • Excellent advice for success and self-development.
  • And so much more!

Lovers of philosophy and self-improvement will adore this book.

Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

Captivate book cover

Written by a leading human behavior investigator, Captivate will teach you various tactics and behavior hacks developed from years of extensive research.

These tactics will help you take charge of and improve your interactions in both your personal and professional life.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to decode people.
  • The formula for charisma.
  • A deeper understanding of your social interactions.
  • How to speed-read faces and emotions.
  • And so much more!

If you are looking to improve your social game, this is the book for you.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, fast and slow book cover

Written by one of the most important thinkers in the world, Thinking, Fast and Slow takes the reader on a tour of the mind and explains the mechanisms that drive their thoughts and decisions.

What’s in it for you:

  • The most effective ways to develop skills.
  • What actually influences happiness.
  • The ups and downs of fear and optimism.
  • How to properly frame risks.
  • And so much more!

If you want to know how your mind works, then this book is for you.

Power, Seduction, and War Books

These are books that deal with topics of power, seduction, and war — some of the most powerful forces in history.

1. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

2. The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

3. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

4. The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power book cover

The 48 Laws of Power distills more than 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 powerful and well-explained laws.

This powerful book is aimed at helping readers achieve what Henry Kissinger, Carl von Clausewitz, Queen Elizabeth I, and Louis XIV had to learn the hard way.

What’s in it for you:

  • 3000 years of distilled ancient wisdom.
  • Tactics derived from the great men and women of the past.
  • Unique fables that will inspire you.
  • And so much more!

The 48 Laws of Power is perfect for leaders and individuals who want to differentiate themselves in life.

The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

The Art of Seduction book cover

This book takes a deep dive into the art of seduction and the types of seducers in this world.

Greene emphasizes that seduction as an art could be used as an indirect and subtle form of power.

In the book, he teaches the reader how to recognize, use, or defend themselves from the power of seduction.

What’s in it for you:

  • Discover the type of seducer you are.
  • The ultimate two sides of seduction.
  • Twenty-four tactics and strategies of the seductive process.
  • A deep dive into the essence of charm and persuasion.
  • And so much more!

I would recommend The Art of Seduction to anyone curious about charm, persuasion, and seduction.

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

the prince book cover

One of the most influential books ever written, The Prince deals with topics of manipulation and power.

What’s in it for you:

  • Insightful wisdom that has been used by some of the world’s greatest leaders.
  • Practical philosophy that can be used in today’s cutthroat world.
  • And so much more!

Controversial yet popular, this book will provide the reader with a unique perspective on the use of power and manipulation.

The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

This book provides a concise list of the strategies of war that you can use to wage and win your daily life battles.

What’s in it for you:

  • A guidebook to the subtle social interactions of daily life.
  • Distilled wisdom coupled with timeless life lessons.
  • And so much more!
  • This book is perfect for helping you recognize and deal with your daily life battles.

— Fiction Books to Read List — 

Classical Books

This list contains some of the greatest classics from time immemorial.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

[Further reading: The 30 Absolutely Best Books of All Time]

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover

Plot: Told through the eyes of young Scout and Jem, the novel explores the irrational attitudes towards race and class as a lawyer risks everything to defend a black man falsely accused of a crime he did not commit.

What’s in it for you: A heart wrenching and gripping coming-of-age story.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice book cover

Plot: Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are determined to dislike each other. Elizabeth thinks Fitzwilliam arrogant and self-conceited while he also pays no mind to her genuine beauty and inquisitive mind.

Through a touch of humor and exquisite writing, Jane Austen narrates a beautiful story that condemns the folly of judging people by first impressions.

What’s in it for you: A romance story that will charm almost every reader.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre book cover

Plot: A plain orphan girl, who is neither of great beauty or riches, fights her way through the world by being diligent, passionate, and shrewd.

Dealing with cruel relatives, an oppressive school system, and a troubling career, Jane Eyre draws readers in by exploring the mysteries of the human heart.

What’s in it for you: A romance story with compelling elements of mystery and horror.

alice's adventures in wonderland book cover

Plot: The novel narrates the story of a little girl, Alice, who falls through a hole into a magical world filled with the strangest of creatures.

What’s in it for you: A magical story that has won the hearts of kids and adults alike.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights book cover

Lauded as one of America’s most-loved novels, Wuthering Heights is a heart wrenching, gripping story of love, revenge, and tragedy.

Plot: A man discovers the turbulent history of the place he is forced to lodge at for the night. Lockwood discovers the secret and stormy past of Wuthering Heights as he is told the tragic tale of the love between Catherine and Heathcliff.

What’s in it for you: What unfolds is a compelling tale that will sweep readers away into another world.

Sci-fi/fantasy Books

These are the best sci-fi/fantasy books or series of all time.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R. R. Martin

2. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

3. Dune by Frank Herbert

4. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire book series cover

Lauded as the greatest fantasy series of the modern age, A Song of Ice and Fire is an internationally bestselling series that inspired HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones.

Plot: The storyline revolves around the civil war between the Seven Kingdoms, the defense of the towering Wall of Ice against unearthly creatures, and the ascension to power of Daenerys Targaryen and her five dragons.

What’s in it for you: A complex and vibrant world beyond your wildest imaginations.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

1984 book cover

Plot: Set in a dystopian world where the government controls the mind of its citizens, Nineteen Eighty-Four follows the life of one man, the protagonist, as he rebels against the power-hungry government and fights for freedom.

What’s in it for you: A haunting novel that will stay in your mind for years to come.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune book cover

Plot: The novel follows the life of Paul Atreides, a boy who has been terribly wronged. Hungry for revenge, the boy later becomes a mysterious man with a new name, Maud’dib, with a desire to avenge those responsible for the plot against his noble family.

What’s in it for you: One of the best sci-fi novels ever written.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings book cover

Plot: With all the Rings of Power in his possession, the Dark Lord Sauron seeks to rule the whole of Middle-Earth, but he lacks one thing: The One Ring, the ultimate weapon that controls all the rings.

Frodo Baggins, a young Hobbit, is entrusted with the One Ring and asked to destroy it.

However, he must make the dangerous, long journey to a territory deep inside the Dark Lord’s domain, where he will be able to destroy the object and the Sauron’s ultimate evil plans.

What’s in it for you: A treasured fantasy novel that has touched the hearts of many.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Plot: A revolution starts on an animal farm when a highly respected Boar, old Major, instigates his fellow farm animals by preaching about the evils of man and the joy of freedom and independence.

Enraged, the animals kick out their drunken farmer and create a new society of equality and respect.

However, things start to unravel when two conniving pigs start to hanker for power and control over the other animals, and what started as an equalitarian society devolves into chaos and anarchy.

What’s in it for you: A fable that will cause you to think deeply about the conditions of mankind and the corrupting effects of power.

Romance Novels

These are romance novels that are gripping, emotional, and tell a remarkable story of love.

1. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

2. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

4. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander series book cover

Plot: A married woman, Claire Randall, accidentally time-travels into the past after she walks through a circle of standing stones. However, she falls into grave danger upon arriving in the past and finds safety in a young warrior, Jamie Fraser.

What starts as a benign alliance turns into something more, and Claire becomes torn between two men in different timelines.

What’s in it for you: A time-travel romance filled with unforgettable characters.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

it ends with us book cover

Plot: For a girl who has not always had it easy, Lily’s life becomes filled with a lot of joy when she falls in love with Ryle Kincaid, a handsome young neurosurgeon.

Ryle may be a little arrogant, but he certainly has a soft spot for Lily. However, what worries Lily the most is his complete disdain for relationships.

Questioning her new relationship, Lily’s mind starts to drift to Atlas Corrigan, her first love and protector. Subsequently, when Atlas suddenly reappears in her life, everything she has with Ryle becomes shaky, and she fears it may all burn to the ground.

What’s in it for you: A gripping, heart-wrenching story that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park book cover

Plot: A new girl in town, Eleanor feels lonely in her mismatched clothes and disheveled red hair.

One day, when she takes the bus, she meets a guy, Park, who is just as inconspicuous as she is. She finds it cool that he is so laid back and reserved.

And slowly, through phone calls and conversations here and there, they fall in love.

What’s in it for you: How it feels like to be young and in love.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

the hating game book cover

Plot: Coworkers Lucy and Joshua terribly hate each other. They have no understanding and patience for each other and are constantly at war.

When they are both up for the same promotion, their intense war comes to a head, and none of them wants to back down and lose the promotion.

As the tension reaches its boiling point, Lucy starts to discover that Joshua is not that bad. On other hand, Joshua also thinks that he may not actually hate Lucy after all. Could this be just another one of their games?

What’s in it for you: A compelling novel that threads the delicate line between love and hate.

the fault in our stars book cover

Plot: Hazel has been dying for quite a while with a terminal disease. However, a medical miracle just bought her a few more years, which doesn’t sound too good as it can’t stop the inevitable.

Nevertheless, things suddenly look a little brighter when a handsome young man, Augustus Waters, appears on Hazel’s horizon.

What’s in it for you: A bold, tragic exploration of being alive and in love — filled with humor and heart-wrenching emotions.

Crime/thriller/Mystery Books

These are some of the best books in the crime, thriller, and mystery genre.

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

2. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

3. The Hound of Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

4. Heartstone by C.J. Sansom

5. The Shining by Stephen King

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None book cover

Plot: Lured by a mysterious host, ten individuals with almost nothing in common become trapped in an island mansion off the coast of Devon.

After they sit down for dinner, a record starts to play and their mysterious host accuses each of them of a secret crime.

Stranded in the demonic house, they begin to die one by one. They may be guilty of the crime leveled against each of them, but the real question is, who is their killer?

What’s in it for you: One of the best mystery novels you will ever read.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

naked in death book cover

Plot: In the year 2058, the world is completely ruled by technology. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is hunting for a ruthless killer, and against her own instinct and warning, she gets involved with Roarke, one of the suspects in the investigation.

Maybe she’s in love. Maybe she’s been seduced. However, it’s entirely up to her to find her way out and solve the murder case, as mixing work and passion is a dangerous game.

What’s in it for you: A futuristic novel that combines mystery and romance.

The Hound of Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

the hound of baskervilles book cover

Plot: A country doctor narrates to Sherlock Holmes the sinister tale about the legendary Hound of Baskervilles — a demonic creature that haunts Baskervilles’ ancestral home.

However, with the death of Sir Charles Baskerville and the discovery of the giant hound footprints near his body, things take a dramatic turn, and Sherlock Holmes is put in charge of uncovering this haunting mystery.

What’s in it for you: A classic bone-chilling and gripping mystery novel.

Heartstone by C.J. Sansom

heartstone book cover

Plot: England is muddled in a nasty war with the French after Henry VIII’s invasion of France goes awfully wrong.

On another side, Matthew Shardlake is asked to investigate a case that involves a mysterious death.

Following the investigation, Shardlake travels to England and finds himself in a war zone. That is where things boil up as Shardlake investigates several other linked cases that all converge on one of England’s great warships.

What’s in it for you: A compelling historical tale filled with intense mystery and suspense.

The Shining by Stephen King

the shining book cover

Plot: Jack’s new job offers him a fresh beginning. Working as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook hotel, he finds himself with a lot of free time to spend with his family and also to work on his writing.

However, as winter sets in, a dark and sinister cloud envelops the hotel, and Danny, a gifted five-year-old, is the only one who sees the dark forces building up in the shadows.

What’s in it for you: A classic American horror novel that will keep you up at night.

Teens/Young Adult Books

These are books geared towards young adults and teenagers.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

4. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Perks of Being a Wallflower book cover

Plot: The novel follows the main character, Charlie, as he tries to figure his life out as an adolescent moving into adulthood.

Drama, sex, drugs, friends, dates, love, loss. Trying to figure out what it means to grow up, Charlie often finds himself lost and confused.

What’s in it for you: A teen novel that will remind you of your confusing high school days.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief book cover

Plot: In 1939 Nazi Germany, death is running amok in the streets.

Liesel, a foster girl living on the outskirts of Munich, manages to survive by stealing and grabbing whatever she can lay her hands on.

One day, she discovers something new and shiny which she finds irresistible: books. Shortly after, she learns how to read and begins to share her stolen books with her neighbors and anyone interested.

What’s in it for you: A life-changing novel that will take you back to one of the world’s most troubling times.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give book cover

Plot: Stuck between two worlds, a young girl, Starr, uneasily navigates between her poor neighborhood and the rich suburban school she attends.

However, things take a turn for the worse when she is the only witness at the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil.

Following nationwide protest and calls for justice, everyone wants to know exactly what happened during that fateful shooting. The only one who can reveal that is Starr. But will she do the right thing and possibly endanger her life and that of her family?

What’s in it for you: A heartbreaking story that will absolutely take your breath away.

Simons vs the homo sapiens agenda book cover

Plot: Sixteen-year-old Simon’s world is about to turn upside down when an email that reveals his gay identity mistakenly falls into the wrong hands.

Fear-stricken, Simon must now find a way to come out on his own terms or have his identity broadcasted to the world without his permission.

What’s in it for you: A must-read teen romance.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl book cover

Plot: Cath and her twin sister, Wren, were obsessed fans of Simon Snow when they were kids. Growing up, though, Wren has mostly grown out of this obsession, but Cath is still hanging on to her fan love for Simon.

As they are both entering college, Wren breaks the news that she doesn’t want to be roommates, and so Cath is left to figure out things on her own.

With several problems other than her mad obsession for Simon Snow, Cath has to find a way to survive in the grown-up world of college.

What’s in it for you: A sweet and cute coming-of-age novel.

Historical fiction Books

These are books that weave in elements of history and crucial past events.

1. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

3. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

5. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Plot: In the year 1327, Brother William of Baskerville is sent to investigate the heresy accusations leveled on Benedictines in an affluent Italian abbey.

However, Brother William’s mission is diverted when seven people die with no explanation. With tools of logic, theology, and empirical insight, Brother William tries to solve the bizarre mystery.

What’s in it for you: A brilliant novel with many cunning twists and turns.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingle book cover

Plot: The novel follows the life of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during World War II.

Separated by passion, ideals, and experience, these two women both embark on their own path towards love and freedom in a war-torn world.

What’s in it for you: A novel that depicts what it was like to be a woman during the era of World War II.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Plot: The novel explores the life of Dinah, a woman from the Bible, and ancient traditions and culture surrounding womanhood.

It narrates how Dinah survived her childhood, her calling to midwifery, and how she had to start a new home in a foreign land.

What’s in it for you: A compelling and unique view of the lives of women in the Bible.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

gone with the wind book cover

Plot: The novel narrates the tale of a spoiled rich girl whose life is drastically changed by the onset of the Civil War.

What’s in it for you: A superb story with unforgettable characters.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

a gentleman in moscow book cover

Plot: In the year 1922, a man is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a luxurious hotel after he is accused of being an unrepentant aristocrat.

Suddenly with a lot of free time, Count Rostov explores a new part of himself that starts him on a journey to emotional discovery.

What’s in it for you: A perfect book for a weekend getaway or self-quarantine.

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