Best Books of All Time: 101 Books to Read Before You Die (2019)

Best Books of All Time
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Best Books of All Time

You asked for it, so here it is! The 101 best books of all time across all genres from my massive long library of book recommendations.

Each title is ranked according to a combination of popularity (number of Goodreads reviews), quality (average Goodreads rating) and original publication date (survivors beat out new arrivers).

Want something more specific? Head over to the “Book Recommendations” page for some topic-by-topic reading lists (as well as some mini-lists of best fiction books and best non-fiction books of all time).

Outraged? Delighted? Think something’s missing? Your thoughts and suggestions make my day (honestly, I frogging LOVE them 🐸) and they also make this list better for everyone. Please get in touch or leave a comment. I’d genuinely love to hear from you.

One last thing – I’ll be keeping this list up to date as the years go by so if you’d like to hear about that, head over to the “Free Tools” section of the site and I’ll send you something to help you read more, learn faster and wake up productive as a bonus for joining the tribe.

For now though, here’s the list of best books

The 101 Best Books of All Time (By Popular Vote)

  1. Holy Bible (1611), Anonymous
    King James Version
    1,590 pages. Rated 4.4 over 200,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  2. Pride and Prejudice (1813), Jane Austen
    279 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,537,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. Tao Te Ching (-300), Lao Tzu
    160 pages. Rated 4.3 over 92,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), Alexandre Dumas
    1,276 pages. Rated 4.2 over 670,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. Qurʾan (609), Anonymous
    604 pages. Rated 4.3 over 50,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812), Jacob Grimm
    880 pages. Rated 4.3 over 134,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. The Brothers Karamazov (1879), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    796 pages. Rated 4.3 over 203,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. The Essential Rumi (1273), Rumi
    416 pages. Rated 4.4 over 31,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), Arthur Conan Doyle
    246 pages. Rated 4.3 over 211,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. Meditations (180), Marcus Aurelius (Summary)
    A deeply humbling and thoughtprovoking insight into the stoic mindset of one of history’s greatest leaders and thinkers – by Roman emperor, philosopher and example to us all, Marcus Aurelius.
    303 pages. Rated 4.2 over 79,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  11. The Lord of the Rings (1955), J.R.R. Tolkien
    1,216 pages. Rated 4.5 over 491,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  12. The Complete Fairy Tales (1835), Hans Christian Andersen
    803 pages. Rated 4.3 over 117,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  13. Gone with the Wind (1936), Margaret Mitchell
    1,037 pages. Rated 4.3 over 986,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  14. Anne of Green Gables (1908), L.M. Montgomery
    320 pages. Rated 4.2 over 618,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  15. The Hobbit or There and Back Again (1937), J.R.R. Tolkien
    366 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,487,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  16. The Little Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    93 pages. Rated 4.3 over 1,069,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  17. Sonnets (1609), William Shakespeare
    488 pages. Rated 4.2 over 73,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  18. Crime and Punishment (1866), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    671 pages. Rated 4.2 over 526,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  19. East of Eden (1952), John Steinbeck
    601 pages. Rated 4.4 over 376,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  20. Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) (1958), Elie Wiesel
    115 pages. Rated 4.3 over 861,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  21. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), Arthur Conan Doyle
    378 pages. Rated 4.3 over 74,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  22. And Then There Were None (1939), Agatha Christie
    264 pages. Rated 4.3 over 613,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  23. Les Misérables (1862), Victor Hugo
    1,463 pages. Rated 4.2 over 605,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  24. Mere Christianity (1952), C.S. Lewis
    191 pages. Rated 4.3 over 255,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  25. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), Harper Lee
    324 pages. Rated 4.3 over 3,861,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  26. Persuasion (1817), Jane Austen
    249 pages. Rated 4.1 over 464,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  27. The Dhammapada (-400), Anonymous
    114 pages. Rated 4.3 over 19,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  28. The Prophet (1923), Kahlil Gibran
    127 pages. Rated 4.2 over 188,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  29. Jane Eyre (1847), Charlotte Brontë
    507 pages. Rated 4.1 over 1,416,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  30. Rebecca (1938), Daphne du Maurier
    449 pages. Rated 4.2 over 395,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  31. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), Oscar Wilde
    76 pages. Rated 4.2 over 278,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  32. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), C.S. Lewis
    206 pages. Rated 4.2 over 1,858,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  33. Letters from a Stoic (-49), Seneca
    256 pages. Rated 4.3 over 14,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  34. The Flowers of Evil (1857), Charles Baudelaire
    464 pages. Rated 4.3 over 42,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  35. A Study in Scarlet (1887), Arthur Conan Doyle
    123 pages. Rated 4.2 over 266,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  36. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905), Arthur Conan Doyle
    455 pages. Rated 4.3 over 46,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  37. The Idiot (1869), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    667 pages. Rated 4.2 over 113,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  38. As a Man Thinketh (1902), James Allen
    80 pages. Rated 4.3 over 47,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  39. The Secret Garden (1911), Frances Hodgson Burnett
    331 pages. Rated 4.1 over 783,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  40. The Screwtape Letters (1942), C.S. Lewis
    223 pages. Rated 4.2 over 279,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  41. Ficciones (1944), Jorge Luis Borges
    174 pages. Rated 4.5 over 43,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  42. Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov (1903), Anton Chekhov
    467 pages. Rated 4.4 over 29,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  43. 1984 (1949), George Orwell
    237 pages. Rated 4.2 over 2,524,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  44. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (1890), Emily Dickinson
    716 pages. Rated 4.2 over 65,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  45. The Richest Man in Babylon (1926), George S. Clason
    194 pages. Rated 4.3 over 76,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  46. How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), Dale Carnegie (Summary)
    The classic guide to greatly improving effectiveness and efficiency by mastering the ability to work with and through the people around you – by self-improvement guru, Dale Carnegie.
    288 pages. Rated 4.2 over 425,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  47. The Bhagavad Gita (-400), Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
    160 pages. Rated 4.1 over 49,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  48. The Master and Margarita (1967), Mikhail Bulgakov
    335 pages. Rated 4.3 over 201,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  49. Endurance (1959), Alfred Lansing
    Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
    282 pages. Rated 4.4 over 69,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  50. Where the Wild Things Are (1963), Maurice Sendak
    37 pages. Rated 4.2 over 721,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  51. Sense and Sensibility (1811), Jane Austen
    409 pages. Rated 4.1 over 857,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  52. Letters to a Young Poet (1929), Rainer Maria Rilke
    80 pages. Rated 4.3 over 39,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  53. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), Malcolm X
    466 pages. Rated 4.3 over 160,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  54. Aesop’s Fables (-560), Aesop
    306 pages. Rated 4.1 over 107,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  55. Apology (-380), Plato
    127 pages. Rated 4.2 over 28,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  56. Demons (1872), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    733 pages. Rated 4.3 over 33,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  57. Much Ado About Nothing (1598), William Shakespeare
    246 pages. Rated 4.1 over 198,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  58. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales (1839), Edgar Allan Poe
    400 pages. Rated 4.2 over 65,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  59. Charlotte’s Web (1952), E.B. White
    184 pages. Rated 4.2 over 1,235,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  60. The Divine Comedy (1320), Dante Alighieri
    798 pages. Rated 4.1 over 102,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  61. Shōgun (1975), James Clavell
    1,152 pages. Rated 4.4 over 130,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  62. Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1) (1965), Frank Herbert
    604 pages. Rated 4.2 over 603,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  63. I, Robot (1950), Isaac Asimov
    224 pages. Rated 4.2 over 238,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  64. War and Peace (1867), Leo Tolstoy
    1,392 pages. Rated 4.1 over 232,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  65. Little Women (1868), Louisa May Alcott
    449 pages. Rated 4.1 over 1,466,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  66. I, Claudius (Claudius, #1) (1934), Robert Graves
    468 pages. Rated 4.3 over 49,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  67. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Oscar Wilde
    367 pages. Rated 4.1 over 806,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  68. His Last Bow (1917), Arthur Conan Doyle
    256 pages. Rated 4.3 over 31,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  69. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962), Ken Kesey
    325 pages. Rated 4.2 over 577,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  70. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1871), Lewis Carroll
    239 pages. Rated 4.1 over 425,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  71. The Upanishads (-500), Anonymous
    143 pages. Rated 4.2 over 11,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  72. Hamlet (1600), William Shakespeare
    289 pages. Rated 4.0 over 643,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  73. The Three Musketeers (1844), Alexandre Dumas
    625 pages. Rated 4.1 over 246,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  74. Notes from Underground (1864), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    136 pages. Rated 4.2 over 61,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  75. Think and Grow Rich (1937), Napoleon Hill (Summary)
    A best-selling book of all time and a cornerstone guide to the Law of Attraction and the role of the subconscious in transforming your life – by a titan of the self-help genre, Napoleon Hill.
    233 pages. Rated 4.2 over 151,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  76. The Elements of Style (1918), William Strunk Jr. (Summary)
    A short, prescriptive classic filled with good advice on writing great (American) English while omitting needless words – by professor and author William Strunk Jr.
    105 pages. Rated 4.2 over 63,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  77. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) (1985), Orson Scott Card
    324 pages. Rated 4.3 over 993,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  78. The Phantom Tollbooth (1961), Norton Juster
    256 pages. Rated 4.2 over 217,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  79. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), Maya Angelou
    289 pages. Rated 4.2 over 347,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  80. The Diary of a Young Girl (1947), Anne Frank
    304 pages. Rated 4.1 over 2,361,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  81. Watchmen (1987), Alan Moore
    416 pages. Rated 4.4 over 444,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  82. On the Shortness of Life (-49), Seneca
    106 pages. Rated 4.2 over 12,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  83. Lonesome Dove (1985), Larry McMurtry
    945 pages. Rated 4.5 over 132,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  84. Mahabharata (-400), Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
    444 pages. Rated 4.3 over 8,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  85. Stoner (1965), John Williams
    278 pages. Rated 4.3 over 77,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  86. Foundation (Foundation #1) (1951), Isaac Asimov
    244 pages. Rated 4.2 over 350,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  87. The Complete Poems (1820), John Keats
    416 pages. Rated 4.2 over 20,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  88. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), Arthur Conan Doyle
    256 pages. Rated 4.1 over 209,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  89. Leaves of Grass (1855), Walt Whitman
    624 pages. Rated 4.1 over 78,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  90. The Complete Essays (1572), Michel de Montaigne
    1,344 pages. Rated 4.2 over 13,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  91. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), Douglas Adams
    193 pages. Rated 4.2 over 1,198,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  92. The Complete Maus (1986), Art Spiegelman
    296 pages. Rated 4.6 over 110,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  93. A Christmas Carol (1843), Charles Dickens
    104 pages. Rated 4.0 over 525,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  94. Peter Pan (1904), J.M. Barrie
    176 pages. Rated 4.1 over 230,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  95. The Imitation of Christ (1418), Thomas à Kempis
    288 pages. Rated 4.2 over 16,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  96. The Art of War (-500), Sun Tzu
    273 pages. Rated 4.0 over 259,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  97. Cosmos (1980), Carl Sagan
    384 pages. Rated 4.4 over 98,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  98. The Thorn Birds (1977), Colleen McCullough
    692 pages. Rated 4.2 over 291,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  99. Cat’s Cradle (1963), Kurt Vonnegut
    306 pages. Rated 4.2 over 306,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  100. Love You Forever (1986), Robert Munsch
    32 pages. Rated 4.4 over 181,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  101. The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1) (1989), Ken Follett
    973 pages. Rated 4.3 over 570,100 reviews on Goodreads.
Arthur
Arthur
Arthur is a productivity coach and writer who helps top young execs and entrepreneurs be more productive, find more balance and live more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →

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Saad
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Saad

Have you read the Quran?

Also, have you read “Confession” by Tolstoy?

Claudia McBride
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Claudia McBride

I can’t believe Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” didn’t make this list. I thought this book would be dry and boring but it was one of the most exciting books I’ve ever read. I’m surprised more people haven’t loved it.