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Book Recommendations: Best Books to Read of All Time (Reading Lists)

Looking for books to read, maybe to get your mind off of things or even to pick up new skills? Good book recommendations aren’t always easy to come by. And with the amount of content out there in the world, your “to read” list can get overwhelming quite quickly.

That’s why, one of the best ways to read more this year is to follow good, curated reading lists. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in the “best books of all time” lists below.

So, whether you’re a regular bookworm wondering, “What should I read next?” or you’re a newbie reader wondering “What are the books everyone should read?”, look no further. These must-read books will enrich every part of your life.

Book Recommendations by Topic

A good book is almost always written to answer a specific question or scratch a particular itch. I created the reading lists below to gather the very best book recommendations for a range of exactly those pain points.

In the coming years, I’ll be adding new reading lists regularly, updating the book recommendations within them and writing book summaries of some of the best titles ever written. So, bookmark this page, watch this space and let me know if there’s anything at all that I’ve missed.

Best Non-Ficiton Books of All Time (Top 10)

Any list of “the best non-fiction books of all time” is bound to cause an argument. The 10 books below are the top non-fiction book recommendations from my master list of over 3,000 books as ranked by popularity (number of Goodreads reviews), quality (average Goodreads rating) and original publication date (survivors beat out new arrivers).

These aren’t the ONLY 10 non-fiction books you should ever read. But they are (by popular vote) some of the best non-fiction books ever written. If you’re going to start somewhere, then there aren’t many better places to do it.

(N.B., For more detailed and specific lists of non-fiction books to read, check out the thematic reading lists above 👆.)

  1. 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.
  2. Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) (1958), Elie Wiesel
    115 pages. Rated 4.3 over 861,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. Letters from a Stoic (-49), Seneca
    256 pages. Rated 4.3 over 14,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. As a Man Thinketh (1902), James Allen
    80 pages. Rated 4.3 over 47,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. 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.
  6. Endurance (1959), Alfred Lansing
    Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
    282 pages. Rated 4.4 over 69,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. Letters to a Young Poet (1929), Rainer Maria Rilke
    80 pages. Rated 4.3 over 39,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), Malcolm X
    466 pages. Rated 4.3 over 160,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. Apology (-380), Plato
    127 pages. Rated 4.2 over 28,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. 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.

Best Fiction Books of All Time (Top 10)

Any list of “the best fiction books of all time” is bound to cause an argument. The 10 books below are the top fiction book recommendations from my master list of over 3,000 books as ranked by popularity (number of Goodreads reviews), quality (average Goodreads rating) and original publication date (survivors beat out new arrivers).

These aren’t the ONLY 10 fiction books you should ever read. But they are (by popular vote) some of the best fiction books ever written. If you’re going to start somewhere, then there aren’t many better places to do it.

(N.B., For more detailed and specific lists of fiction books to read, check out the thematic reading lists above 👆.)

  1. Pride and Prejudice (1813), Jane Austen
    279 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,537,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  2. The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), Alexandre Dumas
    1,276 pages. Rated 4.2 over 670,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812), Jacob Grimm
    880 pages. Rated 4.3 over 134,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. The Brothers Karamazov (1879), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    796 pages. Rated 4.3 over 203,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. The Essential Rumi (1273), Rumi
    416 pages. Rated 4.4 over 31,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), Arthur Conan Doyle
    246 pages. Rated 4.3 over 211,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. The Lord of the Rings (1955), J.R.R. Tolkien
    1,216 pages. Rated 4.5 over 491,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. The Complete Fairy Tales (1835), Hans Christian Andersen
    803 pages. Rated 4.3 over 117,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. Gone with the Wind (1936), Margaret Mitchell
    1,037 pages. Rated 4.3 over 986,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. Anne of Green Gables (1908), L.M. Montgomery
    320 pages. Rated 4.2 over 618,500 reviews on Goodreads.

Before You Go

I’ve spent hours collecting and organizing these book recommendations from other lists of award-winning and popular books and your recommendations. It’s not an exhaustive book list but it does contain my recommended best books to read.

Bookmark this page, share it with your friends and check back regularly as I’ll keep updating these reading lists whenever I come across something interesting in the hope of making this page of book recommendations a treasure trove of valuable information.