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100 Great Books To Read In A Lifetime

by DARIUS FOROUX

Have you ever read a book that totally blew your mind? Books have the power to change your perspective on life.

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 shows 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 you 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 77 books are nonfiction and the rest is fiction (that ratio is also how my full library looks like). I’ve sorted the books alphabetically—I find it impossible to make a top 100 because every book in unique in its own way.

The links are to Goodreads (not affiliated) so you can read the description and reviews. I’ve also added several great quotes to some of the books that are listed.

I hope you’ll discover at least 10 books that you decide to read—and that they may improve your life.

  1. Meditations by Aurelius, Marcus 
    “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
  2. Predictably Irrational by Ariely, Dan 
    “Individuals are honest only to the extent that suits them (including their desire to please others)”
  3. Contagious by Berger, Jonah
  4. 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.”
  5. The Charge by Burchard, Brendon
  6. Quiet by Cain, Susan
    “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”
  7. In Cold Blood by Capote, Truman
  8. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie, Dale
  9. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Carnegie, Dale
  10. 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.”
  11. The Richest Man in Babylon by Clason, George S.
  12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey, Stephen R.
  13. Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly
  14. The Essays of Warren Buffet Lessons for Investors and Managers by Cunningham, Lawrence A.
  15. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Currey, Mason
  16. 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.”
  17. Managing Oneself by Drucker, Peter F.
  18. The Power of Habit by Duhigg, Charles
  19. The Lessons of History by Durant, Will
  20. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dweck, Carol S.
  21. 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.”
  22. Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss
  23. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury
  24. The Diary of a Young Girl by Frank, Anne
  25. 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.”
  26. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Franklin, Benjamin
  27. 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.”
  28. The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Gandhi, Mahatma
  29. Stumbling on Happiness by Gilbert, Daniel
  30. The Tipping Point by Gladwell, Malcolm
  31. Purple Cow by Godin, Seth
  32. The Intelligent Investor by Graham, Benjamin
  33. Mastery by Greene, Robert
  34. The 48 Laws of Power by Greene, Robert
  35. A Brief History of Time by Hawking, Stephen
    “The universe doesn’t allow perfection.”
  36. Made to Stick by Heath, Chip and Dan Heath
  37. A Moveable Feast by Hemingway, Ernest
  38. Kon-Tiki by Heyerdahl, Thor
  39. 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.”
  40. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by Irvine, William
  41. Steve Jobs by Isaacson, Walter
  42. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Jackson, Phil
  43. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Jeffers, Susan
  44. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman, Daniel
  45. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
    “Knowledge is love and light and vision.”
  46. 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.”
  47. Steal Like an Artist by Kleon, Austin
  48. Into the Wild by Krakauer, Jon
  49. The Story of the Human Body by Lieberman, Daniel E.
  50. Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Lieberman, Matthew D.
  51. The Prince by Machiavelli, Niccolò
  52. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Mandino, Og
  53. Born to Run by McDougall, Christopher
  54. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by McKeown, Greg
    “Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”
  55. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Morris, Edmund
  56. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Murakami, Haruki
  57. How to Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds by Nightingale, Earl
  58. Confessions of an Advertising Man by Ogilvy, David
  59. 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.”
  60. Spark by Ratey, John J.
  61. King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero by Remnick, David
  62. The Four Agreements by Ruiz, Miguel
  63. The Magic of Thinking Big by Schwartz, David J.
  64. Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Schwarzenegger, Arnold
  65. Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
  66. 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.”
  67. Start with Why by Sinek, Simon
  68. Pimp: The Story of My Life by Slim, Iceberg
  69. The Elements of Style by Strunk Jr., William
  70. Walden by Thoreau, Henry David
    “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
  71. The Power of Now by Tolle, Eckhart
  72. The Art of War by Tzu, Sun
  73. Sam Walton: Made In America by Walton, Sam
  74. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Warhol, Andy
    “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
  75. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: by Weintraub, Jerry
  76. The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are by Wright, Robert
  77. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by X, Malcolm
  78. 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.”
  79. Post Office by Bukowski, Charles
  80. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Carver, Raymond
  81. Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
  82. American Psycho by Ellis, Bret Easton
    “All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.”
  83. Invisible Man by Ellison, Ralph
  84. Ask the Dust by Fante, John
    “You are nobody, and I might have been somebody, and the road to each of us is love.”
  85. The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, F. Scott
  86. 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.”
  87. Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous
  88. On the Road by Kerouac, Jack
  89. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Kesey, Ken
  90. Bright Lights, Big City by McInerney, Jay
  91. Utopia by More, Thomas
    “A pretty face may be enough to catch a man, but it takes character and good nature to hold him.”
  92. 1984 by Orwell, George
  93. Animal Farm by Orwell, George
  94. Fight Club by Palahniuk, Chuck
  95. The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger, J.D.
  96. Death with Interruptions by Saramago, José
    “One cannot be too careful with words, they change their minds just as people do.”
  97. What Makes Sammy Run? by Schulberg, Budd
  98. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Thompson, Hunter S.
  99. Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut, Kurt
    “And so it goes…”
  100. 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 that’s not on the list, please comment below or send me an email: [email protected]

Enjoy!

This article was originally published on dariusforoux.com.


Thanks For Reading

I’m Darius Foroux, author of Massive Life Success, and founder of Procrastinate Zero.