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Best Books of All Time: 100 Great Books to Read

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
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Best Books of All Time

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Looking for a list of the best books to read of all time? You’re in the right place!

In the book list below, you’ll find the 101 best books to read of all time across all types and genres from my entire, master-library of thousands of good books to read.

Want something more specific? For some best book lists by topic and genre (including lists of the best fiction books and best nonfiction books of all time), head over to the book recommendations page

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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 signing up.

For now though, here’s my list of the best books to read of all time…

The 100 Best Books to Read of All Time

Why these best books and not others? The best books to read of all time below are the top picks from my long list of hundreds of books, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The aim is to surface what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s proven timelessly relevant.

Note: I’ve excluded religious texts from this list. For a breakdown of those, see this list of the best philosophy books of all time.

Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Books of All Time

Here are the top 10 best books of all time from my database…

Best Books Of All Time: Pride and Prejudice
1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The unforgettable, ever-popular and genre-defining love-story story of the 19th century. It’s over 200 years old and Pride and Prejudice is still as fresh, charming and unputdownable as the day it was first published – by best-selling author, Jane Austin.
Published 1813 // 279 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,797,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: The Count of Monte Cristo
2. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
The king of all adventure and slow-burning revenge stories. The Count of Monte Christo may not be a quick read, but fantastic characters, a gripping plot and masterful twists make it an obvious contender for one of the best books of all time – by master novelist, Alexandre Dumas.
Published 1844 // 1,276 pages // Rated 4.3 over 714,300 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, #3)
3. The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, #3) – J.R.R. Tolkien
The final instalment in the greatest, genre-defining, high-fantasy trilogy of all time. The Return of the King is a thrilling climax to the journey begun in The Fellowship of the Ring and set in the world of The Hobbit – by writer, poet and best-selling author, J.R.R. Tolkein.
Published 1955 // 404 pages // Rated 4.5 over 664,100 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: The Little Prince
4. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A hauntingly beautiful novella that addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss through the life-story of a little prince from space (asteroid B 612) told to the author (a stranded philosophical pilot) as he struggles to escape from the desert – by writer, poet, journalist and aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Published 1943 // 93 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,232,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
5. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again – J.R.R. Tolkien
A timeless classic and the fantasy novel that both introduced us to hobbits AND set the standard for all things dwarf, elf, troll, orc and dragon-related ever since. It’s no surprise to see The Hobbit among the best fantasy books of all time – by writer, poet and best-selling author, J.R.R. Tolkein.
Published 1937 // 366 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,835,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: The Essential Rumi
6. The Essential Rumi – Rumi
A perfect book to dip a little further into every day. The Essential Rumi is a curated (and translated) collection of some of the most beautiful and mystical poems ever written – by thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic Rumi.
Published 1273 // 416 pages // Rated 4.4 over 35,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: The Brothers Karamazov
7. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Widely acclaimed as one of the best books of all time, The Brothers Karimazov is a masterwork of philosophy and theology that explores the nature of faith, doubt and reason in a fast-changing world, through the lives, mishaps and thoughts of its unforgettable cast of characters – by novelist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Published 1879 // 796 pages // Rated 4.3 over 226,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: Gone with the Wind
8. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
An epic coming of age and historical romance novel, Gone With the Wind paints a stunning portrait of the hardships endured and created by the young daughter of a wealthy plantation owner as she fights for survival against the chaos of pre-, during- and post-civil war Georgia – by novelist and journalist, Margaret Mitchell.
Published 1936 // 1,037 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,037,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) – J.K. Rowling
The first of the 7 Harry Potter books. An astonishing 12 clueless muggles rejected the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before it finally launched one of the best-selling fantasy series of all time – by best-selling author and philanthropist, J.K. Rowling.
Published 1997 // 322 pages // Rated 4.5 over 6,867,000 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books Of All Time: The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
10. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Jacob Grimm
From Snow White and Rapunzel to Hansel, Grettel and Little Red Riding Hood, The Grimm Fairytales are the original, fantastical collection of folklore and fairytales that have both preserved and deeply influenced Western culture and storytelling – by authors and brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Published 1812 // 880 pages // Rated 4.3 over 140,400 reviews on Goodreads

Books 11-100: The Rest of The Best Books to Read Next

Here are the next 90 books on my list of the best books to read of all time…

11. The Constitution of the United States of America – Founding Fathers
Published 1787 // 30 pages // Rated 4.5 over 24,500 reviews on Goodreads
12. Night (The Night Trilogy #1) – Elie Wiesel
Published 1958 // 115 pages // Rated 4.3 over 951,200 reviews on Goodreads
13. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1892 // 246 pages // Rated 4.3 over 228,500 reviews on Goodreads
14. A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, #1) – George R.R. Martin
The first of 7 planned books in the Song of Ice and Fire series. The award-winning A Game of Thrones is a carnal, power-hungry, back-stabbing, plot-twisting journey through the heart and the history of Westeros – by best-selling (when he gets round to it) author, George R.R. Martin.
Published 1996 // 835 pages // Rated 4.5 over 1,966,500 reviews on Goodreads
15. East of Eden – John Steinbeck
Published 1952 // 601 pages // Rated 4.4 over 407,500 reviews on Goodreads
16. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Published 1908 // 320 pages // Rated 4.3 over 679,800 reviews on Goodreads
17. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Published 1960 // 324 pages // Rated 4.3 over 4,240,100 reviews on Goodreads
18. Letters from a Stoic – Seneca (Summary)
A powerful and practical collection of 124 letters on how to become a more devoted stoic in every aspect of life, by stoic philosopher and tutor to emperor Nero, Seneca the Younger.
Published -49 // 256 pages // Rated 4.3 over 18,200 reviews on Goodreads
19. The Complete Fairy Tales – Hans Christian Andersen
Published 1835 // 803 pages // Rated 4.3 over 118,800 reviews on Goodreads
20. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Published 1847 // 507 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,538,900 reviews on Goodreads
21. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Published 1939 // 264 pages // Rated 4.3 over 730,900 reviews on Goodreads
22. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
Published 1811 // 409 pages // Rated 4.1 over 912,700 reviews on Goodreads
23. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1866 // 671 pages // Rated 4.2 over 580,300 reviews on Goodreads
24. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
Published 1964 // 448 pages // Rated 4.4 over 311,000 reviews on Goodreads
25. Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
Published 1862 // 1,463 pages // Rated 4.2 over 638,600 reviews on Goodreads
26. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Published 1868 // 449 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,583,500 reviews on Goodreads
27. Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis (Summary)
Published 1952 // 191 pages // Rated 4.3 over 276,100 reviews on Goodreads
28. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius (FREE Summary)
A deeply humbling and thought-provoking 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.
Published 180 // 303 pages // Rated 4.2 over 102,600 reviews on Goodreads
29. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1894 // 378 pages // Rated 4.3 over 77,700 reviews on Goodreads
30. Shakespeare’s Sonnets – William Shakespeare
Published 1609 // 488 pages // Rated 4.3 over 79,300 reviews on Goodreads
31. Persuasion – Jane Austen
Published 1817 // 249 pages // Rated 4.1 over 495,800 reviews on Goodreads
32. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1) – C.S. Lewis
The first of 7 Chronicles of Narnia books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a stunning work of escapism that bridges 1940s war-torn England to a magical kingdom locked in an epic contest of good against evil – by best-selling author and theologian, C.S. Lewis.
Published 1950 // 206 pages // Rated 4.2 over 2,085,000 reviews on Goodreads
33. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) – Orson Scott Card
Published 1985 // 324 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,109,700 reviews on Goodreads
34. 1984 – George Orwell
Published 1949 // 237 pages // Rated 4.2 over 3,055,100 reviews on Goodreads
35. Watchmen – Alan Moore
Published 1987 // 416 pages // Rated 4.4 over 472,500 reviews on Goodreads
36. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Published 1890 // 367 pages // Rated 4.1 over 893,500 reviews on Goodreads
37. Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov – Anton Chekhov
Published 1903 // 467 pages // Rated 4.4 over 29,000 reviews on Goodreads
38. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Published 1938 // 449 pages // Rated 4.2 over 417,800 reviews on Goodreads
39. The Stand – Stephen King
Published 1990 // 1,153 pages // Rated 4.3 over 579,800 reviews on Goodreads
40. Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
Published 1944 // 174 pages // Rated 4.5 over 45,800 reviews on Goodreads
41. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Published 1911 // 331 pages // Rated 4.1 over 839,600 reviews on Goodreads
42. The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1) – Ken Follett
Published 1989 // 973 pages // Rated 4.3 over 616,000 reviews on Goodreads
43. The Return of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1905 // 455 pages // Rated 4.3 over 49,500 reviews on Goodreads
44. Roots – Alex Haley
The Saga of an American Family
Published 1976 // 729 pages // Rated 4.4 over 140,200 reviews on Goodreads
45. The Flowers of Evil – Charles Baudelaire
Published 1857 // 464 pages // Rated 4.3 over 45,400 reviews on Goodreads
46. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie (FREE 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.
Published 1936 // 288 pages // Rated 4.2 over 580,200 reviews on Goodreads
47. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Published 1947 // 283 pages // Rated 4.2 over 2,671,000 reviews on Goodreads
48. The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman
Published 1986 // 296 pages // Rated 4.6 over 131,500 reviews on Goodreads
49. Musashi – Eiji Yoshikawa
Published 1935 // 970 pages // Rated 4.5 over 14,200 reviews on Goodreads
50. Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
Published 1985 // 945 pages // Rated 4.5 over 139,300 reviews on Goodreads
51. Endurance – Alfred Lansing
Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
Published 1959 // 282 pages // Rated 4.4 over 80,600 reviews on Goodreads
52. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! – Dr. Seuss
Published 1990 // 44 pages // Rated 4.4 over 310,200 reviews on Goodreads
53. On the Shortness of Life – Seneca (Summary)
Published -49 // 106 pages // Rated 4.2 over 17,300 reviews on Goodreads
54. Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1) – James Clavell
Published 1975 // 1,152 pages // Rated 4.4 over 140,000 reviews on Goodreads
55. As a Man Thinketh – James Allen (Summary)
Published 1902 // 80 pages // Rated 4.3 over 53,100 reviews on Goodreads
56. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran
Published 1923 // 127 pages // Rated 4.2 over 219,400 reviews on Goodreads
57. A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1887 // 123 pages // Rated 4.2 over 299,900 reviews on Goodreads
58. Much Ado About Nothing – William Shakespeare
Published 1598 // 246 pages // Rated 4.1 over 206,400 reviews on Goodreads
59. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
Published 1929 // 80 pages // Rated 4.3 over 45,300 reviews on Goodreads
60. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
Published 1942 // 223 pages // Rated 4.2 over 313,700 reviews on Goodreads
61. The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
Published 1895 // 76 pages // Rated 4.2 over 290,100 reviews on Goodreads
62. The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X (Summary)
Published 1965 // 466 pages // Rated 4.3 over 194,500 reviews on Goodreads
63. Demons – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1872 // 733 pages // Rated 4.3 over 35,100 reviews on Goodreads
64. The Art of Living – Epictetus
The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness
Published 125 // 128 pages // Rated 4.2 over 13,800 reviews on Goodreads
65. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
Published 1952 // 184 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,337,500 reviews on Goodreads
66. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Published 1844 // 625 pages // Rated 4.1 over 261,600 reviews on Goodreads
67. The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason (FREE Summary)
THE classic parable on how to acquire money, how to not lose money and how to make money multiply – by serial entrepreneur and author, George S. Clason.
Published 1926 // 194 pages // Rated 4.3 over 104,500 reviews on Goodreads
68. The Complete Poems – John Keats
Published 1820 // 416 pages // Rated 4.3 over 20,700 reviews on Goodreads
69. Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1) – Frank Herbert
Published 1965 // 604 pages // Rated 4.2 over 728,700 reviews on Goodreads
70. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Published 1963 // 37 pages // Rated 4.2 over 774,900 reviews on Goodreads
71. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Published 1867 // 1,392 pages // Rated 4.1 over 248,600 reviews on Goodreads
72. Aesop’s Fables – Aesop
Published -560 // 306 pages // Rated 4.1 over 111,300 reviews on Goodreads
73. The Choice – Edith Eger
Embrace the Possible
Published 1959 // 289 pages // Rated 4.6 over 24,900 reviews on Goodreads
74. Love You Forever – Robert Munsch
Published 1986 // 32 pages // Rated 4.4 over 192,500 reviews on Goodreads
75. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #1) – Douglas Adams
Published 1979 // 193 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,402,600 reviews on Goodreads
76. The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
Published 1945 // 146 pages // Rated 4.3 over 101,700 reviews on Goodreads
77. The Complete Essays – Michel de Montaigne
Published 1572 // 1,344 pages // Rated 4.2 over 15,200 reviews on Goodreads
78. The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
Published 1320 // 798 pages // Rated 4.1 over 108,100 reviews on Goodreads
79. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
Published 1967 // 335 pages // Rated 4.3 over 222,100 reviews on Goodreads
80. The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1869 // 667 pages // Rated 4.2 over 120,900 reviews on Goodreads
81. Cosmos – Carl Sagan (Summary)
Published 1980 // 384 pages // Rated 4.4 over 107,700 reviews on Goodreads
82. Apology – Plato (FREE Summary)
Three powerful speeches made by Socrates, a founder of Western Philosophy, in his final defence of wisdom, excellence and his life – by Socrates’s student, Aristotle’s teacher and eminent Greek philosopher, Plato.
Published -380 // 127 pages // Rated 4.2 over 31,900 reviews on Goodreads
83. His Last Bow (Sherlock Holmes, #8) – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1917 // 256 pages // Rated 4.3 over 34,600 reviews on Goodreads
84. I, Claudius (Claudius, #1) – Robert Graves
Published 1934 // 468 pages // Rated 4.3 over 50,900 reviews on Goodreads
85. Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings – Jorge Luis Borges
Selected Stories and Other Writings
Published 1962 // 256 pages // Rated 4.5 over 26,700 reviews on Goodreads
86. Second Foundation (Foundation, #3) – Isaac Asimov
Published 1953 // 256 pages // Rated 4.3 over 139,900 reviews on Goodreads
87. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Published 1969 // 289 pages // Rated 4.2 over 396,200 reviews on Goodreads
88. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
Published 1962 // 325 pages // Rated 4.2 over 604,300 reviews on Goodreads
89. The Imitation of Christ – Thomas à Kempis
Published 1418 // 288 pages // Rated 4.2 over 18,100 reviews on Goodreads
90. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1902 // 256 pages // Rated 4.1 over 230,800 reviews on Goodreads
91. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson – Emily Dickinson
Published 1890 // 716 pages // Rated 4.2 over 68,500 reviews on Goodreads
92. I, Robot (Robot, #0.1) – Isaac Asimov
Published 1950 // 224 pages // Rated 4.2 over 270,300 reviews on Goodreads
93. Stoner – John Williams
Published 1965 // 278 pages // Rated 4.3 over 89,700 reviews on Goodreads
94. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales – Edgar Allan Poe
Published 1839 // 400 pages // Rated 4.2 over 66,100 reviews on Goodreads
95. The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2) – Michael Shaara
Published 1974 // 345 pages // Rated 4.3 over 72,900 reviews on Goodreads
96. Notes from Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1864 // 136 pages // Rated 4.2 over 70,500 reviews on Goodreads
97. The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
Published 1977 // 692 pages // Rated 4.2 over 302,200 reviews on Goodreads
98. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill (FREE 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.
Published 1937 // 233 pages // Rated 4.2 over 187,900 reviews on Goodreads
99. The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Summary)
Published 1949 // 623 pages // Rated 4.2 over 75,100 reviews on Goodreads
100. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
Published 1961 // 256 pages // Rated 4.2 over 226,000 reviews on Goodreads
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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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