Outraged? Delighted? Think something’s missing? Your thoughts and suggestions make my day and they also make this list better for everyone. Please leave a comment with your suggestions, below. 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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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…
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
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
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
Arthur is a thinker and writer who helps people who want more from their lives learn to be more productive, find more balance and live life 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 →