Looking for the best short books of all time?
You’re in the right place!
Here’s what you’ll find on this page…
How Long Is a Short Book?
For the sake of these short book recommendations:
- Short NONFICTION books are books with 114 pages or less; and
- Short FICTION books are books with 104 pages or less.
Why these numbers?
“Fast reads”, for me, are any books an average reader can finish in under 2 hours.
Based on average reading speeds and average number of words per page for each genre, that comes out at books of 114 pages or less for nonfiction and books of 104 pages or less for fiction.
Want the hard science? see this short article on how long it takes to read 100 pages of a book.
Is it a perfect solution? No.
But it’s based on robust science and well established norms so it’s good enough for me!
Why These Best Short Books and Not Others?
Why these best short books and not others? The short books below are the top picks from my huge database of the top books of all time, 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.
Think something’s missing? Email me and I’ll add it to the next round of updates. I honestly love hearing from you so please, do get in touch!
The 30 Best Short NONFICTION Books of All Time
Here are the best 30 short nonfiction books of all time (114 pages or less, including biographies) from my database…
NOTE: Some of these books, especially the philosophical dialogues are HARD. You might read them in under 2 hours but you will need MUCH longer to really understand them.
Fortunately, one of the first parts to reading any book well is to read it right though, without stopping, cover-to-cover – so these books still qualify for our list.
Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Short Nonfiction Books
The top 10 best short nonfiction books of all time are…
Books 11-30: 20 Great Short Nonfiction Books to Read Next
Here are the next 20 best short nonfiction books from my database…
The 30 Best Short FICTION Books of All Time
Here are the best 30 short fiction books of all time (104 pages or less, excluding books of poetry and plays) from my database…
NOTE: I’ve also excluded children’s books from this list. For more of those, check out this list of the 30 best children’s books of all time.
Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Short Fiction Books
The top 10 best short fiction books of all time are…
Books 11-30: 20 Great Short Fiction Books to Read Next
Here are the next 20 best short fiction books from my database…
More Book Recommendations
Enjoyed this list of the best short books of all time? Here’s a breakdown of all the book lists and book recommendations on the site…
More Best Books of All Time (by Type)
These are some lists of overall best books to read...
More Best Nonfiction Books (by Topic)
These are some lists of best nonfiction books to read...
More Best Fiction Books (by Genre)
These are some lists of best fiction books to read...
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