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Must Read Books: 30+ Incredible Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL..
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Must Read Books

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Looking for the ultimate list of must read books? You’re in the right place!

I spend A LOT of time collecting book recommendations and writing book summaries here on The Art of Living.

So, on this page, I’ve taken all that work and used TAoL‘s unique book ranking algorithm to gather the best of the best of that research in one place.

Result? The ultimate list of 30+ must read books on the internet.

NOTE: I’m constantly adding new book recommendations and book summaries to the site so be sure to check back in regularly for FREE regular updates to the list.

Think something’s missing? I LOVE feedback (and book recommendations) so don’t hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch with your thoughts.

Until then…

Enjoy this list of the 30+ incredible must read books of all time.

Let me know how you get along with your reading.

And may you always read widely, read wisely and go well.

Must Read Books: Fiction

Must Read Fiction Books (All Genres)

Here are the top 3 titles from my list of the 100+ best fiction books of all time

Must Read Books: 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
Must Read Books: 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
Must Read Books: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
3. 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
Want more suggestions? Click here to check out the full list.

Must Read Sci-fi Books

Here are the top 3 titles from my list of the 70+ best sci-fi books of all time

NOTE: You may want to start with the first book in the relevant series instead of jumping straight to the books on this list.

Must Read Books: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
1. Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) – Marissa Meyer
Published 2014 // 552 pages // Rated 4.4 over 308,300 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)
2. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) – Orson Scott Card
Published 1985 // 324 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,109,700 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: Golden Son (Red Rising Saga, #2)
3. Golden Son (Red Rising Saga, #2) – Pierce Brown
Published 2015 // 430 pages // Rated 4.4 over 143,100 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Click here to check out the full list.

Must Read Fantasy Books

Here are the top 3 titles from my list of the 70+ best fantasy books of all time

Must Read Books: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
1. 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
Must Read Books: The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, #3)
2. 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
Must Read Books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1)
3. 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
Want more suggestions? Click here to check out the full list.

Must Read Books: Nonfiction

I’ve organized the lists of must read nonfiction books below according to The Art of Living’s 8 primary areas of life.

For a more unstructured approach, check out this reading list of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time.

Must Read Books on Health & Vitality

Here are the top 3 must read books on Health & Vitality

Must Read Books: Being Mortal
1. Being Mortal – Atul Gawande (Summary)
Medicine and What Matters in the End
A powerful reminder that modern medicine still has a long way to go before it champions well-being over survival – by surgeon and best selling author, Atul Gawande.
Published 2014 // 282 pages // Rated 4.5 over 126,400 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: Why We Sleep
2. Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker (FREE Summary)
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
A fascinating and accessible guide to what sleep is, why sleep matters and how to optimise your sleep habits to live longer, feel happier and set your life up for success – by sleep scientist and best-selling author, Matthew Walker.
Published 2017 // 368 pages // Rated 4.4 over 63,800 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: How Not to Die
3. How Not to Die – Michael Greger (FREE Summary)
Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
A deeply researched and compelling primer on the promise and importance of whole food plant-based nutrition in preventing and reversing disease – by medical doctor and nutrition expert, Michael Greger.
Published 2015 // 576 pages // Rated 4.5 over 20,500 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Must Read Books on Thoughts & Emotions

Here are the top 3 must read books on Thoughts & Emotions

Best Mindset Books: As a Man Thinketh
1. As a Man Thinketh – James Allen (FREE Summary)
THE #1 ranking, uplifting, pocket-sized pep-talk on the power and importance of changing your thoughts as the cornerstone to changing your life – by philosopher and prolific self-help author, James Allen.
Published 1902 // 34 pages // Rated 4.3 over 67,000 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: The Magic of Thinking Big
2. The Magic of Thinking Big – David J. Schwartz (FREE Summary)
A powerful, practical and uplifting book to help get you out of a rut, invigorate your goals and empower you towards success – by life-long motivational writer and coach, David J. Schwartz.
Published 1959 // 320 pages // Rated 4.2 over 63,200 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: Think and Grow Rich
3. 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
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Must Read Books on Family & Friends

Here are the top 3 must read books on Family & Friends

Must Read Books: How to Win Friends and Influence People
1. 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
Must Read Books: Influence
2. Influence – Robert B. Cialdini (Summary)
The Psychology of Persuasion
Published 1984 // 320 pages // Rated 4.2 over 96,000 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People
3. How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People – Les Giblin
Published 1956 // 192 pages // Rated 4.3 over 10,700 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Must Read Books on Love & Partnership

Here are the top 3 must read books on Love & Partnership

Must Read Books: The 5 Love Languages
1. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman (FREE Summary)
The Secret to Love that Lasts
A concise, actionable and time-tested guide to letting others know they are loved and feeling loved and appreciated in return – by best-selling author, pastor and marriage counsellor, Gary Chapman.
Published 1990 // 209 pages // Rated 4.3 over 282,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Relationship Books: The Mastery of Love
2. The Mastery of Love – Miguel Ruiz (FREE Summary)
A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
A beautiful, poetic and easy-to-read self-help book that illuminates the false and unnecessarily dramatic lives we lead, filled with fear and self-rejection, and how to wake up to our own inner power so that we can learn to love others and ourselves — by Toltec Nagual and best selling author, Don Miguel Ruiz.
Published 1999 // 240 pages // Rated 4.2 over 42,100 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: Codependent No More
3. Codependent No More – Melody Beattie
How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
Published 1986 // 276 pages // Rated 4.2 over 26,200 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Must Read Books on Growth & Learning

Here are the top 3 must read books on Growth & Learning

Must Read Books: The Art of Memory
2. The Art of Memory – Frances A. Yates
Published 1966 // 464 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: The Brain That Changes Itself
2. The Brain That Changes Itself – Norman Doidge (FREE Summary)
Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
An informative and readable journey into the history, science and consequences of recent research in neuroplasticity – the brain’s incredible ability to change and reorganise itself – by psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and researcher, Norman Doidge.
Published 2007 // 427 pages // Rated 4.2 over 29,400 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: How to Read a Book
3. How to Read a Book – Mortimer J. Adler (FREE Summary)
The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
THE classic guide to reading faster, deeper and more effectively than you ever realised was possible – by deep-thinkers, philosophers and life-long learners, M. Adler and C. van Doren.
Published 1940 // 426 pages // Rated 4.0 over 20,100 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Must Read Books on Productivity & Performance

Here are the top 3 must read books on Productivity & Performance

Must Read Books: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey (FREE Summary)
Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
A perennial masterpiece on leading a happy, productive and purposeful existence and an unmissable stop for any pilgrim of personal improvement – by educator, author and speaker, Stephen Covey.
Published 1989 // 372 pages // Rated 4.1 over 500,100 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: First Things First
2. First Things First – Stephen R. Covey (Summary)
An action-oriented time-management manual, filled with frameworks and exercises to help you do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t – by the author of the #1 book on this list, Stephen Covey.
Published 1993 // 384 pages // Rated 4.1 over 35,800 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: Goals!
3. Goals! – Brian Tracy
How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible
The first book I ever read on productivity and probably the most readable and complete guide to goal-setting ever written – by sales legend and time-management master, Brian Tracy.
Published 1989 // 291 pages // Rated 4.3 over 11,500 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Must Read Books on Business & Career

Here are the top 3 must read books on Business & Career

: Influence
2. Influence – Robert B. Cialdini (Summary)
The Psychology of Persuasion
Published 1984 // 320 pages // Rated 4.2 over 96,000 reviews on Goodreads
: How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling
3. How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling – Frank Bettger (Summary)
Published 1947 // 192 pages // Rated 4.3 over 14,100 reviews on Goodreads
: High Output Management
4. High Output Management – Andrew S. Grove (Summary)
A game-changing bible on entrepreneurship and management for anyone seeking practical ways to supercharge their personal and professional productivity – by founder of Intel, Andrew Grove.
Published 1983 // 272 pages // Rated 4.3 over 9,700 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Must Read Books on Wealth & Lifestyle

Here are the top 3 must read books on Wealth & Lifestyle

Must Read Books: The Richest Man in Babylon
1. 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
Must Read Books: The Intelligent Investor
2. The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Summary)
Published 1949 // 623 pages // Rated 4.2 over 97,000 reviews on Goodreads
Must Read Books: One Up On Wall Street
3. One Up On Wall Street – Peter Lynch
How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market
Published 1988 // 304 pages // Rated 4.2 over 24,800 reviews on Goodreads
Want more suggestions? Need something more specific? Check out all the book recommendations below for more must read books in this area of life…

Wish There Was a Faster/Easier Way?

Whenever you’re ready, here are four ways I can help you be more productive, find more balance and live life more on purpose…

  1. Curious? Discover how productive you really are… Take this free, 2-minute assessment to unlock your PQ and discover the top 25 habits you need to get big things done. Take the 2-minute quiz →
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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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