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The wise King Solomon said, “Of the making of books, there is no end.” But some books have enduring value that makes them the best books to read for any person in any generation. 

What are the best books to read in a lifetime? We believe the following books will not only be an entertaining read but will challenge you to be the best person you can be. 

Best Modern Fiction Books

These modern classics are hard to put down once you start reading!

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder expertly tells the story of Norwegian teenager Sophie Amundsen, who learns about the development of philosophy through middle-aged Alberto Knox.

Throughout the story, in the form of writer Albert Knag, who apparently constructed Sophie’s world as a literary work, Gaarder explores questions of existence and control of a greater being. 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

An unlikely friendship between a rich boy and the son of his father’s servant forms the foundation of this novel.

Set in war-torn Afghanistan, The Kite Runner explores the value of reading, the effect of betrayal, and the difficulty of redemption. Hosseini also delves into the love and sacrifices that fathers make for their sons. 

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel 

This fantasy adventure novel follows Piscine Molitor Patel, nicknamed “Pi,” a Tamil boy who explores questions of spirituality and practicality.

He experiences a shipwreck and stays afloat in a boat with a Bengal tiger, and they need to learn trust each other in order to survive. 

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Shadow is about to be released from prison, but his wife suddenly dies in a mysterious car accident. He gets on a plane and meets Mr. Wednesday, reportedly a refugee from a long-ago war.

In the midst of a preternatural storm, they take a journey through the heart of America. 

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 

Set in the red hills of Georgia, the book considered by many as the Great American Novel delves into the depths of human passion.

Spoiled and manipulative Scarlett O’Hara is the daughter of a rich plantation owner, and she tries everything she can to escape poverty after a destructive military campaign. Her coming of age experiences draws in readers of all generations. 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Long ago, the Elven-smiths forged the Rings of Power, and the Dark Lord Sauron crafted the One Ring to rule all the other rings. But now this Ring is lost, and the evil lord is searching for it all throughout Middle-earth. 

The story opens with Bilbo Baggins, who had found the Ring in a prequel (The Hobbit), leaving the ring as an inheritance to his young cousin, Frodo.

Frodo now has to bring the ring back to where it was created in order to cast it into the Cracks of Doom and destroy it. 

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

Shepherd boy Santiago goes on a journey from his home in Spain to the deserts of Egypt in search of buried treasure.

He meets several characters, including an alchemist. The quest that begins in search of worldly treasure ends up as a discovery of unseen treasures found deep inside. The book explores the power of our dreams to transform us. 

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

This amazing tale of two dogs and a cat who make their way home from thousands of miles away will surely capture your heart.

Interestingly, the animals find a way to fend for one another, and the power of love drives them on through unequalled challenges. 

The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder thrills us again with a modern Alice in Wonderland type fantasy.

Young Hans Thomas finds a tiny book inside a sticky bun, which contains a story that becomes strangely entwined with his own life. 

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 

A great glimpse into the lives of Asian immigrants in America, The Joy Luck Club follows the lives of four Chinese American immigrant families who start the “Joy Luck Club” while regularly playing mahjong.

Amy Tan takes a deeper look into the relationships of mothers and daughters, particularly among Asian families. 

Watership Down by Richard Adams 

When the young rabbit Fiver gets a premonition of impending doom, he and his brother lead a group of friends away from their ancient warren to find a new home.

The Times describes this as the perfect “grown-up novel for children.” 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This classic depiction of life in the deep South during a time of racial unrest has been hailed as one of the best works in American Literature.

The young Scout serves as narrator, giving us a child’s perspective of the injustices and struggles during that time. 

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey 

This 1951 detective novel follows a police officer—living in modern times—as he looks into the supposed crimes of King Richard III of England.

The historical accuracy of the book gives us a glimpse into the historical period when the Princes in the Tower were murdered. 

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory 

Nick Cominsky receives a mysterious invitation to dinner with a complete stranger, but he decides to go, thinking it was another prank set up by his colleagues.

At the dinner, he’s surprised by the intriguing discussion of world religions, heaven, and hell, but more surprised by the way the man who calls himself Jesus seems to know an inordinate level of details about Nick’s personal life. 

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

This book, hailed by major newspapers as one of the best books of the year, follows the story of asthmatic 11-year-old Reuben Land.

With his father and sister, Reuben searches all over the country for his older brother, who had been charged with murder. 

The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

This epic novel follows the education and training of a boy who lives in a cold London flat with his single mother.

He learns ancient languages starting at age 4, then moves on to learn mathematics, art, music, physics, and much more, before going on a quest to find his father. 

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 

Ralph Ellison explores the racial divide from the perspective of both the victims and their perpetrators.

The book follows the nameless protagonist all the way from the Deep South to Harlem where he witnesses the depravity of humankind. 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 

This novel, set during the Great Depression, follows Tom Joad, who has just been paroled when his family loses their farm to the bank.

The family heads west and meets many hardships along the way, ultimately finding that their dream of the “promised land” is not all they had hoped it would be. 

The War of the Roses by Warren Adler 

Seemingly perfect couple Jonathan and Barbara Rose appear to have everything together with their careers and family bond.

But Jonathan’s heart attack triggers Barbara to confront the loveless season they are in, leading them downhill into a mutual hatred. 

The Crucible by Arthur Miller  

This 1953 play portrays the witch-hunts and trials in Salem back in the 17th century. Miller effectively shows the hysteria that led all the killings of alleged witches during that dark time in history. 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This dystopian novel explores the possibilities of a society that considers books a dangerous source of unhappiness.

The fire department is tasked with burning all books, and they actively seek out dissidents who may be harboring a secret stash. 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym 

This novel follows the life of Mildred Lathbury, a spinster who lives in London in the 1950s. She is an extremely virtuous and intelligent woman who has no family and seems content to be alone in the world. 

A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin 

This pshychological suspense novel follows the life of a young man who insists on getting what he wants, even at the price of committing a crime.

His dreams and plans drive him, but he has gotten a girl pregnant, a problem that he believes requires desperate measures. 

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’ Connor 

This collection of short stories shows Flannery O’ Connor’s view of life, which includes apocalyptic possibilities, religious symoblism, and the tragic humor of human behavior.

These tales will surely inspire you to think about life and human dynamics. 

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow 

The book follows the coming of age story of Augie March, a fatherless child who grew up during the Great Depression.

The boy’s journey includes different situations, including coming close to being adopted by a wealthy couple. 

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume 

Almost twelve years old, New York City girl Margaret Simon moves to the suburbs and struggles to fit in with new friends. In the midst of her anxiety, she discovers someone she can always confide in. 

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin 

This semi-autobiographical novel tells of intelligent teenager John Grimes, who lives in Harlem in the 1930s.

It explores his relationship with his family and with religion, with a focus on the dual role that the Pentecostal Church plays in African-American lives. 

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 

This 1925-published novel tells the story of high-society woman Clarissa Dalloway, set in England after the First World War. It deals with the issues of mental illness, existentialism, feminism, and bisexuality. 

Rabbit, Run by John Updike 

The story shows former high school basketball player Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom who, at 26 years old, is trapped in an unexciting sales job and a passionless marriage. It traces his attempts to leave these constraints on his life. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 

African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston effectively portrays the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s.

The book follows the coming of age of teenaged Janie Crawford, who starts off essentially voiceless but discovers her hand in her own destiny. 

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates 

Set in the 1950s, the story explores the East Coast suburban life, through the life of married couple Frank and April Wheeler.

With the desire to break the rut of their ordinary life, they make plans to move to Paris, where they explore their longing for something bigger than their current careers. 

Classic Books to Read in a Lifetime

Add these to your must-read list immediately!

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

A sailor named Ishmael makes his way to a whaling vessel. Ahab, the stubborn captain, is on a fanatical quest to take revenge on the whale that ‘took’ his leg in a prior battle.

Through prophecies warning him against his pursuit and his crew falling ill and turning mad, Ahab continues with his intentions, giving us a phenomenal picture of the question of faith. 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Widely considered a children’s novel, Lucy Maud Montgomery originally wrote the book for all ages. When elderly brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert start realizing they need help on their farm, they request an orphan boy to adopt.

Instead, 11-year-old orphan girl Anne Shirley comes to them. The story traces Anne’s relationships, adventures, and humorous mishaps in her new home, in her school, and in the town. 

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe 

An expert exploration of faith and repentance, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe traces the journey of a rebellious son who wanted to go to sea and ended up shipwrecked on a deserted island. He finds ways to survive, and torments himself with fear of savages and wild animals. 

He takes on a servant named Friday, and after undergoing much realization and transformation, ultimately gets rescued.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

A prime example of a book whose main character spirals down to destruction, Anna Karenina follows the doomed adulterous affair between the beautiful Anna and the enigmatic and charming Count Vronksy.

Her confession to her husband sets off a series of consequences that give us a glimpse of the hypocrisies of a faith-professing society. 

Walden by Henry David Thoreau 

Henry David Thoreau, known as a transcendentalist, explores the concept of simple living in this book, also entitled Life in the Woods

Inspired by the two years and two months he spent in a cabin, he makes personal declarations of independence while exploring issues of spiritual discovery and social interaction. His semi-satirical work also uses symbolism for human development. 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters are all unmarried daughters, and their parents are beginning to worry. Suddenly, handsome and wealthy Charles Bingley comes courting oldest sister Jane, bringing with him the elusive Mr. Darcy. 

Elizabeth instantly writes off Mr. Darcy as a proud, irritating man, but eventually, her prejudices are challenged when she finds out important details from Mr. Darcy’s past. 

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 

Beautiful Emma Bovary is bored and trapped in a mundane existence, married to an ordinary doctor and stuck in provincial life.

A voracious reader of romance novels, she escapes from her banal existence by indulging in high fantasies, extravagant spending, and ultimately, adultery. But what happens when even her adulterous affairs turn out disappointing? 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The story of the four March girls, inspired by the author’s own family life, has enchanted girls and women alike across the ages.

Perfectly-behaved Meg, tomboy Jo, timid Beth, and spoiled Amy all experience their coming of age in the context of the Civil War, where their father is serving as a chaplain.

His strong belief in his “little women” keep the girls in line with strong moral standards as they go through life’s challenges. 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Little orphan boy Pip, raised by his heartless sister, has few expectations in life—until he is suddenly endowed with great wealth by an unknown benefactor.

The story follows intrigue after intrigue, the vain pursuit of love, and the question of whether money really can’t buy happiness.

Memorable characters fill the book, including the eccentric lady Miss Havisham and a terrifying Magwitch. 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Set in a colony in early New England, the book follows the consequences of a simple passionate act. Beautiful and dignified Hester Prynne has an affair with a minister that results in a daughter, and in light of the town’s punishment, struggles with repentance and creating a new life with dignity.

Through this theme, Hawthorne explores issues of sin, guilt, and legalism. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

A curious tale of narcissism, The Picture of Dorian Gray opens to artist Basil Hallward meeting the handsome young Dorian Gray, whose portrait he sets off to paint.

Through a series of connections, Dorian becomes so obsessed with remaining beautiful and young that he opts to sell his soul in exchange for remaining young while having his portrait age in his stead. 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nick Carraway tells the story of The Great Gatsby, about his former neighbor Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is a young and enigmatic millionaire obsessed with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

The book explores issues of idealism, decadence, resistance to change, excess, and social upheaval. It portrays the Roaring Twenties as a warning against the American Dream. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell

One of the most famous political allegories, Animal Farm follows a group of animals who revolt against the farm owner, their master.

Instead of the freedom they imagined, they end up being ruled by a tyrannical pig that they themselves allowed. Inspired by the Russian Revolution and its failed promises, the author explores the consequences of political and social decisions. 

Silas Marner by George Eliot

A misunderstood weaver and hermit loses his treasure to an unknown thief but learns love as an orphaned toddler comes into his life.

Throughout the book, we discover the heartbreaking story that caused Silas to hide away from people. 

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens 

This novel traces the difficult childhood of the young David Copperfield. The story is written from the point of view of a grown David as he looks back on his struggles with a controlling stepfather, challenges in boarding school, and the other adults he encounters as he journeys to maturity. 

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne 

An interesting glimpse into a time when travel was not as easy as it is now: Jules Verne writes a truly captivating tale, with inventor Phileas Fogg taking on a bet to travel the world in 80 days. He faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles but finds a way around them. 

The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The story follows Marco Loristan and his father Stefan, who is a Samavian patriot longing to overthrow the dictatorship that has taken over Samavia.

Marco makes friends with a street urchin known as “The Rat,” and the boys play imaginary tales of fighting for Samavia, not knowing their game would soon turn into a real mission for them. 

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter 

The innocence of the little girl in this story will surely melt your heart. Pollyanna meets every challenge with a commitment to her “Being Glad Game” which her deceased father had taught her. 

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

This allegory of the Christian life is one of the bestselling fiction books of all time. Upon learning of a coming destruction on his native land, Christian embarks on a journey to the Celestial City, encountering friends and enemies along the way. 

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 

The story follows introspective sailor Marlow, who journeys up the Congo River and meets the mysterious Kurtz. The book explores the concept of European imperialism over Asian and African countries for their resources. 

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins 

A mysterious diamond said to have evil powers is suddenly stolen from a closed bedroom closet, and the entire household is thrown into confusion as investigators come into the scene.

The story is told from the perspectives of different people in the household, giving us different insights into the same event. 

The Once and Future King by T.H. White

This unique retelling of the King Arthur legend was the inspiration for the Disney film The Sword in the Stone and the musical Camelot. The modern rendering gives us a fresh look at the familiar epic of English history. 

Paradise Lost by John Milton 

This epic poem tells the biblical story of the temptation and fall of man and their removal from the Garden of Eden. Book One describes the author’s purpose so as to explain God’s ways to men. 

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

This story follows the sea travels of Lemuel Gulliver, who comes upon strange lands: on Lilliput, he finds little people, the part of the book that inspired many films.

Through his encounters with the different cultures, he examines the virtues and vices in his own culture. 

The Little Duke by Charlotte Yonge 

The story follows the life of Richard, Duke of Normandy, whose father is murdered when Richard is just 8 years old.

Taken off to his overlord King Louis to the French court, Richard struggles with injustice and learns forgiveness and compassion in the process. 

The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat 

This historical book set during the time of the English Civil War follows the lives of the four Beverley children. After they are orphaned, they go to live in the New Forest with a forester who trains them to live off the land. 

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup 

Thirty-three-year old freeman Solomon Northup, who is kidnapped and sold as a slave, spends 12 years working as a driver, cotton picker, and carpenter. The book chronicles his struggles with the harsh treatment of slaves, lashings, and a failed hanging. 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Dr. Jekyll starts off as an intelligent and well-respected scientist who dabbles with scientific experiments that result in a bringing out of his “second” nature.

The book explores the duality of human nature and the struggle between good and evil. 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 

This anti-slavery novel follows the life of Uncle Tom, a dignified slave who saves the life of a little girl named Eva, whose father buys Tom.

As Eva’s health fails, she makes a deathbed request of her father to free his slaves, but he gets killed before he gets to do so. Tom goes to a new owner and keeps a Christian attitude in the midst of severe suffering. 

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 

This French historical novel follows Jean Valjean as he breaks parole, with police inspector Javert committed to bringing him back to prison. The book explores the themes of law, grace, justice, religion, and redemption.  

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The novel follows the life of ex-student Rodion Raskolnikov. Brought to extreme poverty, he struggles with questions of morality in his plan to kill a morally indifferent pawnbroker to get her money. 

Best Nonfiction books

Whether you want to learn something new or study the life of someone you admire, there’s a nonfiction classic for every interest.

Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey 

This autobiography of the founder of the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart, gives us an inside look into Sam Walton’s thought processes: he shares how he grew the company from a single dime store in a very tiny town to what it is today, while remaining deeply connected to the common people. 

His stories of his interactions with his people, whom he calls his “associates,” inspires us to build businesses that also build other people’s lives. 

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

This autobiography traces the journey of the ten Boom family during the years of World War II. Corrie ten Boom shares about her childhood and her family, including her childhood love for Karel, who eventually marries another woman. 

When the Nazis invade her town, Corrie helps to steal ration cards and eventually resorts to hiding Jews in her home. She shares the questions she has over all the theft, lying, bribery, and forgery she had to resort to in order to keep the Jews safe. Elizabeth and John Sherrill helped to co-author this work. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This bestselling self-help book has helped countless readers become effective in reaching their goals. His emphasis on caring for people while pursuing results helps form the foundation of “the character ethic,” which calls for aligning your values with timeless principles of morality.

The habits he shares form a progression taking us from dependence and ultimately to interdependence. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

One of the best-selling books of all time, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Business educator Dale Carnegie originally gave the contents of this book as a 14-week course on public speaking and human relations. The tips contained in this book will surely revolutionize how you view negotiations and dealing with other people. 

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

This true story of how Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into nations that were hostile to Christianity will surely keep you gripping your seat.

He shares about his narrow escapes from death and danger as he worked undercover to fulfill his mission. Elizabeth and John Sherrill also helped to bring this book to life. 

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki uses stories to explore the different mindsets that set the rich apart from the poor. He uses the imagery of two fathers, one rich, and one poor, and the advice that each one gives him as he grows up.

He explores the problems with staying in the “rat race” and gives suggestions on how to escape the never-ending cycle of working to earn money and then spending it all, and instead building wealth. 

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

In this book, bestselling author Stephen King shares his experiences as a writer and offers important advice for other aspiring writers.

The first part talks about events that influenced the trajectory of his career; the second includes his encouragement for taking writing seriously; another section discusses the mechanics of English, and the last part shares his experience in his van accident. 

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Cal Newport explores the importance of learning to do focused work in this generation of never-ending distractions.

He contrasts the value that deep work provides with the shallow work that many have become accustomed to in this Information Age. 

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins shatters the myth that pursuing one’s artistic passion is a surefire way to live a life of poverty.

He begins by studying the life of Michaelangelo, one of the greatest artists in all history, and shows us how true expertise in a craft deserves to be well paid. 

The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis

Originally written for parenting adopted children coming from hard places, The Connected Child also helps parents of their own biological children.

The book challenges conventional perspectives of parenting and offers an alternative for building connection with one’s children. 

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis 

The autobiographical account of a normal teenager who travels to Africa and gets burdened by the orphan crisis will surely inspire you.

Katie eventually adopts three children from Uganda, and establishes a ministry to feed and send hundreds of children to school while sharing Bible truths with them. 

The Life-Giving Home by Sally Clarkson 

Sally Clarkson shares timeless principles that she has applied to her own family life: ways of making the home the place that your family will long to be.

She establishes the importance of cultivating a place of safety for young children, as well as grown sons and daughters. 

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp explores our lack of appreciation and gratitude and challenges readers to embrace everyday blessings.

A master storyteller, Voskamp will take you on an amazing journey of learning to be grateful even for the little things. 

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler 

Philosopher Mortimer Adler wrote this book to offer guidelines on how to read books critically. The first part deals with the different dimensions of reading.

The next part focuses on analytical reading, challenging readers to read nonfiction books with the goal of gaining understanding. 

The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn

Learning logic becomes fun with these comic illustrations and humorous examples. This book is intended as a guide for learning logic skills for children aged 12 all the way through the adult years. 

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

This is the astonishing record of biologist Thor Heyerdahl’s journey across the Pacific Ocean.

Polynesian folktales have captured his attention, and he sets off to test his suspicions of an ancient race of people inhabiting the South Sea islands. 

The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin 

Tim Severin, along with several companions, constructs a boat to replicate those used in the 6th-century A.D., when St. Brendan first sailed to America.

Severin sails the Brendan with his crew from Brandon Creek to Newfoundland, overcoming severe weather challenges. 

Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey went from riches to rags when he lost his millions at 30 years old. From that experience, he went on to learn and share important principles about finances through his workshops, which have helped hundreds of thousands to set their lives right emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

This updated version includes chapters specific to marriage and children. 

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

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Dave Ramsey continues sharing crucial principles about money with his daughter Rachel as co-author. The team-up gives us interesting family stories and practical tips for teaching children and teens how to manage their money. 

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Author Michael Gerber is a small business consultant, and through his experiences he explores the myths surrounding successful businesses.

He emphasizes the difference between working in your business and working on your business. This book will help you work on your business to grow it in a productive, effective way. 

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis 

In this nonfiction book, master storyteller C.S. Lewis explores the four kinds of love that human beings experience: affection, friendship, romantic love, and God’s love. Lewis offers candid and wise reflections on the beauties and dangers of love. 

The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark 

This helpful guide is designed for those who struggle with housekeeping: Mindy Starns Clark offers practical and permanent solutions for keeping your home from routine messiness.

The book teaches you how to arrange your home in a logical and effective way so as to have it appear as though it were cleaning itself. 

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis 

Bestselling author and theologian C.S. Lewis explores the age-old question: If God is good, why does he allow pain and suffering?

The book delves into the intricacies of this common question across all cultures, juggling intellectual needs versus the need for faith. 

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl 

Published in 1946, this book chronicles Viktor Frankl’s experiences while imprisoned during World War II in Nazi concentration camps.

His psychotherapeutic method includes finding a purpose in life in order to have hope and a positive outlook. 

Principles by Ray Dalio 

Ray Dalio lays down the necessity of having principles to deal with recurring challenges in life. The book tackles both Life Principles and Work Principles, helping you achieve success both in your personal life and in your work life. 

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Businessmen and athletes alike have used this definitive guide on military strategy written around 500 BC in ancient China as a tool to beat their competition in the right way. Each of the 13 chapters focuses on a different aspect of war, 

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom 

After rediscovering his aged college professor, Morrie Schwartz, Mitch Albom starts to spend every Tuesday with him as Schwartz goes through his last months of life.

This mentorship gives Albom rich lessons, which he shares in this book. 

Why I Write by George Orwell 

The book explores the power of writing to mask half-truths. This collection of essays dissects the ways that politicians can lie to the people in an uncompromising way. 

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

The story follows Michael Oher, the son of a drug-addicted mother of thirteen children, who is intellectually behind when a rich, white family saves him from the streets.

He learns football and becomes the guard of his team’s quarterback to protect his blind side. 

To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

This book studies the way that anyone of any profession is actually always “selling” something. Daniel Pink explores the evolution of the salesman from a pushy salesperson out to get a sale for himself to one that seeks to serve others for their benefit. 

A Cry for Justice by Shelley Hundley 

Born in Colombia, Shelley Hundley is the daugher of American missionaries who suffered abuse at the hands of a religious leader.

Her anger and confusion turn her away from God for allowing that to happen. Using her story as the backdrop of the book, Hundley shares how she found healing form her guilt, shame, and pain. 

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking 

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This science book delves into issues on how the universe began, its boundaries, and other dimensions in space.

Stephen Hawking uses attractive images and an imaginative storytelling to bring us to a glimpse of the secrets of creation. 

How to Read Slowly by James Sire 

Former English professor James Sire writes this book to teach people to read for comprehension.

It encourages readers to explore different points of view in order to get an accurate picture of anything, making it a good text for learning logical reading and analysis. 

Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng 

Nien Cheng’s autobiography gives us a first-hand account of the cultural revolution in China. Her fluent English made her a suspected British spy, which led to her house arrest and consequent imprisonment. 

Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children by Joseph Bucklin Bishop

Twenty-sixth president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most respected characters in American history.

Known for being a soldier, hunter, explorer, naturalist, and author, this book compiles the letters he sent to his children, giving us a glimpse of Roosevelt also as a devoted father. 

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

This autobiography of Dr. Benjamin Carson traces his challenging childhood, when his mother believed in him against all odds.

Since then, he has skyrocketed from getting failing grades to leading the pediatric neurosurgery department of Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he performs surgeries nothing short of miraculous. 

The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian 

Through this exposé, journalist David Kupelian unveils how marketing strategies have served to desensitize Americans to what used to be morally disturbing to previous generations.

He explores how the values on which America was founded have been shaken by effective marketing that causes the people to embrace essentially destructive beliefs. 

Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall 

Scientist Jane Goodall, who worked for decades with primates, urges readers to rethink the way we eat food in order to make a difference.

In this book, she shares simple strategies that anyone can apply for the sake of sustainability. 

Best Books to Read in a Lifetime

If you’ve resolved to read more books but don’t know where to start, wonder no more! Start with one of the outstanding books on this list that deserve to be read at least once in a lifetime.

And if you’re looking to catch up on more recent titles, check out our list of the 100 best books of 2019.

Which books are on your must-read list right now? Share them in the comments below!

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