Life is short, so what to read? We have you covered! We have compiled a list of the 30 most recommended books on our website to read before you die. There is sure to be something on this list for every kind of book enthusiast. Without further ado, check out SmartReads’s most recommended books.
- Man’S Search For Meaning
It is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity. The book intends to answer the question “How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?” Part One constitutes Frankl’s analysis of his experiences in the concentration camps, while Part Two introduces his ideas of meaning and his theory called logotherapy.
PewDiePie reveals his secret of inspiration. “I suddenly feel better equipped for in case–I know that sounds a bit weird to say, but in case something really bad happens, I feel like from reading this book, I’m better equipped to know how to handle it. That’s a bit naive to say, but I really think there are some important stuff in here.”
“Wow it’s dark,” Naval Ravikant replied to a user on twitter.
“Looks at how we find purpose by dedicating ourselves to a cause, learning to love and finding a meaning to our suffering,” says Ryan Holiday about his favourite book.
It’s also on the bookshelf of Sam Altman.
“Another book that I’ve read dozens of times. It taught me that if you change the meaning, you change everything. Meaning equals emotion, and emotion equals life,” says Tony Robbins.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things
In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, draws on his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don’t cover.
Recommended by Michael Dell, he says this book is one of his faves because it’s loaded with great lessons and advice from a successful leader and innovator.
Also a favourite book of Danielle Morrill, she mentioned it on her website while sharing a reading list of her favourites.
- The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, the novel depicts narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.
A youthful romance Fitzgerald had with socialite Ginevra King, and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island’s North Shore in 1922 inspired the novel. Following a move to the French Riviera, he completed a rough draft in 1924. He submitted the draft to editor Maxwell Perkins, who persuaded Fitzgerald to revise the work over the following winter. After his revisions, Fitzgerald was satisfied with the text, but remained ambivalent about the book’s title and considered several alternatives. The final title he desired was Under the Red, White, and Blue. Painter Francis Cugat’s final cover design impressed Fitzgerald who incorporated a visual element from the art into the novel.
Recommended by Ta-Nehisi Coates. “I’m a sucker for efficiency. This book gets so much out of what is, ultimately, a rather slim story. I adore it,” he says.
“Melinda and I really like this book. When we were first dating, she had a green light that she would turn on when her office was empty and it made sense for me to come over,” says Bill Gates for his favourite book.
- The Alchemist
The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. Believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, he asks a Gypsy fortune teller in the nearby town about its meaning. The woman interprets the dream as a prophecy telling the boy that he will discover a treasure at the Egyption pyramids.
Will Smith has said in an interview that it is his favourite book ever and that he had his kids read it several times. The book’s main theme is about finding one’s destiny, although according to The New York Times, The Alchemist is “more self-help than literature.” The advice given Santiago that “when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true” is the core of the novel’s philosophy and a motif that plays throughout it.
Also a favourite of Tony Robbins, he describes the book as “a remarkable tale about the most magical of all journeys: the quest to fulfill one’s destiny”.
Issa Rae says of the book “it’s the perfect, most inspiring book to read if you’re considering pursuing your dreams and/or becoming an entrepreneur. Or even if you’re unsure about what it is you’re meant to do.
Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.
When a fan asked Alexandra Daddario about her favourite book, “George Orwell’s “1984”, especially right now, there is nothing like that, she answered.”
Also Anne Hathaway posted a post on Instagram with the picture of 1984 and captioned it “Recent/current/future reads”
Margaret Atwood recommends this book and she mentioned, “Three things that had long been of interest to me came together during the writing of the book. The first was my interest in dystopian literature, an interest that began with my adolescent reading of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Huxley’s Brave New World and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and continued through my period of graduate work at Harvard in the early 1960s.”
- Zero to One
It’s a 2014 book by the American entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel co-written with Blake Masters. It is a condensed and updated version of a highly popular set of online notes taken by Masters for the CS183 class on startups, as taught by Thiel at Stanford Universityin Spring 2012.
In the Atlantic, Derek Thomson describes Thiel’s book as possibly the best business book he has ever read. In his review article, he wrote: “Peter Thiel’s new book, Zero to One, shines like a laser beam. Yes, this is a self-help book for entrepreneurs, bursting with bromides and sunny confidence about the future that only startups can build. But much more than that, it’s also a lucid and profound articulation of capitalism and success in the 21st century economy” and “it’s surprising in a wonderful way just how simple Zero to One feels. Barely 200 pages long, and well lit by clear prose and pithy aphorisms, Thiel has written a perfectly tweetable treatise and a relentlessly thought-provoking handbook”.
Mark Zuckerberg says, “this book delivers completely new and refreshing ideas on how to create value in the world.”
Also a favourite of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan. He says, “when a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. Or, to be safe, three times. This is a classic.”
- The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success. The novel’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand’s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism.
The novel has been adapted into other media several times. An illustrated version was syndicated in newspapers in 1945. Warner Bros. produced a film version in 1949; Rand wrote the screenplay, and Gary Cooper played Roark. Critics panned the film, which did not recoup its budget; several directors and writers have considered developing a new film adaptation. In 2014, Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove created a stage adaptation, which has received mostly positive reviews.
In 2012 Watson spoke to Marie Claire about “The Fountainhead” saying, “I know, it’s a cult. I’m not going to take it too far, but I did enjoy it.” and it’s also on the “books read” section of Ev Williams‘s GoodReads profile.
“As a kid, I wanted to be an architect. That’s before I read this book. I mean it is hard to find a profession that pays worse than architecture,” says Larry Ellison.
- Crossing the Chasm
Crossing the Chasm (1991, revised 1999 and 2014), is a marketing book by Geoffrey A. Moore that focuses on the specifics of marketing high tech products during the early start up period. The fundamental theories in Crossing the Chasm, including the concept of a gap or chasm between the early adopters of a product and the mainstream early majority, were originally developed in 1988 and 1989 by a group of consultants working at Regis McKenna, Inc.
In 2006, Tom Byers, director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, described it as “still the bible for entrepreneurial marketing 15 years later”. The book’s success has led to a series of follow-up books and a consulting company, The Chasm Group.
One of Seth Godin‘s favourite books. He says. “helps us understand that it is a myth — an incorrect myth, a false myth — to believe that we can start with an idea for a few people and ride it from early adopter to early majority to late majority to laggard.”
It’s about how do technology products make their way from early adopters to the mainstream,” says Drew Houston for his favourite book.
Also on the bookshelf of Ron Conway. “Bestselling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries,” he says.
- The Art of War
The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu (“Master Sun”, also spelled Sunzi), is composed of 13 chapters. Each one is devoted to a different set of skills (or “art”) related to warfare and how it applies to military strategy and tactics. For almost 1,500 years it was the lead text in an anthology that was formalized as the Seven Military Classics by Emperor Shenzong of Song in 1080. The Art of War remains the most influential strategy text in East Asian warfare and has influenced both Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy, lifestyles and beyond.
The book was translated into French and published in 1772 (re-published in 1782) by the French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot. A partial translation into English was attempted by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905 under the title The Book of War.
Recommended by Neil deGrasse Tyson, he says, “to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.” –
Ryan Petersen mentioned this book on Twitter and Jocko Willink covered this book in “Jocko Podcast” Ep. 23
“I like the classics such as The Republic by Plato and The Art of War by Sun Tzu,” says Vlad Tenev for his favourite book.
- War and peace
War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, he said War and Peace is not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle. The novel is set 60 years before Tolstoy’s day, but he had spoken with people who lived through the 1812 French invasion of Russia.
Niall Ferguson mentioned about his favourite book, “I suppose that, as a middle-aged man, I react differently to Tolstoy than I did when I first read War and Peace at about 15. At first reading, I was entirely captivated by the concluding essay at the end of the book, where Tolstoy writes about historical determinism. I bought that then, and it was only really in my twenties that I rebelled against it.”
When Anna Wintour was asked, what’s a book you wish you had written? “War and Peace, she replied.”
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
It is a book by Yuval Noah Harari, first published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011 based on a series of lectures Harari taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and in English in 2014. The book surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on Homo sapiens. The account is situated within a framework that intersects the natural sciences with the social sciences.
Harari’s work situates its account of human history within a framework, he sees the natural sciences as setting the limits of possibility for human activity and sees the social sciences as shaping what happens within those bounds. The academic discipline of history is the account of cultural change.
Harari surveys the history of humankind in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on Homo sapiens. He divides the history of Sapiens into four major parts.
“Best book I’ve read in the last year (2015),” mentioned Naval Ravikant on his twitter page.
“The brainy book I seem to be sharing or talking about the most lately,” says Ashton Kutcher.
Also a favourite of Ryan Shea. He has gifted this most to his near and dear ones.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude
It is a landmark 1967 novel by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez and it is the story of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the town of Macondo. It contains several ideas concerning time. Although the story can be read as a linear progression of events, both when considering individual lives and Macondo’s history, García Márquez allows room for several other interpretations of time.
I feel One Hundred Years of Solitude would be a great book to accompany you. Bill Clinton‘s favourite book and he listed this book as one of his top choices in “Today” show on NBC.
Paulo Coelho also recommended this book and said, “Reflects the richness of the Latin soul (and body).”
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
It’s a psychology book examining the key ways people can be influenced by “Compliance Professionals”.
The key premise of the book is that in a complex world where people are overloaded with more information than they can deal with, people fall back on a decision making approach based on generalizations. These generalizations develop because they allow people to usually act in a correct manner with a limited amount of thought and time. However, they can be exploited and effectively turned into weapons by those who know them to influence others to act certain ways.
“People can be influenced in their behaviors by many different tactics,” says Noah Kagan and recommends this book.
Also a favourite book of Scott Adams. He says, “100 percent of effective people seem to have read [this book]. In fact, it’s one of those things that when I meet somebody and they’re operating at a pretty high level, if you mention this book, they’ve all read it.”
- Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged is a 1957 novel by Ayn Rand. Rand’s fourth and final novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. Atlas Shrugged includes elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance, and it contains Rand’s most extensive statement of objectivism in any of her works of fiction. The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is “the role of man’s mind in existence”. The book explores a number of philosophical themes from which Rand would subsequently develop Objectivism. In doing so, it expresses the advocacy of reason, individualism, and capitalism, and depicts what Rand saw to be the failures of governmental coercion.
Atlas Shrugged is set in a dystopian United States at an unspecified time, in which the country has a “National Legislature” instead of Congress and a “Head of State” instead of a President. The United States also appears to be approaching an economic collapse, with widespread shortages, constant business failures, and severely decreased productivity.
“Celebrate the creators in the world (even when they struggle). They may be more valuable than we think,” says Brian Armstrong about the book.
Also recommended by Amelia Boone. She says, “when I read this book in my teens, Dagny Taggart’s character spoke to me on a level I’d never experienced with any other novel.”
- Thinking, Fast and Slow
Favourite of Naval Ravikant and is a best-selling book published during 2011 by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate Daniel Kahneman. It was the 2012 winner of the National Academies Communication Award for best creative work that helps the public understanding of topics of behavioral science, engineering and medicine.
Kahneman describes a number of experiments which purport to examine the differences between these two thought systems and how they arrive at different results even given the same inputs. Terms and concepts include coherence, attention, laziness, association, jumping to conclusions, WYSIATI (What you see is all there is), and how one forms judgments.
“Covers all three phases of [the author’s] career: his early days working on cognitive bias, his work on prospect theory, and his later work on happiness,” says Ron Conway.
“If you liked ‘Predictably Irrational’ or ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ or any of those pop-psychology books, well, this is the Godfather of all of their work, says Derek Sivers about his favourite book.
Naval Ravikant says, “Fine book but it didn’t need to be an entire book. A blog post would have gotten the point across.”
Ulysses is a modernist novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It was first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and then published in its entirety in Paris by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, Joyce’s 40th birthday. It is considered one of the most important works of modernist literature and has been called “a demonstration and summation of the entire movement.” According to Declan Kiberd, “Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking”
Ulysses is divided into the three books (marked I, II, and III) and 18 episodes. The episodes do not have chapter headings or titles, and are numbered only in Gabler’s edition. In the various editions the breaks between episodes are indicated in different ways; e.g., in the Modern Language edition each episode begins at the top of a new page.
recommended by Marilyn Monroe and found in her library.
- The 4-Hour Work Week
It is a self-help book by Timothy Ferriss, an American writer, educational activist, and entrepreneur. The book has spent more than four years on The New York Times Best Seller List, has been translated into 40 languages and has sold more than 2.1 million copies worldwide. It deals with what Ferriss refers to as “lifestyle design” and repudiates the traditional “deferred” life plan in which people work grueling hours and take few vacations for decades and save money in order to relax after retirement.
With Tim Ferriss’ guide, you can break free of the 9-5 workweek for a life full of travel, adventure, and whatever else it is that you want to do. His guide will help you eliminate much of your workload and make more time for the things that are most important to you. He is full of tricks for you to use at your own disposal.
“Taught me better ways to manage my time and the value of not making myself too busy,” says Mark Bell for his favourite read.
Also a favourite book of Maurice Ashley. He says, “Made me ditch the average life in search of one with complete flexibility and freedom to live life on my terms.”
- Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in book form in 1878. Many writers consider it the greatest work of literature ever written, and Tolstoy himself called it his first true novel.
A complex novel in eight parts, with more than a dozen major characters, Anna Karenina is spread over more than 800 pages (depending on the translation and publisher), typically contained in two volumes. It deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and rural vs. city life. The story centers on an extramarital affair between Anna and dashing cavalry officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky that scandalizes the social circles of Saint Petersburg and forces the young lovers to flee to Italy in a search for happiness, but after they return to Russia, their lives further unravel.
It’s on the bookshelf of Jennifer Lawrence. “I thought I wouldn’t want to finish an 800-page book, but then I started slowing down and reading the same chapters over and over,” she says.
Also recommended by Laura R Walker. A great novel that I have read three times,” she says.
- Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë, published under the pen name “Currer Bell”, on 16 October 1847, by Smith, Elder & Co. of London. The first American edition was published the following year by Harper & Brothers of New York.
The book contains elements of social criticism with a strong sense of Christian morality at its core, and it is considered by many to be ahead of its time because of Jane’s individualistic character and how the novel approaches the topics of class, sexuality, religion, and feminism. It, along with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is one of the most famous romance novels of all time.
“My mother, who is this brilliant actress [Blythe Danner], started reading Jane Eyre to me when I was probably 9 or 10 years old. It was the first adult book that I got lost in,” says Gwyneth Paltrow.
- Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, the original blockbuster. In terms of her mastery of the English language, she may be the GOAT (greatest of all time), her plot moves swiftly but there is also great depth to her characters. If you want great literature that is also easy reading, then look no further.
The novel follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennett, the dynamic protagonist of the book who learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. Its humour lies in its honest depiction of manners, education, marriage, and money during the Regency era in Great Britain.
Mr. Bennet of Longbourn estate has five daughters, but his property is entailed and can only be passed to a male heir. His wife also lacks an inheritance, so his family will be destitute upon his death. Thus it is imperative that at least one of the girls marry well to support the others, which is a motivation that drives the plot. The novel revolves around the importance of marrying for love, not for money or social prestige, despite the communal pressure to make a wealthy match.
Marlon James lists it as one of his favourites “because nobody has ever been slyer with characters than Austen. It still blows my mind that her unsavory, and unfortunate characters (Mrs Bennett, Lady Catherine, Charlotte), are the only ones who truly know what time it is” says James.
Paul Graham, when asked which books he reads then rereads years later and finds even better, said “Jane Austen novels”. Also listed among the favourite books of Richard E Grant and Anna Wintour, if you haven’t yet read it then you’re in for a real treat.
We all have the right to be happy and if something is stopping you from being happy then this book is for you. “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, favourite of Arianna Huffington, Naval Ravikant and Chip Conley.
“One of my all-time favorite books that’s always by my nightstand. I regularly read a few pages of it before going to sleep,” says Arianna Huffington.
Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from AD 161 to 180, recording his private notes to himself and ideas on Stoic philosophy.
Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. It is possible that large portions of the work were written at Sirmium, where he spent much time planning military campaigns from 170 to 180.
It is unlikely that Marcus Aurelius ever intended the writings to be published. The work has no official title, so “Meditations” is one of several titles commonly assigned to the collection.
A central theme to Meditations is the importance of analyzing one’s judgment of self and others and developing a cosmic perspective.
“I have given this book away to a number of people,” says Chip Conley.
Naval Ravikant recommended it on twitter and replied to a comment, “one of my favorite books of all time.”
- To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. Instantly successful, widely read in high schools and middle schools in the United States, it has become a classic of modern American literature, winning the Pulitzer Prize. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee’s observations of her family, her neighbors and an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1936, when she was ten.
Despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality, the novel is renowned for its warmth and humor. Atticus Finch, the narrator’s father, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. The historian Joseph Crespino explains, “In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its main character, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.”
“I remember starting it and just devouring it, not being able to get enough of it, because I fell in love with Scout,” says Oprah Winfrey about her favourite read and it’s also recommended on Jordan Peterson‘s web site.
Taylor Swift uses good old fashioned books to make sparks fly in her songwriting realm. “You know, you hear storytelling like in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and it just… it makes your mind wander,” she says, according to Big Machine Label Group. “It makes you feel like it makes your world more vast. And you think about more things and greater concepts after you read something like that.”
- The Innovator’s Dilemma
The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, generally referred to as The Innovator’s Dilemma, first published in 1997, is the best-known work of the Harvard professor and businessman Clayton Christensen. It expands on the concept of disruptive technologies, a term he coined in a 1995 article Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave.
Clayton Christensen demonstrates how successful, outstanding companies can do everything “right” and still lose their market leadership – or even fail – as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. There are two key parts to this dilemma.
Recommended by Drew Houston. “About how businesses get disrupted, and a lot of those themes are why startups can succeed and thrive even when there are big competitors who you would think would just wipe ’em out,” he says.
Ben Horowitz lists this to his booklist and says, “a great book on strategy.”
Also, one of Guy Kawasaki’s favourite books. He says, “taught me why it’s so hard to come up with a second hit.”
Dune is a 1965 science-fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert, originally published as two separate serials in Analog magazine. It tied with Roger Zelazny’s This Immortal for the Hugo Award in 1966, and it won the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. It is the first installment of the Dune saga; further, in 2003, it was cited as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel.
After his novel The Dragon in the Sea was published in 1957, Herbert traveled to Florence, Oregon, at the north end of the Oregon Dunes. Here, the United States Department of Agriculture was attempting to use poverty grasses to stabilize the sand dunes. Herbert claimed in a letter to his literary agent, Lurton Blassingame, that the moving dunes could “swallow whole cities, lakes, rivers, highways.” Herbert’s article on the dunes, “They Stopped the Moving Sands”, was never completed (and only published decades later in The Road to Dune) but its research sparked Herbert’s interest in ecology.
Laird Hamilton mentioned this book on “The Tim Ferriss Show” podcast.
“If you haven’t read it, just go read it. It is amazing,” says Adam Savage and recommends this.
One of Kyle Maynard‘s 3 answers to “what is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift?”
- Outliers: The Story of Success
It’s the third non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell and he examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. To support his thesis, he examines why the majority of Canadian ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year, how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth, how the Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history.
Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is a matter of practicing in the correct way. The book debuted at number one on the bestseller lists for The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, holding the position on the former for eleven consecutive weeks.
Finneas recommends this book and says, “I read outliers when I was 16- it changed my life and I became obsessed with the idea that 10 years and 10 thousand hours was the amount of time necessary to truly master something. I started writing songs at 12 and I’ve been writing them every day since. I’m 22 now and good LORD. I don’t feel like the master of anything- but I’ve gotten better, that’s for sure. And that’s all you should ever aim for. Getting a little bit better every day.”
Will Smith says of the book, “I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, and he talks about the concept of 10,000 hours. That you don’t really settle into any level of mastery until 10,000 hours, and I feel like I’ve just completed my 10,000 hours of story structure and filmmaking.”
Also a favourite of Shah Rukh Khan, he says, ” loads of times, it is these kinds of books that make it to the top seller position – like the Outliers. Of course, the Outliers is very well written.”
- The Four Agreements
It’s a self-help book by bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills. The book offers a code of conduct based on ancient Toltec wisdom that advocates freedom from self-limiting beliefs that may cause suffering and limitation in a person’s life.
The book takes inspiration from a set of spiritual beliefs held by the ancient Toltec people to help readers transform their lives into a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. According to the author, everything a person does is based on agreements they have made with themselves, with others, with God, and with life itself. In these agreements, one may tell themselves who they are, how to behave, what is possible, and what is impossible.
Favourite book of Ellen DeGeneres.“I love The Four Agreements so much that it feels like my book. It feels so personal,” she says.
“This book by Miguel Ruiz, Simple yet so powerful, has made a tremendous difference in how I think and act in every encounter,” says – Oprah Winfrey on her favourite book.
Jack Dorsey posted on his twitter wall, We have a library at square and it contains two of my favourite books: The Yoga Sutras and The Four Agreements.
- Autobiography of a Yogi
It’s an autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952) first published in 1946. Paramahansa Yogananda was born as Mukunda Lal Ghosh in Gorakhpur, India, into a Bengali Hindu family. This book introduces the reader to the life of Paramahansa Yogananda and his encounters with spiritual figures of both the Eastern and the Western world.
The book is an introduction to the methods of attaining God-realization and to the spiritual wisdom of the East, which had only been available to a few in 1946. It takes the reader on a journey into the spiritual adventures of Paramahansa Yogananda.
“Reminded me to have faith at a low point in my life, hence I share it as widely as possible to pull others out of their misery,” says Richa Chadda about her favourite book.
Also a favourite book of Steve Jobs. Jobs explained: “there was a copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” in English that a previous traveler had left, and I read it several times, because there was not a lot to do, and I walked around from village to village and recovered from my dysentery.”
Unlike the sickness, the book remained a major part of Jobs’ life. He reread it every year.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
It is a self-help book written by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936. Over 30 million copies have been sold worldwide, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. In 2011, it was number 19 on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential books.
“Archaic references and overweening titles to the side, it’s actually a great guide to leadership and salesmanship,” says Strauss Zelnick for his favourite book.
Daymond John says that he’s a fan of all of Carnegie’s books. Carnegie was a contemporary of Hill’s and his writings on how to maximize success have had just as much longevity. And Warren Buffett famously took Carnegie’s class on the subject when he was 20 and still has the diploma he received for it in his office.
- Think and Grow Rich
It was written by Napoleon Hill in 1937 and promoted as a personal development and self-improvement book. He claimed to be inspired by a suggestion from business magnate and later-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Think and Grow Rich is based on Hill’s earlier work The Law of Success, said to be the result of more than twenty years of study of many individuals who had amassed personal fortunes.
Hill studied their habits and drew some 16 “laws” to be applied to achieve success. Think and Grow Rich condenses them, providing the reader with 13 principles in the form of a “Philosophy of Achievement”.
Favourite book of Bruce Lee, he gave it a place on his bookshelf. While Bruce’s library contained thousands of volumes, they were primarily centered in a handful of genres: philosophy (the vast majority), martial arts (and other fighting disciplines), and self-help.
Also a favourite of Daymond John, when he was 16, he read Napoleon Hill’s classic business book “Think and Grow Rich,” and it changed his life. Ir reinforced what his parents taught him and inspired him to set lofty goals.
“The main take away from that was goal-setting,” John says. “It was the fact that if you don’t set a specific goal, then how can you expect to hit it?”
- The Power of Now
The book is intended to be a guide for day-to-day living and stresses the importance of living in the present moment and transcending thoughts of the past or future.
Published in the late 1990s, the book was recommended by Oprah Winfrey and has been translated into 33 languages.
The book draws from a variety of “spiritual traditions”, and has been described by one reviewer as “Buddhism mixed with mysticism and a few references to Jesus Christ, a sort of New Age re-working of Zen.” It uses these traditions to describe a “belief system based on living in the present moment”.
“Power of Now is the OG,” says Naval Ravikant on his twitter wall and recommends this to read.
Also a favourite book of Kristen Ulmer. She recommends this book and says, “it was so powerful because it outlines non-dual states—a.k.a something bigger than my own personal, limited view of the world.”
“Meg Ryan and Ellen DeGeneres gave me copies of this book, and it’s gotten me through more crises than I can count. It truly helped me discover how to live in the now—to not linger on past mistakes, but to learn from them and then let them go,” says Oprah on her favourite book.
Chris Evans says in a video chat with fans, “I really like Eckhart Tolle. He wrote The Power of Now.”