Great Books List – Find Your Next Great Book!

The Great Books List

The Great Books List - Find Your Next Great Books!

The Great Books List is a selection of the best books I’ve encountered during my long journey through the literary world. BookLab reviews books based on recommendations from thought leaders and other exceptional individuals and the books that makes this list are the best of the best.

After a decade of reading the best books I can could get my hands on I’ve decided to create a list can help curious readers to find their next life-changing book.

This list is a living document and will be updated continuously. (Last updated October 2022)

Literature/Philosophy

1. The Bhagavad Gita

Genre: Hindu Scripture

 

About the Book: The wisdom this book holds is as ancient as it is timeless. It’s instructions have guided generations for how to live, work, love and die.

Read if:

  • You want to explore eastern thought.

  • You need to re-kindle your spiritual life.

  • You want to familiarize with one of the most quoted books of all time

2. Meditations - Marcus Aurelius

Genre: Philosophy

About the Book: The philosopher king’s own writings about his Stoicism.

Read if:

  • You are looking for a practical philosophy of life.
  • You want to familiarize with stoicism
  • You want to read an accessible ancient classic.

Review coming soon!

3. Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Genre: A literary investigation

About the Book: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn account of the Gulag Prison system.

This book is for you:

  • If you want to learn about Soviet Russia.
  • If want to understand the atrocities of the 20th century.
  • If you want to explore the threats of totalitarian ideologies.

Review coming soon!

4. On the Shortness of Life – Seneca

Genre: Essay

About the Book: A short essay on the duration of life. Is life too short? Or has it been given in a sufficient amount? Seneca, the stoic, gives his take on these questions and how you can avoid wasting your life. A book that is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.

This book is for you:

  • If you want to get your priorities straight.
  • If you tend to let other people dictate how you spend your time.

Review

5. Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse​

Genre: Philosophical Novel

About the Book: A spiritual journey of self-discovery in the time of the Buddha. A book that had a profound impact on me when I first encountered it.

This book is for you:

  • If you are in a life crisis.
  • If you are interested in Buddhist thought.
  • If you want a great starting point for exploring Herman Hesse’s books.

Review coming soon!

6. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

Genre: Philosophy

About the Book: One of my favorite books of all time. A book that I’ve reread countless times. This book is a great introduction to Stoic philosophy and a practical guide for how to implement stoic practices to a modern life—- and gain peace of mind.

This book is for you:

  • If you are looking for a philosophy of life.
  • If you want to learn about stoic philosophy.
  • If you want practical tips for how to improve your psychological well-being.

7. The Top Five Regret of the Dying – Bronnie Ware

Genre: Memoir

About the Book: Bronnie Ware worked as a caretaker of the dying. Through her work she was able to identify the most common and deepest regrets people had during those final days.

This book is for you:

  • You want to find out about the common pitfalls in life, so that you can avoid them!

8. Note From Underground - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Genre: Existential Novel

About the Book: This book took me by surprise. Again I’m reminded that classics are classics for a reason. This book is more deeply psychological than my psychology books.
If you have any interest at all in understanding human nature, then this book should jump to the top of your reading list.

This book is for you:

  • You want to read a Russian classic that is NOT 1000 pages long.
  • You long for a book that makes you think.
  • You want to explore human nature.

Human Nature / Behavior / Psychology

1. The Denial of Death - Ernest Becker

Genre: Psychology

About the Book: We know we will eventually. What kind of psychological effect does this terrible truth have on us? This is the topic that is explored in Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer Prize winning book.

This book is for you:

  • If you want to trigger an existential crisis.
  • If you like to explore big questions.
  • If you are not afraid of adding tons of books to you reading list from prominent people such as Søren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm, and Otto Rank.

2. Behave – Robert Sapolsky

Genre: Evolutionary Psychology

About the Book: A majestic account of human behavior by renowned Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky. Highly complex and nuanced but equally rewarding read.

This book is for you:

  • If you want to understand human behavior
  • If you don’t shy back from challenging books

3. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

Genre: Nonfiction

About the Book: Viktor Frankl classic account of his experience in the Nazi death camps. A book that explains why meaning trumps pleasure as the primary human drive. 

This book is for you:

  • If you want a short and gripping book that will shake you to your core.
  • If you want to understand how you can stay human in inhuman conditions.

Review coming soon!

4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari

Genre: Nonfiction

About the Book: A history of humankind in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century. A great starting point for new readers to get a perspective on where we came from and how we got where we are.

This book is for you:

  • If you are a novice reader and want an accessible account of the history of humankind.

Review coming soon!

5. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Genre: Psychology

About the Book: The more time you spend in flow the more fulfilled you will be in life. Understanding this concept and how to turn the everyday grind into flow experiences is one of the most important things you can do.

This book is for you:

  • If you feel stuck and frustrated.
  • If you look to raise your baseline happiness.
  • If you are interested in what ingredients make up the Good Life.

6. The Laws of Human Nature – Robert Greene

Genre: Nonfiction

About the Book: Robert Greene’s magnum opus. An absolute must for people who want an accessible entreaty into what makes people act the way they do— and you might learn something about yourself too!

This book is for you:

  • If you want to understand why people act like they do.
  • If you want a book that will add a lot of further reading to your reading list.
 

7. Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahnemann

Genre: Nonfiction

About the Book: This lays out the landmark, and Nobel prize awarded, work of Kahneman. A must read book and modern classic.

This book is for you:

  • If you think you are a rational being.
  • If you want to understand human heuristics and cognitive biases.

Review coming soon!

8. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements – Eric Hoffer

Genre: Philosophy

About the Book: Eric Hoffer explores the temptation of submission to totalitarian regimes in this landmark book

This book is for you:

  • If you want to understand why people want to escape from freedom
  • If you want to understand the pull of totalitarianism. 

8. The Righteous Mind - Jonathan Haidt

Genre: Evolutionary Psychology

About the Book: The Righteous Mind brings some challenging ideas to the table about morality, religion and politics. It shines a light on the miracle that humans actually can cooperate with each other—-and why we so often fail to do so. Why we are divided and why conflicts are inevitable in the moral landscape.This book ticks all the boxes for what makes a great Book in my opinion.

This book is for you:

  • If you want to understand why politics divides us.
  • If you want to explore the moral landscape.
  • If you want to find out the evolutionary advantage of religion.

Human Potential - Self Improvement

1. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing

Genre: Nonfiction

Shackleton’s voyage, on the ship Endurance, to explore Antartica is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.

 

 

This book is for you:

  • If you want to learn about leadership under pressure.
  • If you want a nonfiction book that reads like fiction.
  • If you are fascinated with the strength of the human spirit under crushing circumstances.

Review coming soon!

2. Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins

Genre: Memoir / Self-Help

David Goggins managed to escape an abusive family situation and decided to become a navy S.E.A.L. The problem was that he was overweight, uneducated, and unprepared. This was the starting point for the man that went to become one of toughest endurance athletes of our time.

This book is for you:

  • If you want to be inspired to set the bar higher for yourself.
  • If you find endurance sports fascinating.
  • If you want a great audiobook

3. 12 Rules for Life - Jordan Peterson

Genre: Personal Development

Life is suffering. How do we deal with that?! We face it, we bare it. Hell is a bottomless pit and no matter how messed up and unfair things are, we are still able to make things even worse. Let’s not do that! What if We get our act together and instead are prepared to face suffering when it comes knocking? That’s the better path.

This book is for you:

  • If you are looking for techniques for how to maximize your potential.
  • If you want learn more about Petersons work
  • If you want a book that inspires you to take on the classic works of Jung, Nietzsche, and Dostoevsky.

4. The Story of My Experiments with Truth – Gandhi

Genre: Autobiography

We get to follow a great man in the making in this autobiography by Gandhi. Like a mad scientist, and from an early age, he experimented with every area of his life to find the essence of the soul.

This book is for you:

  • If you enjoy exploring the minds of great people.

—- Life Skills —-

  1. Never Split The Difference – Chris Voss – Review / Video Review
  2. Radical Honesty – Brad Blanton – Review / Video Review
  3. Deep Work – Cal Newport – Review
  4. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains – N. Carr – Review / Video Review
  5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – R. Cialdini – Review
  6. Mastery – Robert Greene
  7. Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker – Review / Video Review
  8. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

—- Spirituality —-

  1. A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
  2. Levels of Energy – Frederick Dodson – Review
  3. Parallel Universes of Self – Frederick Dodson – ReviewVideo Review

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