It is not easy to define the criteria to make a list of the top 10 best books ever written. For this list I have decided to look at the books that I found to be the most fascinating and/or inspirational. I have copied the links to the books in there as well. Please let me know in the comments what your top 10 favourite books of all time are.
Table of Contents
1. Thus Spake Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche
One of the most powerful books out there. Nietzsche has been misinterpreted by many, so I suppose the best way to get a clear understanding of his works is to read his books by yourself. Nietzsche must have been a genius or completely insane to write a book as this. Nevertheless, Thus Spake Zarathustra is full of equally horrifying as well as fascinating thoughts and it contains several of Nietzsche’s most famous ideas such as the ‘Eternal Recurrence’ or the ‘Last man’. It is not an easy book to read but if you take your time you will be struck by its genius. If you do not know with which book of Nietzsche you should start, then Thus Spake Zarathustra is the best place to start in my opinion.
https://amzn.to/3cLSMNf – Thus Spake Zarathustra on Amazon
2. The Red Book – Carl Jung
In my opinion The Red Book and Thus Spake Zarathustra share a lot of similarities. This is not a coincidence since Nietzsche was one of Carl Jung’s’ greatest inspirations. On the surface Jung appears to be a ‘more friendly’ author than Nietzsche, but if you delve deep into The Red Book you will find that Jung was “philosophizing with a hammer” to a similar extent as Nietzsche. It is said that Jung was having a mental breakdown while writing The Red Book but here as well, the line between genius and insanity is very thin. In The Red Book Jung describes his journey of reconnecting with his soul. Instead of following his path he recommends his readers to find their own way to their soul. You can find an in-depth analyis of the The Red Book here.
https://amzn.to/36RxBFI – The Red Book on Amazon
3. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
1296 pages. That is a lot. However, it is more than worth it. In my opinion Leo Tolstoy is the greatest author of all time and War and Peace is the greatest novel of all time. In my experience it was not easy to get through the first 100 pages or so but then suddenly I could no longer stop reading. There are 559 characters in War and Peace and Tolstoy manages to really bring them to life. While being a great story about, as the title suggests, war and peace, you also learn a lot about one of the major wars in Europe, a war of which I did not know a lot before reading this book.
https://amzn.to/36QLjIG – War and Peace on Amazon
4.Pshyco-Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz
This is the only self-help book that has made it to this list of the top 10 books ever written, and that is not without reason. In my opinion this is so much more than a self-help book. Every page contains new insights that you can use in your daily life and explains clearly how you can adopt them and why they work.
https://amzn.to/39YHbZj – Psyhco Cybernetics on Amazon
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude –Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a truly unique book. It follows the adventures and hardships of the Buendia family in the Colombian town called Macondo. The story spans the tales of 7 generations of the family which make it a relatively difficult book to read (To make it even more complicated many family members share the same first name). If you want to have a unique reading experience that you will not forget, then One Hundred Years of Solitude might be what you are looking for.
https://amzn.to/3cPiK29 – One Hundred Years of Solitude on Amazon
6. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
We are incredibly lucky that we are even able to read Marcus Aurelius’ Mediations at all. Marcus Aurelius, arguable the greatest Roman emperor to have ever lived, did not intend for his writings to be publicized. Written somewhere between 170 and 180 AD, this is by far the oldest book on this list of the 10 best books ever written. However, Marcus Aurelius’ thoughts are more relevant now than ever before. I have read this book multiple times and I constantly discover new insights.
https://amzn.to/3jwb4Dl – Meditations on Amazon
7. Walden – Henry David Thoreau
The careful reader may have noticed that the title of book number 7 on this list of the best books ever written bears a resemblance to the name of this page. This is no coincidence. Walden has been the most inspiring book that I have ever read. It inspires the reader to ‘live in accordance with nature’ and cherris simplicity and solitude. Some parts of the book, however, are a bit less relevant, unless you want to learn how to grow beans.
https://amzn.to/3oRDxVm – Walden on Amazon
8. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
Great books do not have to be complicated. Ernest Hemmingways’ novels are, in my opinion, not difficult to read, but, as proven by The Sun Also Rises, they are amazing just the same. This is a great story to simply immerse yourself into and experience the great story telling of Hemmingway.
https://amzn.to/2Mzquef – The Sun Also Rises on Amazon
9. Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoevsky
There are two kinds of people in this world. Those that prefer to read Tolstoy and those that prefer to read Dostoevsky. I must admit that I belong to the former group. However, that does not mean that I am not fascinated by Dostoevsky. Notes from the Undergrounds is, in my opinion, one of his greatest works. It is not a long or difficult book to read but it is very dark. Notes from the Underground explores the extremes of some of the destructive mental tendencies that everyone, including myself, are capable of.
https://amzn.to/3jrMFPf – Notes from the Underground on Amazon
10 The Stranger – Albert Camus
Albert Camus belonged to the philosphical school called absurdism. It is a rather scary philosophy that proposes that the universe is absurd and has no inherent meaning. Therefore the absurdists consider all efforts to identify a certain meaning to our existens as futile. Altough The Stranger is not a book on absurdism, Camus’ philosphy is present throughout the novel. By reading this book we are introducted to an absurd situation in an arguably absurd world. If you want to learn more about absurdism, then you can find my in-depth analysis of another book written by Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus here.
https://amzn.to/2YV1Irt – The Stranger on Amazon