8 Books That Will Change How You Think

books that make you thinkIn general, we all live in a small little world, designed to support our goals and vision. Truthfully, this little thing that we call “mind” – is actually the end product of our thinking patterns.

On numerous occasions, the world has shown that these thoughts and emotions come only as a result of our belief system. As you can see, their trustworthiness is at stake, and one must take a strong defensive stance to protect its shallow limitations.

At what cost? – Perhaps, the society ought to awake from a deep sleep and see the big picture. The cultural, religious, national and traditional background have an essential role in developing a person’s mindset.

Experts and self-aware gurus tackle ignorance with tips that are easily applicable and acceptable to most people. However, few don’t want to follow this example and stick to their foolish ideas and superficial beliefs.

In this article, we would like to list a dozen books that will ultimately trigger a new behavior, and hopefully transform you into a happy and self-confident person.


Books That Will Change How You Think#1. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

We unconsciously underestimate the influence of random events that shape our lives and determine our future. “Fooled by Randomness” explains why you shouldn’t so quickly disregard the impact of luck and embrace the uncertainty.

In this book, you will be introduced to the idea of changeableness and hopefully open your eyes to the possibility that you can’t govern everything. Nassim Taleb also goes into detail about decision-making and how sometimes randomly selected groups can outsmart intelligent individuals.

books that changed the way you think#2. Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective – Mark Epstein

Mark uncovers the basics of Buddhist teaching and targets Westerners. Monks throughout centuries have been considered as the ultimate force against depression and anxiety. Find your inner reality; stop running around absent purpose, just adapting to different environments.

Thoughts Without a Thinker” gives a new logic to the world and clears up some misleading concepts that contribute to unhappiness. With such force ragging towards you, it’s best to be on the lookout for proven techniques and options.

books that changed the way you think#3. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

First, “Drive” focuses on maintaining total control of human behavior, especially at work. To evoke such mindset, Daniel recommends the usability of the well-known risk/reward system to stimulate productiveness and confront laziness.

With this model in mind, many companies drive their employees forward by adjusting the system to their practices and policies. A well-written plan can be decisive in the battle against competitiveness among workers and crucial when it comes to fulfilling the company’s vision.

books will change way you think#4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

Both introverts and extroverts play a significant role in helping the society to create value for its members. In every environment, you can find various personalities that have proven their worth to the world with their ideas and potential.

When reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain, you will receive in-depth knowledge about the differences between these two groups, and how we can turn this into our advantage. Instead of opposing varieties, we must embrace and convert them into an acceptable form of life.

best books on thinking#5. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness – Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein

Who knows what is hiding in the future? – Sometimes we act as though we have all the information. In truth, this notion gives you only a sense of false security that ultimately fails to prove its point. The most challenging part is for us to resist the manipulation emerging from external factors that try to control your movement.

Nudge” emphasizes the value of these tendencies and promotes a healthy way of opposing them. With a bit of practice and sincerity, you can really get the better of them and hopefully achieve happiness without having to adjust to anyone or anything.

books that changed your perception#6. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck

Mindset” is a book that is written to describe how our limitations and beliefs define our way of life. If you can’t cope with your self-imposed ideas that you have about yourself, you’ll end up stuck, without room for progress.

Some persons nurture an inflexible attitude that brings them all sorts of sadness. Without openness to various scenarios, you will always be on the verge of emotional breakdown. Developing a “growth” mindset takes time and patience, but it sure is worth it.

books change the way you think#7. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

In the past, becoming rich was a privilege only for a small circle of people, who had access to various information and top education. Nowadays, when wealth is no longer a hereditary matter, we all share pretty much the same opportunity of finding it.

As money seekers, we must adjust to the digital age, and exploit our full potential. Seize the day – they say, but what’s the real meaning? – It indicates that you should not waste your time doing things that produce little worth and start operating with precision and dedication.

best books about thinking#8. The Power of Positive Thinking – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Peale, again and again, places emphasis on the power of faith when conducting any activity. He implies that you must believe in victory, before reaching it. In a race against time, Norman presents practical tips that are underlined in “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

Your ambitions must be matched with the right dose of hope and realistic incentives. By reading it, you’ll understand how to:

  • Believe in yourself, regardless of the circumstances
  • Ignite that inner power from within
  • Develop a new plan for reaching your goals
  • Improve your relationships with other people
  • Disregard the worry habit and strive for peacefulness and relaxation
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

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Books That Will Change How You Think

Final Notes

Our thoughts are the greatest weaponry we got to defend ourselves against harmful influences.

If you feel a yearning for reaching the desired destination, perhaps you should change your mindset entirely, before you proceed.

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5 Books That Will Change Your Life

5 Books That Will Change Your LifeEvery once in a while, we feel stuck in the madness of today. Wars, mainstream media, and hostile groups are trying to impose certain opinions and consequently control our behavior. These forces are proven to be highly effective in the efforts of creating an “obedient” social groups that are driven by fear.

All of these elements contribute to the development of a depressive community that doesn’t have a sense of itself. In pursuit of sanity, one must be willing and qualified to cope with these influences that are striving to dictate our movement.

Nonetheless, many enlightened gurus and experts on human behavior try to persuade the public to oppose these harmful forces by enforcing some basic ground rules that we must follow. In general, this clash between science and belief comes at the expense of ordinary people, who are once again manipulated.

We outline our favorite “Books That Will Change Your Life,” and hopefully bring light into a dark hallway.

5 Life Changing Books

#1. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle

Books That Will Change Your LifeEckhart Tolle books are not just life-altering but mind-blowing. He absorbed the role of a “crasher,” which metaphorically illustrates an energetic, and dedicated person whose aura destroys anyone’s mental limitations. It’s like inviting a robber into your home, to get you rid of all the unnecessary stuff.

It’s for your own good. However, not many individuals are prepared to take such drastic measures. Nobody wants to abandon the comfort and plunge into dangerous waters.

The Power of Now” emphasizes the present moment, as the only absolute thing that ever existed. How many of us are misled with various types of meditations and practices that are only dragging us down even further?

In truth, one must embrace the fact that the only thing that is keeping us away from this moment, is our ego. This book will surely open your eyes and expand your horizons.

books that will transform your life#2. Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom

Buddha’s Brain” doesn’t necessarily cover the physical aspect as much as it focuses on the mental state. The dark rule prevails over sanity even today. To oppose these destructive ideas, a new “brain” emerged from the ashes to share wisdom and love among all beings.

Our brains are prone to change; science in conjunction with spirituality tries to resolve this dilemma, and hopefully grant everyone the opportunity to see the world from a new perspective. If you are curious about how thoughts emerge and how they disappear then, you should definitely give this book a try.

By merging modern scientific discoveries and ancient wisdom, you might be able to experience firsthand, the breakthrough in the fight against ignorance. These insights will give you the edge and the grounds to pursue further knowledge and expansion in the field of mindfulness.

Books That Changed Your Life#3. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

At first, many people seemed very confused with this concept, since the only thing that mattered was our sharp thinking. The aftermath of lacking appropriate teachers such as Daniel Goleman contributed to the development of selfishness and egoic behavior.

Emotional Intelligence” sets in motion a new plan that combines psychological elements and intelligence for the purpose of developing a deadly combination to ease off the climb and enhance personally and professionally. Self-esteem as always is the most critical ingredient for reaching prosperity.

Now, we have to share some great news with you!

Self-awareness and self-help can be stimulated with the right approach, and yet many people remain stubborn and stick to their mindset. In truth, awareness represents our innate nature, and as such, it is witnessing all others phenomena from within, including the emotional outbursts.

So, before you put your trust in the superficial IQ, take a moment and see who is greater.

Life changing books#4. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

How often do you feel the societal chains wrapped around your neck? Do you feel the pressure? – By now, you realized that the community sets a few starting and stopping points, which serve as a rulebook that everyone must follow or risk failure.

Many people have woken up and realized that their whole life was a mere illusion. Instead of pursuing their dreams, they chased someone else’s projections. “Finding Your Element” is a good way to oppose these forces and set your own tempo by which you will control your efforts.

“I have to get married by the time I’m 30”, or “I should obtain my college degree by the time I’m 23” – these are all shallow notions that you must reject. Follow your heart, and hopefully, you will find luck and happiness wherever you might be.

5 Books That Will Change Your Life#5. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Discover what is keeping you away from exploring your full potential by:

  • Eradicating all the needless activities
  • Reduce the financial stigma attached to your mind
  • Improve productive by motivating yourself
  • Don’t allow external factors to influence your well-being
  • Spend at least one hour each day in peace with yourself
  • Focus on what is surrounding you, stop chasing the future

To free yourself from the bondage called “tomorrow” and “yesterday” one must embrace all the essential traits and implement the right solutions. Keep in mind that if there’s one thing on Earth everyone should be grateful for is uniqueness. Nobody out there is like you, so don’t live their lives nor try to fulfill their expectations.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” handles the never-ending thoughts, emotions, and ideas that control our behavior. As an easy-read with a high level of applicability, we recommend it to the broader audience.

The easy-to-digest style will further stimulate acceptance of life as it is and trigger positive thinking.

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5 Books That Will Change Your Life

Final Notes

Life is a marathon, and surely, we cannot find a good hiding place that will save us from the obstacles along the path.

However, there are some books that will change your life – like the list above; which is worth taking into consideration.

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The Best Malcolm Gladwell Books

Best Malcolm Gladwell Books

Malcolm Gladwell is renowned for his ability to write life-altering books that are accepted by various profiles of people. Although we are not going to expand on his life-journey, there are a few milestones that are worth mentioning.

Many people are curious about – Who ignited that passion for the written word in him? – Well, according to Malcolm’s testimonies, that was his mother. From an early age, he excelled at writing and demonstrated a flair for sharing his ideas on a piece of paper with the rest of the world.

So far, Malcolm wrote five books that really are a powerful force of the highest order against the conservative mindset. Perhaps, the core of his writing, serve as an embodiment of full transformation. We will briefly summarize the best Malcolm Gladwell books, and further, illustrate their impact with quality examples.

Even though it’s irrelevant, we are big fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, not only because of their uniqueness but because they thrive on expanding the understanding of life and spread tolerance.

Indeed, it’s not easy to pick the Top Malcolm Gladwell books, since all of them are widely accepted by the audience. Before we unveil our list, we would like to invite you to consider joining us in our endeavor to provide quick summaries for the world and stimulate innovative ideas.

The Best Three Malcolm Gladwell Books

#1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Best Malcolm Gladwell BooksAccording to many, this is the best of Malcolm Gladwell – “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” that focuses mostly on the unconscious part of our existence and how different people are affected by it. Malcolm also examines how certain events and past-experience influence our decision-making and why people are prone to snap judgments.

You can find numerous examples that validate this claim such as the one concerning the psychologist John Gottman’s research; a study that assessed the likelihood of divorce.

When asked – What motivated him (Gladwell) to write this exceptional book? – He replied: My hair. Malcolm Gladwell realized that when he had a long hair, he ran into trouble more often. This claim was later confirmed when the police issued several tickets delivered to his address for speeding.

Many are still not too convinced, but Malcolm even said that once he was pulled off the waiting line to be detailly examined at the airport by the security, only because he had a long hair.

Top Malcolm Gladwell Books#2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers,” on the other hand, puts more effort into understanding what is driving us forward. Motivation is critical to reaching new heights and lacking a real source of inspiration can be destructive.

This attitude in correlation with your ability to pursue success defines the chances of living the life of your dreams.

Gladwell questions all those corrupt systems within a country and challenges the officials to provide the citizens with a real explanation, of what’s happening. Malcolm even states that – he met numerous ambitious and intelligent individuals that don’t worth $70 billion – referring to Bill Gates’s mysterious fortune.

This book gives you an opportunity to take a peek and see with your own eyes that you have been deceived. Likewise, even success it’s not concerned only with your know-how, but it other external factors can either speed up or suffocate your progress – depending on the game the world is playing.

Perhaps, it’s best if you stick to the usual formula leading to success that is composed of hard work, dedication, talent, and mental capacities.

Best of Malcolm Gladwell#3. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm draws inspiration from the legendary battle that occurred many years ago on the territory of today’s Palestine. Probably, we all have heard the story, but let’s dive more into it, try to clarify the point and why this legend continues to echo through time.

Generally speaking, most of the world perceives this battle story as some motivational boost or inspirational spark that is carved into the mind of many people, while others believe in its trustworthiness.

Regardless of your opinion, the bottom line is that anyone can exceed all expectations and defy the odds. The moral of the story is tightly linked with the human nature, and how our ancestors used to find that inner strength in tough to handle situations.

If your chances of victory in any realm are insignificant and almost impossible, you should recall the “David and Goliath” example and follow this mentality to ultimate achievement. However, if you are too weak to find that strength, perhaps you can give your best shot, and never regret anything.

At the end of the day, the only thing that counts is – Are you pleased with your efforts, or somewhere deep, beneath all superficial elements, you know that you could have put up a better performance?!

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Best Malcolm Gladwell Books

“Malcolm Gladwell Quotes”

The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world. Click To Tweet The best example of how impossible it will be for Major League Baseball to crack down on steroids is the fact that baseball and the media are still talking about the problem as steroids. Click To Tweet The fact of being an underdog changes people in ways that we often fail to appreciate. It opens doors and creates opportunities and enlightens and permits things that might otherwise have seemed unthinkable. Click To Tweet We all assume that if you're weak and poor, you're never going to win. In fact, the real world is full of examples where the exact opposite happens, where the weak win and the strong screw up. Click To Tweet Consistency is the most overrated of all human virtues... I'm someone who changes his mind all the time. Click To Tweet

Final Notes:

We hope that our short intro of these masterpieces, will ignite you and give you something to think about. These insights provided for this purpose, merely serve as a reminder that anything in life is possible with the right set of tools and mental strength.

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Best Psychology Books on Human Behavior

 Best Psychology Books on Human BehaviorBest psychology books about human behavior have always been subjected to numerous discussions by various behavioral experts. Nevertheless, the real formula is yet to be discovered. In the struggle of today, we are worried about the “tomorrow,” and nothing comes close to having a great ally in those battles – such as your mind.

When the world is set on massive changes and enhances, and it’s virtually reached a boiling point, the only thing left for us is to discover how to turn these phenomena to our advantage.

Even though it takes time and patience, if you have the necessary tools and the help of a real content master such as GetNugget, you have nothing to worry about finding the right set of psychology books on human behavior.

We pick our favorites books on behavioral changes that will provide universal coverage of this story.

“Best Psychology Books on Human Behavior”

Top Psychology books#1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Once the world stops, you begin. Such metaphor illustrates the impact of your split-second-decisions that are often biased. Malcolm Gladwell turns his attention to the interaction that shapes our behavior and mindset.

In his book, he places special attention to the mastery of separating the secondary from the primary. In other words, you are forced to act upon your beliefs and judgments, but there’s another way. Whatever comes to light is only a reflection of your behavior.

For instance, first impressions are critical unlike other conversations; where the unconscious mind commands the eye contact and non-verbal communication. Arguably, the ability to improve your decision-making is strongly linked to our mindset.

Malcolm Gladwell argues that improving this aspect is highly possible and affects our lives. With a little bit of training and proper expertise, one can become a better person all around. Blink is filled with great ideas that will encourage each and every one to apply new practices and methods for solving misconceptions.

good books psychology#2. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini

Probably, one may think that the influencing someone is done to inflict or impose some mindset to another person. However, the power to persuade sometimes comes at a higher cost, with a sense of responsibility that brings a new dynamic and hopefully evokes transformation.

Generally speaking, even “inspiration” is one segment of influencing others, because the verbal interaction is not the only incentive for people to alter their behavior. Although the thinking patterns are related to our cultural background, there is always room for endorsing new methods and theories that are contradictory to our belief system.

Robert B. Cialdini wrote “Pre-Suasion” to lay the groundwork for influencing other individuals, not to offer a guideline that will improve your oratory skills. So, before you warm up for the big day, make sure you got all the essential tools at your disposal.

Planning is pivotal in this regard, and one must take into consideration all the elements that go with it. Once you get the big picture, your ideas and practices will be well-received by the wider audience.

Books on human behavior#3. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

For instance, many people consider talent as the only critical ingredient that one “delicious” success recipe cannot go without. Malcolm on the other hand, opposes this theory and disregards its impact but not to full extent.

If you carefully analyze his ideas and anecdotes, you’ll realize that nothing beats hard work. However, Malcolm doesn’t neglect innate abilities and know-how either and pays extra attention to maximizing the impact. So, good psychology books such as “Outliers” are in the middle and balance these two opposing viewpoints.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, is one of the things you must embrace. Although, adopting a cautious attitude is essential, being flexible and open to anything is critical. This book will explain why successful people are pursuing greater success, and why luck is on their side.

books on human psychology and behaviour#4. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

First and foremost, the author of “Drive” gives an enormous priority to controlling the human behavior at the workplace. The good, old-fashioned risk/reward system is put into practice because it generates law and order that improves productivity and eliminates laziness.

Many modern companies, still administer the same ideas with specific customization that apply to their practices. Driven by an all-mighty blueprint; the firms are more than ever in need of motivation and determination that matches the company’s vision.

How people react in different environments and circumstances will always remain a mystery. Your job is to find that leadership know-how and convey the same passion to the associates under you. Motivation is sometimes done with the help of public recognition.

Not always a financial reward is pivotal for enhancing productivity. Praising your employees should come naturally to you, Daniel even says that a quick tap on the shoulder can give a huge motivational boost that can later convert into something tangible.

Best Psychology Books#5. The Psychology of Winning: Ten Qualities of a Total Winner” by Dr. Denis Waitley

If at some point you felt down in the dumps, you are a perfect candidate for adjustment and inner-transformation. Many individuals thrive on challenges, others on love, what’s your status? Self-projection is key to higher self-esteem because the world doesn’t feel sorry for you.

If you are down-hearted and spiritless, or if you sense that your inner being is torn up by external influences, you must embrace a radical transformation. Winning is nothing innate; it’s earned. Successful people yearn for wins, and they never settle for second place.

The top psychology books stimulate such growth, which is practically done in a gruesome fight against one’s inner enemy. These forces that are pulling you down must be faced. It’s a pity that you became a slave to your own mind, and now it’s time to regain possession as the undisputed ruler of your kingdom.

Define your goals, set your tempo and enjoy the success that comes afterward.

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Final Notes

To sum up, it’s pretty evident that our behavior merely reflects the emotional situation. If you feel depressed, you must insist on undergoing some dramatic behavioral reforms that will enable you to shift from person-based to open-minded individual.

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Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

Naturally, our first idea for our final list – best nonfiction books of all time – was making “a best of the best” list. After all, we already made for you no less than 16 lists, and choosing the best book of each of them would have been a perfect finale to our wonderful list-making journey of the past year.

(Which, by the way, we hope you enjoyed it at least as much as us.)

However, halfway down making such a list, we realized that there were so many great books we didn’t have a chance to include anywhere else. So, we decided to make a U-turn! Instead of compiling books from our lists, we decided that each of our top nonfiction books should be a unique entry.

Yes, that meant that this list would be bereaved of many highly deserving classics. From the top of our heads: “The Diary of a Young Girl”, “Night” or “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” (top biographies), “Civilization and Its Discontent” (top psychology books), “Capitalism and Freedom” and “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, And Money” (top economics choices) or half of our top history books.

But, it also meant that we’ll provide you with 15 more reviews of 15 more exceptional books by 15 more exceptional people. Although, we would have wanted to include at least as many even here.


#1. “A Dictionary of the English Language” by Samuel Johnson

A Dictionary of the English Language SummaryContrary to popular belief, this is not the first dictionary of the English language. However, it is certainly both the most influential and the most admirable one. As Walter Jackson Bate wrote, Samuel Johnson’s “Dictionary” “easily ranks as one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship, and probably the greatest ever.”

No, this is not a biased opinion! And a simple comparison may be the only argument you’ll ever need to read as evidence.

Namely, the Académie française took 55 years and the dedication of 40 scholars to complete their Dictionnarre; it included about 30,000 words. Samuel Johnson spent 8 years to compile a list of 40,000 words. And all were thoroughly defined and meticulously illustrated with over 114,000 quotations!

And he did it all – by himself!

There’s nothing even remotely similar to Johnson’s endeavor in all of human history! His dictionary was so good that was unanimously considered the preeminent work of its kind for almost a century and a half, until the “Oxford English Dictionary” came out.

Bonus: some of the definitions in the dictionary are really funny! Such as “Lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original and detailing the signification of words.”

#2. “Critique of Pure Reason” by Immanuel Kant

Critique of Pure Reason SummaryBarely thirty years after Samuel Johnson transformed the way people think about the English language, German philosopher Immanuel Kant transformed the way people think about – well, anything. A miraculous achievement, considering the fact that Kant almost never left his hometown, the city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad).

First published in 1781 – before being revised six years later – “Critique of Pure Reason” attempts to give an answer to the question “how do we know.” A question as old as time, you might say, but a question with so many answers before Kant as well.

Kant didn’t like this, so he tried to explain away the confusion and put an end to all speculation once and for all. However, he didn’t want to resort to some easy answers, such as the skepticism of René Descartes and David Hume. So, he went on to develop about a thousand-page long theory of the relationships between pure reason and human experiences.

And, magnificently, philosophers worldwide agree that he did quite a good job. Although, to be perfectly honest, some time passed before anyone understood what Kant was saying.

Bear that in mind if you ever want to leaf through its pages. You’ll definitely need some help.

#3. “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifesto Summary1848 was one of the most tumultuous years in human history. Revolutions broke in over 50 countries around the planet, and almost each and every one in Europe. Objective historians have rightly dubbed 1848 as the Year of Revolution. The more hopeful ones have opted for a more poetic title: People’s Spring.

Well, a month before the actual commencement of that year’s spring (February 21, 1848), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published a very brief political pamphlet which would go on to change the course of human history.

Widely considered the most influential text of its kind in history, the three-part “Communist Manifesto” is a summary of Marx and Engels’ ideas about the nature of society and politics.

The first part, “Bourgeois and Proletarians,” states from the outset the main premise: “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” The second part, “”Proletarians and Communists,” lists and explains the measures necessary to achieve a classless society. Finally, the third part “Socialist and Communist Literature,” sets apart communism from other similar doctrines.

Some love it; others despise it. Nevertheless, the ideas presented in “The Communist Manifesto” have been hotly debated ever since its publication.

And will be – for any foreseeable future.

#4. “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau

Walden SummaryIn 1845, Henry David Thoreau – then merely 28 years of age – left behind the materialist America of his time to live a life of seclusion and solitude in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s country cabin near Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts.

He stayed there for two years, two months and two days. And nine years later, he gave the world his account of his experiences, “Walden,” a book so influential that, as John Updike noted it “risks being as revered and unread as the Bible.”

If you’ve ever watched “Dead Poets Society,” you probably already know its (a bit jumbled-up, though) introduction by heart: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

What you may not know, however, is that “Walden” is the most radical way in which Thoreau tried to practice his ideas of civil disobedience. Expounded more thoroughly in another essay of his, the concept – and “Walden” – would influence figures as diverse as Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

A book for all the ideologists out there. For all times.

#5. “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill

On Liberty SummaryJohn Stuart Mill was raised to be a genius; so, he became one of the greatest of his, or, for that matter, all times. He contributed to so many areas of human knowledge that he is often considered to have been “the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century.”

However, his short book titled “On Liberty” seems to have stood the test of time like no other of his books. It’s still widely read and widely commented. A copy of the book, for example, is regularly passed to the new president of The British Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Party as a symbol of his office.

Written as an attempt to apply Mill’s favored philosophical doctrine (utilitarianism) to the state and society in general, “On Liberty” analyzes the relationship between governments and individuals, and between authority and freedom. It tries to uncover where one’s freedom ends and where someone else’s begins. And, finally, it tries to show how we can remain democratic without falling victims to an unexpected “tyranny of the majority.”

Just like any of the books on this list, “On Liberty” has been as much lauded as it has been criticized. However, just like them, it’s also still thought-provoking and debated. A testament to its greatness.

#6. “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin

On the Origin of Species SummaryThe same year Mill published “On Liberty,” one man published a book which will largely overshadow its significance. A book which – some may argue – has overshadowed almost every single nonfiction book ever written, bar one or two it rubs its shoulders with at the peak of the pedestal.

The full title of the book: “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” You already know the author: Charles Darwin.

Written for the general public – so as to attract more attention – “On the Origin of Species” argued something nobody had ever dared before. Namely, that living organisms have a common ancestor and that their diversity is the result of random selection.

No gods, no divine will. Merely Mother Nature, in all its haphazard glory.

It’s practically impossible to overestimate the effects Darwin’s theory would have on every living person. And when twelve years later Darwin would apply the theory of evolution he devised here to humans, the circle would be completed.

Because “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex” would be the first book to argue that humans are not an exceptional species.

And that – there’s so much humbleness and beauty in this finding.

#7. “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus SummaryAustrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was such a colorful person that a short biography would do no justice to either his life or his larger-than-life personality. For now, suffice to say that he is considered to have been “the most perfect example… of genius” even though he published just one fairly slim book during the 62 years he was given to live and think on this planet.

And that volume is “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” – in all of its 80 pages and 526 numbered statements.

Written during the period of the First World War, the “Tractatus” is comprised of no more than seven main propositions, each as seemingly comprehensible as thoroughly inscrutable as the next one.

Want to have a go?

Here is the first one: “the world is everything that is the case;” it’s followed by seven sub-propositions which may help you understand it; or not. Either way, they won’t prepare you for the second one: “What is the case (a fact) is the existence of states of affairs.” Cue 79 apparently elucidating statements. (Click here for the whole structure.)

Now, you’re probably wondering how then the “Tractatus” ended up being on our list?

Well, because almost every single sentence of it has been scrutinized and/or challenged by almost any thinker who matters. Not the least – by Wittgenstein himself. A bit strange if you take into consideration that, at the time he published it, he claimed, in a Kantian manner, that the “Tractatus” had solved all philosophical problems.

Even stranger in view of the last – and by far most famous – of his seven propositions. This one’s a beauty: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

#8. “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One’s Own SummaryIt was precisely something many had remained silent about that an English modernist writer by the name of Virginia Woolf wanted to speak about in 1929. And in “A Room of One’s Own” she did. In her familiar exuberantly fluid, and sumptuously beautiful prose. A lifetime interest for her – style – wasn’t as important this time around.

It was what she wanted to convey through it. A message which echoed through time and space. It isn’t just to her talent to summarize it in a sentence, but, since it’s hers, will be unjust. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

As axiomatic as it may sound nowadays, when Woolf wrote it, it was both frowned upon and as radical as a political manifesto.

However – and fortunately – it set the foundation for feminism; and, through it, for women’s rights. Because Woolf was the first one to ask the right question. It’s not “why have there been no talented women artists and scientists up to the nineteenth century”; it’s: “why no talented women artists and scientists ever got the chance to employ their talents?”

We already quoted her fairly straightforward answer above.

#9. “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces SummaryWhen it was published in 1949, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” was one of the most thorough analyses of how similarly world mythologies have shaped the stories of their heroes’ journey to greatness. In the meantime, it has also become a sort of a manual for creating long-lasting works of art.

You probably don’t know it, but whether it’s “Star Wars” or “Harry Potter,” “Watership Down” or “Beauty and the Beast” – they all consciously owe their structure to Joseph Campbell’s investigations and his idea of the monomyth. Borrowed from Joyce, Campbell uses this word to speak about the fundamental architecture of the archetypal hero’s journey. And he summarizes thus:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder; fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won; the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Of course, there are many episodes interspersed with this narrative, but, even those are shared throughout cultures. Why? Because we’re all humans and because some stories are buried deep within our subconscious.

“The Hero with a Thousand Faces” strives to uncover the arche-stories. While warning us that if we ever forget them, we’ll forget being humans as well.

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#10. “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique SummaryVirginia Woolf may have been the first one to remind women that they are as much as humans as men. However, Betty Friedan was the author who really shook women to their core, waking them from centuries of stony sleep. And showing them the way to a world where women can be equal to men.

Published in 1963, “The Feminine Mystique” is widely considered to have been the book which launched second-wave feminism. It was originally intended to be an article about the results of a survey Friedan conducted of her former Smith College classmates on their 15th-anniversary reunion. But, nobody wanted to publish the article. So, Friedan authored a whole book.

As she famously put it herself, about “the problem that has no name.”

You see, what Friedan discovered is that most of her friends were unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, what made them unhappy was the fact that they were expected to be wives and mothers.

And – herein lies the nameless problem – nothing more.

And each suburban wife, wrote Friedan, struggled with this problem alone. “As she made the beds, shopped for groceries… she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — ‘Is this all’?”

Friedan was sure it couldn’t be. And she gave voice to all the women who shared her feelings.

And the world changed.

#11. “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” by Hannah Arendt

Eichmann in Jerusalem SummaryA Jew who left Germany soon after Adolf Hitler’s rose to power, Hannah Arendt is considered one of the most significant modern political philosophers. So influential is she that – as many would argue – the book we’ve chosen for our list isn’t the one she’s most famous for. That one is, in fact, “The Origins of Totalitarianism” where she carefully examines the roots of Nazism and Communism.

However, we went here with “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” a book smaller both in length and in scope; but, in our opinion, also a book whose conclusions are much more related to the human nature and, thus, much more relevant and frightening.

Based on Arendt’s “New Yorker” reports about the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, the book famously argues that Eichmann, one of the organizers of the Holocaust, was not a gruesome monster, but merely averagely intelligent “joiner.”

Or, in other, much more worrisome words, a person just like anybody else. He boasted of no exceptional intelligence or hatred, and he wanted to belong to some community.

But therein lies the rub: it was exactly because of people like him that the Holocaust was made possible. Evil has no movie-like qualities, and you can’t really detect it the way you can detect a serial killer in a slasher movie.

As Arendt famously said, evil is banal. And almost anyone, under the right circumstances, can become its agent.

#12. “Orientalism” by Edward Said

Orientalism SummaryAll humans belong to the same species. However, it seems that cultural differences have created chasms between them. Only recently we started understanding the greatest one, the West/East schism.

And it couldn’t have been written by anyone else other than Edward Wadie Said, a public intellectual born in Jerusalem to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother, and raised and educated in Cairo at a British Anglican Christian school. All in all, by his own admission, “an uncomfortably anomalous student.”

But, “Orientalism” stemmed out of this discomfort. It strives to describe the cultural representations of some Eastern cultures (Asia, North Africa, Middle East) in the works of the authors who belong to the Western literary canon.

The results themselves are nothings short of expected. Predictably, Western writers never saw the inhabitants of these places as people of real flesh and blood, but as underdeveloped caricatures residing in an exotic world of myths and legends.

However, the consequences are far-reaching. According to Said, in time, the ruling elites in these Eastern societies realized that they could use these stories to exert authority and influence over their subjects. So, they internalized the Western narratives – and actually started turning into what they were wrongly portrayed to have been.

So, “Orientalism” is not only about culture and literature. It’s also about power and freedom.

#13. “The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA” by James D. Watson

The Double Helix SummaryThere are not many events in modern history that can compare – both in terms of instant impressions and eternal effects – to the publication of a single two-page article in the 171st volume of the scientific journal “Nature” on 25 April 1953.

Titled “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” and signed by Francis Crick and James D. Watson, the article has been variously described as a scientific “pearl” and as “the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century.”

Could it be any different?

What the article first described was the double helix structure of the DNA. Or, to put it in laymen’s terms – there, on these two pages, lay the answer to one of science’s fundamental mysteries.

The origin of life.

Fifteen years later, one of these two scientists, James Watson, wrote “The Double Helix”. An intimate autobiographical account of the discovery of DNA, “The Double Helix” was voted the 7th best nonfiction book of the 20th century by the Modern Library, and was placed on Library of Congress’ list of the 88 “Books That Shaped America.”

Important and immensely popular, the book has inspired a fair share of controversies as well. Which, of course, makes the book even more appealing.

#14. “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time SummaryWe really wanted to include a book by Einstein or Newton in our list; however, we opted for Stephen Hawking. And that already says a lot about how much we value the British physicist and his most celebrated book.

However, the reason why we preferred Hawking to Einstein or Newton is a blatantly obvious one. Namely, during the past two decades, “A Brief History of Time” has sold more than 10 million copies. You can’t say that about many books – let alone scientific treatises.

Because, even though it’s bereaved of the technical jargon associated with similar books, “A Brief History of Time” is still a serious study about serious matters. Such that go even beyond the questions answered by the discovery of DNA.

In it, Hawking writes about the origins and the eventual death of our universe; about concepts such as the Big Bang, time-space continuum, quarks and gravity; and, finally, he discusses two different theories which try to explain the existence of the universe – Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum physics.

Nobody has ever succeeded in bringing the world of cosmology and astrophysics as close to the general public as Hawking. And, unsurprisingly, in 2002 BBC poll, he was voted the 25th Greatest Briton of all time.

#15. “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction SummaryThe most recent entry on our list is one we felt we had to include in spite of it being published in 2014. Because we want you to take its subject matter as seriously as a heart attack. And because, in a way, “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert talks about some things which, if you don’t, there will be no writers left to write, and no readers to compile lists like this.

A winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, “The Sixth Extinction” argues that we are currently in the middle of a modern extinction process. However, unlike the previous five, this one’s man-made. Consequently, it’s also preventable.

However, the extinction will probably not be prevented, because, as Kolbert shows, humans are in a state of absolute denial. She compares this denialism to the one pre-Darwinian people had in view of prehistoric mass extinction. Most of them simply didn’t believe that any event could be powerful enough to wipe down a whole species from this planet.

Now, we know for sure that they were wrong. Unfortunately, we have invested enormous amounts of energy to – well, repeat it.

The result? Kolbert demonstrates that, if our estimates are correct, almost half “of all living species on earth” may be extinct by the end of 21st century.

Bleak? In need of immediate action?

Well, that’s what books can do.

And why we need lists like this one to guide us through the libraries of history.

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Top Biographies Books

There are so many biographies, memoirs, and diaries out there, and so many essential and influential people who have actively shaped our world that, really, choosing the books for this list took us a lot more time than actually writing it.

In the end, we longlisted so many books that we decided to leave out some of the more usual suspects. In our defense: we have included each of them in some of our other lists; and you can read our opinion about them there.

Of course, we’re talking about classics such as “Titan” and “Elon Musk” (featured in our top business books list, at #3 and #4), “Alexander the Great” (#3 in our top history books), or our personal favorite, Skidelsky’s “John Maynard Keynes” (#4 among our top economics books).

And even with these four out of the picture, it took some time to settle on the following 15. So, who knows, maybe we won’t resist the urge to make an additional best biographies booklist!

But, until then – here are our top biographies books.

#1. “The Twelve Caesars” by Gaius Suetonius

The Twelve Caesars SummarySuetonius (full name: Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus) lived through the last third of the first and the first third of the second century after Christ. He was a close friend of Pliny the Younger and for the last few years of his life worked as a private secretary to Hadrian (yes, the emperor with the wall).

While there, he wrote a group biography of Julius Caesar and the first eleven emperors of the Roman Empire, originally called “De vita Caesarum,” (literally: “About the Life of the Caesars”) but known to us by the much more straightforward title “The Twelve Caesars.”

The leaders whose lives are covered by Suetonius are the following: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. And the order in which each biography is retold illustrates Roman discipline at its best: appearance, omens, family, quotes, life.

You’ll find everything here: decadence and lewdness, greatness and madness. And oh so much ancient purple-prosed yellow press!

#2. “Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects” by Giorgio Vasari

Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects SummaryThey say that the Renaissance was a period which required giants to happen at all; and it was giants it got. And in Giorgio Vasari’s “Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects” it also got their dedicated official biographer.

Considered by many “the first important book on art history” and “perhaps the most famous, and even today the most-read work of the older literature of art,” “The Lives” would prove to be Giorgio Vasari’s most lasting monument; and this speaks volumes of the importance of the work; because, you see, Vasari, like most of the people he wrote about, was also an accomplished architect and painter.

The list of the Old Masters whose lives are concisely recounted by Vasari is too long to be included in a short review, but, let’s just say that if he’s an Italian and an artist with some fame before 1568 – you’ll definitely find his biography here.

Interspersed – why, of course! – with some entertaining gossip and a notorious lie or two.

#3. “The Life of Samuel Johnson” by James Boswell

The Life of Samuel Johnson SummaryConsidered by most historians “the first modern biography” in the English language, “The Life of Samuel Johnson” is hailed by many as the greatest biography ever written.

A colossal work of almost 2,000 pages, the book combines three things that seem prerequisite for the greatest of biographies. Namely: a fascinating man, a religiously devoted close friend of his, and an exceptionally capable diarist.

Of course, the first of these three descriptions refers to Dr. Samuel Johnson, “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history”. The foremost English critic of his time, Johnson was also a genius lexicographer who singlehandedly wrote one of the best dictionaries of the English language. And he did it in merely eight years!

The latter two are accounts of James Boswell, a Scottish writer whose name has become a common noun, with the meaning “an assiduous and devoted admirer, student, and recorder of another’s words and deeds.”

We dare you to find a best biographies booklist where you won’t find this one. And ours will certainly not be the exception.

#4. “Eminent Victorians” by Lytton Strachey

Eminent Victorians SummaryAnother classic – and another group biography!

Lytton Strachey was one of the founding members of the Bloomsbury Group, an intellectual clique which existed during the first half of the 20th century, and which, in terms of its unconventionality, sexual freedom, and sheer creativity, may have no parallel whatsoever in all of human history.

In fact, their behavior may seem scandalous even today; and their ideas are still widely studied and admired.

Written during the years of the First World War, “Eminent Victorians” was such a sensation that brought Strachey instant fame. The book deals with the lives and deeds of four Victorian figures (Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and General Gordon) considered epitomes of moral virtue before the book; but, not after.

That’s, in fact, why the book is praised so much even a century after it was first published. Because, if James Boswell’s biography was a work of devotion, Lytton Strachey’s was a work of irreverence.

And the best of today’s biographies have a little of each.

#5. “James Joyce” by Richard Ellmann

James Joyce SummaryIf you know Richard Ellmann only by his works, you’ll probably never guess that he’s an American, let alone the son of a Jewish Romanian and a Ukrainian immigrant.

Why, you ask?

Because, basically everything he ever wrote was either an essay, a critical study, or a classic biography on one of the three most eminent Irish writers of the modern age, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Years, and James Joyce.

The biography of the one listed last – simply titled “James Joyce” – has been described by Anthony Burgess as “the greatest literary biography of the century.”

Written over a period of ten years and over 800 pages long in its final revision, the book is a fresh, earnest, and critically penetrative insight into the mind and the work of possibly the most influential writer of the 20th century.

But, also – just so you don’t feel too diminished in comparison – a man with many flaws and some pretty strange sexual fetishes.

#6. “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl SummaryPossibly the most famous autobiography, “The Diary of a Young Girl” is also one of the most gut-wrenching and heartbreaking stories ever put on paper.

It’s a book you certainly already know all too intimately to require a list of accolades as evidence for its place here. But, even so, in the face of so much stubborn historical revisionism, we feel obliged to at least link a few inclusions of Anne Frank’s “Diary” among the top books of the 20th century, whether they come by way of a nation-wide UK survey, New York Public Library’s estimations, or the general world public’s ratings.

There’s really no need to delve into the story here. Not because you probably already know it, but because It’s not a good idea to summarize something as fragile and nightmarish as “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

And because it’s the book everybody should reread in its entirety from time to time. So as we never forget how cruel humans can be to other humans. And, maybe, some day in the future, learn to be somewhat better to each other.

#7. “Night” by Elie Wiesel

Night SummaryNo, it’s still not the right time to rise above the depths of despair. Anne Frank’s “Diary” may be the most famous book on the subject, but it’s only one of many. And we wanted to be just to the victims and witnesses of one of the most horrifying events in human history; since, destiny, obviously, wasn’t.

And, according to Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, God wasn’t as well. In “Night,” a severely abridged version of an almost 900-pages-long manuscript in Yiddish, he writes about his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, during the last two years of the Second World War.

Born in 1928 and barely half a year older than Anne Frank, Wiesel – later a Nobel Peace Prize winner – was just fifteen when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz. There, among many other things, he became a father to his father, who was, in turn, reduced to childlike helplessness in the face of this tremendous adversity.

His father, just like the rest of his family, died. Wiesel survived. To tell his story.

#8. “Hitler: A Biography” by Ian Kershaw

Hitler SummaryAnd the man most people hold responsible for the death of Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel’s family?

Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany’s dictator during the Second World War.

Fascinating for all the wrong reasons, the Führer has inspired so many books that Wikipedia has a separate article about them. However, at least in the English-speaking world, many would probably agree that Sir Ian Kershaw is the foremost expert on Hitler and Nazi Germany. And that his “Hitler: A Biography” is the definitive one-volume account of his life.

The book is, in fact, a compilation of few other books that include “Hitler” in their titles and that Kershaw wrote during a period of almost four decades. “New York Times” described it as “superb”; and Niall Ferguson called it “magisterial”.

Over 1,000 pages long and breathtakingly remarkable from start to finish, “Hitler” is also fully illustrated, including over 150 wartime photographs and 8 more than useful maps. You’ve guessed it: a must-read.

#9. “Churchill: A Life” by Martin Gilbert

Churchill SummaryAnother biography written by a person exceptional enough to be knighted about a man with as many chivalric orders as you’ll ever see put next to a name. And it’s only natural that we follow up Sir Ian Kershaw’s account of Hitler with Sir Martin Gilbert’s biography of his nemesis, Churchill.

A prolific author of nearly 90 books, Gilbert is deservedly most famous today for his eight-volume biography of Sir Winston Churchill, expectedly voted the Greatest Briton in history in a 2002 BBC poll.

But, just like in the case of #8, we don’t want to bother you with such an epic – although, people say it’s more than worth it – so we list here “Churchill: A Life,” the boiled-down version of the complete chronologically broken-down biography.

It’s still gigantic (1,000 pages), but, it’s about one of the giants of the 20th century. However, it’s so dramatic and intimate, and so vividly written, that you won’t be able to put it down.

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#10. “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson

Einstein SummaryOf course, there are always good things happening around; and this seems even truer in the case of the worst atrocities.

So, while politicians and soldiers were struggling to save what they could from the world they had senselessly plunged into two ravishing wars beforehand, scientists and artists were silently trying to change our whole perception of it – and, with it, ourselves as well.

Albert Einstein, a German-born theoretical physicist, is widely held to have been the man who spearheaded the most groundbreaking scientific revolution of the 20th century. His theory of relativity challenged basically everything we knew about the world. And, just like in the case of Boswell, transformed Albert’s surname into a common noun.

Its meaning is, of course, “genius.”

What made him one is the question the acclaimed 2008 biography by Walter Isaacson tries to answer. And, in a way, it does – in Isaacson’s clear and witty style we have grown to love so much over the years.

#11. “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast SummaryOne of the most widely read and as widely loved American authors of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway, didn’t live to see his Paris memoir “A Moveable Feast” published and showered with praises by literary critics and general readers alike.

As it’s already known, he shot himself in the summer of 1961, some three years before his fourth wife Mary Hemingway allowed the publication of his manuscripts.

And, boy, what a great service she did to everyone enamored with Hemingway or Paris. Not to mention modernist literature or the roaring twenties!

Detailing his time as an expatriate in France between the two World Wars, this memoir is basically a who’s who in the world of Anglo-American emigrants. On its pages, you’ll find everyone from Joyce and Stein to Picasso and Pound; and, of course, most famously, the Fitzgeralds.

Need we add – there’s also a lot of brew and brawls, and even more scandal and extravagance. And, oh, such gems as hair-growing contest with Gertrude Stein and, well, a different kind of measuring contest with Fitzgerald.

We’ll leave it to you to find out more about it.

#12. “King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero” by David Remnick

King of the World SummaryAmerican journalist David Remnick won a Pulitzer Prize two decades ago for “Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire,” his wonderful historically accurate (and eye-witnessed) account of the fall of the USSR. And in view of this achievement, “King of the World,” written five years later, has remained somewhat in the shadow.

Which is a pity, because, as Tim Lewis writes, it may be the best sports biography one can find. The subject is worthy of such description: Muhammed Ali, both a boxing legend and a larger-than-life political activist.

King of the World” is actually about the year – and the fight – when we can retrospectively deduce that it all started. As Remnick shows, when Cassius Clay entered the ring with Sonny Liston on a February night in 1964, most people thought of the fight as “a matchup between a Muslim punk and a terrifying thug.”

But once he left the ring, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ali was not merely the new heavyweight champion. He was something more: “a new kind of black man.”

One that was about to fly out of its prison cell.

#13. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings SummaryAnd five years later, as Ali was fighting his four-year-long battle against the system which forcefully tried to draft him for a war he didn’t want to participate in, the African American poet Maya Angelou published the first part of her seven autobiographies, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

Detailing her life from the age of three to the age of sixteen, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is Maya Angelou’s deeply disturbing, and yet profoundly inspiring coming-of-age narrative. It illustrates, in captivatingly lyrical language, the traumatic effects which racism and sexism can leave on a black American girl growing up in Arkansas, and the power of poetry which can, nevertheless, provide a reason to stay alive and move on.

Angelou’s friend James Baldwin described it best; and we feel an obligation to quote him. “’I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ he wrote, “liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”

#14. “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs SummaryThere are probably few people who can be considered icons of the 21st century as much as Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. And there is not one biography of his life comparable to the one Jobs ordered himself.

Written by Walter Isaacson, “Steve Jobs” is based on more than forty interviews given by Jobs himself, and hundreds made by Isaacson with at least as many members of his closest and somewhat distant social circles. In addition, Isaacson had an “unprecedented” access to Jobs’ life; and a promise by the man himself that his interviewees will speak to him earnestly.

In fact, Jobs was a gentleman enough to waive his right to read the book before its publication; and that finally happened merely 19 days after Steve Jobs decided to, well, log off.

The book was turned into a film in 2015. And just as the book, it also received rave reviews.

#15. “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild SummaryThe last book on our list was adapted into a movie as well. Both are good – but, as usually, we prefer the book.

Written by American writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer and published in 1996, “Into the Wild” chronicles the life and travels of Christopher McCandless who, after graduating from Emory University in 1990, decided to donate all of his money to charity, to change his name into Alexander Supertramp, and spend the rest of his life living as a hiker and traveler.

After a two-year journey across North America, he renounced even the remaining few of his earthly possessions. And started living as simply as possible – off the land. Unfortunately, merely four months later, hunters found his decomposing body. Based on its condition, they concluded that he died of starvation.

“Into the Wild” tries to understand the logic behind McCandless’ choices. But it doesn’t shy away from giving us a heartbreaking portrayal of a  profoundly enigmatic person. Mesmerizing.

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Top Motivational Books

We’ve already made two lists which people interested in this one will certainly like to check out: top mindfulness books and top inspiring books. In fact, some may say that we made this list merely to add few books which we didn’t have the chance to include in these two.

And, if we’re perfectly honest, they may be right. But, who cares?

In a world of so many crises and misfortunes, so much suffering and put-me-down people, motivation and inspiration are two things all of us need on a daily basis. And even if we repeat ourselves, we know how helpful these books can be. And, we tend to recommend them to you as many times as necessary.

Because, you see, we know that they can inspire you to change your life. And there’s nothing we’re more interested in than seeing you happy.

So, here are our picks for the 15 top motivational books out there.

#1. “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink

Daniel H. PinkDrive Summary is a behavioral scientist and one of the most provocative thinkers of our age. And “Drive” is his best-known and already classic study in the topic which interests us most for this list.

Throughout the book, Pink challenges the conventional idea that motivation stems from external impulses, such as money or rewards and punishments. Through numerous examples, he demonstrates that while this might be true – and mostly in the case of mechanical jobs – it is only true to a certain extent.

However, “artists, scientists, inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us” are evidence to the even counter-intuitive notion that money and rewards may have a detrimental effect on our motivation. In other words, in their case, motivation is something intrinsic.

Or, to put it in laymen’s terms, we want to do stuff simply because we want to do it. And because one of the most typical human characteristics is an innate love for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

#2. “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen

James AllenAs a Man Thinketh Summary died more than a century ago. So, if we’re including him in our list, you are pretty safe in assuming that motivational books today would have been a lot different had he not existed.

Allen’s 1902 classic “As a Man Thinketh” is oftentimes referred to as “the original bestseller.” Quite a burden to carry, but it seems as if the book has no problem bearing it. In fact, it’s still widely read and it has inspired so many motivational authors that it’s impossible to even list them here.

It’s quite easy to relate the philosophy behind “As a Man Thinketh.” Based on the idea that every man has a substantial – if not total – responsibility for the events that happen to him during his life, it offers practical advice on how you can improve yourself and, consequently, improve your fate.

What is difficult is to speak about James Allen’s style. Sometimes epigrammatic and sometimes even biblical, you can be sure that it will strike a chord deep within your heart and soul.

#3. “Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

Rising Strong SummaryIn the world of motivational thinkers, Brené Brown is all but a legend.

To quote some of the reviews, “with a fresh perspective that marries research and humor,” she has “given us a new vocabulary, a way to talk with each other about the ideas and feelings and fears we’ve all had but haven’t quite known how to articulate.”

“Rising Strong” is her call for “a critical mass of badasses who are willing to dare, fall, feel their way through tough emotion, and rise again.” And the rising process she suggests is a simple 3R procedure. First, you reckon with your emotions; then you rumble with your stories; and, finally, you revolutionize your existence.

Trust Brown: stories have an immense power to help us fight through traumas. Just have a look at our top biographies booklist: one of those books has helped a girl conquer rape and racism. And become one of the most famous poets of the 20th century.

#4. “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero

You Are a Badass SummaryIf Brown wanted a little help from the badasses of the world to help you become one yourself, she couldn’t have found a better assistant than Jen Sincero. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Sincero is a motivational coach who has helped numerous people worldwide transform their lives and finally experience happiness.

And “You Are a Badass” was her debut book, followed by a more recent companion volume, “You Are a Badass at Making Money.” Both will motivate you to start achieving your dreams, but, we believe, the first one a bit more thoroughly.

Hilarious and inspiring, “You Are a Badass’ is a 250-page tour-de-force of inspiration, shared out in 5 parts and 27 chapters. Through quite a few inspiring stories, wise advices and simple exercises, Sincero goes on a mission to teach you “how you got this way,” “how to embrace your inner badass,” “how to tap into the motherlode,” and “how to get over your b.s. already.”

You know, the lot which will help you learn “how to kick some ass.”

#5. “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

Grit SummaryAnd one more book about falling seven times, and getting up eight. And just like in the case of #3, this one is also written by a Ph.D.

Angela Duckworth is not your ordinary fellow. She is University of Pennsylvania’s Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology and a 2013 MacArthur Genius Fellowship awardee. And, need we add, she is a regular speaker at many conferences and Fortune 500 companies’ meetups, in addition to advising few NFL and NBA teams.

But, why are her studies so interesting to so many important and prosperous people?

Well, because she claims that talent is only one part of the equation for success. Moreover, it may even be the least important part. As she repeatedly shows in “Grit,” the ones who succeed are rarely the ones who are the best.

It’s the ones who are the grittiest. Or, to clarify it a bit, the ones with the passion and the perseverance to succeed.

#6. “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese SummaryEven though it’s not exactly true, Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese?” is widely considered to have been the first motivational business fable. And that speaks volumes of its influence and the impact it had both on many motivational authors and people searching for some motivation.

A very short 32-page barely illustrated story, “Who Moved My Cheese?” tells the story of two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw). They live in a maze and are in a constant pursuit for cheese. After they find a whole bunch of it, the little people seem quite content with the discovery, while the mice are already thinking about the day they’ll have none.

Sure enough, that day comes. And the little people have no choice but to learn how to deal with the scarcity of food. One of them deals with it better. And tries to motivate the other.

And, much more importantly, by way of proxy, you.

#7. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture SummaryWhat if you suddenly find out that you have barely few months left to live on this planet? We know what you’re thinking: there are so many things I’d do, so many dreams I have yet to achieve. Well, what’s stopping you know?

In a nutshell, that’s the question Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, thinks is the most important one you can ask yourself. And the question he tried to answer in a one-hour talk he gave before a packed audience, merely 8 months before he passed away.

And, in case you’re wondering: yes, Pausch knew he was going to die when he was giving that speech. In fact, that’s what makes his lesson both so poignant and so motivating. Just seeing his cheerfulness in face of the ultimate adversity may be enough.

Well, “The Last Lecture,” written over the last months of his life, packs this sentiment in the best way possible. It’s so good, in fact, that we can honestly say to you this: if Pausch can’t motivate you to start achieving your dreams, well, we don’t know who can.

#8. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life” by Richard Carlson

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff SummaryA famous Russian writer once said that he writes his stories in order to show that there are some big things in life which people think small; and, that there are some small things which people confuse for big.

Richard Carlson, a renowned psychotherapist and motivational speaker, spent almost all of his (unfortunately short) life studying the latter. One of the most famous stress management trainers in the U.S., he successfully summarized his philosophy in the trademarked title of his most famous book: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff.”

Profoundly believing that “stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness,” Carlson goes on to show how important is to calm down and chill out; and how you can’t start before eliminating “the noise in the system.”

True, the idea is simple, but so is Carlson’s style. Which makes both for an enjoyable and an inspiring read.

#9. “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny” by Robin Sharma

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari SummaryHappiness is not something material. And yet, strangely enough, most people believe that only material things can help you achieve it.

But, take a lesson from Robin Sharma’s book. A litigation lawyer until 25, he gave up his career to write motivational books. Because, he suddenly realized that law is not his cup of tea, and that self-perfection is something everybody should pursue – even though very few people actually do.

In a novelistic fashion, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,” retells the story of Sharma’s personal transformation. A motivational fable, it’s a conversation between two friends, Julian and John, during which the first one, a successful trial lawyer, recounts to the second one how he sold his Ferrari and his holiday home after suffering a heart attack.

And how that decision was the best in his life, because it funded a Himalayan journey which will, ultimately, change his whole perception about himself – and life itself.

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#10. “Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream” by James Altucher

Choose Yourself SummaryWe have had a great relationship with James Altucher right from the start of getnugget.co. We’ve learned quite a few things from him just after meeting him, and you could say that, in time, he became a sort of a mentor to us.

But, still, nobody can blame us for nepotism for including his 2013 “Choose Yourself” in a list of the 15 best motivational books of all time. After all, we’ve passed on the opportunity to include it among our top business books, even though “USA Today” called it one of the 12 best business books in history.

Rife with interviews and life lessons, “Choose Yourself” is one of the best self-improvement and motivational books you’d ever read. The basic premise is, once again, quite simple (just see the title), but the way it’s related and the sheer force of the arguments is compelling.

Because, as Altucher says, if there ever was a time in history when you could choose yourself – that time is today.

#11. “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent PealeThe Power of Positive Thinking Summary is one of the fathers – nay, grandfathers – of motivational writing. And there are so many people who have listed “The Power of Positive Thinking” as a defining influence in their lives that’s really impossible to ignore it.

Published in 1952, “The Power of Positive Thinking” is, in a way, the book which first structured the philosophy which brought us books such as, say, “The Secret,” and, which is most succinctly presented in its very title.

Unlike James Allen, Norman Vincent Peale doesn’t believe that you can control the things that happen to you. However, just like him, he believes that you can control your reactions to these happenings. And if you’re reacting in a positive manner, you can be certain that you can expect a more positive outcome.

In addition, the book is much more than a theoretical analysis; it’s also a list of practical ideas which can help you transform your negative thoughts into positive energy.

Once and for all.

#12. “Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!” by Tony Robbins

Tony RobbinsAwaken the Giant Within Summary is a motivational powerhouse. In fact, just seeing him or hearing him talk may be enough to realize that he’s all kinds of a powerhouse. And “Awaken the Giant Within” – in itself, a giant 600-page book – is probably his best-known and best-loved book.

Now, Robbins’s infomercials and seminars are so ubiquitous that, as it’s only natural, many have started growing tired of him. In fact, quite a few readers have blamed him for being unoriginal and merely borrowing other people’s ideas, before digesting them in a friendlier manner.

Blame us for populism as much as you want to, but that’s the best part about “Awaken the Giant Within.” Just think of your teachers: those who taught you most were probably those who managed to motivate you the best.

Not those who knew the most about a certain subject.

#13. “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

Now, Discover Your Strengths Summary“You can be anything you want to be” – is not something you’ll hear Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton say anywhere in their books or seminars. In fact, they think that this is the worst advice anyone can give anybody.

However, the fact that you can’t be some of the things you want to be isn’t at all bad. It’s, in fact, a freeing revelation. Because, it means that you can finally start focusing on your strengths. Which you most definitely have.

As its title suggests, “Now, Discover Your Strengths” aims to help you find them. And it does this via the Internet-based StrengthsFinder Profile, based on a multimillion dollar 25-year-long study. Once you buy your book, you’ll discover your unique number to use the program.

And after going through the internet analysis and discovering your strengths, you are advised to come back to the book and find the best way to use them.

Very unique, “Now, Discover Your Strengths” is not only groundbreaking, but also an extremely useful book.

#14. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson

Mark MansonThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F-ck Summary is a 33-year-old blogger and the founder and CEO of Infinity Squared Media LLC. So, it’s safe to say that he’s someone the millennials will relate to very easy. But, judging by Elizabeth Gilbert’s kudos to him in “Big Magic,” it seems that his ideas and style transcend both generations and expectations.

And you can tell from the book title why we had to write that introduction. Manson is not a guy who’ll sugarcoat his words or his messages. And, albeit “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” cites academic studies as well, very early on you get the feel that this book is the best (unsubtle) proponent of the message he’s trying to relate to his readers.

Namely, that life is unfair and that no matter how much you try to make it right, it will certainly find a way to hit you with a hammer at the least convenient moment. Your job is to find a way to absorb the blow.

And not giving a damn about 99% of the things you are – is the best way to do it.

#15. “The Power of Now: An Incredible Masterpiece of Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now SummaryAnd now – for something completely different.

After the profane humor and the blasphemous “to-hell-with-positivity-it’s-actually-your-fault” messages of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” we move on to a mindfulness classic, Eckhart Tolle’s guide to spiritual enlightenment, “The Power of Now.”

Translated into more than 30 languages and recommended by Oprah Winfrey on numerous occasions, “The Power of Now” is one of the best manuals you’ll ever find on how to conquer your ego and let go of your worries.

A mixture of Buddhism, mysticism and New Age, “The Power of Now” suggests that about nine tenths of your anxieties come not from things which are happening, but of things which have happened or might happen.

And this is something you can – and should – change. Because, living in the now doesn’t merely mean brushing off emotional worries from the past; it also means living a much happier and more fulfilled life.

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Top Management Books

The discipline of management is “one of the greatest social innovations of modern times”. In fact, the idea of managing processes is so ubiquitous and pervasive, that Peter Drucker, “the founder of modern management,” considers managers nothing short of the present and future torchbearers of ethics and morality.

You can read why he thinks that in our review of one of the two books we included in our top management books list. We believe that the other thirteen are as important and famous, as influential and eye-opening.

And we don’t want to lose you another second of your time before we introduce our picks for the 15 best management books in history.

#1. “The Principles of Scientific Management” by Frederick Winslow Taylor

The Principles of Scientific Management SummaryIn 1913, V. I. Lenin, the man who would go on to start a bloody revolution four years later, wrote in “Pravda” that “the most widely discussed topic today in Europe, and to some extent in Russia, is the ‘system’ of the American engineer, Frederick Taylor.”

What Lenin was referring to was a 1911 monograph titled “The Principles of Scientific Management,” a highly influential work during the period of the Progressive Era (1890-1920), written by a man whose life mission was improving industrial efficiency, Frederic Winslow Taylor.

Even though the essay expounds theories which would grow obsolete in the meantime, generally the book’s influence is highly regarded even in the 21st century. In fact, in 2001, the 137 Fellows of the Academy of Management voted it the most influential management book ever written.

And some of its main ideas are still hotly and commonly debated. Such as the suggestion that shorter workdays may still increase productivity. What do you think?

#2. “The Functions of the Executive” by Chester Barnard

The Functions of the Executive SummaryDuring the same Academy of Management survey which voted “The Principles of Scientific Management” the most influential management work in history, Chester Irving Barnard’s 1938 classic “The Functions of the Executive” came in second.

Considered “the first paradigmatic statement of the management discipline,” “The Functions of the Executive” presents “a theory of organization and cooperation,” much in the same manner as Taylor. However, the big difference between them is that Barnard didn’t want to merely prescribe principles; he wanted to study those already practiced and compare them to each other to discover the best practice.

Divided into four parts and eighteen chapters, Barnard’s book is a somewhat difficult read. Just looking at the titles of the parts is enough. The first one, for example, is called “Preliminary Considerations Concerning Cooperative Systems”; the last one: “The Functions of Organizations in Cooperative Systems.”

However, have no doubts whatsoever that, in this case, looking past the “atrocious” style is more than worth it.

#3. “The Essential Drucker” by Peter Drucker

The Essential Drucker SummaryBorn in the Austro-Hungarian Empire few years before it dissolved, Peter Drucker, “the most influential and widely read authority on modern organizations,” had the invaluable privilege to be raised in a household where intellectuals, scientists, and leaders regularly met to discuss their views and ideas.

If you’re wondering about their names and reputations, just have a look at our top economics booklist: any Austrian you’ll find there (and there are few), Peter Drucker personally knew even as a child.

In the final Academy of Management list of most influential books, Drucker’s 1954 “The Practice of Management” was listed third and called a “seminal contribution” to the field. However, for our list, we opted for two different books, even though, really, Drucker is so omnipresent that we’ll always stand by our recent estimation that he is “as important to companies, as oxygen is crucial for our survival.”

The Essential Drucker” is a carefully compiled collection of the 26 most important writings by Drucker, and, as such, is an essential read for every manager.

#4. “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” by Peter Drucker

Management SummaryIf you’ve studied management at almost any university, the chances are this was one of the first – if not the first – book you were assigned as a compulsory read.

Originally published in 1973, “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” is still the best management manual almost half a century later. And it’s so all-encompassing and diligently organized that it’s difficult to see how any other book can take its place.

Developed and written during a period of over three decades, “Management” draws heavily on Peter Drucker’s experience as a management professor and consultant to government agencies, and large and small businesses. In fact, you can consider this book a distillate of his life. There’s everything here! From basic management tasks to best management practices.

But, don’t ignore Drucker’s pleas for business ethics either. “In modern society,” he writes, “there is no other leadership group but managers. If the managers of our major institutions, and especially of business, do not take responsibility for the common good, no one else can or will.”

#5. “What Management Is: How It Works and Why It Is Everyone’s Business” By Joan Magretta

What Management Is SummaryThe blurb to “What Management Is” may sound a bit pretentious, but, trust us, it exaggerates nothing. “Not since Peter Drucker’s great work of the 1950s and 1960s,” it says at one point, “has there been a comparable effort to present the work of management as a coherent whole, to take stock of the current state of play, and to write about it thoughtfully for readers of all backgrounds.”

And when it says “all backgrounds” – trust us yet again – it really means so! At no more than 256 pages, Joan Magretta has managed to achieve a rare feat. Namely, to write a book which may attract the interest of both novices and experienced managers; teaching the former the basics and providing the latter with encyclopedically organized body of knowledge.

The beginners will additionally love the simplicity with which Magretta explains complex management ideas; and, even more, the clear, concise, and straight-to-the-point style. As “The Econimist” review put it best: “a rare animal: a management book that is lucid, interesting and honest.”

#6. “First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

First, Break All the Rules SummaryIn 2011, “Time Magazine” made a list of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books.” We bet few would have been surprised to see there Marcus Buckingham’s and Curt Coffman’s brilliant “First, Break All the Rules.”

Published by Gallup, the book is based on the largest management survey ever undertaken, encompassing 80,000 interviewed managers from over 400 successful companies. Buckingham and Coffman asked each of the managers 12 simple questions; then they thoroughly studied the answers. The results are staggering: almost none of the old management techniques actually work in practice.

What does work?

Well, first of all, treating employees like individuals capable of doing seriously difficult work; and focusing on their strengths rather than their weakness; however, all the while not believing that with training everyone can do what he or she sets his or her mind to.

It seems that setting specific outcomes works; but – believe it or not – refraining from setting specific processes does as well. Disregarding the golden rule – is the golden rule.

And much, much more.

#7. “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

Now, Discover Your Strengths SummarySo much more, in fact, that Marcus Buckingham went on to write another work, a companion-piece to “First, Break All the Rules”. This time with a new co-author – American psychologist Donald O. Clifton, – but using the very same methodology. And, based on the titles, we have a feeling that this one’s was in preparation even before the first one was published.

We already featured “Now, Discover Your Strengths” in our top motivational books, but we think it belongs here as well. Based on a gargantuan survey by The Gallup Organization, the book quantifies the answers 1.7 million interviewees gave to several questions, and deduces the 34 distinct “talent themes” (or traits), the combinations of which can best describe an individual’s uniqueness.

And after helping each reader to find his specific strengths – via Gallup’s strengthfinder.com online resource – “Now, Discover Your Strengths” offers many practical advices on how to advance and employ them.

Updated as “Strengths Finder 2.0” in the meantime, this book can teach managers to get the best out of their employees, and employees get the best out of themselves.

#8. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by James C. Collins

Good to Great SummaryIn our microsummary, we described “Good to Great” as “one of the best management books to ever see the light of day. So, obviously enough, we include it in our list of top management books in history.

Published in 2001, “Good to Great” tries to answer the question why some good companies succeed in becoming great, while others simply fail making the leap mentioned in the title. And, just like our two previous books on this list, “Good to Great” is not merely a theoretical exposé, but is based on an expansive 5-year study.

But, then again, if you know anything about its author, Jim Collins, you would have known that from the start.

Ultra-successful book and selling more the 4 million copies, “Good to Great” compares eleven great companies to their merely good counterparts (e.g. Philip Morris             vs. R. J. Reynolds) and discovers seven characteristics which the former had and the latter didn’t.

And let’s face it: who wouldn’t want to know them?

#9. “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Built to Last Summary“Good to Great” was published in 2011 and, as we wrote above, received enormous amounts of attention. However, it wasn’t without a precedent: by that time, in fact, Jim Collins would have already made his name as one of the leaders in the field with “Built to Last.”

Originally published in 1994, “Built to Last” is, once again, based on a wide-ranging six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Its two main goals – in its authors’ words – were ““to identify underlying characteristics are common to highly visionary companies” and “to effectively communicate findings so they can influence management.”

And “Built to Last” lives up to both of these high expectations.

By carefully studying the ideas and the practice of 18 widely admired companies founded before 1950, “Built to Last” provides valuable insights into the management habits of these great companies and deduces what made them so exceptional by comparing them to their top competitors.

Defining and seminal, “Built to Last” lives up to its title.

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#10. “In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies” by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman

In Search of Excellence SummaryPublished in 1982, “In Search of Excellence,” brought Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr. so much attention that even though it was their debut book they quickly got nation-wide coverage and some flattering epithets of the “business guru” kind.

Three decades later, it’s obvious that the initial evaluations were correct. “In Search of Excellence” is still considered a management manual.

Started as a study of 62 businesses, it ended up as a thorough analysis of the management practices in the 43 best-run companies in the United States. By carefully examining the available data, Peters and Waterman discovered that the companies which succeed share eight common characteristics.

And “In Search of Excellence,” they dedicate a chapter to each. Unsurprisingly, in the meantime, these eight traits have become basic principles of management.

Dubbed the “Greatest Business Book of All Time” by “Bloomsbury UK,” “In Search of Excellence” is the fourth best-selling management book in history, trailing only Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and the books at #4 and #8 on this list.

#11. “Competing for the Future” by Gary Hamel, C. K. Prahalad

Competing for the Future SummarySoon after its publication, in a review for “Washington Post,” Steven Pearlstein wrote that “if there is room for only one management book on your reading shelf each year”, “Competing for the Future” is his 1996 choice. “Business Week” backed Pearlstein’s decision, claiming that it’s “one of the year’s best management books.”

Exciting and profoundly valuable, “Competing for the Future” is written by two renowned thinkers on strategy, Gary Hamel and Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad. And it strives to give “would-be revolutionaries” the tools to challenge “the protectors of the past.

As any book written for rebels, it challenges many of the notions about management prevalent at the day; if you think that most of them are commonsensical now – well, you owe it to Hamel’s and Prahalad’s expertise.

And you certainly do think that strategic planning is a continuous process and that it is something that has to encompass the whole organization, and not just some sectors, right?

#12. “Six Thinking Hats: An Essential Approach to Business Management” by Edward De Bono

Six Thinking Hats SummaryYou can really argue that Edward de Bono is one of the most famous exports from the tiny island nation of Malta. Psychologist, philosopher, physician, and inventor, he is the man who invented the concept of lateral thinking, i.e. solving problems creatively.

And “Six Thinking Hats” is the book where he first proposed the idea.

Published in 1985, “Six Thinking Hats” devised a thinking system which strives to eradicate the most serious problem of thinking: confusion. De Bono demonstrates that confusion stems from the fact that we’re never thinking clearly, or, rather, that we’re always using many aspects of our being to think.

So, he suggests a role-playing method which clarifies how thinking works, by splitting the process into its six comprising elements.

The red hat is the emotional one, while the white one shows interest in facts only; the black one is the devil’s advocate, while the yellow is the optimistic hat; finally, the green hat is the hat of creativity, and the blue one – the hat of the manager.

Employed by many companies even today, de Bono’s three-decades-old tool has proved a lasting success!

#13. “The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company” by Jack Stack

The Great Game of Business SummaryThis is a book about an inspirational story.

Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation was founded in 1983 by 13 employees of International Harvester. In an attempt to save 119 jobs, they decided to buy the part of the company which rebuilt truck engines. How? With $100,000 of their own money. And about $8.9 million in loans!

Led by Jack Stack, the employees turned the things around, and the initial stock price of $0.10 in 1983 had increased by almost 2,000 times and was worth over $199 per share in 2015.

And we still haven’t gotten to the most interesting part of the story! You see, Jack Stack had neither experience nor an idea how to manage a company!

So, how did he do it?

The Great Game of Business” explains what he did in detail, introducing to the world the fairly new concept of “open-book management.” Its main premise, especially in view of capitalistic doctrines, is staggeringly innovative.

Namely, Springfield Remanufacturing is not managed by one person, but by everybody. In other words, everyone has his or her say on each financial decision and all company matters.

And – well – somehow it works brilliantly!

#14. “Out of the Crisis” by W. Edwards Deming

Out of the Crisis SummaryOriginally published by MIT Center for Advanced Engineering in 1982 as “Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position,” this W. Edwards Deming’s classic was republished in 1986 under its much more friendly current title, “Out of Crisis.”

The book, included in both “Time Magazine’s” “and Academy of Management’s” lists of top 25 most influential management books in history, is widely credited with introducing the concept of Total quality management, even though Deming never actually uses the term in the book.

However, he does offer 14 key principles to managers which articulate TQM in both simple and still operational manner.

Ranging from ideas about the necessity of improving constantly and forever to suggestions that breaking down barriers between departments is a must, from calls to put an end to inspections to requests to drive out fear from the workplace, “Out of the Crisis” has transformed many companies in the past four decades.

And will certainly transform you once you find the time to read it.

#15. “The One Minute Manager: The Quickest Way to Increase Your Own Prosperity” by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

The One Minute Manager SummaryThe subtitle of this book – “the quickest way to increase your own prosperity” – seems like an understatement when compared to the title – “The One Minute Manager.”

Of course, those who expect to become good managers in one minute expect a bit much. But, even they might be absolutely flabbergasted by the fact that Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson need no more than a hundred pages to expound upon a simple management concept which ended up influencing thousands of companies.

And especially by the main premise of the book: one minute to a manager may be an exaggeration, but three minutes is just about right!

A sleeper hit in the 1980s, “The One Minute Manager” is, in fact, a fable explicating a management-by-objectives type of managing which is based around the idea an effective manager sets one-minute goals, and sets aside one minute for praising and one minute for reprimanding his employees.

A business bestseller ever since its publication, “The One Minute Manager” is, both literally and metaphorically, a small wonder.

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Top Marketing Books

If you’re living in the 21st century, you are probably already aware of the fact that marketing is not merely an academic discipline, but also a part of everyone’s life. The world is so profoundly polluted with information and media campaigns, that there’s no way your product will ever reach your target audience if you don’t find a way to market it properly.

And, yes, that includes you as well. After all – you do have a CV, don’t you?

Because of this, numerous books on the subject have been authored and published during the past century. We wanted to help you get oriented, so we chose the 15 top marketing books. And we firmly believe that few of them are not merely for CEOs and CMOs.

They are for everybody. The best marketing books are yours!

#1. “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles Mackay

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds SummaryYou’ve got to know your audience, eh?

Well, when it comes to market psychology, chances are you’ve never even heard of the best book on the subject.

Published in 1841, Charles Mackay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” is a gargantuan two-volume masterpiece on crowd psychology, focusing on how irrational aspects of human behavior – such as fear and greed – drive people “to suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit.”

Divided into three parts (“National Delusions,” “Peculiar Follies,” and “Philosophical Delusions”) the book debunks both ancient and then-contemporary follies as diverse as alchemy and duels, haunted houses and fortune-telling.

However, the most lauded pages of “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” are its three chapters focusing on economic bubbles.

Given the cryptocurrency mania raging around, something tells us that you’ll do yourself a great favor if you read them attentively.

#2. “Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy Summary“An eye for an eye,” Mahatma Gandhi supposedly said once, “eventually leaves the whole world blind.” Well, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne think pretty much the same is true for the market world as well.

Battling for a market share and a competitive advantage claims their international bestseller “Blue Ocean Strategy,” results in “a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.” And they have all the evidence to prove this!

In writing this book, they conducted a meta-study covering over 150 strategic movies, 30 industries and 100 years. And their conclusions?

That it’s much smarter to find the unchartered territories, instead of warring over the settled ones. Lasting success, they claim, stems from using innovation and marketing to create “blue oceans” of space. There you’ll be able to swim for at least a decade – before the inevitable coming of the piranhas.

#3. “Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital” by Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan

Marketing 4.0 SummaryThere’s a reason why Philip Kotler is celebrated by many as the leading scholar of modern marketing. And the reason is over 60 different marketing books, almost each of which has grown to become a classic reference.

And, really, we could have included many of them in our list. “Principles of Marketing,” “Marketing Management,” and “Kotler on Marketing” especially. In the end, we settled for “Marketing 4.0,” because it seemed to us that it’s the most relevant for the digital age.

In fact, that’s the premise of the book: to introduce the reader to next-generation marketing. Traditional doesn’t work anymore – or, at least, it doesn’t work as well as it used to. Now, there are easier ways to reach your customers, and some of them are much more efficient.

“Marketing 4.0” goes over your current options, critically analyzing all of their aspects, and teaching you how to anticipate the next phase of marketing and prepare for the consumer of tomorrow.

#4. “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind: How to Be Seen and Heard in the Overcrowded Marketplace” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Positioning Summary“Positioning is not what you do to a product,” says this ageless marketing classic which invented the term back in 1981, “positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.”

And if you’re in the advertising business, you know exactly what advertising gurus Al Ries and Jack Trout are trying to say. For more than few decades, the world is largely a terrain where the media strive to create consent and where half-truths and lies have inspired skepticism in most of the general population.

So, what are you supposed to do to reach your consumer? Featuring numerous case studies and many more practically sound pieces of advice, “Positioning” teaches you how to use your strengths and the weaknesses of your competitors to find a proper place for your product – on the shelves of your consumers’ minds.

Ries and Trout would later go on to write four more books, the last of which, “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,” we warmly recommend.

#5. “Guerilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business” by Jay Conrad Levinson

Guerrilla Marketing SummaryBefore Jay Conrad Levinson and his 1984 marketing classic “Guerilla Marketing” – in which, by the way, he coined the term – there was no such thing as organized small business advertising.

Marketing was expensive enough to be considered the stuff of huge corporations, and entrepreneurs had no choice but to watch their startups being slowly crushed by aggressive marketing.

However, Jay Conrad Levinson showed novices the way out!

Thirty years later, his concepts and ideas have given birth to many other books on the topic (most of them written by Levinson himself), but, even so, it’s still fascinating how prophetic the original work is!

Before it became fashionable to use the Internet to market your products, Levinson understood its power and, in the latest editions of this book, offers many tips and tricks on how to use even the most ignored aspects of it to claim a part of the market share.

Moreover, it seems like he knew about “viral marketing” way before we saw it happening!

#6. “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers” by Seth Godin

Permission Marketing SummaryWe really like Seth Godin. And I guess most of you do too: he is both au fait and trendy, innovative and enjoyable. Yes – that was our way of telling you that the next three books on this list are Godin’s, “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age.”

We’re starting off with “Permission Marketing,” his 1999 book which introduced the world to the concept. In a nutshell, it is a radically different approach than the traditional you’ve already grown to hate.

Seth Godin calls this type of marketing “interruption marketing,” because, as he rightly claims, it’s based on the premise of interrupting some of your favorite pastimes (watching a movie, eating a dinner) with an unannounced marketing message designed to attract your attention (TV commercial, telemarketer’s call).

Permission marketing is something entirely different. The main idea is – talk to the ones who are already interested. And, in the long run, you’ll make a name for yourself.

#7. “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin

Purple Cow Summary“Purple Cow” came four years and as many books after “Permission Marketing.” However, we think that it can be rightly considered its direct follow-up.

Once again, Seth Godin starts where very few advertisers would want to. Namely, with the commonsense notion that people don’t like to be bombarded with commercials. However, nowadays, they seem to have no choice, since ads are wherever they turn. So, they are willingly trying to avoid it as much as possible.

So, where does this put you, an honest marketer with a job to hold onto?

Let us quote him directly: “Your one chance for success is to be remarkable.”

In other words: a) to have a remarkable product to market; and b) to market it in a remarkable way. Out-of-the-box thinking has all but become a norm in the meantime. So – sorry to break you the news – it’s getting ever more difficult to find a good marketing strategy.

“Purple Cow” will certainly help you get inspired.

#8. “All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works – and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All” by Seth Godin

Seth GodinAll Marketers Are Liars Summary’s final entry on our list has possibly the most interesting title: “All Marketers Are Liars.” And the sun rises in the morning! Ha – tell us something new Seth!

And, of course, Godin does exactly that.

Starting from sabotaging the title itself: “I wasn’t being completely truthful with you when I named this book,” he writes. “Marketers aren’t liars. They are just storytellers…”

And that’s exactly the point of his book. In Godin’s opinion, marketers are merely telling stories which are neither lies, nor truths. They are – truthful stories which, in time, become true. Because, people believe in what they want to believe, and because once they convince themselves to believe into something, that something becomes “a self-fulfilling truth.”

So, spend some time with Godin and learn how to find the right stories for your product. Because lies are too transparent in the age of the Internet.

And, because, after all, the truth is that $5,000 wine is not that much tastier than $100 one.

#9. “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes SummaryFor some reason, we really like to sing the title of this book to the tune of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts”! If that was Ann Handley’s idea, then it would be a very good thing to buy this book right away and spend some time studying it!

Everybody Writes” is not only the title, but also the basic premise of Ann Handley’s bestseller. If a century ago, the market didn’t allow for many writers or publishers, with the advent of the Internet almost everybody has become both!

Because, if you have a website or a blog – even though you don’t see yourself as a writer or a publisher – news flash: you are. And if you’re selling something (and, as we have told you before, you most certainly are), you need to perfect your writing skills asap!

And from grammar to storytelling to advanced tips and tricks – “Everybody Writes” is the way to go. Guerilla marketing all the way, baby!

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#10. “Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing” by Harry Beckwith

Selling the Invisible SummaryIf you don’t know Harvey Mackay, we’ve hyperlinked his name so you can check him out. And the reason why we’re mentioning him here is because he says that if he could have only one book on marketing, that book would be “Selling the Invisible,” Harry Beckwith’s extraordinarily accessible guide to the secrets of modern marketing.

“Selling the Invisible” is an entertaining attempt to give you all the useful insights on service marketing, which, obviously, is something reasonably different from product marketing. However, as Beckwith beautifully explains, services are also sold. But, in their case – for one – building strong relationships with your client seem like something even more essential.

Written in a style that would make you crave for a sequel or at least an additional chapter in some future edition, “Selling the Invisible” offers a wealth of applicable information, and few bits of advice you’ll never forget.

Here’s one we really like: “Don’t charge by the hour. Charge by the years.”

#11. “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More” by Chris Anderson

The Long Tail Summary“The Long Tail,” writes Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, “belongs on the shelf between ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Freakonomics.’” Quite a company – but also quite deservedly. “The Long Tail” was – and even a decade after its original publication still is – a paradigm-shifter.

The basic premise of the book was already expounded in a 2004 article Chris Anderson wrote for “Wired” magazine, where he worked as the editor-in-chief. Before the article and this book, companies believed that it was best to develop their marketing strategies around few high demand products which promised large returns.

However, Anderson noticed that, in fact, the Internet effectively ended the age of the “hit,” blockbuster products, guiding us to an atomized future where the product “misses” of the past have become “niche products.”

Ultimately, Anderson believes – and he has Amazon, Apple, and Yahoo! to back him up – that you’ll be better off selling small quantities of a large number of items, than hoping to sell large quantities of a small number of popular products.

#12. “Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy” by Martin Lindstrom

Buyology SummaryIf you haven’t heard of him by now, Martin Lindstrom is a renowned Danish author. His innovative and extensively researched books have made him both a household name in the marketing world. In addition, they earned him a place at the “Time 100 Most Influential People” list.

Two of them stand out: “Small Data: The Tiny Holes That Uncover Huge Trends” and “Buyology.” We could have listed either one of them, really, but we opted for the groundbreaking second one.

Based on a three-year-long neuromarketing study on over 2,000 people, “Buyology” tries to uncover the hidden patterns behind our buying decisions. And it does so in such a convincing way that many companies have admitted to completely changing their marketing strategies based on Lindstrom’s findings.

Because Lindstrom all but proves that Charles Mackay (see #1) was right from the start! As a species, we are still deeply irrational and buy products because they trigger some ancient parts of our brains.

Just think of the power!

#13. “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary VaynerchukJab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary is a Belarusian-born American entrepreneur. He became famous as a wine critic who turned his 3-million-dollars-worth family business into a company worth over $60 million. However, he followed that up with a career in digital and social media marketing – and he earned even more fame.

“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” was published only five years ago by Harper Collins; however, it has already become somewhat of a digital marketing classic. Understandably so, if you take into consideration the depth and the breadth of the actual experience it’s based on, and its entertaining, street-smart style.

The book is a step-by-step solution for all of your social media marketing headaches, detailing Vaynerchuk’s attempts at building the right strategy in the past, both the failures and the successful ones.

So, you can learn what to do, and what not to – while preparing for the culmination of your marketing campaign (the jabs) and just before dealing the final blow (the right hook)!

#14. “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers” by Geoffrey A. Moore

Crossing the Chasm SummaryRecently described as “still the bible for entrepreneurial marketing 15 years later,” “Crossing the Chasm” is a 1991 book by organizational theorist Geoffrey Moore, whose primary focus is the how-tos of bringing high tech products to progressively larger markets.

Currently in its updated third edition, “Crossing the Chasm” argues that the marketing strategy of every new technological product must take into consideration the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. And it always moves from the innovators through the early adopters and the early and late majority to the laggards.

The chasm of the title refers to the enormous space between the early adopters and the laggards, i.e., the people who usually follow closely the innovators and those who always come last. And this is the challenge for the marketers: to narrow down this chasm.

“Crossing the Chasm” gives the best tips and tricks on how.

#15. “Confessions of An Advertising Man” by David Ogilvy

Confessions of An Advertising Man SummaryThe founder of Ogilvy & Mather and a larger-than-life advertising tycoon, David Mackenzie Ogilvy is considered to be one of the fathers of modern advertising. His reputation is such that “Confessions of an Advertising Man” is a required reading in numerous advertising classes in the United States.

Split into eleven chapters, “Confessions of An Advertising Man” is actually an amusing book-length advert for Ogilvy & Mather, covering almost every single question you might be interested in asking him.

In the beginning, Ogilvy explains the hows of managing an advertising agency, before embarking on an experience-based elucidation on topics such as how to get and keep clients, how to build great campaigns and make good television commercials, and how to write a potent copy.

Concerning the latter, he devotedly follows almost each of his advices throughout the whole book. And, you know what? Half a century after he wrote this book, so does the whole world.

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Top Inspiring Books

Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. 

Suddenly, something happens, and out of nowhere, our perfect little lives start to crumble. Or – maybe, even worse – even though the thing that happens isn’t too earthshattering at first glance, it opens up our eyes to the unfulfilled life we’ve led up to that moment.

And at moments like that, we need some inspiration. To take back things from our loss or reimagine ourselves in more happier versions of us.

Here are 15 of the best inspirational books which can certainly work as your guides on your personal journey to fulfillment. Embark on it as soon as possible.

And stay inspired.

#1. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Summary“The Alchemist” was published in 1988. Three decades later, it’s still widely read and widely beloved.

An international bestseller, the book has been translated into almost half of the world languages, and it has made Brazilian author Paulo Coelho a global superstar.

A profound and poignant narrative, “The Alchemist” is an inspiring novella which tells the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy. Santiago believes that he has dreamt a dream of significance; a dream which should help him find a big treasure somewhere around the Egyptian pyramids.

And, indeed, the dream turns out to be prophetic. But not in the way Santiago expects it to be. Nor in the way, you, the spellbound reader, would be able to anticipate at the beginning.

Let’s just say, for the time being, that the greatest treasures, though immaterial, are much weightier than all the gold and money in the world.

#2. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture SummaryIn September 2007, Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was invited to take participation in “The Last Lecture” series of talks. Little did the organizers know that, in the case of Pausch, the series’ title was not merely a metaphor.

Namely, just one month before that, Pausch was given a terminal diagnosis. And he knew that he had no more than half a year left on this planet.

Now, you’d expect a beautiful and touching lecture from such a person. But, you wouldn’t expect an optimistic, upbeat one-hour talk labeled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” and viewed by 20 million people on YouTube.

“The Last Lecture” is the book version of this talk. It’s longer and even more fascinating. So much so, in fact, that it has become part of many school curricula.

And for many good reasons.

#3. “Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!” by Tony Robbins

Tony RobbinsAwaken the Giant Within Summary is a name which has grown to be synonymous with “motivational speaker.” Watch any of his videos on YouTube, and you’ll see why! Sometimes, one wonders if he’s right in what he’s saying or is he merely so convincing that the things come true afterward.

Either way, he does his job well enough that many people see him as something of a personal guru and guide. And with religious devotion, might we add.

“Awaken the Giant Within” is an enormous book, both in terms of its influence and in terms of its sheer length. It’s almost 600 pages – so there’s a lot to take away from it!

If it was a novel, the subtitle would have been a spoiler. Because, “Awaken the Giant Within” is a step-by-step program of self-mastery, aiming to teach you the whys, and the hows of your life.

And, of course, the how-tos of making it better.

#4. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull Summary“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” was published in 1970 to rave reviews from the general public. Just like its main character, the book quickly soared to the top of “The New York Times Bestseller” list, and it remained there for the next 38 weeks.

And even half a century later, it is still lovingly cherished and highly ranked.

Originally a three-part novella (Richard Bach added a fourth part in the 2013 edition), “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” tells the story of the seagull from the title. A non-conformist, he ignores his daily duties and passionately tries to learn to fly. As a result, he is banished from his community, but he is unwavering in his determination to be the best flier there ever was.

Soon, the tables turn, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull learns that he was “a one-in-a-million bird” from the very beginning.

You may be too. And this book may show you why.

#5. “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret SummaryWhen Rhonda Byrne’s father died in 2004, depression took over her life. She wasn’t able to do her job as an executive producer for Australian television the same way as before. She wasn’t even capable of functioning properly in her day to day activities. Her life, as she says, collapsed around her.

And that’s when she started reading. Soon enough, she discovered “The Secret.”

Even though the reception of the book may suggest some groundbreaking findings, Rhonda Byrne claims that she, in fact, isn’t saying anything new. She’s merely demonstrating how the secret is something every great person from history knew and employed in his or her life. Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Beethoven, Edison, Einstein – practically anyone you can think of!

Of course, Rhonda Byrne doesn’t stop there. She makes the secret much simpler and explains how you can use it, whether you want to earn more money, be in a better relationship or live a healthier life.

You want to learn the secret? Read the book!

#6. “Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Great Lessons” by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie SummaryIn 1995, Mitch Albom was a popular sports columnist for the “Detroit Free Press,” when a friend of his told him about Morrie Schwartz’s then-recent interview on ABC News’ “Nightline.” He watched the interview. And he was devastated.

You see, Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor at Brandeis University, was Albom’s most beloved college teacher. Unfortunately, Albom stopped keeping in touch about a decade and a half before the TV interview. And what did he learn from it?

That Schwartz was suffering from ALS, a terminal disease, the one Stephen Hawking is suffering as well. So, he decided to reconnect with his old teacher. And, soon enough, he started visiting him every Tuesday, for discussions about life and death.

You know – for the last lectures.

Word of mouth made “Tuesdays with Morrie” – published after Schwartz’s death – a global phenomenon. It became one of the top selling memoirs ever and was translated into 45 languages.

And, finally, Oprah Winfrey produced a movie which won four Emmys in 1999!

#7. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars SummaryThere’s something about near-death experiences that makes life worth living. And there’s something about other people’s stories concerning the lessons they took out from it that can inspire us to live better and more fulfilled lives.

And John Green, unfortunately, heard many of them. In fact, that’s what inspired him to become an author. He originally wanted to become a priest, but while working in a hospital with children suffering from life-threatening diseases, he decided that there’s another way he wanted to reach people.

And that’s what his beloved sixth novel, “The Fault in Our Stars,” did – both as a book and, later, as an award-winning film. The story is about two teenagers afflicted with terminal diseases, meeting and falling in love while attending a support group.

But, it’s also so much more! It’s a book about triumphing over the pain and the suffering, a tear-jerker about courage and the ultimate heartbreaks. Utterly beautiful.

#8. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince SummaryIf you thought it’s astonishing that the first book on our list has been so far translated into half of the world languages, you’ll probably never believe us if we told you that this little classic is translated in practically all of them!

Selling about 2 million copies each year, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is probably the 4th best-selling book ever written. And it was voted the best 20th-century book in the French language!

A poetic novella, “The Little Prince,” is a children’s book about adults. It tells the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who meet the eponymous prince, a visitor from a tiny asteroid. And through him, he learns of the absurdities of our ways.

And how beautiful life can be even if its whole point is cultivating a rare rose.

#9. “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese SummaryNowadays, it’s quite difficult to understand the impact “Who Moved My Cheese” – a 32-page scantily illustrated motivational fable – had on the business world when it first appeared two decades ago.

Spending almost a year on “Publishers Weekly’s” bestseller list, it managed to sell almost 30 million copies worldwide, and earn numerous accolades, before being turned into a cartoon and becoming the subject of many parodies.

It tells the story of four characters, two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw). They all live in a maze and are in a constant pursuit for cheese. However, they have a different way of finding it, and, moreover, keeping it once they do locate it.

Halfway down the story, the reader realizes that the mice will be fine. And that it’s the people who have to be a bit more organized and less afraid.

And that’s where “the writings on the wall” come in handy.

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#10. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet SummaryOne of the most beloved modern poets, Kahlil Gibran, was born in Bsharri, then the Ottoman Empire, modern-day Lebanon. His family emigrated to the United States when he was young. It was there that he started learning art and literature. And it was there that he became the originator of the inspirational fiction genre.

Written in English, “The Prophet,” a small volume consisting of 26 prose poems, was originally published in 1923 and has never been out of print. Its style and philosophical depth have made it a perennial favorite and a popular gift.

The frame narrative of “The Prophet” is fairly simple. Almustafa, the prophet from the title, is stopped by a group of people before boarding a ship which should carry him home. The people ask him questions, and Almustafa’s answers are the 26 prose poems we mentioned.

The topics covered are as many, and range from love and marriage to freedom and time, to religion and death. And you’ll know more about each of them.

#11. “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny” by Robin Sharma

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari SummaryJust like many of the motivational writers you’ve grown to love, Robin Sharma worked an ordinary job (a litigation lawyer), before deciding that he’s much more interested in techniques for self-perfection.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” isn’t his first book (it’s his second), but it is the one which retells his personal story in a most inspiring manner. The book is a motivational business fable and is basically a conversation between two friends, Julian and John.

The former (a fictional version of Sharma himself) was a successful trial lawyer, before experiencing a heart attack while arguing his case in court. Fortunately, as he explains, this heart attack would turn out to be one of the best things that could have happened to him.

Because it would initiate a spiritual journey that would enable him to finally live a life of passion and purpose.

#12. “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements SummaryIn Don Miguel Ruiz, we have once again a man utterly transformed by a near-death experience. And once again, a writer whose lessons will subsequently transform you because of it.

Already a successful surgeon, Ruiz decided to become a shaman’s apprentice after barely surviving a serious car accident. Afterward, he spent few years exploring the Toltec wisdom and mind-elevating techniques.

His debut book, “The Four Agreements” is the best introduction to what he ultimately learned.

Advocating absolute freedom and living-in-the-moment mentality, “The Four Agreements” explores a fourfold code: “be impeccable with your word,” “don’t take anything personally,” “don’t make assumptions,” and “always do your best.”

A decade later, Ruiz will team up with his son to add a 5th agreement: “be skeptical, but learn to listen.” And that’s another fairly inspirational book.

#13. “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection SummaryA research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown made a name for herself when in June 2010 she gave a talk at TED Houston, titled “The Power of Vulnerability.” Still one of the most viewed TED talks in history, it would form the basis of her next book, “Daring Greatly,” already featured in our top 15 self-help book list.

And, really, both there and here, we could have included almost any of Brown’s eight books, and we wouldn’t have made a mistake. They are all inspirational, down-to-earth, caring, and hopeful.

“The Gifts of Imperfection” maybe most of all. Featuring ten guideposts to tackle the pressure each of one faces on a daily basis, the book aims to help everybody by teaching him or her that he/she doesn’t need to be anything else than he/she already is – just to please people.

Because with courage, compassion, and connection – he/she can be happy in the face of every obstacle.

#14. “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love SummaryWe’ve already written about Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.” However, here we’ve opted for her debut memoir, “Eat Pray Love;” not because of its status, but much more because of the way it has affected many people we know.

And because, well, not many books have been featured on two episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”!

An autobiographical account, “Eat Pray Love” follows the eye-opening spiritual odyssey of a 31-year-old Elizabeth Gilbert. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she decides to embark on a year-long journey around the world to gain some perspective.

And she gets – in three chapters! First, she eats and enjoys life in Italy for a period of four months; then, she spends three months praying in India; finally, she falls in love with a Brazilian businessman in Bali.

The book has it all. And you can also watch its 2010 movie adaptation. It received lukewarm reviews, but, then again, Julia Roberts is in it!

#15. “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Option B SummaryTwo weeks after her beloved husband, David Goldberg, suddenly died, Sheryl Sandberg faced the unbearable task of having to prepare her child for a father/child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, replied with some very wise words: “Option A is not available.”

The only thing Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook’s COO and the author of “Lean In,” a book we’ve featured in our top leadership books list – was left with was trying to make the best out of Option B: living without her husband.

And that certainly wasn’t an easy task. She was, as she writes herself, in a void, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.”

And “Option B” is a book about everyone who feels that he’s not really living the life he’s supposed to be. Especially, if due to some life-shattering loss.

It’s a sort of “manual for resilience.” And it may just help you regain some joy and faith.

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