Best Book Recommendations

Here we round up book recommendations and summaries across a variety of genres.

It’s tough finding the free time to read a book, so if you’re going to commit to reading one it should intrigue, entertain, impress, or inspire you. 

With roughly 2.2 million books published each year, globally, there is no shortage of options, but it can be tough to predict which will be page-turners and which will be doorstops.

If you need help narrowing down your “to be read” pile or simply book recommendations by genre, we’re here to help with a variety of selections. Each of these resources contains book summaries so you can pick a book based on your interests. 

1. Best Productivity And Time Management Books

Getting Things Done

If your goal is to improve your productivity, reading mediocre productivity books is as ineffective a strategy as it is ironic. You wouldn’t be reading about time management if you had an abundance of free time. So why are you wasting your time on the repackaged common sense fluff that fills so many bad self-help books

We left out books full of time-wasting truisms, focusing on books that will really help you be more organized, motivated, and efficient.

From classics like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to modern classics like The Pomodoro Technique, living your life productively starts here

2. Best Self-Help Books

Stop Overthinking

When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, so if you want to mentally MacGyver your way through the diverse challenges of modern life you’re going to need a bigger toolbox. Sure, you could use a subcontractor, like a therapist or productivity coach, but it’s much more satisfying to DIY self-improvement.

There will always be value to be found in the classical texts of self-help, and there are plenty of wanna-be gurus with books full of glittering clichés, but it’s hard to find books that contain genuine insight and relevance to the modern world. Our guide rounds up books that fall into that sweet spot.

Whether you’re interested in mindfulness, coping with trauma, communication, boundaries, or creativity, check out this list of self-help books that will fill your toolbox.

3. The Best Writing Books

The War of Art

Certain craft books withstand the test of time to become classics in their own right. Books ranging from William Zinsser’s On Writing Well to Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir to Robert McKee’s screenplay bible Story have influenced so many writers that they don’t just reflect the literature that came before them, they foresaw the literature that followed them. 

In addition to books on craft, our guide to the best books on writing includes inspiration for writers who want to learn how to live a real writer’s life. 

From Natalie Goldberg’s Zen approach in Writing Down the Bones to Steven Pressfield’s no-excuses mentality in The War of Art, these books will teach you the strategies and habits of successful professional writers.

Take your writing to the next level with our guide to the best books on writing.

4. Best Grammar Books

The Best Grammar Workbook

Whether you’re writing a prose poem, a paper for a microbiology class, or a cover sheet for a job application, grammar matters. Once you’ve mastered grammar, spelling, and punctuation, there’s a style to consider. It’s a good idea to learn some grammar lessons, even if you plan to break a few rules. 

This may sound daunting, but you can become a great self-editor, even if you don’t know the first thing about how to diagram a sentence. Maybe you need help with the basics (like identifying run-on sentences), or maybe you want more advanced stylistic tips (like how to write short impactful sentences). 

Regardless of your level of self-editing experience, this list rounds up accessible, informative, and even humorous books on grammar that will make your writing sing.

5. Best Copywriting Books

Best Copywriting Books

The quality of copywriting books varies. It’s easy to wonder if some are meant as examples of what not to do. You can avoid these lemons by checking out our round-up of the best books on copywriting. 

From historical studies to semi-autobiographical narratives to how-to guidebooks, our guide has something for everyone who wants to write copy that sells. Read to the end to find bonus links to some of our guides to copywriting. 

You’ll find genuinely helpful books to improve your copywriting in this list.

6. Best Comedy Writing Books

Best Comedy Writing Books

We all know people who naturally excel at improvisational comedy, starting with the class clown in grade school. Writing comedy is a different beast. There are secrets to writing comedy, but luckily many of them are written down. 

If you want to make people laugh out loud, whether, in a novel, a script, or a stand-up set, you’ll want to read this list. 

7. Best Books On Writing Fiction

Best Books On Writing Fiction

Writers disagree about a lot of writing advice, but one tip inspires consensus: you can’t become a writer without reading a lot. 

For fiction writers, this includes reading both in and outside of your chosen genre, but it also includes reading nonfiction, such as craft books.

If you’ve got a great idea, but need a little help turning it into the next New York Times Bestseller, our round-up of some of the best books on writing fiction will help. It includes everything from analysis of classic literature to guides to crafting slick contemporary genre fiction. It covers every stage, from outlining to writing to self-editing.

8. Best Sci-Fi Books

Best Sci-Fi Books

In fiction unconstrained by the limitations of our present reality, with technology limited only by human imagination, there are really no excuses for dull, predictable science fiction. This guide offers thoughtful descriptions of some of the true classics of science fiction, written by a genuine fan. 

If you want a book that will transport you, check out our guide to Sci-Fi novels

9. Best Dystopian Novels

Best Dystopian Novels

For some, 2020 was a year that demanded escapist fiction, but for others, there has never been a better time for stories that speak to our fears of a dystopian future. If you are looking for some gut-punch painful speculation on the future of humanity, we have some novels to recommend. Our lineup of great dystopian novels ranges from A Clockwork Orange to the Newberry winning children’s book The Giver.

10. Best Philosophy Books

Philosophy Books

When life feels challenging, it’s reassuring to be reminded nothing is new. The great thinkers throughout history have already given serious consideration to the fundamental dilemmas you face. Rather than starting from scratch, it might be time to consult some of the foundational texts of philosophy when it comes to answering life’s difficult questions. 

This list, which ranges from Victor Frankl to Lao Tzu, has something for everyone, with a special focus on stoicism. 

11. Best Running Books

Best Running Books

Whether you’re looking for motivation to get off the couch, entertaining writing, or inspiration from other runners’ stories, all runners can benefit from a great book on running. 

This list covers the full gamut, from the novelized story of a real record-breaking thirteen-year-old girl to the memoirs of ultrarunners.

If you want an audiobook that’ll motivate you to run around the block a few more times before calling it quits, just to get to the end of the chapter, check out our recommendations.

12. Best Parenting Books

Best Parenting Books

Parenting isn’t easy. We are becoming more aware of the ways old models of parenting failed our generation, so, naturally, there is a lot of demand for high-quality contemporary books on parenting. 

You won’t find Doctor Spock on this list, but if you want to find realistic parenting books, grounded in science, insightful, and comforting this list is a great start.

13. Best Creativity Books

Best Creativity Books

Are you a creative person? You may feel that you are more logical than creative, but the reality is you are more creative than you can imagine. 

One way you can tap into your inner creativity, and perhaps transform it into an income source, is by reading books from some great creative minds. Yet with so many creativity books available, how can you choose where to spend your time? Fear not. We’ve rounded up the best.

Audible: Is It Worth It?

For those who love audiobooks, there are more and more platforms available for accessing them. For example, apps like Libby let you borrow audiobooks from the library right on your device. That raises the question of whether an Audible subscription is worth it. Audible is a great way to access a huge library of audiobooks, easily and at a reasonable price. Many of our preferred book recommendations are also available on Audible.

The Best Selling Books Of All Time

The Best Selling Books Of All Time

What if you’re curious about reading a book because it’s popular and has sold millions of copies? Should you pick a Harry Potter title or perhaps Lord of the Rings? With so many genres, it’s hard to know where to start.

The best-selling books of all time include children’s books, classic novels, and modern works of fiction. If you are unsure what to read next, we’ve also summarised the best-selling books of all time.

Book Recommendations: The Final Word

Whether you prefer to curl up in front of a fireplace with a cat on your lap, hold a novel precariously above the bubbles in your bathtub, or listen to an audiobook while commuting to work, you deserve to read books that wow you. Our lists of book recommendations will help you find the next book you can’t stop recommending to all your friends.

Need A Detailed List of Great Books?

Our detailed must-read list covers a wide variety of other genres, from memoir to craft books, and from fiction to books on marketing. If you need a recommendation fast and don’t want a summary, this TLDR list is a great place to look. Read Now

  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.