The best books and audiobooks

The Best Books and Audiobooks

I love audiobooks. I listen to them while exercising, driving and even while ironing. It’s a great way to read more frequently and to devour even more great books.

Today, if you start a 30-day free trial with Audible, you get your first two audiobooks free. Here’s the best part:

You can keep the two audiobooks, even if you cancel the trial. Later on, if you buy a book, listen to it and don’t like it, Audible will refund you your money – no questions asked.

(I didn’t return any of the books on the below list!)

Many of the best books on this list are available on Audible too.

Claim your free audiobooks

My Always Up-to-Date List of Great Books

The best books and audiobooks

Who are the five people you spend the most time in the company of? I ask because according to the American businessman and author Jim Rohn,  you’re the average of these five people.

One great way to become a better writer, to become more creative and to improve your craft is to spend time in the company of your literary betters. I spend as much free time as I can reading books and listening to audiobooks.

This is how I come up with new ideas and (perhaps more importantly) figure out what I’m doing wrong. In no particular order, I’ve gathered a list of great books about writing, creativity and productivity. Each one of these has helped me in some way over the past few years.

This list of great books to read is far from exhaustive, but there are plenty of golden nuggets here.

Best Biographies and Memoirs

The Journals by John Cheever

The Night of the Gun by David Carr

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited by Vladimir Nabokov

If I Die In a Combat Zone by Tim O’Brien

A Writer’s Diary (1918-1941) by Virginia Woolf

Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship) by Paramahansa Yogananda

The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Lang

Born To Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir by Roz Chast

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Alex Hayley

Just Kids by Patti Smith (Tip: get the audiobook to listen to Patti narrate her story)

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Open by Andre Agassi

Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Best Business Books

Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business by Chris Ducker

Business for Authors: How To Be an Author Entrepreneur by Joanna Penn

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others by Daniel Pink

The Thank You Economy or Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

#AskGaryVee One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

Will It Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money by Pat Flynn

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2017: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Boiles

ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

Principles by Ray Dalio

Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders by Jack D. Schwager

Best Creativity Books

How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: 7 Easy Steps to Genius Everyday Michael J. Gelb

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyer

Made to Stick: Why some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

Shameless plug alert! I wrote a popular three-part series called the Power of Creativity.

Best Fiction Books

There are just too many great fiction books for me to list here, but the writers of these books taught me a few important lessons about the craft recently:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Wool by Hugh Howie

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis

Misery by Stephen King

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Where I’m Calling From: The Selected Stories by Raymond Carver

Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Stoner by John Williams

From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Rabbit, Run by John Updike (it’s a four-book series)

Best Marketing Books

The Everything Guide To Writing Copy: From Ads and Press Release to On-Air and Online Promos–All You Need to Create Copy That Sells (Everything®) by Steve Slaunwhite

The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales by Dan S. Kennedy

Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin

All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authen ticity Is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin

Launch: An Internet Million’s Secret by Formula by Jeff Walker

Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach

Best Poetry

The Pleasures of the Damned: Selected Poems 1961-1993 by Charles Bukowski

Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney

The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

The Poets’ Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family  by John Lithgow (I can’t recommend the audiobook enough, even Morgan Freeman makes an appearance!)

All of Us (collected poems) by Raymond Carver

Crow by Ted Hughes

Best Productivity Books

Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod

Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work by Mason Currey

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

Best Self-Help Books

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

The Art of Zen Meditation by Howard Fast

Flourishing by Maureen Gaffney

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Guide by Shunryu Suzuki

The Novel Cure: An A to Z of Literary Remedies by Susan Elderkin, Ella Berthoud

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Mastery by Robert Greene

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh

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

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss This also book belongs to several other categories including business and writing.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Best Storytelling Books

The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know by Shawn Coyne

Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland

Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell

Best Writing Books

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas by Mark Levy

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like by Dr. Mardy Grothe

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classic Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate

The Boron Lettersby Gary Halbert (This book applies to business too).

Comedy Writing Secrets 2nd Edition: How to Think Funny, Write Funny, Act Funny and Get Paid for It (2nd Revised edition) by Mel Helitzer

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Further Reading

Best Productivity and Time Management Books

Best Self-help Books

The Best Writing Books

Best Leadership Books

Best Grammar Books

Best Sci-Fi Books

Best Dystopian Novels

Audible: Is It Worth It?

Best Philosophy Books

Best Creativity Books

Best Business Audiobooks