Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

Must-Read Books: 10 Timeless Books Everyone Should Read

Let’s get this out of the way: creating a list of must-read books everyone would agree on is impossible.

There are just too many phenomenal pieces of literature in different genres and periods, from history to science fiction, that it all comes down to personal taste and nostalgia in the end.

Still, we had to make some tough choices and tried to include various options for you. We also followed our Gigworker duty for personal development!

Below you’ll find, in our opinion, the top ten must-read books of all time. You’re in the right place if you don’t know which book to pick up next. Read on!

Must-Read Books: Classic Novels

1. George Orwell – 1984

a screenshot of the George Orwell 1984 homepage

Buy this book!

“1984” strays far from fantasy fiction to serve as a cautionary tale that warns of the gripping horrors of authoritarian and totalitarian societies and the manipulation and corruption that enables them.

Through Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of the Party who secretly rebels against the system, Orwell details life in the bleak city of Oceania, where the Inner Party controls everything and everyone.

Freedom, truth, and love are forbidden in his dystopian world.

Far from the typical obedient citizen the Party expects, Smith is a seeker of such values who questions the propaganda and lies that are constantly fed to him. He finds a fellow rebel and lover in a young girl, Julia, but the ruthless power of the Party dooms their resistance.

2. John Steinbeck – Of Mice and Men

a screenshot of the John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men homepage

Buy this book!

John Steinbeck’s classic novel employs intertextuality, a literary device, in its title. “Of Mice and Men” refers to “To a Mouse,” a poem by Robert Burns, a Scottish poet. A verse says, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” We’re pointing this out because it’s a major foreshadowing.

This classic story details the adventures of two interestingly contrasted characters: George Milton and Lennie Smalls. As migrants moved from place to place in search of work during the Great Depression, they often faced discrimination, violence, and loneliness to pursue their idea of the American Dream: owning a farm with pet bunnies.

This heartbreaking story, for the most part, happens on the farm where they found work. It ends rather tragically, no thanks to a short murder mystery, but we’ll leave you to discover it on your own.

3. J.D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye

a screenshot of the J.D.-Salinger The Catcher in the Rye homepage

Buy this book!

“The Catcher in The Rye” is your go-to literary masterpiece if you’ve never found an authentic depiction of adolescence and the negative feelings that plague the human race today.

This coming-of-age story puts Holden Caulfield, a teenager who ran off to New York City after getting expelled from his prep school, in the spotlight to expose his feelings of loneliness and alienation as he experiences the city.

We, readers, are the only ones who can sympathize with him during his time there; Caulfield is reminded of his melancholy when he meets various people, some intriguing, others less so. To his belief, no one can understand him or his problems.

Caulfield also struggles with his sense of self. His cynicism towards the society he lives in and deems filled with “phonies” and “hypocrites” leads him to dream of becoming a “Catcher in the Rye,” someone who can protect similar children from falling into the adults’ corrupted world.

Must-Read Books: Fantasy Novels

4. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

a screenshot of the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone homepage

Buy the set!

Since we’re limited to a single book per entry, we chose J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which started it all. If you’re curious, The Prisoner of Azkaban is our favorite!

J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World is a timeless tale that starts with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and ends with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

After his father and mother’s death, Harry Potter is sent to the Dursleys, where he learns he’s a wizard after a few incidents and Hagrid’s visit.

The story then shifts to his enrollment and adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with mischievous friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and the coming of Lord Voldemort, his arch nemesis.

This profound story has a wealth of unforgettable characters and heart-wrenching moments. There’s so much to talk about, and from experience, you’ll struggle with filling the void for equally-impressive fantasy books after finishing it. We urge you to get the books; they’re infinitely better than the movies!

5. J.R.R Tolkien – The Hobbit

a screenshot of the J.R.R Tolkien - The Hobbit homepage

Buy the anniversary edition!

Tolkien’s sprawling magnum opus is the direct rival to J.K. Rowling’s fantasy world and its only contender in fantasy literature quality- and scope-wise. Again, in a similar fashion, we listed “The Hobbit” because it’s the one that started our love for the world of Middle-earth.

The book details the incredible story of a group of heroes who try to destroy a powerful ring, the One Ring, created by the Dark Lord Sauron to control the world.

Their exciting adventure aside, Tolkien’s series is extolled by many for its complex themes, depth, and originality. He even went on to create fictional languages for his imagined worlds!

Starting with The Hobbit, reading The Fellowship of the Ring, followed by The Two Towers, and finishing with The Return of the King is best, narrative-wise.

Must-Read Books: Non-Fiction Books

6. Ian Kershaw – Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis

a screenshot of the Ian Kershaw - Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis homepage

Buy this book!

“Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis” details the rise and fall of one of history’s most evil figures. In it, Ian Kershaw, a world-class historian and an expert on World War II, holds our hand through the dark heart of Nazi Germany to reveal the twisted logic and fanatical hatred that drove Hitler’s actions.

This isn’t historical fiction. Kershaw paints a more realistic image of Adolf Hitler. Far from the charismatic political figure history remembers, he highlights how the “spoilt child” turned into the would-be “macho man.” He also details how he rose from a failed artist and traumatized First World War veteran to a dictator during the events of the Second World War, plunging his nation and the world into destruction and irrational genocide.

Must-Read Books: Self-Help/Personal Development Books

7. Mark Fisher – Capitalist Realism

a screenshot of the Mark Fisher - Capitalist Realism

Buy this book!

Mark Fisher coined “Capitalist Realism” to describe how capitalism is viewed today: the dominant system of organizing society, economy, and culture that’s unquestioned and has no better alternatives.

He gives a brief history of capitalism and argues how it created a situation where we can’t even imagine a different or better way of living because any alternative economic system is either unrealistic (utopian), impossible (totalitarian), or undesirable (feudal).

Fisher turned to various art forms to give examples of capitalism in our lives. Other than shaping them by influencing our emotions, behaviors, beliefs, and values, it also creates enduring crises and problems.

We put this in our essential reading list because it presents capitalism exactly how it is: an imperfect economic system that can have an alternative if people so desire.

8. Robert Greene – The 48 Laws of Power

a screenshot of the Robert Greene - The 48 Laws of Power homepage

Buy this book!

Robert Greene couldn’t care less about morality. In his book, he focuses on practicality and what works. We broke down each of the laws he emphasizes in our 48 Laws of Power Summary, but let’s give you a quick overview.

Influenced by the lives and actions of influential historical figures (Napoleon, Julius Caesar, and more), Greene lists common values and principles they share to teach you how to become equally powerful and successful.

You may not agree with everything he says. Then again, the book isn’t a moral guide: you must decide how to use the laws you agree with.

9. James Clear – Atomic Habits

a screenshot of the James Clear - Atomic Habits homepage

Buy this book!

James Clear’s New York Times Bestseller is about building good habits and breaking bad ones by making small and easy changes in daily routines. Once accumulated, these good habits can completely change your life, hence their importance.

Clear explains how habits work, why they’re more powerful than goals, and how we can use them to achieve our goals and improve our lives. It’s an inspiring read for teenagers and adults alike.

10. Robert T. Kiyosaki – Rich Dad Poor Dad

a screenshot of the Robert T. Kiyosaki - Rich Dad Poor Dad homepage

Buy this book!

In his award-winning book, Robert Kiyosaki contrasts and compares the lives and financial situations of his father, a poor dad who valued education and guarantees over taking risks, and his friend’s rich dad, a successful entrepreneur.

Kiyosaki shares lessons helpful and relevant today through his experiences with the rich dad as a young boy. He also explains the difference between assets and liabilities and how financial literacy can make or break our lives.

In short, for Kiyosaki, to become successful and financially comfortable in life, you must step away from the ancient belief that studying to settle for a stable job is the ideal way to live. Motivate yourself to strive for more, consider some passive income ideas, take risks, and start investing!

Wrapping Up

The wealth of impressive books today reminds us why reading is important. We were forced to make some tough choices and skipped out on including many masterpieces such as “Promising Young Women,” “The Book Thief,” and “The Joy Luck Club” and opted for what we relate to and enjoy the most.

We hope you found an intriguing pick in our selection. Don’t forget to tell us about your favorite must-read books in the comment section and share this article with fellow bookworms!

Leave a Comment

FRH Article Default
  • Inspiration
  • Books

Rich Dad Poor Dad Summary

November 22, 2023
12 min read
vector graphic showing an illustration of the book on 7 habits of highly effective people summary
  • Books

The Only “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Summary You Need

August 3, 2023
11 min read
vector graphic showing an illustration of a lady reading a book graphics related to why is reading important
  • Books

Why is Reading Important in 2023? The Benefits & Impact

July 27, 2023
6 min read

Explore More within Gigworker

Other App-Based Gigs
Get to work faster with jobs in the gig worker industry.
post explore

Browse Our Gig Headquarters

The gig economy is booming, and thanks to COVID-19, more people than ever are getting involved. But what is this new sharing economy and how does it work?

Important Gig Economy #Fundamentals to Understand

gigworker logo icon
What is the Gig Economy?

Member’s Area

Unlock access to forums, groups, downloadable content, exclusive courses, and more – just for members.

Create an Account

Side Hustle Ideas

Get inspired with our list of 750+ side hustles. Sort by category, rating, and other custom taxonomies.

Browse Side Hustles

Gig Companies

Browse our complete list of gig economy companies, and the gigs they’re hiring for.

Helpful Content

Read thousands of informative posts, written specifically to help you excel in your favorite gigs.