Books, even more than board games (I would say), are obviously very different from each other. Again, ranking stuff can be quite absurd, but it’s just too fun to pass up.

Disclaimer: I (like most people, I think) can’t remember most of the things I’ve read, even books that I’ve ranked highly. I often tell myself that I should reread my favorites, but I haven’t done this many times.


  1. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  2. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
  3. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
  4. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  5. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  7. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  8. This Common Secret by Susan Wicklund and Alan Kesselheim
  9. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
  10. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  11. The Case Against Education by Bryan Caplan
  12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  13. Fist Stick Knife Gun by Geoffrey Canada
  14. Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
  15. Nice Try by Josh Gondelman
  16. Superbugs by Matt McCarthy
  17. The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer
  18. Mathematics for Human Flourishing by Francis Su
  19. Open Borders by Bryan Caplan
  20. What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain (review)
  21. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
  22. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  23. Levels of the Game by John McPhee
  24. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson


(I’ve excluded many books I read as a child, most notably the Harry Potter series.)

  1. The Green Mile by Stephen King
  2. 1984 by George Orwell
  3. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  4. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  5. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  6. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  7. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  8. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  9. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  11. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  12. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  13. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  14. The Stand by Stephen King
  15. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
  16. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
  17. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
  18. The Trial by Franz Kafka