Your chances of doing ‘FANTASTIC’ in this modern world increase multi-fold; if you adopt the ‘3R’ approach. ‘3R’ is — ‘Running, Reading and Relaxing’. As a Motivational Speaker , one tip I have consistently given to my audiences, especially young people and their parents is – 3 most crucial habits for a wholesome life are – 1) habit of being physically and mentally fit, 2) a great reading habit and 3) a love for travel. Trust me, it takes care of a lot of things. And that’s why, I have put together this list of fantastic books for you. Because, whether you accept it or not – reading is an awesome habit (if one could develop it right)!

Let me start with the last ‘R’ i.e. Relaxing. If your mind is not relaxed; I mean, if it is always involved in trivial issues- you will never get a good productivity, out of your day. So, learn to rise above superficial issues in life — as people issues, small stuff etc. (Here are 10 Simple Ways to Relax Your Mind)

‘Running’ — leads to an energy reservoir within you. Moreover, the old saying — ‘A healthy body leads to a healthy mind’. You need energy for everything in your life. All successful people are / have been energetic. Can you recall the name of even a single successful person who was lazy and less energetic? No..naa !! So, Run and run hard. At least , for half an hour in a day — 7 days a week.

‘Reading’, builds 1) smartness and 2) perspectives in life. Try doing it — you’ll understand, what I wrote. It is a habit. We are nothing, but creatures of our own habits. The better habits we have, the better we become. Reading will give you that notorious confidence to 1) understand and 2) live life better. Our problem is not that we are ‘poor’ readers; it is that we are ‘inefficient readers’. Smart Reading doesn’t take much time to do. If you are still not convinced, here are some 100+ answers on the question ‘Why Reading is Important?’. And if you are worried that you have will power issues when it comes to sticking with a book till the end, here’s something that might help you: 5 Ways You can Develop Unlimited Will Power

I am putting up a list of fantastic books below. They are categorized into genres so that you can straight away go through what you enjoy most. All are eclectically chosen, keeping ‘you’ in mind. Almost all the recommendations have been made out of my personal reading experience or from the experiences of some of my very close friends who themselves are very good readers.

The intent is bi-fold:

1) Exposing your mind to a variegated genre of reading

2) Get you addicted into reading as a habit; which in the long run will make you a better human being.

You’ll not only enjoy reading them; but also be able to build your mental muscles.

“Be a disparate reader. Be a ravenous reader. More importantly — BE A READER.”

Recommended reading by Akash Gautam


Level 1 —(My 12 yr old could easily finish Level 1 before he turned 10)

  • Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
  • Books by Enid Blyton (Secret Seven & Famous Five series) – for School kids
  • The Hardy Boys series (Franklin W Dickxon) – for School kids
  • Malgudi Days – RK Narayan
  • Wonder – RJ Palacio
  • Tales of Panchatantra – for School kids
  • Geronimo Stilton books (School kids will love them)
  • Short stories by D.H. Lawrence
  • Any book by Agatha Christie
  • Any book by Sidney Sheldon
  • Mahabharata – Amar Chitra Katha
  • Short Stories by O Henry
  • A children’s history of India – Subhadra Sen Gupta (Must Read to build interest)
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell (A Must Must Read)
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrick Backman (A highly recommended book by most ardent bibliophiles)
  • The Fault in Our Stars – John Green (& his other works too)

Level 2-

  • Any book by Jeffery Archer
  • Any book by John Grisham (King of the torts, The Rainmaker etc.) (Legal Fiction)
  • Any book by Arthur Hailey (Airport, Hotel) (Service Sector Fiction)
  • The White Tiger ( Arvind Adiga)
  • Any book by Amish Tripathi
  • The Godfather (Mario Puzo)
  • 1984 (George Orwell)
  • Foundation (Isac Asimov) (Astronomy Fiction)
  • Any book by Robert Ludlum
  • Any book by Robin Cook (Medical Fiction)
  • 40 Rules of Love (and other works of Eli Shafak)

Level 3 –

  • Any book by Amitav Ghosh (The Hungry Tide, The Calcutta Chromosome, The sea of poppies)
  • Any book by Jhumpa Lahiri (The namesake, Interpreter of Maladies)
  • Any book by Khaled Hosseini
  • Any book by Frederick Forsyth ( the Icon, The Afghan etc.)
  • The God of small things (Arundhati Roy)
  • ‘The Great Expectations’ or ‘ A tale of two cities’— Charles Dickens.
  •  Stories by O.Henry.
  • ‘A book of English Essays’ — (Penguin classics).
  • ‘Black Beauty’ — Anna Sewell.
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Bride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Level 4 –

  • Any book by Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, Men Without Women)
  • Any book by Kazuo Ishiguro (Nobel prize for literature, 2017) (The Remains of the Day, Nocturnes)
  • Any book by Salman Rushdie (Midnight Children, The Enchantress of Florence, Shalimar the clown)
  • Any book by Orhan Pamuk (Snow, my name is red, Museum of Innocence etc.)
  • Any book by Franz Kafka (The trial, Metamorphosis etc.)
  • ‘The secret pilgrim’ – Joseph Heller.
  • ‘Beloved’ — Toni Morrison .
  • ‘By the sea’ — Abdulrazak Gurnah.
  • ‘The eighth commandment’- Lawrence Sanders.
  • ‘The romantic Manifesto’ or ‘The virtue of selfishness’ or ‘Capitalism : The Unknown ideal’ or ‘The Fountainhead’ or ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand.
  • ‘The dialogues of Plato’- (Batnam books) .
  • ‘The Third Wave’ or ‘Future Shock’ or ‘Powershift’ – Alvin Toffler.
  • All books by Paulo Coelho; especially ‘The Alchemist’.
  • All books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Love in the Times of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude etc.)


  • Who says Elephants can’t Dance : Louis Gerstner
  • Who moved my Cheese : Dr. Spencer Johnson
  • Make sure you read every week — the case studies of Business World.
  • The Age of Reason – Thomas Paine
  • The seven habits of highly effective people : Stephen R Covey
  • How to win friends & influence people : Dale Carnegie
  • Winning : Jack Welch
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
  • Built to Last : Jim Collins
  • Influence: The psychology of persuasion by Robert Cialdini
  • The Wal-Mart effect : Charles Fishman
  • Losing my Virginity : Richard Branson
  • The Culting of Brands: Douglas Atkin
  • Emotional Design ; Donald A Norman
  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing : Al Ries, Jack Trout
  • ‘I am right , You are Wrong’- Edward de Bono.
  • ‘The GOAL’ — Eliyahu and Goldratt Cox ( A must read).
  • ‘The 80/20 Principle’ — Richard Koch.
  • ‘Small is beautiful’- EF Schumacher
  • ‘Maverick’- Ricardo semler.
  • ‘Pepsi to apple’- John Sculley.
  • ‘Hit and Run’- Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters.
  • ‘Emotional Intelligence’- Daniel Goleman.


  • Berkshire Hathaway letters to Shareholders – Warren Buffett (& Essays by Warren Buffett)
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad, How to retire young & retire Rich- Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham
  • Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton G. Malkiel
  • Poor Charlie’s Almanack – Charlie Munger
  • Fooled by Randomness – Nassim Taleb
  • The Dhandho Investor – Mohnish Pabrai
  • The Internet of Money – Andreas M. Antonopoulos


  • The Starfish & the Spider – Brafman & Breckstrom
  • Built to Last – Jim Collins
  • Leading Change – John Kotter
  • The Leadership Dojo – Richard Srozzi
  • The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Outsmart – Jim Champy
  • Love is the killer App – Tim Sanders
  • The One minute Manager – Kenneth Blanchard
  • True North – Bill George
  • First, Break all the Rules – Buckingham & Coffman
  • The Compassionate Samurai – Brian Klemmer
  • ‘A Better India, a Better World’ – Narayan Murthy


  • The greatness of Saturn — Robert.E.Svoboda
  • Chariots of God — Erich Von Daniken
  • The prophecies of Nostradmus — Erika Cheetham.


  • ‘Genius’- James Gleick
  • ‘E=mc2 ’- David Bodanis
  • ‘Surely You Are Joking Mr. Feynman’ – Richard Feynman (Nobel Laureate, Physics)
  • ‘Genetic engineering’ — Mae —wan ho
  • ‘Germs — the ultimate weapon’- Judith miller.
  • ‘Men — from stone age to clone age’- John Madeley
  • The Origin of Species – Charles Darwin
  • The System of the World – Isaac Newton
  • All works of Jane Goodall
  • 1) ‘The human zoo’ and 2) ‘The naked ape’ — Desmond Morris.
  • 1) ‘The tao of physics’ and 2) ‘The turning point’ or 3) ‘The web of life’ — Fritz o’ Capra.
  • ‘A Brief History of Time’ – Stephen Hawking.
  • Homo Sapiens: A Brief History of Manking & Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow – Yuval Noah Harrari


  •  Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder ( A must read History + Philosophy book)
  • ‘Taliban’- Ahmed Rashid .
  • ‘Long walk to Freedom’- Nelson Mandela.
  • ‘The autobiography of an unknown Indian’- Nirad C. Chaudhary.
  • ‘Discovery of India’ — Nehru(chacha).
  • ‘Europe since Napoleon’- David Thomson.
  • ‘Burma — The curse of independence’- Shelby Tucker .
  • ‘Memories of Madness: Stories of 1947’ — Penguin publishers.
  • ‘India’s struggle for independence’- Bipan Chandra.
  • Books by William Dalrymple


  • Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  • Freakonomics – Levitt & Dubner
  • The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith
  • ‘The black economy in India’- Arun Kumar .
  • ‘The price of onions’ — Ashok V. Desai.
  • ‘Hungry for trade’ — John Madeley.(Penguin).
  • ‘The Elephant The Tiger and The Cellphone’ – Shashi Tharoor


  • Bhagwat Geeta – Any Commentary (S. Radhakrishnan, Vinoba Bhave)
  • Wings of Fire – Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k – Mark Manson
  • The Power of Intention – Dr.Wayne Dyer
  • My decision to Live – Nader Elguindi
  • Stop Whining, Start Living – Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
  • The Power of Positive Thinking – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
  • The Monk who sold his Ferrari , Lead without a Title – Robin Sharma
  • Awaken the Giant within – Athony Robbins
  • The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
  • The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
  • See You at the top – Zig Ziglar
  • Who Moved my Cheese – Spencer Johnson
  • One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
  • Any book by Robin Sharma


  • Autobiography of a Yogi — Parmahansa Yogananda Ji (the book that changed my life) (Buy Here)
  • Other works of Paramhansa Yogananda Ji (Man’s Eternal Quest, The Divine Romance)
  • Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga, Inner Engineering by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (Highly recommended)
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  • All books by Swami Vivekananda
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Naht Hanh
  • Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  • Synchro Destiny by Deepak Chopra
  • The Journey Home by Radhanath Swami
  • The Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi
  • A Gradual Awakening by Stephen Levine
  • Many Lives Many Masters – Brian Wess


  • Autobiography of a Yogi — Parmahansa Yogananda Ji (the book that changed my life)
  • My Experiments with Truth – M. K. Gandhi
  • Open – Andre Agassi
  • Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
  • ‘Hitler’ — Ian Kershaw.
  • ‘Iacocca’ — Lee Iacoca.
  • ‘Business legends’ — Gita Piramal.
  • ‘The diary of a young girl’ — Anne Frank
  • ‘The Flight of Ambition’ – Apoorve Dubey
  • ‘Every Second Counts’ – Lance Armstrong
  • ‘A Beautiful Mind’ – Sylvia Nasar (based on life of John Nash)


  • ‘An unquiet mind’ — Kay Redfield.
  • ‘Creativity’- Mihaly Csikszentmihaly.
  • ‘Them’- Jon Ronson.
  • ‘Emotional Alchemy’- Tara Bennet.
  • Being Mortal – Atul Gawande
  • ‘Zen and the art of Motorcycle maintenance’.
  • Doctors – Eric Sehgal
  • The conquest of happiness – Bertrand Russell
  • Unlimited power – Tony Robbins
  • The fifth Discipline – Peter Senge

It’s time when you stop making excuses. In the world of extremes that exist on social media, or your addiction with cat GIFs or stupid memes, a book can be a breath of fresh air. This list of fantastic books would be of no good if  you keep allowing yourself to be tempted by distractions like sitcoms and television series’. Today, pick up that book and smell the beautiful smell it has. There is so much awesomeness remaining to be discovered in the thoughts of hundreds of authors who had the courage to share their stories. If a paperback is too much for you, pick up a kindle; even more convenient. But please do read!

I have also put together a list of Best Inspirational Movies to Motivate the Self, if you are looking for one. And a few Motivational Videos to Super Charge your Confidence 🙂

I really hope you catch hold of the reading bug. Do give your suggestions in the comments below!

Akash Gautam


About Author

World’s Top Corporate Organizations including 30+ of the NIFTY-50 companies in India trust Akash as their Keynote Motivational Speaker. India’s premier colleges like IIMs, IITs, SRCC too go to him whenever they need a refreshing, big bang impact. Write to us to know how he can transform your Team.

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