What kind of books should I read if I want to become a smarter person?

Get super strategic about the types of books that can help you discover the world, enhance your learning experience, give you skills to become smarter about what you can do, and overall improve the quality of your life.


Start with several ideas to customize your own fun and informative reading experience:

Idea #1. Download the Goodreads app as your starting point.

It’s one of the most practical ways to stay on top of reading. With this app you can:

  • Discover new books and authors and check out book lists
  • View book summaries, reviews and updates from your network
  • Get recommendations based on your personal reading preferences by genre, topic, and author
  • Use the barcode scanner to scan books you find in a bookstore or library
  • Keep an up-to-date status of your reading by selecting books you want to read, those you’re currently reading, and those you’ve finished

Idea #2. Use Quora as a source for what to read.

  • Get a list of recommendations on the best books of all time
  • Regularly check and skim through answers under the Book Recommendations topic
  • Follow writers who post frequently about books and book recommendations, and write down the names of books they write about if the topics intrigue and fascinate you

Idea #3. Get condensed book ideas to speed up your selection process.

Idea #4. Read books on developing a life philosophy by discovering unique life stories of interesting and wise people.

  • Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl: the psychology of survival and finding strength to live in circumstances where most would give up. It is written as a real life story by a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. A very humbling reading experience.
  • The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer: it reads like a roadmap to achieving happiness. The author explores what letting go can do to one’s life and what can happen when we tune out the noise of our busy lives.
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer: a book about transforming your relationship with yourself and the world around you. It reads as a practical guide to letting go of painful experiences, living mindfully, and freeing yourself from habitual thoughts, emotions and energies that limit your growth, your work, and the quality of your life.
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh: it is a practical guide to finding peace, reducing daily stress, and overcoming fears, written in a voice that is kind, calm, reassuring, and wise – a true mark of a spiritual leader.
  • Mastery by Robert Greene: this book debunks the myth that it takes a genius with innate talent to produce work of timeless quality. It’s full of examples of some of the biggest minds through history, and it emphasizes how focus, true passion and dedicating ourselves to doing deep work all make us successful in what we do.

Idea #5. Pick books to boost your strategic and leadership skills that you can use to build your career or personal development.

  • The Prince by Machiavelli: learn in depth about human behavior, politics, and gaining power.
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu: think ahead, develop tactics to manage conflict, and ensure victory.
  • Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield: find out how to go from amateur to a complete professional, and what it takes to gain respect from others as well as yourself.
  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin: learn the importance of working on the resistance you feel when faced with a challenging situation, instead of simply giving up.
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: learn from high-achievers and what makes them different, and discover whether it’s genius, talent, or mastering a skill through overcoming a difficulty that makes them be the best in their field.
  • The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: it can help you understand the impact of the highly improbable and our error of placing too much weight on the odds that events from the past will repeat themselves.

Idea #6. Work on developing a more positive mindset.

Idea #7. Ask!

Whenever you have the chance, ask people which book they’re reading and if they’d recommend it. You never know: sometimes you might get an answer you couldn’t have guessed, and many times you’ll be glad you started the conversation to get to know them better. Some places and situations where this can work best:

  • Waiting in line at the bust stop or coffee shop
  • In a bookstore
  • During lunch break at school or work
  • Hanging out with friends on a walk, hike, or anywhere outdoors
  • Catching up over the phone with someone you haven’t seen in a while, but whose opinions you respect

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