Top Ten Books Everyone Should Read

Reading for success

If you truly want to succeed in life, you need to be a good reader. As Jim Rohn said, "Poor people have big TVs, rich people have big libraries." You must be committed to lifelong learning.

Here is my list of the top 10 books that everyone should read. It's very difficult to narrow a list down to just 10 books. Without a doubt, some people will question my choices. These aren't meant to be the greatest literary classics. These books are the ones which, in my belief, will provide the most help to get what you want out of life. There are no scholarly books on this list. If you're going to benefit from a book, it must be easy to read and understand. All of these titles fit that category.

The first six books deal with life and how to live it. But you also need to achieve some level of economic success. The last four deal with the economics of life.

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. This is a very short, easy to read book. It's based on the Bible verse "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he". It's not the circumstances that make the man; rather, the way a man thinks determines his circumstances. This book should be read often. It can be read in less than two hours.

A Manual for Living - Epectitus. This is another very short, easy to read book, but filled with many valuable lessons. "Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control." You will benefit greatly each time you read the book.

The University of Hard Knocks - Ralph Parlette. This is a very humorous book with lots of great, down to earth lessons. One of my favorites was, "You have been chosen. And how he was suckered in by advertising that played on his ego - he was chosen for an investment that would yield huge returns." There are lots of lessons in this book. It truly is a university degree in how to live. This book is out of print, but you can find plenty of copies on Alibris.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind - Joseph Murphy. A wonderful book that deals with the power of the human brain. Well worth reading. You will learn how powerful your brain is and why you need to harness the power of your subconscious mind.

The Greatest Salesman in the World - Og Mandino. This is one of the best selling motivational books ever. It is a very powerful story and a manual for designing your life. You should also learn the story of Og Mandino and how he turned his life around.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - Carol Dweck. Our mindset has more to do with our success than any other single factor. We can have a closed mindset or an open mindset. Dweck discusses both mindsets in depth, giving good examples. The book is filled with interesting stories, including the fall of Enron and Andersen.

Business books

Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill. This is the classic self help book. It gives you step by step instructions on how to achieve what you want in life. The only problem is, most people read it and fail to take the action that Hill recommends. I highly recommend you learn more about his life story and how he came to write the book, which is extremely interesting and motivational.

The Richest Man in Babylon - George Clason. This is a classic book on how to manage your finances. This should be required reading by everyone in America. The steps to financial security are simple and straightforward. The problem is our inability to delay gratification. We want everything now.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - T. Harv Eker. This is a wonderful book that will teach you how to think about money. Most people grew up with some negative thoughts about money. Unless you change your thought patterns, you will always have problems with money. The book is easy to read, straightforward and extremely beneficial.

How to Make Millions With Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide - Dan S. Kennedy. Dan Kennedy has a unique style. He tells it like he sees it: not a lot of polish, just hard facts. It is down to earth, good solid advice. I am not sure that you could find more solid advice in one book.

More by this Author

Comments 52 comments

yojpotter profile image

yojpotter 8 years ago from Iloilo City

Wow! these are great books..^^..they all truly deserve to be on the top 10..^^ the way, hope you can drop by my site ---> it features articles and reviews regarding Jim Ronh and other power thinkers..^^

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks for your comment. And I will be sure to check out your site.

Mike Stokes profile image

Mike Stokes 8 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

These are great books...I've read 9 out of the 10. Great list and a great idea for an article. Mike

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author


Just curious, which one have you not read?

It truly was very difficult to narrow the list down to 10. But I do think that everyone and therefore the world would be much better off if everyone did read those books. A tiny shift in this generation could mean a huge shift in the future.

Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

Thanks for the list. I'll get started this year. Your advice on being well read is accurate. Along with many other paradigm shifts we need to make as a culture, enriching ourselves with useful knowledge needs to make a comeback.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author


I developed the habit of doing exercise on a stationary bike for 30 minutes each and every morning, first thing when I wake up. And as you probably guessed, I do it reading a book. That way I can average about 60 books per year. It is truly amazing how much results constant consistent action can produce.

Mad Swede profile image

Mad Swede 8 years ago from Sweden

Very interesting list and I fully agree with you about the fact that we all need to read, there is just too much TV and games around today, brain numbing to say the least. I normally read about animals, psychology and alternative medicin so this is a good way for me to look at and learn from a different area. Thank you.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

I think you will find that there is a direct connection between the way we think (As a Man Thinketh & A Manual For living) and our health. It is my belief if we improve the way we think, we improve our health and everything else in our lives. So some of those books will fit right in to your areas of interest.

I hope you read at least a couple and come to the same conclusion.

Thanks for the comment and good reading.

SusanBonfiglio profile image

SusanBonfiglio 8 years ago from Woodmere, NY

Dear John,

I am new to Hub Pages but found your hub and appreciate the topic. I have read most of the books on this page and I agree with your selection. I have not read the Richest Man in Babylon and A Manual for Living but I am familiar with some of Epectitus' sayings.

Have you read the book, Working With the Law by Raymond Holliwell? It is a great compliment to As a Man Thinketh and Think and Grow Rich.

Susan Bonfiglio

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author


I have not and thanks for the suggestion. I will add it to my list.

A Manual For Living is very short ... probably can be read in an hour of so. But it is full of wisdom. It is small, about the size of a deck of cards but not that thick, so it will fit in your purse or pocket and you can pull it out and read anytime you find yourself waiting. The lessons are short and stand alone .. so you can dip in anywhere.

Thanks for your comments and again, thanks for the suggestion.

buildofcredit 8 years ago

I want to read this one: Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - T. Harv Eker Sounds interesting

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

It is a very good book. Lots of useful information. Be sure to take action on what you read. That is the way to achieve what you want.

Sanctus 8 years ago

Great post. I have a tattered paperback copy of The Power of the Subconscious Mind that I have read many times. I have also read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and The Greatest Salesman in the World. All were excellent and I will add the remaining books to my "to read" list.


John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

I think you will find the others very enlightening. I put off reading the Greatest Salesman in the World for a long time because I thought it was about selling. Boy was I wrong.

I have read most of those books 2 or three times. And As a Man Thinketh and A Manual for Living, probably a dozen times. All well worth reading.

Thanks for your comment.

Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 8 years ago from Around the USA

These books are right up my alley, so I was surprised that I had only read one, the classic "Think and Grow Rich". Thanks for adding 9 books to my reading list. I look forward to reading them!

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

I know you will learn from them ...

yojpotter profile image

yojpotter 8 years ago from Iloilo City

Thanks for sharing!

These are great books but my faves are one from Dan Kennedy..^^

If you want to find out more about Dan Kennedy..Kindly visit this review site--->

Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN


I like your positive attitude, and I may read one or two of these. Thanks. Julie

wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 8 years ago from The Land of Tractors

Thanks for these great suggestions. I was VERY much inspired during my high school years by reading Zig Ziglar's books about attitude and success. I've read only a few of these, but have heard of most of them. Some of the personal things happening within my family cause me to hearken back to those lessons about positive attitudes. Attitude is everything! I'm looking forward to the reading time.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks for your comments. I have made it a habit to read for 30 minutes each morning. That way I read about one book per week. You should try it. It will do wonders for you.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author


If you are only going to read two, read As A Man Thinketh and A Manual For Living. Both can be read in about one hour. But read them often. It will really improve your outlook and attitude.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

These are very appealing. I'm going to order them thru amazon...which one should I start with?

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

My two that I always have near me are As A Man Thinketh and A Manual for Living. You can read them in an hour or so ... but I suggest you read them often ... once a month is a good schedule. Then you would probably enjoy the Univesity of Hard Knocks. If you have not read The Greatest Salesman in the World, I would suggest that also. It is not about selling. If you don't know Og Mandino and his works, go to and click on about Og. Listen to his life's story.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Oh i will! I love learning more about how to handle life and yourself. Never an end to that kind of information. Thanks for putting this important list together. We all have no excuse to not improve now..

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

"A Manual For Living" sounds like an interesting read.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

Constant, it is a treasure. When one of my friends encounters a problem in their life - like death of a close family member - I have made a habit to give them a copy. I normally keep 2 - 3 copies on hand just for that reason.

Thanks for reading and I do hope you enjoy and learn from it.

talented_ink profile image

talented_ink 8 years ago from USA

This is a really good list and you have given me new books to learn from. Two books that have really inspired me are Overcoming the Fear of Success by Martha Friedman and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks for your comments. I agree that many people have a fear of success - and that is probably responsible for more people staying stuck than anything else.

I hope these books will help you along your success journey.

OrangeCast profile image

OrangeCast 8 years ago from Dallas, TX

John, excellent list. I was looking for some new summer reading material! I have to add a few to that list that I have promoted in other hubs, simply because they are two of my favorite books of all time:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

No two books have influenced me more in terms of the importance of attitude, of believing in and striving for your dreams, and taking the time to truly understand the path that life has laid out for you and making the most of every single day.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author


Thanks for your comments. I have not read The Alchemist, but will add it to my list ... and for an avid reader it is growing longer not shorter ...

Is The Last Lecture different from the video?

sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

Great List I have read most of the books with Og mandino and the unversity of hard knocks being my top two. The Randy Pauch book is more exrensive than the lecture on his website but I read it in about an hour. I read a two hundred and fifty page novel in about two and a half hours and love reading. But I certainly can't read in the Gym on a bike as you and many others do!

Thanks for an interesting hub.

OrangeCast profile image

OrangeCast 8 years ago from Dallas, TX

As sixtyorso said, The Last Lecture is based on the video but is more extensive and expounds a litle bit some of the points he makes in the actual lecture itself. It is an easy read, but so worthwhile. I have not read it again since Mr. Pausch passed away, but something tells me that the poignancy might be even stronger (at least different) now.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author

Sixty and Orange,

Thanks for your input. I really enjoyed the video and was sadden by his passing away. At least he left something for everyone. I shall obtain a copy and read it also.

Shaun Lindbergh profile image

Shaun Lindbergh 8 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

Thanks John, quite a few books on your list that I haven't read. I have some homework! My two best of all time are, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (read 34 years ago) and The Science of getting Rich by Wallace Wattles which I read two years ago. I also love Winston Churchill's six-volume History of World War II ... great inspiration when the going gets tough as it sometimes does.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author


I often read books again, and just finished Wattles book for the third time. I think you will find some good one on my list.

Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

pursuitcoach profile image

pursuitcoach 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada


Excellent list...there are a few here that I've missed, so thanks for the insight.May I recommend a few more that are on my list..

I see you already had one people recommend the Alchemist and The Last Lecture. Both favourites of mine. Here are a few others that definitely deserve consideration for any top 10 list. Let me know your thoughts.

1) Oh the Places you will Go by Dr. Seuss. Incredibly inspiring and motivating book...and fun to read too. Dr. Sesuss has a fun way of sending a big message!2) The Dip by Seth Godin.3) Tuesday's with Morrie by Mitch Albom4) Five People you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom5) One More Day by Mitch Albom

I write an article once per week on my blog site sharing my favourite reads. I will pick up some of the missing jems you shared so I can feature them too.

More to come...Rob

Bruce Elkin profile image

Bruce Elkin 8 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

Interesting list, JOhn. Thanks. Especially for the Epitictus. I've not seen it before, although I've seen the old Greek widely quoted. Nice mix of ancient and modern wisdom.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee Author


I keep A Manual For Living on my desk and refer to it often. I highly recommend the book.

Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Thank you for this list. I read all the time and realise I have missed out on some brilliant books. "The last lecture" was one of the finest I read last year. Thanks again. Great hub.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 7 years ago from Tennessee Author

Gypsy, for more detailed information about some great books I suggest you check out my reviews on To find them, you can go to and search on Secrets of The Millionaire Mind. Scroll down until you see my review. Then click on "see all reviews". You will get to see a wide range book ... about business and life. If you find any helpful, be sure to indicate that at the bottom of the review.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jane@CM profile image

Jane@CM 7 years ago

Thanks for the article. I now have a few new books to look for next time I'm at B&N.

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 7 years ago from Tennessee Author


If you ever get over to, you can see reviews I have posted on lots of books since I wrote this article. Go to Secrets of the Millionaire Mind and check out my review. There will be a link to "see all my reviews" and they will be listed in date order.

Good reading.

Nishant Bhat 7 years ago

hi... i have a question... if u r given this situation that you have lot many interesting books to b read, how would u start(actually i get distracted by the next one once i start a book)?

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 7 years ago from Tennessee Author

I have a fixed reading schedule. Half hour every morning while doing exercise. I read one book at a time, write a review and move on to the next. It is easy to get distracted. I think you need to discipline yourself to finish a book once you start. If a book is very poorly written or totally off the subject I am looking for, I will give up and quit reading it.

One of the best ways to discipline yourself is to only get one book at a time. Then you won't be distracted.

Nishant 7 years ago

Thanks a lot.. ya i feel i shd limit books by shelf.. and discipline is imp.. it really seems hard to believe that people so nice like you are there for direct communication.. Long Live This WebSite n ofcourse YOU!

John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 7 years ago from Tennessee Author


J Burgraff profile image

J Burgraff 7 years ago

John, an interesting list and one from a completely different reading perspective. 'As a Man Thinketh' sounds very interesting. Thanks for your list.

Christy Zutautas 6 years ago

Great book recommendations, The Power of the Subconscious Mind is one of my absolute favorites (my copy is worn out from years of use). I'm really enjoying reading through your hubs. It's great to read articles by someone so positive.

Tiffany 6 years ago

John I am very grateful for your list, I plan on going to Barnes & Noble to buy at least half your list tomorrow. I was unable to sleep tonight because I'm 31 yrs old and I feel like my life is in a RUT. I want to get back on track and I believe reading and spirituality will lead the way. I googled top 10 books to read and your list popped up and gave my the head start and hope I was searching for. Thank You Dearly!!!!

aleks 6 years ago

Hey John! Same here, put books about life you should rad, and you popped out :) Great suggestions - gonna see if there are any ebooks.

Greatings from Poland!

sellbooksforcash profile image

sellbooksforcash 5 years ago from America

Think and Grow Rich is an Amazing book with a great story behind the way it was written, although my all time favourite would have to be The Richest Man in Babylon.

Great book list, will check out the few that i have yet to read!

curious dreamer profile image

curious dreamer 4 years ago from India

Great books i've read only two in this list.

Surely i ll read all these books , thank you for sharing

voted up.

Submit a Comment
New comments are not being accepted on this article at this time.
Click to Rate This Article