Looking for your next book to read? This page is a collection of 50 books X-Teamers have read and recommended, organized by topic. Some of these are well-known while others are hidden gems. Although all these books are worth reading, each book has a small summary to help you understand what it's about and how many pages long it is.

Table of Contents

Self-improvement

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People: Written by Dale Carnegie and published in 1936, this was the book that started the self-help industry. It's a timeless bestseller with rock-solid advice on how to succeed in your business and personal life. 288 pages long.
  • Love is Never Enough: Written by Aaron T. Beck and published in 1988, Love is never Enough is a book on how couples can overcome misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and solve relationship problems through cognitive therapy. 432 pages long.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Written by Stephen Covey and published in 1989, 7 Habits was an instant genre classic. It's about the 7 simple habits you can build to navigate your life correctly and get closer to the ideal of "success" in life. 372 pages long.
  • Nonviolent Communication: Written by Marshall Rosenberg and published in 1999, Nonviolent Communication talks about improving the quality of your relationships, deepening your sense of personal empowerment, and communicating more effectively. 220 pages long.
  • The Black Swan: Written by Nassim Taleb and published in 2007, The Black Swan introduced the world to the concept of a black swan: a highly improbable, unpredictable event with a massive impact. This book can help reduce your exposure to negative black swans while exposing you to positive ones. 366 pages long.
  • Tribe of Mentors: Written by Tim Ferriss and published in 2017, Tribe of Mentors is a collection of 100 interviews with an eclectic mix of experts in their fields, from Ray Dalio to Maria Sharapova to Patton Oswalt. In this book, Tim Ferriss shares their secrets for success, happiness, meaning, and more. 624 pages long.
  • Tiny Habits: Written by B.J. Fogg and first published in 2019, Tiny Habits is a book on how small changes can help you lead a happier, healthier life. Fogg condenses his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you achieve any goal of your choice. 320 pages long.

Business

  • The Intelligent Investor: Written by Benjamin Graham and published in 1949, this book is a favorite of Warren Buffett. It teaches you about value investing, an investment technique that shields you from substantial investment error and explains how you can develop better long-term investment strategies. 623 pages long.
  • Blink: Written by Malcolm Gladwell and published in 2005, Blink intends to change the way you'll understand every decision you make. It's about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant, that actually aren't as simple as they seem. 296 pages long.
  • Made to Stick: Written by Chip and Dan Heath and published in 2006, Made to Stick is already a business book classic. It's about why some ideas thrive, why others don't, and how you can improve your idea's chances. This book has the potential to transform the way you communicate. 291 pages long.
  • Start with Why: Written by Simon Sinek and published in 2009, Start with Why asks the question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Sinek explains why the successful ones all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way. 256 pages long.
  • Steve Jobs: Written by the famous biographer Walter Isaacson and published in 2011, this biography of Steve Jobs is one of Isaacson's best. Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years, it's a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and intense personality of one of the best creative entrepreneurs of modern life. 627 pages long.
  • Scaling Up: Written by Verne Harnish and published in 2014, Scaling Up is a book on the practical techniques for building an industry-dominating business. These techniques have been honed from advising tens of thousands of CEOs and helping them navigate the complexities of scaling a business. 246 pages long.
  • Radical Candor: Written by Kim Scott and published in 2017, Radical Candor introduced the world to the radical candor management technique. It's about providing guidance, which involves a mix of praise as well as criticism, delivered to produce better results and help employees achieve more. 246 pages long.

Programming

  • Clean Code: Written by Robert Martin and published in 2007, Clean Code is a must-read book for any programmer. It talks about the importance of clean code, how you can distinguish between good and bad code, and how you can write clean code too. 434 pages long.
  • Cracking the Coding Interview: Written by Gayle McDowell and published in 2008, Cracking the Coding Interview gives you the interview preparation you need to get the top software developer jobs. The book  includes 150 programming interview questions and answers, as well as other advice. 500 pages long.
  • 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know: Written by Kevlin Henney and published in 2010, 97 Things taps into the wisdom of experts to learn what every programmer should know, no matter what language you use. With this book, you'll expand your skills by adopting new approaches to old problems. 258 pages long.
  • Grokking Algorithms: Written by Aditya Bhargava and published in 2015, Grokking Algorithms is an illustrated guide that teaches you how to use algorithms effectively in your own programs. It's a disarming take on an otherwise complicated computer science topic. 256 pages long.
  • You Don't Know JS: Written by Kyle Simpson and published in 2015, You Don't Know JS is an e-book series that helps you get a more complete understanding of JavaScript, including trickier parts of the language that many experienced JavaScript programmers simply avoid. 72 pages long.

Science

Physics

  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Written by Richard Feynman and published in 1985, this autobiography is about Feynman's experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr, cracking the supposedly uncrackable safes guarding deeply held nuclear secrets, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums, and more. 400 pages long.
  • A Brief History of Time: Written by Stephen Hawking and published in 1988, this book is a science classic. Back then, it was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. Today, many of Hawking's predictions in the book have been confirmed. 212 pages long.
  • What If?: Written by Randall Munroe and published in 2014, What If? is a book that gives serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions. Examples are: What would happen if the moon went away? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? 303 pages long.

Biology

  • The Human Zoo: Written by Desmond Morris and published in 1969, this book explores the similarities between captive zoo animals and the aggressive, sexual, and parental behavior of the human species under the stresses and pressures of urban living. 320 pages long.
  • Privileged Hands: Written by Geerat Vermeij and published in 1996, this is a memoir from the world's leading authority on marine mollusks, who has been blind since the age of three. It's an inspiring tale of how he overcame his handicap to further the sum of human knowledge. 297 pages long.
  • Domesticated: Written by Richard Francis and published in 2015, Domesticated is a book on tameness as the key trait in the domestication of cats, dogs, horses, cows, and other mammals. Francis weaves history and anthropology with cutting-edge ideas in genomics and evolution. 496 pages long.
  • The Gene: Written by Siddhartha Mukherjee and published in 2016, The Gene is a book about the quest to decipher the master code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function. It's a definitive account of the fundamental unit of heredity. 592 pages long.
  • Into the Gray Zone: Written by Adrian Owen and published in 2017, Into the Gray Zone is a book about people who live in "the gray zone" between full consciousness and brain death. What are the ethical implications that come with the decisions we make about these people? 320 pages long.

History

  • Las venas abiertas de América Latina: Written by Eduardo Galeano and published in 1971, this book set a new standard for the historical scholarship of Latin America. It organizes the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of resource exploitation (think gold, silver, coffee, cacao, fruit, etc). 470 pages long.
  • Fingerprints of the Gods: Written by Graham Hancock and published in 1995, Fingerprints of the Gods is the first book of a trilogy that explores the story of mankind. Hancock goes on a worldwide quest to put together all the pieces of the vast and fascinating jigsaw of mankind’s hidden past. 578 pages long.
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything: Written by Bill Bryson and published in 2003, this book takes us from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Bryson walks us from the point where there was nothing to how we became the most powerful species on Earth. 544 pages long.
  • Dark Emu: Written by Bruce Pascoe and published in 2014, Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for precolonial Aboriginal Australians. Pascoe challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. 176 pages long.
  • Lakota America: Written by Pekka Hämäläinen and published in 2019, Lakota America is the first comprehensive history of the Lakota Indians and their profound role in shaping America’s history. It places the Lakotas at the center of American history. 544 pages long.

Spiritual and Philosophy

  • Meditations: Written by Marcus Aurelius and published in 180 AD, Meditations is a series of personal writings that turned into a timeless work of philosophy. A seminal work if you want to learn about stoicism and apply its principles to your life. 303 pages long.
  • The Cost of Discipleship: Written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and published in 1937, this book illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus. It's a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency. 320 pages long.
  • Celebration of Discipline: Written by Richard Foster and published in 1978, this book helps you discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God. It's hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality. 256 pages long.
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century: Written by Yuval Harari and published in 2018, this book is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. It addresses how we can navigate life in the face of constant and disorienting change. 372 pages long.
  • The Courage to Be: Written by Paul Tillich and published in 1952, The Courage to Be is a book on the dilemma of the modern man and how we can better understand and deal with anxiety. 200 pages long.

Fiction

Literature

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray: Written by Oscar Wilde and published in 1890, this novel is about a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. It caused a scandal when released because it was believed to have a corrupting influence. 272 pages long.
  • The Metamorphosis: Written by Franz Kafka and published in 1915, The Metamorphosis is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. 201 pages long.
  • Steppenwolf: Written by Hermann Hesse and published in 1927, Steppenwolf is the poetical self-portrait of a man who felt himself to be half-human and half-wolf. It's a plea for rigorous self-examination and an indictment of the intellectual hypocrisy of the 1920s. 256 pages long.
  • Musashi: Written by Eiji Yoshikawa and published in 1935, Musashi is a classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman. It interweaves themes of unrequited love, misguided revenge, filial piety and absolute dedication to the Way of the Samurai. 970 pages long.

Scifi, Fantasy, and Horror

  • Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: Written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1843, this is a collection of Poe's best short stories, including The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, and The Fall of the House of Usher. Expect to be horrified with top-notch writing. 304 pages long.
  • Brave New World: Written by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932, this is a dystopian novel set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy. Full of disturbing similarities with contemporary life. 288 pages long.
  • 1984: Written by George Orwell and published in 1949, 1984 is that rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. It's Orwell's nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. 237 pages long.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Written by C.S. Lewis and published in 1950, this is the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia, a series that narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the Narnian world. 206 pages long.
  • Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Written by Stanisław Lem and published in 1957, this is a collection of short stories about faulty time machines, intelligent washing machines, suicidal potatoes, and more. 153 pages long.
  • The Silmarillion: Written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published posthumously in 1977, The Silmarillion lies at the core of Tolkien's work. It's a great collection of tales and legends that clearly set the stage for everything that happens in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books.
  • The Last Wish: Written by Andrzej Sapkowski and published in 1993, this is the first book of The Witcher series, which inspired the well-known games and series. This is the tale of Geralt the Witcher, whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. 360 pages long.
  • The Way of Kings: Written by Brandon Sanderson and published in 2010, this is is the first novel of The Stormlight Archive, a ten-book series of epic fantasy novels that cover the quest of exploring mankind's past on Roshar, a world full of storms and magic. 1007 pages long.
  • Recursion: Written by Blake Crouch and published in 2019, Recursion is a story about what New York City cop Barry Sutton learns about the phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome – a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. 336 pages long.

Will you pick up one of the books on the list above? Let us know in a reply to this tweet 👇