The Top 12 Books Of All Time | To Make You Wiser & More Complete

Best and top books of all time. Read as many books as you can for self-growth.

Read as many books as you can for self-growth.Friends, starting this month, I am going to make book recommendations every couple of months. In each issue, I will have 12 new books for you to choose from. Read all of them or read as many as you can but remember these top books are treaties on the collected wisdom of ages.

I promise to you, even if you read just one of the twelve, you’ll be a transformed person after you finish the book.

Your vocabulary, your language, your perception of the world will change and you will grow in every positive direction in your life.

Start today and let’s all commit to reading all of these great books every month.

Top 12 Books Of All Time

Why the number 12?

If you are wondering why 12 books each month and not 3 or 10 or 5? Well, here is my reasoning behind the number 12.

1. There are 12 months in a year and for those of us who are into self-development, it’s easy to commit to reading a book a month. But, what if you want to beat the 99% and be in the top 1% of people.

How about, read as much in a month what others read in full year. I know, reading 12 books is not possible for 99.999% of us but the assumption is all of you must have read some of these books so I have to recommend 12 so that there is something new for everyone each month.

2. I cannot justify dedicating a complete blog post on book recommendation each month with just 3 or 5 books in my post. Plus, there are so many great books out there. We may have read a lot but there is a lot that we still need to learn. Books are our best friends. Why not, keep a lot of them.

3. Not every month will have exactly 12 books. The point here is to read great works and not add volumes of books to our library. Some months may have only 10, some may have only 8 or 9. The number of books is not important, what is truly important is that you must find the time and MUST READ all of them, this month or the next.

 

My 2015 Book List

These are the 12 books I have selected for November 2015 reading list which every literate person on this earth MUST READ. Whether you think these books apply to your life’s situation or not, pick them up and read. You’ll find more than what you are looking for.

These books are beyond time, culture and language. I have added the links so that you can find them if you want to read them.

Some of them might be free while others can be purchased for cheap. They all are worth many times more than their costs.

 

1. The Book of Job, (from The Old Testament, Bible), Israel. (600-400 BC)

You can get a free copy of Bible from many places such as thrift stores, churches, library, etc. Go to the index and look for The Book of Job (in the Old Testament section). 

The book of Job is not only a story about human condition and survival but faith, self-belief, divine interventions, time and complexities of human life.

It is a great read. Once you finish it, you will feel your life is just perfect and things happen for a reason.

 

2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Nigeria

Things Fall Apart is a post-colonial novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 1958. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa. The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo leader and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia.

Okonkwo (the main protagonist) starts off as a great leader and wrestling champion but things start to go wrong for reasons beyond his controls. By the end, the Christianized and Westernized village has changed and things fall apart further for our protagonist.

 

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, England

A classic romance read, set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of M.r and Mrs. Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr. Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood.

While handsome Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, rich and young Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.

 

4. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, United States

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads a peaceful and happy life.

 

5. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Ireland

Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. The satire can be linked to religious theme (for example, waiting for God who never shows up) or any other themes such as political, psychological, etc.

It is a fascinating read and enlightening as it delves deep into the four archetypal personalities of the soul are grouped in two pairs: the ego and the shadow, the persona and the soul’s image (animus or anima).

 

6. Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina

Fiction steeped in deep symbolism and social-economic-political commentaries.

 

7. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason, U.S.

If you want to make more money, be rich, save money, understand money and wealth and more in a narrative format — this is the BEST book on everything money. I read this book when I was broke and clinically depressed and had no hopes for life. This book gave me the insights that literally changed my life and condition 360 degrees. This book has been a life saver for me.

 

8. The Stranger by Albert Camus, France

This is an awesome read. The book is divided into two sections.

Part I
Meursault learns of his mother’s death. At her funeral, he expresses none of the expected emotions of grief. When asked if he wishes to view the body, he says no, and, instead, smokes and drinks coffee in front of the coffin. Rather than expressing his feelings, he only comments to the reader about the others at the funeral. He later encounters Marie, a former employee of his firm. The two become re-acquainted, go swimming, watch a comedy film and begin to have a sexual relationship, despite the fact that his mother’s funeral took place the day before. In the next few days, he helps his friend and neighbor, Raymond Sintès, take revenge on a Moorish girlfriend suspected of infidelity. For Raymond, Meursault agrees to write a letter to his girlfriend, with the sole purpose of inviting her over so that Raymond can have sex with her but spit in her face at the last minute as emotional revenge. Meursault sees no reason not to help him, and it pleases Raymond. He does not express concern that Raymond’s girlfriend is going to be emotionally hurt, as he believes Raymond’s story that she has been unfaithful, and he himself is both somewhat drunk and characteristically unfazed by any feelings of empathy. In general, he considers other people either interesting or annoying or feels nothing of them at all.

The letter works: the girlfriend returns, but the situation escalates when she slaps Raymond after he tries to kick her out, and Raymond beats her. Raymond is taken to court where Meursault testifies that she had been unfaithful, and Raymond is let off with a warning. After this, the girlfriend’s brother and several Arab friends begin trailing Raymond. Raymond invites Meursault and Marie to a friend’s beach house for the weekend, and when there, they encounter the spurned girlfriend’s brother and an Arab friend; these two confront Raymond and wound him with a knife during a fist fight. Later, walking back along the beach alone and now armed with a revolver he took from Raymond so that Raymond would not do anything rash, Meursault encounters the Arab. Meursault is now disoriented on the edge of heatstroke, and when the Arab flashes his knife at him, Meursault shoots. Despite killing the Arab man with the first gunshot, he shoots the corpse four more times after a brief pause. He does not divulge to the reader any specific reason for his crime or emotions he experiences at the time, if any, aside from the fact that he was bothered by the heat and bright sunlight.

Part II
Meursault is incarcerated and explains his arrest, time in prison, and upcoming trial. His general detachment makes living in prison very tolerable, especially after he gets used to the idea of not being able to go places whenever he wants to and no longer being able to satisfy his sexual desires with Marie. He passes the time sleeping, or mentally listing the objects he owned back in his apartment building. At the trial, Meursault’s quietness and passivity are seen as demonstrative of his seeming lack of remorse or guilt by the prosecuting attorney, and so the attorney concentrates more upon Meursault’s inability or unwillingness to cry at his mother’s funeral than on the actual murder. The attorney pushes Meursault to tell the truth but never comes through and later, on his own, Meursault explains to the reader that he simply was never really able to feel any remorse or personal emotions for any of his actions in life. The dramatic prosecutor theatrically denounces Meursault to the point that he claims Meursault must be a soulless monster, incapable of remorse and that he thus deserves to die for his crime. Although Meursault’s attorney defends him and later tells Meursault that he expects the sentence to be light, Meursault is alarmed when the judge informs him of the final decision: that he will be decapitated publicly.

In prison, while awaiting the execution of his death sentence by the guillotine, Meursault meets with a chaplain, but rejects his proffered opportunity of turning to God, explaining that God is a waste of his time. Although the chaplain persists in attempting to lead Meursault from his atheism (or, perhaps more precisely, his apatheism), Meursault finally accosts him in a rage, with a climactic outburst on his frustrations and the absurdity of the human condition and his personal anguish at the meaninglessness of his existence without respite. At the beginning of his outrage he mentions other people in anger, that they have no right to judge him for his actions or for who he is, and no one has the right to judge someone else. Meursault ultimately grasps the universe’s indifference towards humankind which allows him to come to terms with his execution.

 

9. Selected Stories by Anton Chekhov, Russia

Any story from Anton Checkov is a delightful must read. Well, this is a collection of his short stories. Enough said, you can’t miss any of the stories in this short book.

 

10. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, England

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “I’d rather have written Nostromo than any other novel.” Nostromo is often regarded as Conrad’s best novel. 

Nostromo is set in the South American country of Costaguana, and more specifically in that country’s Occidental Province and its port city of Sulaco. Costaguana has a long history of tyranny, revolution and warfare, but has recently experienced a period of stability under the dictator Ribiera. Nostromo is an Italian expatriate who has risen to his position through his bravery and daring exploits.

His exploits during the revolution do not bring Nostromo the fame he had hoped for, and he feels slighted and used. Feeling that he has risked his life for nothing, he is consumed by resentment, which leads to his corruption and ultimate destruction.

 

11. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Italy

The Divine Comedy is an epic poem by Dante Alighieri, finished in 1320 (after 12 years of writing). It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature.

On the surface, the poem describes Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven; but at a deeper level, it represents, allegorically, the soul’s journey towards God.

 

12. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russia

Considered and acclaimed as one of the supreme achievements in world literature, The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality.

It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia, with a plot which revolves around the subject of patricide.

Admirers of the novel include Albert Einstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut.

Sigmund Freud called it “the most magnificent novel ever written” and was fascinated with the book for its Oedipal themes.

 

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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have already read some of these books, please tell us about what you think? Want to make book recommendations, please shoot me a message. I am always on the lookout for great books.

The Art of Speed Reading: How To Read Faster

Reading is a favorite pursuit of many but it can be daunting when faced with lengthier novels and assigned academic reading.

How is it possible that some people are able to read volumes of work faster than others? Is there truly an art to speed-reading?

How To Read Faster

This article will explore techniques that instruct readers on how they can perfect this sought after skill. Reading more allows you to learn more and reading faster allows you to save time.

First, let’s talk about some of the immediate benefits of speed-reading to you as a reader and/or writer.

1. Faster reading skills will help you read more books and therefore allow you to review more books or simply more reading entertainment.
2. Faster reading skills will help you to read more books which in turn helps you write more books.
3. Faster reading skills will help you to research faster. Research, after all, is a lot of reading and note-taking.
4. Faster reading skills will help you to read emails, comments and social mentions in less time. You can respond faster to your friends, family and fans.
5. Faster reading skills help you save time. Time is the most valuable currency we have. And remember, time is a finite resource.

Read Faster Without Losing Comprehension

Now, let us begin on this journey that will help you to become a great speed reader.

Our first train stop is a WikiHow article entitled How to Learn Speed Reading that can be found by visiting the link. This article gives a step by step guide to increasing your productivity while reading. But, I have summarized it here.

The first step proposed is to stop visualizing the spoken word and focus on blocks of text. The second step is to hold the book or screen at a distance as you read to absorb more text at once. Once you have mastered these steps, progress by hiding words you’ve already read so you won’t be tempted to re-read them to understand the context better.


A key part of the efficient reading experience is to read without distractions in a space that is quiet and well lit. Posture is essential when it comes to reading. Reading while being in the bed can make you feel more tired.

Additionally, you should try to read at a time when you’re most awake and focused. Concentrate on the most crucial aspects of the text first and ask yourself insightful questions about what you’re reading to stop yourself from daydreaming or becoming distracted by your thoughts.


Even when practicing these techniques, you should try to understand the different types of reading and practice good reading techniques such as carefully reading instead of skimming to understand more difficult parts of the book you’re reading.

When you’re practicing these steps, try reading an easy and light book first so you won’t have to think so deeply about the material.

You should time your reading speed by perhaps setting a timer and seeing how much reading you can do in a set amount of time. When you encounter a text such as a magazine or newspaper, look at the section headings and headlines to see what you want to read and what you already understand.


Another article written by the Student Counseling Service at the University of Chicago that can be found here presents some techniques that have already been mentioned but also suggests using a pen to guide your eyes as you read.

You can begin reading at your normal pace and mark where you left off before re-reading the same passage for a minute at a faster speed than before. Reiterate this step by reading three times faster than your slowest speed and then asking yourself how much you remember from the passage.

The counseling service recommended practicing this process for 10 minutes a day for two weeks to become more comfortable with the art of speed reading, increase your reading speed, and improve your understanding of the text.


A speed reading expert, Dr. Richard L. Feldman, from Columbia University wrote a 10-step article entitled “Speed Reading: 10 Tips to Improve Reading Speed and Reading Comprehension”. Read can read the full article by clicking on the link.

His 10 steps are as follows:

1. Read earlier in the day when you are most awake and can maintain focus on important material.
2. Organize your reading materials by their degree of importance and then read the material in the order of importance. This will help improve your reading speed.
3. Skim for main ideas in nonfiction books by scanning the table of contents and beginnings and ends of each paragraph. Understanding the book’s structure will help you to know which parts to skim and which parts require more careful reading.
4. Turn headings and subheadings into questions to ponder and then examine the text to find the answers to these questions.
5. Use a bookstand and have your book angled at 45 degrees to avoid straining your eyes.
6. Write short notes after reading letters and then refer to these notes when you’re ready to reply to the sender.
7. Avoid highlighting key portions of the text as this will not improve comprehension of the book.
8. Preview the text before beginning reading.
9. Adjust your reading speed to the type of reading material and purpose for reading.
10. Enroll in a speed reading class taught by an expert on the subject.

Speed Reading Techniques

Glendale Community College wrote a five method primer on self-pacing while speed-reading. The primer can be found on their website. The five methods are:

  • The Hand
  • The Card
  • The Sweep
  • The Hop
  • The Zig-Zag


The Hand is a method that has the reader place their right hand on the page and move it straight down the page so you move your eyes down as you read. Do this at a slow and even pace.


The Card technique has you use a card or a folded piece of paper above the line you are trying to read and draw it down the page slowly and evenly and try to read the passage before covering up the words. Slide the card down faster than you can go.


The Sweep has you use your hand to draw your eyes across the page. Cup your right hand and keep your fingers together. Using light and smooth motion, sweep fingers from left to right underlining the line with the tip of your finger. Use your whole arm to move and balance on your arm.


The Hop has you lift your fingers and make two bounces on each line. Each time you bounce, you hopefully will read sets of three or four words. This makes it easier for you to keep a steady pace as you read.


The Zig-Zag has you take your hand and cut diagonally across the page for three lines and then back to the text. Scan the entire page and pick out the main ideas.

Speed Reading 101


According to a 2012 Forbes article that published the results of a speed-reading test sponsored by Staples as part of an e-book promotion, the typical speeds at which we read and understand at different points in our educational development are as follows:

  • Third-grade students – 150 words per minute
  • Eighth-grade students – 250 words per minute
  • Average college student – 450 words per minute
  • Average high-level executive – 575 words per minute
  • Average college professor – 675 words per minute
  • Speed readers – 1,500 words per minute
  • World speed reading champion – 4,700 words per minute
  • Average adult – 300 words per minute

The article’s author then put these rates into context by applying them to typical reading materials of very successful business people.

For newspapers and blogs, at the average adult speed of 300 WPM you would spend 33 minutes a day on that part of your reading routine.


For magazines with an average length between 60 and 150 pages, you would spend 75 minutes reading one magazine and successful individuals normally read about five magazines per day. For them, the reading time over the course of a month would be 50 minutes a day.

For books with an estimated word count of 100,000 words and the goal to read one book a month, that comes to 11 minutes a day at the average adult reading speed.


Factoring all of this in, you could easily spend at least two hours a day reading at the rate of 300 WPM. For more of the author’s insights on this topic, visit this Forbes link.


The Staples speed-reading test can be found here. Take the test, it’s fun.


One reader of this article gave her tips for speed-reading which included reading in phrases rather than word by word and learning to skim the article for its core concepts.

The layout of the article would also impact how fast you are able to read it.

Another insightful commenter mentioned that absorbing more useful content could be obtained by listening to the news as you drive to become well-informed and able to reference important stories.

You could also listen to audiobooks to cram more content into a busy week.


One reader mentioned that there should be some scholarly analysis into how reading speed correlates with typing rates as many individuals spend a good part of their day typing.

She compared the speed of listening to a book on tape versus reading it in print and then compared this to how fast that text could then be transcribed by writing or typing.

She found that reading and typing at the same time averaged out at between three and four times faster than the typical speaking rate of a book-on-tape reader.


An interesting article that criticized the outlandish claims of some speed reading instructors and courses was published on the website of the Skeptic’s Dictionary.

One of these speed reading instructors, Howard Berg, author of Speed Reading the Easy Way, claims that he is able to read 25,000 words per minute which is about 80-90 pages a minute.

A professor at UC Berkeley, Anne Cunningham, examined test results that measured eye movements while reading that determined that the maximum amount of words a person can read accurately is about 300 per minute.

People who claim to read 10,000 words per minute are really just skimming the material. Well, I agree with Anne. I am a proponent of speed reading but not at the cost of not really reading anything. Would you?


The author of the Skeptic’s Dictionary article believes that a better way to increase reading speed would be to enroll in a community college course that would improve study skills, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. It would certainly cost less than a speed reading course such as the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics course.


The Evelyn Wood speed reading course is a very well-known program with techniques that have been practiced by US presidents including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter.

John F. Kennedy had Evelyn Wood instructors teach top-level staff members how to increase their reading speed as did Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter took the course and was able to reach a 1,200 word per minute reading rate with a high comprehension rate.

The techniques of the Wood program which was acquired by Encyclopaedia Britannica were explored in a comprehensive book entitled “Remember Everything You Read: The Evelyn Wood 7 Day Speed Reading and Learning Program.”


One technique mentioned was the visual-vertical approach which involves eliminating vocalization of words and replacing it with a visual perception of the material that entails sweeping the eyes vertically down the page.

The book stated that the full emotional impact and intellectual understanding of most passages in books are enhanced with the visual-vertical approach to reading.


Another technique is the multiple reading process or layering technique which involves seeing and accepting words and phrases out of their expected order. The layering technique is a five-step process which includes:


1. Overview

a. Quickly skimming the book to determine its organization, structure, and tone b. See what the cover and jacket state about the contents and author
c. Examine the preface and introduction if there is one
d. Flip through the pages at about one second per page

2. Preview

a. Read at about four seconds per page to draft an outline of the details of the book.
b. Divide the chapter you are reading into sections if it is a nonfiction text. If the work is fictitious, you can preview the book by identifying main characters, setting, time period, and general direction of the plot.
c. Look for key facts and concepts paying close attention to the introduction, summaries, and questions posed by the author.

3. Read

Preview the first subsection in a nonfiction book and read that section at your fastest comfortable reading speed and make notations to pinpoint important or difficult material to study later on. This will help you to remain actively engaged with the book.

4. Postview

Review the entire reading assignment and think about the relationship of each part of the book to the whole.

5. Review

Regularly try to remember what you’ve read and see how it relates to other course materials. 

It is evident now that there are a variety of techniques for reading faster and with practice perhaps you could also become a great speed reader. Try to remember though that speed reading should not replace savoring the experience of a good book.

The various ways to speed read could certainly apply however to lengthy assigned readings for academic courses.

Hopefully, this article has allowed you to understand the methods of speed reading and helped you to determine whether speed reading is a skill that you wish to perfect.

 

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What do you think about speed-reading techniques? Do you consider yourself to be a slow reader or speed-reader? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
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