Best Books

Over 1000 readers at took part in a survey in October and November, 2007 to identify the best books ever written.

Here are the results:

Top 20 Books of All Time As revealed in a survey in 2007 plus 20 honorable mention and another 58 recommended reading, bringing you a total of 98 of the best books ever … and recommended by readers.

In October & November, 2007, people on Dr. John F. Murray‘s list were asked to select their 3 favorite books of all time. There were over 1000 responses in the initial round which remained open for two weeks and involved a series of four waves of emails. Then another survey was sent around for the final round of selections over a three day period. Readers were asked to review the initial list of top 78 books and to choose 3 books from that list, but to only retain one of their previous three choices. Out of this response we arrived at the Top 20 Books of All Time, ranked in order of popularity. Since 20 is a very small number, and many top books were close behind that did not make the final list, and even a few write-in choices kept occurring frequently even though they were not part of the original 78, it was decided to list an additional Top 20 in a category called Honorable Mention. It is believed that this list of 40 books is highly valuable, representing some of the greatest literary achievements ever. The sample of responses was substantial, well over 1000 readers, adding to the statistical validity that this represents a much larger population of readers. However, it should also be kept in mind that there are many natural limitations to this kind of data collection. For one, this sample represents willing readers who regularly tune in to the high performance psychology work of Dr. John F. Murray, a clinical and sports psychologist communicating in English to other English language readers. As in any research, there is a bias in that these readers are likely interested in or involved in some way with challenges in sports, psychology, health, business, or media. This sample also probably represents a more educated population than the general population. Participants also had to have access to computers and the internet. Finally, a list this small will always miss hundreds of classic books that could just as easily have made the list. We also included a few series of books when it seemed inappropriate to only list one in the series. By some accounts this is unfair as multiple works contributed to the ranking. On the other hand, the author in our view should be credited even more for the prolific task of producing a series of great books.

Despite all these limitations, we at strongly believe that this was a valuable exercise that identified some of the most superb literary accomplishments in history. These are the books most enjoyed by people who have high performance and well being on their minds! So in some way this is an elite population of readers whose voice should be heard loud and clear! These books can be enjoyed for centuries, and they should be immediately downloaded into our iPods for those healthy walks or other fitness exercises we choose. These are the cream of the crop selected by you readers, and they will hopefully enrich the lives of everyone who reads them.

Here are Your Top 20 Books of All Time in Rank Order

1. The Bible
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
5. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare
6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
7. 1984 by George Orwell
8. Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling
9. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
10. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
11. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
12. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
13. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
14. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. It’s Not about the Bike by Lance Armstrong
16. Oh the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
17. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
18. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
19. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
20. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Honorable Mention (Next 20 in No Particular Order)

-A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)
-The Killer Angels
-The Alchemist (Plus)
-The Hobbit
-Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
-The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)
-Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck Centennial Edition)
-The Great Gatsby
-Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised
-Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
-When Pride Still Mattered : A Life Of Vince Lombardi
-Candide (Bantam Classics)
-No One Here Gets Out Alive
-Moby-Dick (Dover Giant Thrift Editions)
-Band of Brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from -Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest
-Invisible Man
-The Power of One: A Novel
-The Forgotten Soldier
-On the Road (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
-Conversations with God : An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 1)

Other Recommended Reading (Still Very Popular in No Particular Order)

-The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal
-Travels with Charley in Search of America: (Centennial Edition)
-Heaven Is a Playground (Second Edition)
-The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice-cream God (Loyola Classics)
-Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper Perrennial Modern Classics)
-The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
-Watchers at the Pond
-The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
-Days of Grace
-Still Me
-The Wealth of Nations (Modern Library Classics)
-Discovering the Laws of Life
-Hating America : The New World Sport
-Why Black Men Love White Women: Going Beyond Sexual Politics to the Heart of the Matter
-Crimson Joy
-Summer Of’42
-The Pillars of the Earth
-Ramses: The Son of Light – Volume I (Vol 1)
-David Copperfield (Penguin Classics)
-Point of Impact: Net Force 05 (Net Force)
-The Sea-Wolf and Selected Stories: 100th Anniversary Edition
-Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon’s Experience with Exceptional Patients
Me : Stories of My Life
-Ender’s Game (Ender, Book 1)
-Cold Sassy Tree
-The Great Santini
-Absalom, Absalom!
-A Grief Observed
-Missing Links
-Where the Wild Things Are
-We were Soldiers Once…And Young: Ia Drang–The Battle That Changed The War In Vietnam
-Tender Is the Night
-The Magic Mountain
-The Education of Henry Adams: A Centennial Version (Massachusetts Historical Society)
-Your Erroneous Zones
-The Best and the Brightest
-Ordinary People
-Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
-In Cold Blood
-The Grass Harp
-The Sun Also Rises
-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Bantam Classics)
-A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics)
-Great Expectations (Penguin Classics)
-Remembrance of Things Past: Volume I – Swann’s Way & Within a Budding Grove (Vintage)
-Crime and Punishment (Enriched Classics)
-Lonesome Dove
-The Art of War
-Bounty Trilogy
-The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics)
-East of Eden
-All Quiet on the Western Front

Finally, here is Dr. Murray’s sport performance psychology book, written for tennis players, but applicable to any challenging situation requiring superior mental skills in life!See the recent sales stats on this book at:
Go to this link to see the results of the Top 20 picks and others too

John F. Murray, PhD