Best Fiction Books
Best fiction books recommended by the best professionals and business people in the world
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Amelia Boone recommends House of Leaves: "This is a book that you have to hold, because there are parts of it where you need to turn it upside down to read it. There are certain pages where, you are reading it, and it turns in a circle... This is a book that's an entire sensory experience."
Kelly Starrett recommends The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer: "Kelly is a legitimate fantasy and sci-fi nerd. He knows Dune by Frank Herbert and The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson inside and out. Kelly has daughters and texted me about the latter book, which follows a young female protagonist: "How do you raise girls that are of the system but crush the system while rebuilding a better one?""
Ryan Holiday recommends The Moviegoer: "The Moviegoer is exactly the novel that every young kid stuck in their own head needs to read. The main character—who lives in New Orleans just a few blocks from where I lived—is so in love with the artificiality of movies that he has trouble living his actual life. The Moviegoer—it is like a good Catcher in the Rye but for adults. Just a perfect book. "
Ryan Holiday recommends Essays and Aphorisms: "Schopenhauer is a brilliant composer of quick thoughts that will help us with our problems. His work was often concerned with the “will”–our inner drives and power. “For that which is otherwise quite indigestible, all affliction, vexation, loss, grief, time alone digests.” But he also talks about surprisingly current issues: “Newspapers are the second hand of history”–and that the hand is often broken or malfunctioning. And of course, the timeless a
Ryan Holiday recommends Babbitt: "I don’t think there was anyone in the 1920s who would have believed that this book would be completely forgotten. By all accounts, it was destined to be a classic critical novel of the American Dream. You can’t read anything about the ’20s and ’30s that doesn’t comment on Babbitt (sold 130,000 copies its first year, HL Mencken loved it, it won Lewis a Nobel Prize). Calling someone a “Babbitt” was considered an insult and the phrase became a constant topic of con
Ryan Holiday recommends What Makes Sammy Run?: "Budd Schulberg’s (who wrote the screenplay for On the Waterfront) whole trilogy is amazing and each captures a different historical era. His first, What Makes Sammy Run? is Ari Gold before Ari Gold existed–purportedly based on Samuel Goldwyn (of MGM) and Darryl Zanuck. His next book, The Harder They Fall is about boxing and loosely based on the Primo Carnera scandal. All you need to know about Schulberg’s writing is captured in this quote from his
Ryan Holiday recommends The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: "What a book. It’s not as good as What Makes Sammy Run but it’s so damn good. “A boy can be two, three, four potential people,” Duddy’s uncle tells him, “but a man is only one. He murders the others.” Which potential person will you be? Which part of you will you allow to rule? The part that betrays your friends, family, principles to achieve success? Or are there other priorities?"
Ryan Holiday recommends How They Succeeded: Life Stories of Successful Men Told By Themselves: "Written in 1901 these are uplifting business oriented biographies of men like Marshall Field, John D Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison and women like Helen Gould and Julia Ward Howe (creator of Battle Hymn of the Republic). I was referred this book by Maria Popova over at Brainpickings and loved it—I’ve referred to it many times since reading it."