100 Books To Make Us Wise


They say “a Reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once!”

Our dean at IIM Lucknow, Prof. Rajeev Srivastava (Rocky for us), introduced us to a list of ‘must-read’ books: not part of regular curriculum, but very helpful in our eternal quest to be ‘wise’. Impressed with his advice, I have tried to read at least one book every week. Naturally, over two decades, this has added up to more than a thousand books.

I should compile a list of Top books ever written… So here is a humble first attempt. 99 Books To Make Us Wise

To make sure my readers do not suffer due to my ignorance, I have referred to other Top book lists (Time magazine, Guardian, greatestbooks.org, goodreads, esquire etc.) and made sure I have read the missing ones there to form a personal opinion.

But the list below is entirely mine, with all my biases and limitations. These cover wide ranging subjects like Management, Philosophy, Popular Science, Literature, History etc. Classics like Animal Farm are here (one of my father’s friends gifted us a 24 volume collection when I was 11). Controversial ones like Lolita are here too. There are a lot on management, influenced of course by my business education. But there are a lot on spirituality, happiness and God… aren’t those the ultimate questions? Recently, I have also picked up a deep interest in Popular Science: Working of the brain and working of the universe… probably the last frontiers for our species.

So here are my favorites. Mostly with a brief review by my team to help you form your own judgement.

Choosing few is not easy (±130 million books have been written!), so let’s decide how we will choose:

  • Life-changing: Will make us wiser. That can bring fundamental changes in our thinking and attitude, answers the big Why questions.
  • Engaging and Fun: We want to grow, but also enjoy the journey. We may not have the patience (yet!) to go through deep but boring books.

There will hardly be a universal set of Top books, since part of what makes a book memorable is our own life experiences that can relate to it. So, to give us well rounded wisdom, here are 15 genres with 5-10 options in each. Choose your chalice! A short summary/review, done by yours truly, is included too.

The younger audience may want to start with the Easy section – good insights and simple reading. You can then choose to go to the Heavy Reads at your pace.

So let’s go on and explore the different shades this little life has to offer…

PS: Like Wikipedia, we are very proud of our no charge, no advertisement policy. Just a desire to help more people read. You may subscribe free of cost to get fortnightly curated reviews.