Popular Opinion Books That Changed Your Life  

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Originally by Ranker Community
130.6k votes 7.2k voters 298.3k views 923 items

The most life changing books, ranked by the wisdom of the crowd of hundreds of people. If you are looking for books that will change your life, these have the themes, characters and story-arcs to do it. From the courage and determination of Frodo as he ventures into Mordor to the conviction of Atticus as he defends a man a whole town has already condemned, there are countless books to add to your list of books to read to change your life.

From teens to adults, anyone can add their picks to this list of life changing novels, making it an accurate, real-time ranking of the best life changing books, as picked by the people who love them. Ask yourself the question "what are the most life-changing books?" and "which books have affected my life the most" and then vote for the books that you read cover to cover (maybe even multiple times), the novels that changed the way you see the world, and the stories you still can't stop thinking about. Share your favorites and see how your taste stacks up against other readers.
list ordered by

1
1,809 771
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and ...more

2
1,596 817
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed ...more

3
1,580 417
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949. The novel is set in Airstrip One, a province of the superstate Oceania ...more

4
1,409 460
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
George Orwell Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian ...more

5
1,122 811
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage ...more

6
979 473
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Aldous Huxley Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540, the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, ...more

7
1,056 543
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
William Golding Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with ...more

8
978 379
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and ...more

9
966 641
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer ...more

10
733 370
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Lewis Carroll, William Glennon Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a ...more

11
1,208 482
The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
J. R. R. Tolkien The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for ...more

12
765 435
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a novel written by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the narrative serves as a study of the institutional processes and the human mind as well ...more

13
961 390
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American ...more

14
1,419 522
Harry Potter and the Philosoph... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series and J. K. Rowling's debut novel. The plot follows Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical ...more

15
712 426
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is a satirical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about World War II experiences and journeys through time of a soldier named Billy ...more

16
806 405
A Wrinkle in Time is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Madeleine L'Engle A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1962. The story revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone ...more

17
697 352
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Frank Galati The Grapes of Wrath is a 1988 play adapted by Frank Galati from the classic John Steinbeck novel of the same name, with incidental music by Michael Smith. The play debuted at the Steppenwolf ...more

18
747 275
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
William Shakespeare The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the ...more

19
1,065 367
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize–winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, ...more

20
545 382
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was ...more

21
702 385
The Little Prince is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince, first published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The novella is ...more

22
572 352
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Joseph Heller Catch-22 is a satirical novel by the American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. It is frequently cited as one of the greatest literary ...more

23
828 447
The Bible is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
The Bible is a canonical collection of texts sacred in Judaism and Christianity. There is no single canonical Bible and various religious traditions have produced different recensions with ...more

24
596 352
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Charles Dickens Great Expectations is Charles Dickens' thirteenth novel and his penultimate novel; a bildungsroman which depicts the personal growth and personal development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. It is ...more

25
565 202
The Adventures of Sherlock Hol... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his famous detective, and illustrated by Sidney Paget.

26
681 248
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the ...more

27
458 195
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Homer The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern ...more

28
550 210
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by ...more

29
504 309
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Stephen King The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story, "Night Surf". The novel was originally ...more

30
567 306
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Victor Hugo Les Misérables is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. In the English-speaking world, the ...more

31
541 379
Siddhartha is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Hermann Hesse Siddhartha is a 1922 novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse's ninth ...more

32
633 247
The Cat in the Hat is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in 1957. The story centers on a tall anthropomorphic cat, who ...more

33
619 291
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet is a play by William Shakespeare.

34
598 642
Atlas Shrugged is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged is a 1957 novel by Ayn Rand. Rand's fourth and last novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. Atlas ...more

35
464 153
Winnie-the-Pooh is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
sheilas816 added A. A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh is the first volume of stories about Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne. It is followed by The House at Pooh Corner. The book focuses on the adventures of a teddy bear called ...more

36
481 339
The Metamorphosis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It has been cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities ...more

37
388 250
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray is an 1891 philosophical novel by writer and playwright Oscar Wilde. First published as a complete story in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, the ...more

38
440 293
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's only novel. Written between October 1845 and June 1846, Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 under the pseudonym ″Ellis Bell″; Brontë died the ...more

39
483 267
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, ...more

40
583 184
Where the Sidewalk Ends is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends is a collection of children's poetry written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein and published by Harper and Row Publishers. The book's poems address many common ...more

41
422 334
The Bell Jar is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar is the only novel written by the American writer and poet Sylvia Plath. Originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963, the novel is ...more

42
452 267
Are You There God? It's Me, Ma... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Judy Blume Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. is a 1970 book by Judy Blume, typically categorized as a young adult novel, about a girl in sixth grade who grew up without a religious affiliation. ...more

43
584 282
The Giver is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Lois Lowry The Giver is a 1993 American social science fiction children's novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a society which is at first presented as a utopian society but then has the reader question ...more

44
473 249
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, ...more

45
542 337
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea is a novel written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cuba, and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and ...more

46
562 290
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Mary Shelley Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature ...more

47
461 191
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of ...more

48
614 148
The Lion, the Witch and the Wa... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
bojanthebest added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It was the first published of seven novels in The Chronicles of ...more

49
660 242
Harry Potter and the Deathly H... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter series, written by British author J. K. Rowling. The book was released on 21 July 2007 by Bloomsbury ...more

50
464 184
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Books That Changed Your Life
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, ...more