Best Books of All Time

Every few years I take my Goodreads list of books and create an algorithm to find the best books based on average ratings and number of reviews. Each rating given by a reviewer on Goodreads contributes to the total score of any given book. Ratings of 2.5 or less subtract from the total, whereas ratings over 2.5 add to the total score of each book. I topped the number of ratings out at 1000. So any book with 1000 ratings or more was calculated as if it only had 1000.

Above are the broad categories of all my books. Each link will open a separate page for each category as well as all it’s sub-categories. On each sub-category page I have links to the top books for each sub-category. I’ve also reworked the the average star ratings based on how the books scored on my algorithm. The new star rating is out of 5 based on the highest scoring book in my library, and is given either below the title, or in parentheses after the title of each book.

Keep in mind, that this list is far from comprehensive. It is largely a tool for myself, and these are only based on the categories and books that I have in my Goodreads list. I have thousands of books on my list, but I’m sure I have missed many good ones. My theology sections are perhaps the most comprehensive, but in all of the categories there are likely hundreds and hundreds of books that I don’t have in my list. Also, there are many great books that didn’t make the top 30 list – usually simply because they have less ratings than many of the very popular works.

As for the books that did make the cut, they are only as good as the general public who rated them. Goodreads is where I get all of my data from, and in general Goodreads users are people who love to read. So I do have a large degree of confidence that the top books will be very good books on the subject at hand. However, since these lists are based on reviews of the general public, they will also often have the same leanings as the general public. Simply by having a book on one of these lists doesn’t necessarily mean I endorse it. It simply means that it has a very large number of reviews and high ratings compared to other books on that subject.

If you would like to calculate a particular book of your own, and see how it compares to the ones listed here, subtract 2.5 from the average Goodreads star rating, then multiply that by the number of goodreads ratings the book has (with a max of 1000). Next divide that number by 470. This will give you the star rating (out of 5) for any book based on this system.

Thanks for checking out the site! Enjoy the book lists!