My All-Time Favorite Books

Writing | 28 Comments

Many readers have written in asking what my all-time favorite books are. In this video post, I name a few favorites and explain why it’s so important to read both nonfiction and fiction.



Video Notes:


My favorites are all over the map.

  • I started getting serious about books when Jones started giving me biographies.
  • Those biographies got me started reading in a way I’d never read before.


I read both fiction and nonfiction.

  • For some reason, many people seem to look down on fiction, but you need both.
  • Nonfiction books teach you facts; fiction, however, will fire you imagination in a way nonfiction never can. They allow you to use knowledge in different contexts.


One of my favorite fiction authors is Nelson DeMille because of the way he writes dialogue.


Bernard Cornwell is a great storyteller, so I read him to learn how to tell stories.

  • He writes stories from the Middle Ages, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, etc.


What are some of YOUR favorite books?


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  • Katrina

    Absolutely adore all 4 of the novels by Jeanne Ray. The way she writes dialog leaves me in stitches. Her four novels are “Romeo and Julie”, “Romeo and Julie Get Lucky”, “Step Ball Change”, and “Eat Cake.” I would be hard pressed to tell you which one was my favorite. My favorite book of all time is “A Place to Call Home” written by Deborah Smith. Her characters come to life!

    • Andy Andrews

      Thanks for sharing those, Katrina!

      • Laurie

        “A Little Coffeshop In Kabul”, Debra Rodriquez. Great, fun fiction that helped me get in touch with what it must be like to live in Afghanistan as an expat.

  • Chris

    All of these books have changed my life and/or thinking in some fundamental way. Whether it is the “embrace the journey” mindset, the “never give up” mentality or the “don’t worry about not always having the right answer – nobody else does either” attitude:
    Favorite Fiction: A Tie: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolken and The Stand by Stephen King
    Favorite Biography: Einstein by Walter Issacson
    Favorite Self-Improvement: The Traveler’s Gift (not intentionally buttering you up – but it came to my rescue at a very dark time in my life)
    Favorite History Book: 1776 by by David McCullough

  • drjimharris

    Great examples Andy. I’ve always enjoyed CS Lewis (brilliant analyzes), Robert Ludlum (intensity, realism, suspense), the Travis McGee series by John McDonald (deep character development over time with expert detail), and Ken Blanchard (simple stories with powerful principles). Yes, I love yours too but this post was not about you, right? :)

  • Missy

    Being a teacher, I find myself attracted to children’s books. C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia have been a favorite since I was 10. I also love Chris Van Allsburg of Polar Express fame. He has one book titled, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, that I use every year to get my students interested in writing. Lost on a Mountain in Maine is another book that tops my list. It is the story of a young boy, Donn Fendler, who survives a 9 day ordeal while lost in the wilderness on Mt. Katahdin. I could go on and on! Thanks for the opportunity to share.

  • chance

    Here are some of mine. I’ll bet #6 is on a few of your lists too. :)

  • mmodesti

    Recently I read and loved “Ender’s Game” after learning it has been studied by various branches of the US Military.

  • Kirk

    Just finished Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath. Found it very compelling. Favorite fiction is anything by he late, great Vince Flynn.

  • Terry Paulson

    “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrandt
    “The Final Summit” by Andy Andrews
    “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose

  • Jon Alford

    Check out Bobby Cole from Montgomery. The Dummy Line and The Rented Mule.

  • Mike Owens

    New Book: “So, Why Didn’t They Tell Me That In Church?”

  • Andy Andrews

    Really enjoying reading all of the recommendations from you guys. Keep ‘em coming!

    • Jimmy P

      Have you read “The Janitor” by Todd Hopkins & Ray Hilbert ? It is one of my favorities. Along with your books it is one I give to a lot of young men that seem to need encouragement in both their personal and business lives. I also love all of Og Mandino’s books. Thanks for your great work also. My favorite is “The Noticer”.

  • Nigel Alston

    So many: any book by Walter Mosely. The Alchemist. Think and Grow Rich. Acres of Diamonds. Atlas Shrugged. A Hole in the Gospel. Unfinished. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. How will you measure your life.Falling Forward. The Dream Manager.

  • Nigel Alston

    Theodore Zeldin – conversation – how talk can change our lives. The Emperor of Ocean Park. Little Bee. The Blue Parakeet.

  • Kathy

    So many books, so little time, so many favorites. Here is just a sampling: Merle’s Door ( sort of a biography of a dog), Zero Regrets (Apolo Ono autobiography), The End of Your Life Book Club, 1984, the book thief, The Circle, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Club, The Shadow of the Wind, any of the historical fiction by James Michener, anything by Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, and of course, Andy Andrews. I could go on, and on, and on . . . .

  • Greg Wood

    The Hobbit (long before it was a movie)
    Watership Down
    Amazing Faith – Bill Bright’s biography
    The Dream Giver
    I also really liked No Brand is An Island (Hopefully coming out soon) and as you said 20,000 Days and Counting
    However, The Traveller’s Gift and The Noticer, and The Noticer Returns are the books I recommend and give away the most.

  • Robert Patrick

    The Traveler” Gift and the Final Summit, by you of course. Wild at Heart by John Eldridge and Tuesday’s with Morrie by Mitch Albom.

  • Ken Trupke

    Andy, love your thinking behind a balance of non-fiction and fiction! Well said!

    One book you might like is Sea of Glory by Ken Wales and David Poling. Based on the true story of four navy chaplains and their heroism at sea. Good for your boys, too.

    So many great books out there, but besides your books (seriously!), some of my all-time favorites are:
    - The Chronicles of Narnia. No matter how many time you read them, there’s always MORE.
    - The Killer Angels. Brings to life one of the key events in our history. Very balanced and real.
    - EVERTHING by P.G. Wodehouse, especially the Jeeves series. If you’re new, start with Joy in the Morning and Right Ho, Jeeves.
    - Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. LIFE CHANGING thinking about money and the meaning of life.
    - Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. Explains why ideas spread best through stories. Great advice for teachers, business leaders and parents.

    And thanks for suggesting DeMille and Cornwell; looking forward to digging in!

  • Lynn

    I love to read, so I have a lot of favorites, but my all time favorite before I read “The Noticer” which is now my all time favorite, was “Cold Sassy Tree” by Olive Burns. I like a book that makes me laugh out loud and cry real tears. “Eat, Drink and Be from Mississippi” by Nanci Kincaid was so funny and “Prince of Tides” by Pat Conroy, touching. I also like Charles Martin, “Wrapped in Rain” and “When Crickets Cry”. Non-fiction “Same Kind of Different As Me” Ron Hall & Denver Moore, “Beautiful Boy” David Sheff -Being a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), I loved Jeanette Walls “The Glass Castle” it amazes me how kids love their parents no matter what they do to them, we adults need to learn how to be so forgiving. Andy, I love all your books and hope we don’t have to wait so long for the next one. Read, “The Noticer Returns” in one sitting, just couldn’t put it down, thanks.

  • Ryan

    Anything by you, Malcolm Gladwell, David McCullough, and Ken Follett. For therapy sessions, I turn to Mitch Albom. :)

  • Just Judy

    “How to Win Friends and Influence People”…..Never get tired of it, read it often and love to give it to young people.

  • Julie Buerge

    I love and read ALL kinds of books… all time favorite that I read at least once a year is “To Kill A Mockingbird”….in fact I always wished my name was Scout! I love any and all biographies, am reading Johnny Carson’s right now, Jack Nicholson’s is next. I started a book club, and I picked your book “The Noticer” for our first book, and everyone is LOVING it, some read it in a few hours. Our first meeting is December 11th, and I would love to have some insight from you Andy as to what to talk about? We’re each taking a question out of the back of the book and discussing it, but how I wish you could join us, and tell us more about your story. I never dreamed Jone’s was real while reading the book…what a fantastic story…thank you!

  • SV

    Favorite Books – depends on the time and season of your life and what you are needing I think. There are many great books and great author but the key for me is who is God choosing to speak into my life with at the time. Seems like Andy Andrews is the voice at this time for me I have read 4 and on the 5th in the last 2 weeks. Listen to several podcast. Just to list a few others God has used::
    The Shack – Young
    The Long Journey – Roberta Keels Dorr
    A tale of 3 Kings – Edwards
    In the Grip of Grace – Lucado
    When God Whispers your name – Lucado
    Nevertheless – Ruthland
    The Power & Influence of a woman – Fletcher
    The Inward Journey – Edwards
    Mourning to morning – Salem
    Joshua – Girzone
    Other authors – to many books to mention
    Mike Murdock
    Joyce Meyers
    Miles Munroe

  • Rishabh R. Dassani

    Books I like:
    - A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink
    - The Now Habit by Neil Fiore
    - Getting Things Done by David Allen
    - The Go-Giver by Bob Burg
    - The Element by Ken Robinson

  • Doug Seaberg

    Lone Survivor, Unbroken, Clear and Present Danger are my top 3

  • Scott

    Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Amazing daily devotional