Whether they’re stories that capture a historic moment or tomes noted for their impactful messages, some books instantly up your literary credibility.
Amazon’s editorial team has helped us put together a list of 20 books that will help you impress anyone in your life.
From biographies of inspiring innovators to stories that have been must-reads for centuries, these are the top 20 books you should display in your bookshelf.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
Adams' interstellar story begins with Arthur Dent, who travels to space with his friend Ford Prefect, aided with quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Along the way they meet numerous travellers, ranging from a brilliant and depressed robot to a two-headed ex-hippie. This book's message was an inspiration for Elon Musk.
'The Best and the Brightest' analyses why America got involved in Vietnam, as well as the various policies, people, and accounts that drove the war.
Through insider anecdotes and vignettes, Halberstam shows readers the ways in which bureaucratic considerations worked in the depths of one of the country's most difficult times.
While a mother and wife tends to a husband losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, their children face obstacles that range from clinical depression to a dangerous relationship with a married man.
As the mother of the family, Enid, looks to find one last glimpse of hope, she decides to have her family together for a final Christmas at home.
'The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution' by Walter Isaacson
In 'War and Peace', three characters come together to tell the story of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812.
The tale follows an illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance, a prince leaving his family to fight Napoleon, and a nobleman's daughter who captures the fancy of both men as they face various challenges and incredibly moving circumstances.
Wallace's comedy explores notions of what entertainment is and why it has become so dominant in our lives.
From examining how we connect to others through entertainment and what our choices in entertainment say about us, the book is philosophical and humorous, and you'll find yourself thinking about long after you finish reading it.
Winner of both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel, 'Dune' is set in the future of an empire on the desert planet of Arrakis, where dynasties are controlled by noble houses.
A young boy who is the heir to a noble family embarks on an invigorating journey that combines politics, religion, technology, and human emotion.
'Letters to a Young Poet' is a collection of 10 letters Rilke wrote to a student who submitted several verses of a poem for assessment back in 1903.
Not only do the letters reveal themes that would later be an integral part of Rilke's works, but they are filled with invaluable insight for poets and scholars alike.
'Mrs. Dalloway' is the book on which the movie 'The Hours' was based. It tells the story of Clarissa Dalloway and her preparations for a party she will be hosting.
Though seemingly simple on the surface, the story is a fascinating exploration of the hidden thoughts and actions that can come about in just one day of a woman's life.
'The Art of War' was written over 2,000 years ago, but it's still considered to be one of the most prestigious books on conflict and strategy today.
Its message of how physics, politics, and an understanding of the psychology of conflict can come into play has led to its time-enduring success.
In 'Gravity's Rainbow', the Nazis begin to secretly develop a rocket near the end of World War II.
When it is discovered that a lieutenant working for the Allied Intelligence in London was once the subject of experiments by a current Nazi rocket scientist, his attempt to discover the truth leads him on a frightening journey that blurs the lines between history and paranoia.
'Beloved' tells the story of Sethe, who was born into slavery and escaped to Ohio with her memories of Sweet Home, a farm where she witnessed terrible events.
Now her new home is haunted by the ghost of her child who passed away, who died nameless and who has only one word written on their tombstone: Beloved.
In 'Lean In', Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg examines the factors that continue to stall women's progression into leadership positions.
Sandberg combines humour with personal stories and data to provide advice on how women can achieve both personal fulfillment and professional achievement.
Considered one of the most important works of modernist literature, 'Ulysses' accounts events in the lives of two central characters on a single day in Dublin.
Complex in its makeup, the novel is both a mythical adventure of everyday occurrences and a brilliant picture of how internal psychological processes can work.
Noted for his work in cultural history and criticism, Barzun's account takes readers through discoveries and conclusions of Western culture that date as far back as 1500.
Barzun presents profiles of noted individuals like Mozart and Voltaire, sharing unknown facts about them while revealing the historic successes and failures over a course of 500 years.
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