The best gold standard books 📚

Browse the best books on the gold standard as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Du côté de chez Swann

Du côté de chez Swann

By Marcel Proust

Why this book?

When it comes to finding inspiration in our memories, Marcel Proust is literature’s gold standard. The French novelist devoted the balance of his life to the art of refracting his memories through the lens of his writerly self. Proust understood implicitly that our memories are triggered by sensory experiences—sights, sounds, smells, and touch, to be sure—but most especially through the pleasures of the text. In Du côté de chez Swann, the first volume of his epic À la recherche du temps perdu, Proust interrogates the ways in which memory is catalyzed by the senses, while comprehending, at the…

From the list:

The best novels for finding inspiration

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Book cover of Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

By Mary Oliver

Why this book?

Devotions is a comprehensive anthology of Mary Oliver’s best work. Oliver is without a doubt the gold standard in nature poetry, and one of the most renowned authors of the genre. It reminds me of all the reasons why she is and will always be my favorite poet, and one of the best poets of the last century. If anyone feels themselves drawn to nature poetry, this book is a must-read.

From the list:

The best contemporary nature poetry books

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Book cover of Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada

Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada

By Susanna Moodie

Why this book?

The gold standard source for what life was like for the hardy souls arriving in Upper Canada in the early 19th century. Although writing from a position of relative privilege, Moodie writes of hardships and deprivations that make the modern reader blanch. We wonder whether we could have survived what she and her family endure.  She writes with richness and great humanity so that we can vividly imagine what it must have been like for her to be taken from the relatively comfortable life she’d known and to make a life in the bush.  Despite her trials and tribulations,…

From the list:

The best books about frontier life in early 19th century Canada

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Book cover of 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

By Thomas W. Phelan

Why this book?

Dr. Phelan strikes a home run with his 1-2-3 Magic program for disciplining children, by teaching parents how to use calm communication as opposed to that infused with frustration. The strength of his approach centers on getting toddlers to listen by using mild language and consistency, while refraining from exhibiting the strong emotions that often accompany attempts to reign in negative behavior. Phelan’s approach encourages parents to refrain from reactive communication, by replacing it with a much more effective method of redirecting little ones away from negative behavior. If you want to increase your toddler’s compliance, give 1-2-3 Magic a…
From the list:

The best books for parent-child communication - even when it’s difficult

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Book cover of Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting

By Syd Field

Why this book?

Syd Field is revered as the original master of screenplay story structure, and this guide continues to be the industry's gold standard for learning the foundations of screenwriting. Even if you’re not writing a screenplay, read this book.

I have learned over the years that the principles of three-act structure can be recognised in, or applied to, almost every form of storytelling, whether you are making a film; telling a joke; designing a firework display; writing a novel, a play, a song; performing a magic act or making a speech. No one explains 3-act structure more clearly than Syd Field.…

From the list:

The best books on storytelling and what makes great stories great

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Book cover of Iron Prince: A Progression Sci-Fi Epic (Warformed: Stormweaver)

Iron Prince: A Progression Sci-Fi Epic (Warformed: Stormweaver)

By Bryce O'Connor, Luke Chmilenko

Why this book?

The Iron Prince by Bryce O’Connor and Luke Chmilenko is the gold standard for academy-style adventure fantasy. And it’s the only one on my list that has definite sci-fi elements, which I adore!

The progression in this novel is litRPG in that we have numbers/letters used to denote power levels. If you’ve never read a litRPG, think Dragonball Z or a video game level-up system. The whole point of this story is following Reidon’s ascension to godhood (or at least, the start of it) since his special power is to have the highest rate of gain stat ever seen! He…

From the list:

The best progression fantasy books

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