Top 50 Cult Books

From the London Telegraph, via Scott Berkun by way of Jim Bullock, there’s a list of the “Top 50 Cult Books”.  They don’t offer a definition, but you get the gist of the type of book they’re looking for from the contents of the list.  I would say a cult novel is one that enraptures you and inspires discussion among you and your friends for some period of time; one which encourages re-reading; one which gives additional insight upon subsequent readings; one that goes against the accepted grain, i.e. contains some sort of unusual/anarchist/futurist thought; and one that stimulates a change in behavior.

Scott Berkun mentioned “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card as a notable miss; other books I can think of that might have made this list include:

  • Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
  • The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho
  • Molloy, Samuel Beckett
  • The Stand, Steven King
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  • Ishmael, Daniel Quinn
  • Neuromancer, William Gibson
  • Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson


  • Getting Things Done, David Allen
  • The Goal, Eliyahu Goldratt
  • The Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer

What’s your favorite cult novel?


2 Responses to “Top 50 Cult Books”

  1. 1 Marina Martin May 18, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I am genuinely shocked that they didn’t include Atlas Shrugged. That’s my cult book 🙂

    I also readily admit to David Allen worship.

    Another vote for This Side of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald although on a list like that, I’m surprised Catcher in the Rye (the second-worst-book-ever, behind only DaVinci Code) made it and Great Gatsby did not.

  2. 2 Adam May 18, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    the Dune series, by Frank Herbert

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