Five Lasting Best Sellers on Amazon

As you may know, Amazon has a best-seller list that shows the hottest books at the moment. I often browse it to find interesting books to read. Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by newly-published books.

This makes me curious: is there a book that remains in the list years after its initial publication? If there is, then the book deserves a closer look. After all, the book has passed the test of time.

So I went through the list to find non-fiction books that are at least three years old. As it turns out, there were only five books that met the criteria (out of 100 books). Here they are along with their years of publication and Amazon ranks (at this time of writing):

1. Mastering The Art of French Cooking (1961) – #41

This is the oldest book in the list (almost 50 years old!). The book actually holds two spots in the list; the box set edition holds #69. I don’t know much about cooking, let alone French cooking, but it seems that many people love it.

2. The Blind Side (2006) – #52

This is a book by the same author who wrote Liar’s Poker and Moneyball. I’ve read those two books and enjoyed them (here is a post I wrote on Moneyball). The Blind Side has similar theme to Moneyball. While Moneyball dissects baseball, The Blind Side dissects another popular sport: football.

3. Three Cups of Tea (2006) – #54

I haven’t read it, but this book seems like a good source of inspiration. From Amazon’s review page:

…the book’s central theme, derived from a Baltistan proverb, rings loud and clear. “The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger,” a villager tells Greg Mortenson. “The second time, you are an honored guest. The third time you become family.” An inspirational story of one man’s efforts to address poverty, educate girls, and overcome cultural divides, Three Cups… reveals the enormous obstacles inherent in becoming such “family.”

4. Freakonomics (2006) – #66

Freakonomics explores many interesting issues in our lives from an economic perspective. Reading it helps you understand how the power of incentive directs people’s behavior, often in unexpected ways. This is an enjoyable and insightful book to read. A sequel to the book (titled SuperFreakonomics) has just been released.

5. The Tipping Point (2000) – #96

The Tipping Point examines the phenomenon of social epidemics. How can a product or idea spread wildly in the society? What are the factors that contribute to it? The Tipping Point is Malcolm Gladwell’s first book that preceded his later best-sellers Blink and Outliers.


Of these five books, I’ve read two of them (Freakonomics and The Tipping Point). I’m not into cooking, so there are only two books left that I want to take a closer look at: The Blind Side and Three Cups of Tea.

What about you? Have you read any of them?

Photo by striatic


  1. I am listening to The Tipping Point on cd. Fascinating!! I have Blink lined up to listen to next. It makes you step back and marvel at how amazing people and society are, that the predictable is not always predicable.

  2. I watched the Blind Side, it was an excellent movie with a good moral message. I wonder how closely the book is to the movie?
    Good post.

  3. Dana,

    It makes you step back and marvel at how amazing people and society are

    That seems to be a characteristic of Gladwell’s books. They make you think and rethink.

    Oh, there’s a movie for The Blind Side? I just knew it.

  4. I’ve not read one of them 🙁 But I have read portions of Freakonomics, and I believe the authors have come up with an expanded version/sequel. As for Mr. Gladwell, he does seem to be quite the writer: I’ve read a lot of quotes from him.

  5. Steve,
    Yes, Malcolm Gladwell is an excellent writer. I enjoy his books.

  6. Great post, lot of good ideas I will use this coming year. thanks,


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