There is something special about reading a great fiction book! While about 90% of my reading is geared towards non-fiction, I like to mix things up from time to time by diving into a compelling novel. So, I thought it would be fun to share my top 5 fiction books of all time, plus some bonus recommendations at the end of the list.

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1. DAEMON by Daniel Suarez

Daemon By Daniel Suarez Book Cover
Daemon by Daniel Suarez

This is a techno-thriller that was first published back in 2006. The word “daemon” is a computer term that refers to “a program that runs continuously in the background, performing operations at predefined times or in response to certain events.” It can be thought of as a very basic form of artificial intelligence.

Now, while the book’s narrative is built on a foundation of “future technology,” the story continues to hold up well today. Naturally, there are parts of the story that feel dated at times, but it’s a must-read and is easily my favorite fiction book of all time.

Without spoiling the story, the basic premise is that a dying game designer builds a computer program (a “daemon”) designed to upend society by turning the entire world into a giant game, recruiting human players to do its bidding along the way.

Note: There are sections of the book that are inappropriate for young children or sensitive readers, so I only recommend this for a more mature audience.

Daemon is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

2. RECURSION by Blake Crouch

Recursion By Blake Crouch Book Cover
Recursion by Blake Crouch Book Cover

This is a fast-paced science fiction thriller. The story opens with Barry Sutton, a New York City cop investigating a phenomenon called ‘False Memory Syndrome.’ It causes people to develop memories of a life they never lived.

The cause of these experiences is wild and serves as the foundation for a story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. I don’t want to spoil the twists by going into more detail, but this is a must-read if you enjoy mind-bending science fiction.

Recursion is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

3. FREEDOMTM by Daniel Suarez

Freedom By Daniel Suarez Book Cover
Freedom by Daniel Suarez

This is the must-read sequel to Daemon, the first book on the list. While that story was incredible as a stand-alone read, this follow-up book made it even better by adding an unexpected twist. Without spoiling things, this book completely changed the way I thought about the original while offering up a powerful story of its own.

If you are interested in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other futuristic technologies, you need to read both Daemon and Freedom™ by Daniel Suarez. They present an entertaining vision of how technology could change the world.

Freedom TM is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

4. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir

The Martian By Andy Weir Book Cover
The Martian by Andy Weir

This is a science fiction thriller that went mainstream after the story was adapted into a movie featuring Matt Damon. I found the book compelling and enjoyed the dry humor throughout. The basic plot has the main character attempting to survive on Mars after his team was forced to evacuate their mission, leaving him behind.

Now, I know it’s cliche to say this, but I believe the book is much better than the movie, and I think there are two reasons why this is often true. First, books often provide a deeper perspective into their characters because they can more easily relay someone’s thoughts and emotions. Second, while movies are visually rich, books are able to draw more attention to certain details in a scene that might otherwise be missed. Plus, they leverage the reader’s imagination.

Anyway, it’s a great book and one I highly recommend you read. It’s inspirational, educational, and entertaining at the same time.

The Martian is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

5. TERMINAL RAGE by A.M. Khalifa

Terminal Rage By Am Khalifa Book Cover
Terminal Rage by Am Khalifa

This is a thriller that is less well-known than some of the other books on this list. It opens with a classic hostage negotiation story but has some wild and unexpected twists that make for a really great read. In some ways, it has a similar feel to two of my all-time favorite movies, The Game and The Usual Suspects. In fact, the official description of the book draws a comparison between the villain in the story and Keyser Söze from The Usual Suspects.

If you’re looking for an entertaining read with interesting twists and turns, consider reading Terminal Rage by A.M. Khalifa.

Terminal Rage is available from Amazon.

Bonus Fiction Recommendations

In addition to the books on this list, I’d like to quickly list off some other great fiction series, books, and authors worth checking out, including The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (3 books by Stieg Larsson), The Mitch Rapp novels (20 books from Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills), The Will Robie series (5 books by David Baldacci), The Terminal List series (5 books by Jack Carr), many books by Gregg Hurwitz (which are not in a series, but are generally great reads), and other books from authors Daniel Suarez and Blake Crouch.

What Did I Miss?

I’m curious to hear about some of your favorite fiction books. You can let me know by posting a comment in response to my top 5 fiction books video on YouTube. And, if you’re interested in non-fiction, subscribe to the Rick Kettner YouTube channel or the Rick Kettner podcast, so you don’t miss future content.

Rick Kettner

Rick is an avid reader and lifelong entrepreneur. He co-founded popular online music education platforms including Drumeo, Pianote, and Guitareo. He now spends much of his time sharing tips on business strategy, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

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