There’s a kind of book that I call an inadvertent great book: a book that had modest or narrow goals, and yet ends up teaching us something profound about the human experience. Somehow, inadvertently, the book turns out to be a useful metaphor for a much broader range of subjects, and offers insights that reveal something previously hidden in the real world.
Note that I won’t focus on books that are merely intentionally great — books that might exceed expectations but are in-line with what the author intended. There are many of those, and it’s easy to find discussions about them. I’m focusing on books that you might pass over again and again, thinking that the subject is irrelevant to your life or the topic uninteresting. The books I review are often intentionally great in their topic, but are nonetheless inadvertently great in general.