We asked 16 experts: “What are the Best Nonfiction Books?“
The most recommended book is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – by Stephen R. Covey“.
Table of Contents
- How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
- The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? – Seth Godin
- Mindset – Carol Dweck
- Thrive! Stop Wishing Your Life Away – Alan Weiss
- Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment – Alan Cohen
- The Magical Path: Creating the Life of Your Dreams & A World That Works for All – Marc Allen
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brené Brown
- The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family – Patrick Lencioni
- How to be Really Productive – Grace Marshall
- The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness – R.D. Laing
- The Power Of Others – Michael Bond
- When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds That Sabotage Our Relationships – David Richo
- Code Red: Know Your Flow, Unlock Your Superpowers, and Create a Bloody Amazing Life. Period.
- The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life – Barbara Kingsolver
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen Covey
- Unconditional Success: Loving the Work We Were Born to Do – Nick Williams
- The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity – Julia Cameron
- The Untethered Soul – Michael A. Singer
- The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
- Managing Oneself – Peter F. Drucker
- The Definitive Book of Body Language – Allan and Barbara Pease
- Use Your Head – Tony Buzan
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Mastery – Robert Greene
- War of Art – Steven Pressfield
- Meditation – Marcus Aurelius
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
- Principles: Life and Work – Ray Dalio
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and It’s All Small Stuff – Richard Carlson
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life – Hal Elrod
- Getting Things Done For Teens – David Allen, Mike Williams, Mark Wallace
- The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
- I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was – Barbara Sher
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek
- The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
- No More Mondays – Dan Miller
- The ONE Thing – Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I stay engaged while reading nonfiction?
- Can nonfiction books help improve my writing skills?
- What are the benefits of reading nonfiction books written by different authors?
- Can I use nonfiction books as a source for academic or professional research?
- How can I create a diverse and well-rounded nonfiction reading list?
- How can I use nonfiction to stimulate creative ideas?
- Is there a difference in the writing style of nonfiction books compared to fiction?
- How can I determine the credibility of nonfiction books on controversial topics?
An absolute MUST read… by far the best relationship book ever written, and in my opinion, the best social media/marketing book ever written. More relevant today than when it was initially written in 1936.
Seth is a MUST read for any aspiring entrepreneur and marketer. All of his books should be in this list but if you are only going to choose one, this is it.
I like to say that how we function every day is all about Attitude, Perspective… Mindset. Carol Dweck teaches the importance of what we think about, how we are positioned by ourselves and others. A MUST read especially if you have children.
This book is both inspiring and highly pragmatic with insights on how to live your best life.
Topics include things like doing away with perceived obstacles and people & things you’ve been tolerating that are getting in your way, practical steps for working smarter vs harder (things you can take on today), optimizing both time and money management, and replacing bad habits that aren’t working for you with new ones that will propel you forward. It’s a sort of missing life manual that will benefit readers of all ages & walks of life.
A great reminder that when we embrace what works in our life, we realize that we do have plenty.
Alan is a master of sharing perspective with good humor and plain language that makes you feel like he’s sitting right next to you sharing wise counsel. He has a gift for sharing stories and insights to illustrate his points.
Alan offers a refreshing approach that reminds us of how good our life is, and how much better it can be when we remember that we are enough, do enough, and have enough from a stance of sufficiency & grace.
He connects the dots and takes us on a journey back to ourselves in a warmhearted way that lightens the heart and offers fulfillment.
For those who want to live a happier and more fulfilled life, this book is chockful of helpful tools, techniques and empowering exercises that are practical to work with that when put to use all but guarantee a more peaceful and successful existence day-to-day.
It’s filled with powerful reminders of who we really are, how powerful we are as spiritual beings living a human existence, and how the steps we take and our presence have a ripple effect on those around us.
How do you have the courage to show up authentically every day, to take bold risks, to live and work wholeheartedly?
The answer is not invulnerability – in fact, it’s the opposite. Brene Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability is encouraging, uplifting, and challenging. I’m a fan of all her work, but if you’re new to it, this is where I would start.
Family life can get so busy that all the joy gets squeezed out, as we frantically try to keep up with it all. It’s super easy to read, funny, with plenty of lightbulb moments – I read this when my kids were little and it made a difference to us then and still does today.
Winner of ‘The Commuter’s Read’ category for the 2017 Management Book of the Year award, this book has been described as “the productivity book for real humans” – full of positive, practical thinking and ideas on how to get more done with ease when the rest of the world seems to conspire against it.
Although this is a book that came out in 1965, I found that it was still full of powerful insights. The book looks into what can happen when someone is disconnected from their body and why this usually takes place, to begin with.
It’s a great book for someone who feels out of touch with themselves and wants this to change, or for someone who wants to understand what it is like to experience life in this way.
It is so common nowadays for people to talk about how ‘independent’ they are, and these books go into how this is simply an illusion. One of the things it illustrates is that our sense of ourselves and how well we do in life is defined by the people we spend our time with.
So, if someone wants to get a deeper understanding of how reliant they are on other people and how important it is for them to be discerning when it comes to who they spend their time with, they may find this book useful.
It is easy to believe that what happened in the past is in the past and that’s the end of it, but, this is rarely the case. This book looks into how the emotional wounds of our past can end up having a negative effect on our present relationships.
I would say that if someone currently has relationship problems, this book may be exactly what they need to transform this area of their life.
For the longest time, I thought something was wrong with me: some weeks, I was incredibly productive and got work done in record time. Other times, I struggled with focus.
After reading this book, I learned why this happened and, more importantly, how to plan my calendar to take advantage of my easy-focus weeks. This book was life-changing for me, and I recommend it all the time.
Asking for help is not a strong point of mine, however, it’s something that Amanda Palmer is an expert in. In this book, she opens up and tells stories of times when asking has been easy for her, and other times when it’s been incredibly challenging.
For me, it was a lesson in asking for help when needed and a reminder that it’s perfectly appropriate to do so.
I love Nature, and I love gardening. I grew up with parents who grew their own fruits and vegetables, and a part of me has always wanted to find my way back to homegrown food.
This book is a beautiful tale of one family’s adventure in doing just that: eating homegrown and locally produced food and sharing the experience of their first year.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People came to me (oh yes, I do believe that books are ‘sent’) at a very crucial stage in my life.
It helped me to make a life-changing decision concerning my career. The book set me on the way to doing what I am today – writing.
I was fortunate enough to be part of a group study of this book. We studied one habit at a time, then went back and put it into practice for a month. We came back together to study another. The study included a lot of exercises, some created for us, and some that we created – a lot of processing took place. It was a time of learning, fun, and good fellowship that I will never forget.
Nick’s idea of ‘work’ resonated with my idea of ‘vocation’ – being who you were meant to be. His book challenged me to look at areas in my life that needed to be worked on.
I remember one particularly powerful quote: “The way to win our heart back is to venture again, to risk giving, receiving and trusting again, and of course to risk getting hurt again, but deciding to forgive and to no longer use the hurt or fear to keep ourselves in prison.” So in many ways, Nick’s writings challenged me to dream again and I did!
I ‘found’ The Artist’s Way at the start of 2013 and it has been a life changing experience for me. Writing my ‘morning pages‘ became an exercise in healing and discovering my creativity and silencing my inner critic.
As a coach who specializes in the law of attraction and how to change your inner world so you can see changes in your outer, one thing I really like to tell people is no external manifestation can do anything to make that voice in your head that never stops talking shut up, can do anything to ease the suffering that dialogue causes!
If you want to understand why your mind does this, relate to this mental chatter in a different way, and free yourself of all the ways it messes up your life, I highly recommend this book. Written in plain, everyday language, it’s a must-read for any personal-growth-oriented person.
This was one of those books I knew I had to read pretty much my whole life but didn’t until a few months ago.
No secret living in the moment can greatly contribute to our happiness, but when we have a better understanding of why this is so, and why our tendency to be completely immersed in the past or future tortures us so, it is a game-changer. Tolle does a really great job of fleshing this all out.
Career path development is interdependent upon personal development. This book is a super start point to assume accountability, standby one’s ethics and principles whilst being mindful of others goals, styles and needs. Set with a more business style focus but equally applicable at home.
Does your body portray your words or does it show you are hiding something else? This is another super book to help spot and develop the skills needed to reveal peoples true intentions, meaning and comfort levels.
It holds secrets to help leave positive impressions, spot signals of liars, generate help from others and even grab the love of your life.
From the inventor of Mind-maps brings great tools, systems, and relatability to boost your problem-solving skills and improve creative thinking. The title of the book has sufficient content to live up to its expectations – A great toolkit for personal and business applications. Our copy is full of highlights and worn out pages.
This is more than a book. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the global leader in positive psychology, delivers his pioneering manifesto based on decades of research to show people how they can get the most fulfillment and enjoyment out of life. Read it.
Mesmerizing. It’s hard to pick a favorite on this list, but Robert Greene’s masterpiece — Mastery — might be it. A beautifully researched book with illustrative and inspiring stories that will have you clinging to every word. Your eyes and mind will open.
Related: Best Robert Greene Books
Pressfield delivers an incredibly powerful message about overcoming your fears and learning how to cultivate your creative side. I’d recommend this book to just about anyone. But, if you’re a writer, entrepreneur, or artist—you’ll love this book.
One of the best book on personal development and reflection around. It provides a solid base for thinking about life and self without giving ready-made recipes and how-tos, I recommend it for everyone!
Habits shape our beliefs and our behavior and are the cornerstone of what we do and how. And this is the basic thesis of Stephen R. Covey.
That’s why he wrote this book after many years of research and distilling his personal experiences into bite-size directions. It is the absolute best book for personal growth and transformation for intelligent and conscious readers. It is an easy book everyone can read but a very difficult one for implementing its suggestions!
This is one of the basic books for principle-based self-leadership and personal development. Ray is a highly successful investor and entrepreneur who shares his experience and the principles he developed over the years and make his a success in business and life. It is a must read for everyone!
We have a tendency to see our lives as if they are lived on a big stage with a huge marquee. In truth they are just home movies. This book helps me get a better perspective on what is really important.
A transformative book about how putting yourself first (literally) every morning can yield huge results.
A more accessible and less rigid book on one of the seminal works in personal productivity. Written by an educator, it reaches different learning modes and does away with all the fluff in the original GTD that doesn’t pertain to people without a staff.
This is the book that changed my life. The bible of human psychology, strategy and how to get whatever you want. It instantly taught me how to deal with powerful people. It’s quite controversial, great for those, who want to be unstoppable.
The best nonfiction book that I recommend to people is frequently “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was” by Barbara Sher.
Fifteen years ago I was working help desk support, taking medication for depression, and sleepwalking through a life I felt that I had no control over. I was working help desk at a library, and I happened to come across this book in the self help section. I read it and it changed my life.
“I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was” is very methodical in getting you to basically have a conversation with yourself, and do some writing exercises in an effort to figure out the things you like, the things you don’t like, and maybe where you’d like to be.
It helped me reduce my fears, quit my job, try to make a career as a writer, leave my hometown, move 600 miles away, start a new life in a new state with only a small support network, reinvent myself as a software tester, which led into a more fulfilling career doing software development.
It was impossible to see those dots connecting looking forward, but it’s easy for me to connect them looking back. The book helped give me the confidence to pursue positive change in my life, and I recommend it to people who seem stuck.
Start With Why is one of my favorite books and one I recommend to anyone feeling a bit lost. It helps readers discover their sense of purpose or belonging. Great for anyone who is looking for that big picture ‘why; we do the things we do.
This book is an absolute go-to for anyone interested in working for themselves and creating a sustainable work/life balance.
The 4-Hour Work Week is about escaping the 9-5 trap, giving yourself the freedom to work anywhere and still be successful. It’s not about working longer hours, but about working less and still getting the same, if not better, results. Who doesn’t want that?
You need to have an open mind when reading this book, it’s not your average self-help book but if your willing to accept Manson’s philosophy you may walk away with a new perspective on the world.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a really great read, Mark Manson is direct and straight up with his advice and shows you how to suffer more meaningfully, how to let go and enjoy life more.
Oh no, here comes another Monday!
The reality is, many people feel trapped and miserable in their J.O.B.’s (just above broke). But isn’t that just the reality of the way things are? Doesn’t every responsible person just bury their dreams and passions in exchange for getting a paycheck? Absolutely not!
No More Mondays will show you that meaningful work really is within your grasp. In 2009, I walked out on my cushy but soul sucking job and took this book to bed with me every evening and read it like a Bible.
It gave me the courage to start my own boutique matchmaking business in 2010, and 9 years later, I can tell you, it was the best thing I ever did!
I like this book because it teaches me about something that is rare today: focus. There are many distractions around us, but this book guides you to ask yourself: what is the one thing that would make the most difference in your life?
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I stay engaged while reading nonfiction?
To maintain engagement while reading nonfiction:
Choose topics that interest you or books with an engaging writing style.
Break the reading into smaller sessions to avoid overwhelming yourself.
Take notes or create summaries of key points to help you remember and process the information.
Discuss the book with friends or members of a book club to share insights and deepen your understanding.
Can nonfiction books help improve my writing skills?
Absolutely! Reading nonfiction can help improve your writing skills by exposing you to different writing styles, structures, and techniques. You can learn from the way authors make their points, engage readers, and convey complex information. You can also use nonfiction to expand your vocabulary and knowledge, which can contribute to more informed and persuasive writing.
Reading nonfiction books by different authors can give you new perspectives, unique insights, and a broader understanding of other cultures and experiences. Reading works by authors from diverse backgrounds can help you challenge your assumptions, develop empathy, and foster a more inclusive worldview.
Can I use nonfiction books as a source for academic or professional research?
Yes, nonfiction books can be valuable sources for academic or professional research, provided they are credible, well-researched, and written by experts in the field. When using nonfiction books as sources, check the author’s credentials, evaluate the quality of their research, and compare their findings with other reputable sources. Citing nonfiction in your work can lend credibility to your arguments and help you develop a comprehensive understanding of your topic.
How can I create a diverse and well-rounded nonfiction reading list?
To create a diverse and well-rounded nonfiction reading list:
Choose books from various genres, such as history, science, biographies, and memoirs.
Include works by authors from different backgrounds, cultures, and points of view to ensure a rich and inclusive reading experience. You can also vary the writing style, from narrative nonfiction to more academic works, to keep the reading experience exciting.
Consult bestseller lists, book reviews, and recommendations from friends or online communities to discover new titles and authors you might not have come across otherwise.
How can I use nonfiction to stimulate creative ideas?
Nonfiction books can be an excellent source of inspiration for creative ideas. By exploring various topics, you can gain new insights, make connections between seemingly unrelated subjects, and discover new perspectives. To maximize the creative potential of nonfiction reading, keep an open mind and engage with unfamiliar topics. Take notes, jot down ideas or questions that arise, and give yourself time to reflect on the material. In addition, discussing nonfiction with others can spark further creative thinking and lead to shared ideas.
Is there a difference in the writing style of nonfiction books compared to fiction?
Both nonfiction and fiction books can have a wide range of writing styles. However, nonfiction books usually emphasize accuracy, clarity, and the presentation of factual information. The writing style in nonfiction can range from highly academic or technical language to a more entertaining and narrative style.
Some nonfiction books even incorporate storytelling elements similar to fiction to engage readers and make complex subjects more accessible. When choosing nonfiction books, consider the writing style that best suits your preferences and the subject matter to ensure an enjoyable and informative reading experience.
How can I determine the credibility of nonfiction books on controversial topics?
To assess the credibility of nonfiction books on controversial topics, it is important to critically evaluate the author’s credentials, research methods, and use of sources. Look for authors with relevant expertise, experience, or a solid track record in their field.
Examine the book’s bibliography, footnotes, or citations to assess the quality and reliability of the sources used. Also, look for unbiased reviews or expert opinions to determine if the book offers a balanced and well-researched perspective.
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