Sometimes, the best way to learn is from someone who’s been there before. This saves you time, and it also means that you’re getting techniques and ideas that are field tested and will actually work. It’s a sad truth that many people never pick up a book again once they leave school and this means that they’re missing out on everything that the best non-fiction books can offer you.
Reading has always been a big part of my life. It’s guided my personal development and taught me new ways to think and to be in the world. I hope it can do the same for you too, so here are the top 10 books that I think everyone should read.
The 50th Law by Robert Greene
Fear is a constant companion. It’s the voice in the middle of the night that keeps you awake and the silent critic that keeps you small. Learning to deal with fear isn’t about being fearless, that would probably make you an extremely scary person. Instead, it’s about learning better ways to deal with your fear. And this book will put you on that path.
Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
Richard Branson’s story is inspiring and motivating and that’s what makes this one of the best nonfiction books of all time. If you want to understand what it means to fail and never give up, to see how far determination and a vision can take you, this is one of the best non-fiction books to read.
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
This book changed everything. It taught a whole generation that they didn’t have to be at the mercy of a boss or a slave to the traditional working paradigm. Other books have extolled the same message since, but this one started the movement.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
If you really like to be challenged (see confused) and to recognize that you might not be as smart as you think, then you need to read Stephen Hawking’s book. Not only does it teach you humility, it also teaches you exactly what the cover promises. It teaches you about the world outside of your work and your problems and how to take a wider view. And what more could you ask for from a nonfiction book?
Grit by Angela Duckworth
We’ve all heard the stories of amazing talents that go nowhere or end in disaster. And this book explains why. Because succeeding isn’t always about being the best at something. It’s about having the dedication, determination and sheer bullheadedness to never give up, no matter what. This is a lesson everyone should learn, which makes this the one of the best non-fiction books to read when you have doubts or setbacks.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson
This might seem like a rude title, and maybe a rude book, but it also contains an essential message. Just because other people say something is important, doesn’t mean it is. This book is all about working out what’s important to you and doing it, regardless of social norms, pressures, or expectations.
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Everything in the world is connected. Life, business, the world itself isn’t a series of disconnected systems, though it’s usually taught that way. Freakonomics stands out among nonfiction books because it explodes that myth. It shows how everything is connected, from law to history to economics and education. And this opens up a whole new way of thinking.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari
If you want to better understand the biological world and how mankind came about, this is a great place to start. This is one of the most challenging nonfiction books on the list, but it’s well worth delving into, if only to assuage your curiosity about the processes that led to the modern world.
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
The brain uses short cuts to get things done. This is absolutely necessary, but it can also lead to prejudice, hate, poor decision making skills, and less than rational thinking. You can’t completely eliminate these thinking patterns from your life, but you can learn to use them in better ways. And this is one of the best non-fiction books to teach you how.
Die Empty: Unleash your Best Work Every day by Todd Henry
This book addresses a problem that not many people talk about. There are a lot of nonfiction books about professional success and passion, but not many of them address how to tell the difference between the right and the wrong kinds of success. This book introduces deeper ideas, that success for its own sake is often empty and unsatisfying. And that life is short, so it’s important that you learn to pursue the success that’s right for you and for the world around you.
What is one of the best non-fiction books that you’ve ever read?