Monday, July 15, 2024

14 of the Best Nonfiction Books You Should Read

14 of the Best Nonfiction Books You Should Read

All ye readers, buckle up.

Today, I’m giving you 14 non-fiction books I believe everyone should read.

For each book, I’ve provided a brief summary. Now it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth your time.

Let’s dig in.

1. The Body Keeps the Score

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der KolkThis book dives deep into the world of trauma, discussing its effects on the mind, body, and daily life.

If you want to know everything about trauma and how to deal with it, this is your go-to guide.

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2. The Paradox of Choice

The Paradox of Choice by Barry SchwartzWith more choices, we often feel less satisfied.

This book argues for simplifying our lives and limiting ourselves in various ways to combat the constant bombardment of options we face daily.

3. The Blank Slate

The Blank Slate by Steven PinkerDebunking the myth that our minds are born as clean slates, Pinker delves into the importance of genetics in shaping our identities.

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the ongoing debates around gender, sex, and race.

4. Getting the Love You Want

Getting the Love You Want by Dr. Harville HendrixThis book explores the psychology of relationships, explaining the patterns we follow based on the mental maps we develop as children.

If you want to understand why you keep dating the same type of person, give this a read.

5. The Denial of Death

The Denial of Death by Ernest BeckerA profound take on our motivations in life, this book suggests that we’re driven by a fear of death.

We undertake massive projects in the hope of leaving a legacy, allowing us to forget our mortality.

6. Influence

Influence by Robert CialdiniA must-read for those in marketing, sales, or publicity, this book examines the psychological triggers that influence decision-making.

It’s also useful for consumers who want to understand how they’re being manipulated.

7. Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits by James ClearJames Clear tackles the emotional drivers behind habit change, explaining that changing emotions comes first, followed by physical behavior.

Learn how small actions can accumulate and compound over time.

8. The Elephant in the Brain

The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin HansonSimler and Hanson delve into our darker impulses and the conscious mind’s attempts to rationalize them.

This book exposes the hidden motives behind our beliefs and attitudes.

9. Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall RosenbergThough slightly woo-woo, this book offers insight into the subtext and meaning embedded in our language when talking about feelings.

Understand how your use of language affects your emotions and relationships.

10. The Coddling of the American Mind

The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan HaidtJonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff’s The Coddling of the American Mind takes a hard look at how changes in education, parenting styles, and technology have led to a more emotionally fragile population. They argue that it’s not the kids’ fault, but rather the responsibility of parents and teachers.

This book offers some important points about culture in recent generations.

11. So Good They Can’t Ignore You

So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal NewportCal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You challenges the idea that purpose is something you just find. Instead, Newport contends that passion comes from first becoming great at something.

This book offers a fresh perspective on how to find purpose and passion in life.

12. The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money by Morgan HouselMorgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money delves into popular assumptions about money and wealth. Housel, coming from the finance world, reveals that much of finance is more art than science.

This book shows that people’s understanding of money is often flawed and that those who want to be wealthy often just want to spend money—ironically, the very thing that prevents them from becoming wealthy.

13. The Second Mountain

The Second Mountain by David BrooksDavid Brooks’ The Second Mountain is a beautifully written book that charts a life course through two mountains—one of worldly success and the other of purpose.

This book is particularly profound for people in their 30s and 40s who are experiencing success for the first time and grappling with the question, “What’s the point?”

14. Democracy for Realists

Democracy for Realists by Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. BartelsLastly, Democracy for Realists is a dense, academic read that delves into the paradox of democracy—the more democratic a society, the worse choices they often make.

This book is sobering and eye-opening, providing examples of why people with expertise and experience should be the ones making important decisions.

Looking for More Books to Read?

I’ve put together a list of over 200 “best books” organized by genre, as well as my all-time recommended reading list that includes the book(s) I’m reading each month. Check them out.

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