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Last Updated on November 28, 2017

The 10 Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time You Should Not Miss

The 10 Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time You Should Not Miss

Books are magical. They transport us to fabulous places and expose us to times–either past or future–that are unfamiliar and where possibilities are endless.

For an imaginative mind, reading fiction may appear to be the most suitable selection, but non-fiction holds its own in this department and when given the chance, it is just as captivating and consuming as it’s whimsical fictional counterpart. In the UK, a whopping 90 percent of books making the 100 All-Time Best Sellers list are fiction. This gross under-representation of nonfiction literature from the list demonstrates just how underrated and under-appreciated nonfiction truly is. But don’t let the numbers fool you. Non-fiction texts can be just as engaging and riveting as fiction.

Non-fiction is one category of literature but it encompasses so many genres. Everything from prose, to historical stories, biographies, poetry, self-help materials, current affairs and information on every single subject under the sun is encapsulated in nonfiction text. And the best thing about reading nonfiction is that you are almost always guaranteed to learn something new.

10 non-fiction must reads

Are you ready to dive into some good nonfiction reading but are unsure where to start? Don’t fret, we’re here to help. The folks at Time Magazine[1] have done some due diligence and have painstakingly compiled a list of the 100 best and most influential works written in English since 1923. These picks are guaranteed to be engaging, informative, entertaining and transformative–all at once. Below is a list of their top ten:

10. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

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    This is the best illustration of the real life, evolutionary impacts of the “Butterfly Effect”–the notion that small causes have large effects[2]– on societies throughout the history of time. In its sweep, Guns, Germs and Steel walks the reader through the rise of agriculture, technology, writing, government, and religion, through a unified theoretical history of human existence. This book painstakingly traces the path that societies took–both intentionally and not–to arrive where they are today.

    9. Hiroshima by John Hersey

      A moment in time can change your life forever. In this book, Hersey captures that moment on August 6, 1945, when the lives of thousands were forever changed. The story of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is powerfully and compassionately re-told through the memories of survivors. It is a poignant reminder of the fragility of the human spirit and a story “that stirs the conscience of humanity” ~New York Times.

      8. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

        Rachel Carson, through this world changing book is credited with launching the environmental movement. The New York Times released excerpts from this work in 1962 changing the world forever. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet resonated and reverberated so powerfully throughout the world that people were moved to take up the fight. Its publication resulted in the banning of DDT[3]and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. This epic call to action is considered one of the most pivotal landmark books of the twentieth century.

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        7. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

          Entertainment Weekly aptly describes this work as:

          “Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.”

          This book is intelligently structured, has a conversational tone while being an inspiration to writing aficionados. It will empower and entertain all readers be they Stephen King fans, writers, or anyone who simply loves to read a well told story.

          6. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale : My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

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            Art Spiegelman is a New-York-based comic book artist and editor who is best known for this memoir of his father, Vladek Spiegelman, who is a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe. This tale is masterfully written as a story within a story. The main story details the atrocities endured by his father during the holocaust. The internal and quieter story is of how a son struggles to understand and come to terms with his father, his father’s story, and this historical era.

            5. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser

              Don’t let the title of this book fool you! This is not your average, run-of- the-mill health book that delves into the science of why and how American fast food will kill you (although it does do some of that). This is a myth busting, hilariously serious look into how fast food has widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism worldwide. It addresses the food itself, but also looks at the cultural and societal impact the fast food industry has on America. You will be simultaneously entertained, informed and horrified. This is a must read!

              4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

                This is the autobiography of the iconic Maya Angelou. It has been described as being “poetic and powerful.” This tale tackles the issues of race and the American class system while transcending them. The words on the page are penned with such a grace and power that anyone who dares read this masterpiece will find themselves inspired to become freed from their own personally imposed prisons.

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                3. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

                  In this book, Truman Capote reconstructs the savage murder of the Clutter family in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. There was no apparent motive for the brutal execution of the family and very few clues. The story takes you through the investigation, capture, trial, and eventual execution of the killers. Capote uses the facts of this case to weave a gripping and suspenseful tale that will keep you spellbound from beginning to end.

                  2. Black Boy by Richard Wright

                    This memoir chronicles the life and harsh realities Richard Wright faced growing up as a black child in Mississippi in the 1920’s. This coming of age story follows his journey through the toils of growing up fatherless and explores deep topics such as religion (in his case, atheism), racism and struggling to find your place in a world you don’t neatly fit into. It is a powerful and touching tale guaranteed to touch your soul and will make you question the things you have blindly accepted as truth.

                    1. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

                      This memoir is a smooth flowing easy-to-read narrative. In this book, the author, Gertrude Stein, puts a neat twist on the biography. She has cunningly found a way to relay the details of her life as a writer, salon host and arts patron under the guise of penning her lover’s story. It’s a masterful experimentation with form and uniquely challenges the traditional biographical format. It is a well-spun tale and a lesson to writers on how to stretch conventional boundaries in a creative way.

                      As you can see by this incredible list of must reads, reading nonfiction texts is the best way to simultaneously be entertained while learning new things and experiencing intense personal growth.

                      Reference

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                      Denise Hill

                      Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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                      Last Updated on September 26, 2018

                      10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

                      10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

                      If you want to change your life, you are going to have to do things differently. Sometimes you can look to inspirational books to create a positive change in your life. If you desire change, you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone. As Anthony Robbins points out in the quote below, you are going have to experience discomfort and pain in order to transform your life. Any change, whether it be an organisation or personal, can be a painful process. However, the rewards of going through the change process are priceless.

                      “All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting an empowering new belief” – Anthony Robbins

                      There are two specific events that threw my life into a tailspin, where for a while there it felt like I was losing control. These two events were, the sudden and tragic loss of my parents, and being made redundant three times in eighteen months.

                      With the third redundancy, I was at my lowest point in my life. I felt utterly useless. My self-confidence was at zero, and I could see no future for me.

                      My life was turned upside down. I knew that I had to turn it around. I just didn’t know how.

                      Then one wet Sunday afternoon, I picked up a book from my bookshelf called ,“The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. I had this book for at least a year and had been meaning to read it, but hadn’t gone anywhere near a book for months.

                      When I read this book, I decided that I needed to get my life back. I needed to learn how to heal and rebuild my confidence, as well as my self belief.

                      So I started to read books. I read lots of books about inspirational stories on life, love, and happiness. Personal development and motivational books were full of information, tools, and strategies about how I could take control back and change my life. I would like to share with you the inspirational messages I got from reading these ten books that changed my life.

                      Read these 10 books because I believe they will inspire you, motivate you, and show you how to take action and go change your life!

                        Awaken The Giant Within

                        by Anthony Robbins
                        The inspirational message from this book is how you have the power right now to control how you think, how you feel, and what you do. Anything you want or desire in your life, you already have the power to achieve it.

                        “You and I have that same power at our disposal every moment of the day. At the moment, the questions that we ask ourselves can shape our perception of who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we’re willing to do to achieve our dreams” – Anthony Robbins

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                          Screw It Lets Do It: Lessons in Life

                          by Richard Branson
                          Reading other people’s stories about their journeys in life can give you better perspective of what the journey of change can be about. Richard Branson is into reinvention and as a result, he embraces change.

                          This book will fuel your enthusiasm to give things a go. It will show you how to sort out the self-limiting beliefs that stop you from stepping up and taking on the challenge of change.

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                          “As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy. Waking up stressed and miserable is not a good way to live” – Richard Branson

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                            The Art of Happiness

                            by Dalai Lama

                            There is not a person I know who is not in the pursuit of happiness.

                            “The Art of Happiness” is a book that will encourage you to practice the discipline of self-reflection.The more you reflect on your life, the deeper you look into your inner self (your soul). This is where you discover what happiness truly means to you.

                            Knowing what happiness means to you, gives you purpose. With purpose, you’ll have clarity, focus, and a vision. These are the foundations that will empower you to embark on the journey to change your life.

                            “Both these people illustrate the essential point that happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.” – Dalai Lama

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                              The Four Agreements

                              by Don Miguel Ruiz

                              “The Four Agreements” are Don Miguel’s code for life.

                              “The Four Agreements” provide an inspirational code for life, for the way you handle your relationships, how you behave, and how you communicate with others. If you want to change your life, read “The Four Agreements”. This book will show you how to attain a happy fulfilled life.

                              “If you live in a past dream, you don’t enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is. There is no time to miss anyone or anything because you are alive. Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive. This leads to self pity, suffering and tears.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

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                                The Magic of Thinking Big

                                by David J Schwartz

                                According to Dr Schwartz, to create change in your life and to attain all that you desire, you need to change your thinking and your attitude.

                                The importance of preparing your mind and your thinking for the journey of personal change is the key message of this book.

                                “Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.” – David J. Schwartz.

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                                  Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How To Create A New You

                                  by Deepak Chopra

                                  Deepak Chopra believes that personal transformation not only involves the mind, but also your body and soul. According to Chopra, you cannot transform your mind without transforming your body and soul.

                                  Reading this book will encourage you to think about the potential energy force and power you hold within you. This energy grows when you are connected and aligned to your mind, body, and soul.

                                  “The key to transformation is that you create the change you want to see in yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

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                                    The Greatest Salesman In The World

                                    by Og Mandino

                                    This little classic has been around since 1968. Have you ever wondered what truly successful people have in common?

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                                    This book doesn’t really tell you how to be a great salesperson. It will; however, give you some fantastic tips on how to be an entrepreneur, how to self-motivate, and how to think like a successful person.

                                    The underlying message is the power of positive thinking – that you become what you think, say, and do. This book has great tactics for those of us in the process of change.

                                    “My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action.” – Og Mandino

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                                      Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

                                      by Richard Carlson

                                      This book helps you to manage the small stuff in your life that is usually creating the most pain in your life. This very supportive book is full of great practical suggestions on how you can live a more joyful and peaceful life.

                                      “True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice, and to learn.” – Richard Carlson

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                                        Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

                                        by Chip & Dan Heath

                                        Have you ever tried to lose weight or get fit and never reached your goal? You know that you have to make changes in your life, but you don’t know how?

                                        If you are nodding in agreement, then you need to read “Switch“. If I had to recommend one book that shows you how to create and maintain lasting change in your life – then it would be “Switch“.

                                        In this book, Chip and Dan share the Secret as to how you can create and sustain change in your life.

                                        Hint: It has something to do with knowing how to “Direct The Rider”, “Motivate The Elephant”, and “Shape the Path.”

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                                        This book, without a doubt, will show you how to change your life.

                                        “When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there. Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.” – Chip & Dan Heath

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                                          The Gifts of Imperfection

                                          by Brene Brown

                                          Do you ever feel that you are just not worthy enough, intelligent enough, or courageous enough to live a fulfilled happy life?

                                          Do you have secret dreams that you hold deep inside of you that you don’t share in case someone thinks they are silly? Or are you too scared to follow your dreams because you fear that you may fail?

                                          Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, will show you how to find your courage, as well as rediscover your self-belief and self-worth.

                                          This is the book that will get you prepared to embark on your journey of change. “The Gifts of Imperfection” is about you learning how to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.

                                          “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

                                          These 10 books were key to helping me change my life. I rediscovered hope for my future. I found my courage, strength, and my self-belief. I hope that by reading these books, you will find the same inspiration and motivation to take up the challenge and change your life.

                                          “If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” – Sherman Alexie

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