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10 Best Nonfiction Books of All-Time
This is my list of the 10 best nonfiction books. These are the pillar books that have helped shape my thinking and approach to life. In my opinion, these are 10 nonfiction books everyone should read. They are listed here in no particular order.
The Book in Three Sentences: The memoir of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in his mid-thirties. Kalanithi uses the pages in this book to not only tell his story, but also share his ideas on how to approach death with grace and what it means to be fully alive.
The Book in Three Sentences: Human history has been shaped by three major revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago). These revolutions have empowered humans to do something no other form of life has done, which is to create and connect around ideas that do not physically exist (think religion, capitalism, and politics). These shared “myths” have enabled humans to take over the globe and have put humankind on the verge of overcoming the forces of natural selection.
The Book in Three Sentences: Some environments provide more starting materials and more favorable conditions for utilizing inventions and building societies than other environments. This is particularly notable in the rise of European peoples, which occurred because of environmental differences and not because of biological differences in the people themselves. There are four primary reasons Europeans rose to power and conquered the natives of North and South America, and not the other way around: 1) the continental differences in the plants and animals available for domestication, which led to more food and larger populations in Europe and Asia, 2) the rate of diffusion of agriculture, technology and innovation due to the geographic orientation of Europe and Asia (east-west) compared to the Americas (north-south), 3) the ease of intercontinental diffusion between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and 4) the differences in continental size, which led to differences in total population size and technology diffusion.
The Book in Three Sentences: Some things are in your power and some are not—do not confuse the two and do not desire the things that are not in your power. It is our opinion of things that determines how we feel about a particular event, not the event itself. Think carefully about how you spend your life because people often spend their lives chasing things that are neither as desirable nor as important as they seem.
The Book in Three Sentences: Learning “how to think” really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It can be easy to spend our entire lives accepting our natural default ways of thinking rather than choosing to look differently at life. The only thing that is capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see life and how you construct meaning from experience.
The Best Nonfiction Books by Category
In addition to the top 10 nonfiction books listed above, I have put together more specific book recommendations by category. The top one or two books in each category are listed at the beginning of each page. Simply click the links below to check them out.