Could you please recommend an excellent non-fiction book that you find inspiring and unputdownable?

Could you please recommend an excellent non-fiction book that you find inspiring and unputdownable? Also if you can drop me a line of the reason of recommendation that’ll be greatly appreciated!

85 Answers

  • Keith Foskett – he has a few describing long walks along famous trails. Also George Mahood for entertainment value, start with Free Country and go from there!

  • Left to tell by immaculee illibigaza. It’s an incredible story of survival and faith. And also night be elie wiesel. He was an incredible man who survived the holocaust and felt the tale had to be told.

  • Unbroken -it is a great story of survival
    Boys in the Boat- what trust, commitment and optimism can do in trying times

    • I agree with both of these! Also Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (the author of Unbroken). – she makes nonfiction read like a novel!

  • In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White. Beautifully written memoir and my actual book club then traveled to Mississippi and met author who was such a gracious man.

  • The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko. The story of the Grand Canyon in all its aspects.

  • Reaping the Whirlwind: the civil rights movement in Tuskegee by Robert Norell

    What happened in Tuskegee is fascinating and a microcosm of the national civil rights movement. It also provides an explanation of the Republican party’s movement from anti slavery Lincoln to redneck Klan Trump

  • I found Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography to be pretty interesting, but I love Springsteen so I might be biased haha. Also, I really liked The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks. I thought it was inspiring that she was able to do all the things she does while living with Schizophrenia.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is amazing. Unbelievable true story.

  • Into thin air, amazing book about climbing Mount Everest and the difficulties. Such an inspiration about life and now I actually wanna go see the mountain.

  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Inspiring, riveting, thoughtful. One young woman’s empowering journey of self discovery after personal loss and struggles with addiction. I found it much more relatable than Eat, Pray, Love. Also enjoyed A Walk in the Woods, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Rocket Boys.

  • Certified 100% unputdownable: Elon musk by Ashley Vince. All you need to know about the peculiar character behind space x, Tesla and paypal, told in the most hilarious manner. ( I’d recommend the audiobook format)

  • The Quiet Room by Lori Schiller.
    It narrates the descent of Lori Schiller into schizophrenia, supplemented by commentary from friends and family.

    In Silence by Ruth Sidransky.
    This one’s the story of Ruth, who grew up ‘in silence’ as she was born to deaf parents.

    The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee: A Biography of Cancer.
    As the name suggests, the book is a beautifully written account of the history of cancer. The Gene by the same author is also worth your while.

    The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.
    This book is one of my favourites and one that I recommend to a lot of people. It is an introduction to disaster capitalism. Fast-paced, shocking and highly informative.

    I have a few more on my list, if you’d like. 😂

    • Oh thank you so much! Yes would love to hear the others on your list too 🙏🏼

    • Chocola Qing You’re welcome! 😊

      A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.
      A classic written by one of the most beautiful minds on the planet. A timeless introduction to the wonders of the universe.

      The Reason for Flowers by Stephen Buchmann.
      This book can get technical when it wants to, but overall, it is a text on everything to do with flowers.

      Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita.
      The heartbreaking memoir of an Indian author about surviving the pandit exodus in Kashmir.

      Neurotribes by Steve Silberman.
      A comprehensive history of autism and its research. A highly relevant book that will help you understand the disorder from a fresh perspective.

      The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida.
      A very cute and heartwarming book written by a boy with autism. Being non-verbal, the book was written with the help of his mother as the interpreter. Loved this one!

      Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid.
      If you like a good detective mystery, read this book to understand how crime scene investigation works. With real-life scenarios and interviews, this is a very interesting book.

      Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
      All about why we are the way we are. Why can’t we stop procrastinating? Why do we make decisions we will regret later? This book puts irrationality under the spotlight.

      Cosmos by Carl Sagan.
      A lovely book exploring the universe and what makes us human. You get to behold the cosmos through the eyes of one of the most prominent science educators of our time.

      Lonely City by Olivia Laing.
      A book about loneliness and how it has affected us and our art. This book involves musings about the solitary life we are forced to live in today’s world.

      Enjoy! 😊

    • Here’s a few for you Syed…
      Istanbul by Bettany Hughes – a memoir of the city from the Neolithic era to today
      The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan – a major reassessment of world history and exploration of forces that have driven the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and are now heralding a new dawn in international affairs
      Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky – Salt, the only rock we eat, has made a glittering, often surprising contribution to the history of mankind
      The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond – what we can learn from traditional societies
      Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall – 10 maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics

  • In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson. It’s very readable, shocking, and rueful. I also responded to it because I’m an historian familiar with the ambassador’s history work.

  • Far From the Tree, by Andrew Solomon. He writes about children and parents, the children have differences: dwarfism, autism, many others. It’s just fascinating.

  • The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe. The author follows a group of refugee students thru their first year in American schools. There are a lot of heroes in this book and I learned a lot about language acquisition and refugees but with all the hate circling about, this was a book to settle into!

    • My husband just bought that one for me. Good to hear your positive review! And I agree; we need books that counter hate. 🙂

    • If you enjoy it, she had written 2 others about completely different things but super interesting because I think she writes so well.

  • I just finished The Girl With Seven Names. About a North Korean Defector. Definitely couldn’t put it down! Inspiring book.

    • Loved the Girl With Seven Names and also Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick

  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It’s beautifully written, very wise and inspiring, and a book to savor and read repeatedly.

  • I enjoyed Wild, as well as Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Also, Annie’s ghosts. This gave description of the asylums in Michigan back in the 50s. It was scary to see how easy it was to end up in one.

  • Little Princes by Conor Grennan. By the end of the book I wanted to send his organization, Next Generation Nepal, all my money. Amazing, selfless work they do and the story had a very easy-to-read flow to it. If you listen to the audiobook, it’s even better because Conor narrates it himself.

    • Fearless by Eric Blehm is also really good, but if I see Little Princes anywhere at a discount store, I buy it every time just to pass on to friends.

  • I’m really enjoying Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her story, but also history, politics, science, etc.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot. Fascinating.

  • All of Larson’s books are worth reading. “Devil in the White City” was amazing!

  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers
    So readable, and so shocking and told utterly without (I thought) a drop of Western patronising!

  • Hillbilly Elegy . A rare reflection on modern day Appalachian poor.

  • The measure of a man – memoir of Martin Greenfield who survived the concentration camps to become the tailor to Obama (and other people). It is a fantastic tale of hope and an indomitable spirit. I highly recommend the audio book. Mr. Greenfield is still alive and tailoring in Brooklyn.

  • Echo Hillbilly Elegy. When Breath Becomes Air because it’s so inspiring. Born a Crime because it’s about a different culture and not knowing Trevor Noah it was a pleasant surprise. Being Mortal because it was an excellent look into end of life living and care. Raised lots of good questions

  • Wow it’s mind blowing. Thank you so much for leaving your feedback! It’s such a inspiring place we have in here xxx

  • I liked the Lab Girl. Mostly because of how the father in the story shared his passions with his daughter. I also love the daughters passion for trees.

  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, because of the example of how resilient the human spirit is.

  • Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. Amazing adventure of the Lewis & Clark expedition.

  • I cannot forgive, Rudolf vrba. Escaped Auschwitz concentration camp and was one of the first to alert the world as to what was happening there.

  • Eating Animals. Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s hard to learn some of the info in this book, but if you’re ready to know the difficult truth about our animal agriculture, this book is amazing. It will probably change the way you eat.

  • I liked Stalin’s Daughter, by Rosemary Sullivan. It’s a well-written and interesting biography of Svetlana Alliluyeva.

  • -General Non-Fiction: Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild (very interesting perspectives)
    -History: SPQR by Mary Beard (you don’t come across very many books about ancient Rome written by women. And this one’s quite well written indeed)
    -Biography: Charlotte Brontë A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman (I learned a lot I didn’t previously know about Charlotte Brontë & co., which surprised me as an English major!)
    -Memoir: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson (wonderful, charming and cheerful)

  • Half a Life by Darin Strauss. This memoir stayed with me for a long time. Read it with my Book Club and we had a great discussion. Interesting how one moment, one act can affect and haunt you for the rest of your life.

  • The Longest Winter by Meredith Hooper. A story of the survival of 6 men called the Eastern Party, who formed part of the Scott’s last expedition.

  • If you are a fan of Downton Abbey and all the royal series on PBS, I recommend Simon Winchester’s Their Noble Lordships. In a very entertaining way, he explains the hierarchy, the difference between a peer and somebody who only holds a courtesy title, the difference between a hereditary peer and a life peer, and writes accounts of how they live now. It explains a lot. It’s an older book–from the 1980s IIRC, and no doubt OP–you’ll have to hunt for it, but you’ll never mistake a “grace” for a “lordship” again.

  • The books recommended on this post are going to keep me busy for a while!!! Thanks for your kind contribution, everyone!!! 🙏🏼

  • Boys in the Boat, about the 1936 Olympics rowing team. Very inspiring story, and rich with history from the depression era and pre-WWII. Great descriptions from the Olympics in Berlin under Hitler.

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