All the best non fiction books to read inspire, inform, and engage us. There’s so much more to nonfiction than encyclopedias! The best nonfiction books can take a real narrative and mine it for hidden meaning, giving perspective and empathy to the stories of people who lived centuries ago. Or who live in the house next to ours.
Consider these 5 essential nonfiction books as a way to expand your horizons. A perspective of the world that includes different kinds of people and fields of study can only help you in your everyday life. They help you communicate with people different than you, lead people in the workplace, and inspire yourself to be the best human you can.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Before he was a joke on The Big Bang Theory, Stephen Hawking was the foremost authority on time. This book may have a cheeky title, but it gives us the perspective of the movement of our universe from the view of one of the four people, likely ever, who could actually see it.
It addresses questions about how time moves and whether (or not) there was a “beginning.” If you’re looking for a think-piece, A Brief History of Time is your book.
Hiroshima by John Hersey
We know that Hiroshima was destroyed on 6 August 1945, but what happened next? This book, chronicled by a journalist who strived to create the most authentic version of the aftermath possible, answers that question.
Hiroshima shows the human struggle in the aftermath of the bomb, including starvation and fallout. This book is not an easy read, but it’s a vital one.
Night by Elie Wiesel
Another tale of horrors during the era of WWII, Night by Elie Wiesel is not an ordinary story of the Holocaust. It’s an account of Auschwitz by someone who survived it. Night does not represent a tale of triumph against immense odds. It describes how much it takes to cause someone to lose their faith and innocence, and what it looks like to keep living after the fact.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
We’ve listed a few stories chronicling darkness and pain. Here’s a tale of triumph instead. The Warmth of Other Suns describes the incredible journey of a family of black Americans between 1915 and 1970. They searched for independence in the era before and during Civil Rights. In the process, they confronted prejudice and economic ruin at the same time they fought for acceptance and freedom.
Underland by Robert Macfarlane
Underland goes under the earth’s surface to describe our impact and our perspective on the planet we call home. This is another exploration of time but made of different intellectual stuff than Hawking’s. It describes our place and responsibility on earth, but also the vast systems that make the planet fascinating. And impossible to ever fully understand.
The best non fiction books to read include classics of hardship and inspiration. They help us explore time and ourselves. Reach out to these 5 classics to better understand our big world and the people with whom we share it.