While you may have read and adored many non-fiction books in your time, we all know how difficult it can be to find the really great ones. After all, there are so many from which to choose —so, which ones are the best? Better yet, which ones are the non-fiction books you have to read before you die?
While this list definitely isn’t inclusive, it’s a good starting point to some really great non-fiction books!
Non Fiction Books to Read Before You Die
When Breath Becomes Fresh Air by Paul Kalanithi
This book is a memoir of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in his mid-thirties. He not only tells his story throughout this book, but also shares how to approach death with grace and what it means to fully be alive. This is a wonderful read, and we highly recommend it to anyone looking for a breath of fresh air.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
This book discusses a brief history of humankind through the three major revolutions – the Cognitive Revolution, Agricultural Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution. It shares the “myths” that have enabled humans to take over the globe and have put humankind on the verge of overcoming the forces of natural selection. In turn, readers will think about the future and what the impact of things done today means for tomorrow.
This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace
This is Water discusses the meaning of how everyone views life. Specifically, it aims at how it is a personal, intentional decision. This book covers learning how to “think” and taking control of that thought process throughout your life so you can better enjoy each day. Packed with intelligence, humor, and philosophy, it makes an easy choice for our non-fiction must-read book list.
Manual for Living by Epictetus
This book encourages readers to think carefully about how they want to spend their life. People often end up chasing things that aren’t as desirable as they may seem. While the book is all for chasing dreams, it also encourages you to be realistic while finding the joy in the smallest things of your daily life.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
Guns, Germs and Steel covers how history has followed different courses for different people. This is because of differences in their environments instead of biological differences in the people themselves. It is quite fascinating and answers a question that many people seem to want answered— “Why did the rate of progress differ so much for cultures on different continents?” A Pulitzer Prize winner, Guns, Germs, and Steel rounds out our list of non-fiction books you have to read before you die.
Each of the books above not only offers a great reading opportunity but also a life lesson or new perspective, as well. What do you think? Is there a non-fiction book you have to read before you die that we didn’t list?