Be honest. How many of you were waiting for this one? When we posted the fiction books we can’t do without, we knew that a few of you would be counting down until this blog rolled around. Well, fear not. We’ve got you real-life-loving people covered.
Our team is a fan of non-fiction masterpieces and self-help books. In fact, we had a really hard time narrowing this list down to not be about forty different novels about how to better your life.
So what are you waiting for? Go get a latte, kick off your heels, and dig into these literary gems.
Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
This book is all about the camaraderie and the relationships that military units build with each other. Learn about what the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division went through in World War II and how their bonds kept them all going.
This book is a raw, honest account of the outcomes of battles, death, and war. It’s a reminder that history is made up of the lives of real people who laughed, cried, and went through their day-to-day activities, just like we do.
Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI by Bryan Burrough
This massive book (it’s 600 pages!) covers some of America’s most infamous criminals and the situations that led to the creation of the FBI. Read about Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly, John Dillinger, and J. Edgar Hoover in this dense page-turner.
If you’re giving this book a shot, we recommend that you put down the other books you’re reading and focus solely on it. Make sure you don’t go too long between reading sessions, because with all the politics and nuances, it can be easy to forget all of the little details.
The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff
We’ve all heard about the Salem Witch Trials, but history has exaggerated and obscured the details surrounding the incident. Did you know that no one was burnt at the stake in Salem? Most people don’t.
This book takes a look at the teenaged girls at the center of the accusations and at the tense religious world that influenced them. When you read it, you might be a little creeped out at how familiar it all sounds. (Bonus: if you love this book, you can learn more about the Salem Trials in a podcast that the author, Schiff, is featured on.)
Memoirs and Essays
A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway
This essay is about how to reckon with our place in a technologically advanced society without feeling like machines. It’s a classic philosophy tome written in an engaging way anyone can enjoy. When you finish that, check out Donna Haraway’s Companion Species Manifesto, about our place among other creatures on this planet.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
You’ve probably heard of this one, even if you’ve never read it. It follows the author’s journey to find happiness, including the many and weird stops she makes along the way. From Italy to India to Bali, her life takes her on a series of twists and turns you wouldn’t expect.
This book is a great reflection on finding yourself and what happiness really means. It’s an easy book to blast through, so you’ll want to read it again and again.
Recipes and Books About Food
The Art of Cooking with Vegetables by Alain Passard
If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Chef’s Table France, this one might look familiar. The author, Chef Alain Passard, is the owner and chef at a three-star restaurant in Paris. Still, when he was first getting started, he scandalized the traditional French cooking scene by refusing to use meat in his dishes.
Years later, Chef Passard has reincorporated some animal products, but his bold decision still sets him apart from everyone else. This book isn’t for the casual cook, but if you want a challenge that will result in amazing food, it’s a must read. Pro tip: request it at your library or ask for it as a gift. This one’s pretty expensive.
Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen
How could we not include Chrissy Teigen? We love this woman and her mouth-watering dishes. This book is no different. It’s filled with recipes for all of those guilty pleasure foods, like fried chicken and garlic-roasted bacon.
Unlike our last suggestion, this book is perfect for beginners. There’s even a chapter called, “Things that Intimidate People but Shouldn’t.”
Self Help (brace Yourself. There are a lot)
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Okay, you caught us. We really love Gilbert.
Still, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to live a life filled with creativity. All of the fun of Eat, Pray, Love lends itself to a guide on how to find your own happiness. It’s about embracing what makes you curious and living life on the edge of your comfort zone.
This one is a great jumping off point for anyone who doesn’t think they like self-help books. It’s accessible, and really? Just look at that cover. How could you not want to pick it up?
Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi
When was the last time you were mind-numbingly bored? Can you even remember?
In our age of phones, tech, and digital, it’s hard to harness the power of boredom, but this book is all about how to do just that. This book discusses how our best ideas can come from our most dull moments (you get some of your best ideas in the shower, don’t you?), and how we can spur that creativity when we need it.
Managing Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei
This book is filled with amazingly helpful advice about how to get shit done in a world where we are constantly being pulled in every direction. It teaches you when to isolate yourself, how to schedule time to get shit done, how and how not to start your day…the list goes on.
It helps you to prioritize in this fast-paced society. Take a few moments and crack this one open. It’ll definitely help you in your day-to-day.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
You might have guessed from the title, but this book is pretty damn down to earth. It teaches you to get rid of the “woe is me” attitude and buck up. Life is a bumpy ride and it’s not always fun. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start changing our lives.
The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh
Like a river you step back in to twice, this book grows with you, but is still always a refreshing read. The author is a poet, peace activist, scholar, and Zen master, so expect to find some deep, insightful teachings in this book.
Grab one off of Amazon, or if you can find a well-loved copy with handwritten margin notes, even better. Sit, read, and settle like a glass of pulp-filled apple juice.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss
This book is perfect for the casual reader, because you’re not going to want to read it cover to cover. Instead, it’s meant for you to read one helpful section at a time, and then to put it down for a bit. This is jam-packed with a look at the lives of successful people like doctors, politicians, stockbrokers, and more. It’s a great way to just learn about the minds of the people who are getting ahead in life.
The exercises in this book help you to learn about self-discipline, but it’s also great for those of you who are just curious about the people around you.
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Tired of boring self-help jargon? This is the book for you. You might not think you’re capable of awesome things, but you totally are. It’ll teach you to stop apologizing all the time and to realize that what other people think about you doesn’t really matter at all.
Do you have a favorite non-fiction book? Reach out to us about what keeps you going through the week. We’d love to add some more books to our reading lists.