What are the best 21st century non-fiction books?

asked by Anonymous
363 contributors
43 solutions
  1. 42

    #1A Short History of Nearly Everything

    A Short History of Nearly Everything
    A Short History of Nearly Everything is a popular science book chronicling events from the nothingness before the Big Bang to the present. Complicated concepts are explained in uncomplicated terms, making it suitable for all ages.
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    Carl Murray
    Written on March 3, 2018
    ""A Short History of Nearly Everything" covers an incredibly broad variety of topics in a fairly approachable and interesting manner. It seeks to help people conceptualize a number of vast and profound events that sometimes are difficult to comprehend, and generally succeeds in doing so. It's an absorbing and enlightening read, in general."
  2. 39

    #2Einstein

    Einstein

    From the author of Steve Jobs comes this extensive biography about the most influencer scientific of the 20th Century. Rebel and extraordinary icon, nonconformist, creative and full of imagination, Albert Einstein biography is a must-read one. 

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    Heather Perry
    Written on March 12, 2018
    "If you are looking for a great non-fiction book, look no further. This book dives deep into Einstein in a very intimate and exciting way. It uses his personal letters to offer insights into the man behind the math/science. The writing is top notch."
  3. 38

    #3The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
    The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis is a non-fiction book that deals with economics and finance. The uniqueness of this book tackles the conflict between the lower and middle-class Americans.

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    Huang Dong
    Written on April 1, 2018
    "I am actually familiar with this story and have always took enjoyment from it. I also like the slightly comedic element this story takes overall. I definitely give this one a thumbs up."
  1. 35

    #4Collapse

    Collapse
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jared Diamond. It investigates the various factors that cause societies to fall apart, such as climate change and rapid population growth.
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    Rodrigo Espinosa
    Written on March 25, 2018
    "A friend suggested that I check out the book Collapse as he knows that I really like non-fiction books. It started off pretty slow and never really got interesting to me. "
  2. 33

    #51776

    1776
    Written by the well-known historian David McCullough, 1776 recounts the birth of America as a free and independent nation. It chronicles the American Revolution until the Declaration of Independence.
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    Albert Romero
    Written on March 2, 2018
    "I like history books and I have been reading WW2 books but have switched to wars in America. 1776 was very interesting and a real good read. I learned about a bunch of stuff I did not know. I read it in a few days and was disappointed the book ended. It has sparked my interest in the era. "
  3. 30

    #6John Adams

    John Adams
    As told by the multi-awarded historian David McCullough, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book is the story of John Adams, founding father and second president of the United States. 

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    Shirley Sullivan
    Written on March 6, 2018
    "Gordon S. Wood The New York Review of Books By far the best biography of Adams ever written...McCullough's special gift as an artist is his ability to re-create past human beings in all their fullness and all their humanity. In John and Abigail he has found characters worthy of his talent."
  4. 29

    #7Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    In this book, popular historian Doris Kearns Goodwin explains what made Abraham Lincoln such a political genius: the 16th president of the United States, had the ability to put himself in the place of other men, something that allowed him to lead the United States through the Civil War. 

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  5. 27

    #8The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

    The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
    The Omnivores Dilemma is a book by Michael Pollan that tells the story about food.  It is sometimes, one of the factors of politics, culture and history. Learning what we eat even of the simplest everyday meals is one of the best ways to know what we are, and where are we heading to.

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    Sofía Cisneros
    Written on March 9, 2018
    "I wanted the best 21st century non-fiction books out there. I found The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. I gives a history of food and the basic necessity of having meals."
  6. 20

    #9The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

    The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

    The Emperor of All Maladies is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddharta Mukherjee. It chronicles the advent of the disease from its first appearance five thousand years ago, up to modern medicine's ongoing battle to cure it.

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    Mildred Henry
    Written on March 18, 2018
    "A very well documented book. The topic is one that is the biggest plagues of the 21st century. The book's construction does this daunting topic justice. "
  7. 12

    #10Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival

    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival
    'Unbroken' is the true and incredible story of Louis Zamperini, a lieutenant that survives a plane crash during the Pacific War in 1943. This is one of the most incredible odysseys of the 20th century and the inspiration for a motion picture, directed by Angelina Jolie.
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    María Luisa Armenta
    Written on March 10, 2018
    "This book is an incredible story. I couldn't put the book down. A must-read, especially before seeing the film."
  8. 7

    #11The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a non-fiction book by Rebecca Skloot. It tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were unknowingly taken from her and used in medical research. These cells have outlived her for 60 years.
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    Christina Carroll
    Written on March 8, 2018
    "This book was so educational for me. But not in a way that forced it. I really enjoyed reading about her life and reading about her discoveries in medicine."
  9. 6

    #12The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth

    The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth

    The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York is a non-fiction novel originally published in 2010. This book explores the current environmental issues that humanity is facing.

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    Gabriela Garza
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth was suggested to me through my search for the best 21st century non-fiction books. While the stars of the review are good there are only 11 and both purchase items are a little on the pricey side, The cover looks interesting but I do not know that I would take a stab at this book with the limited number of reviews and the higher price tag."
  10. 1

    #13Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    Quiet is a book by Susan Cain that tells a story about how introverts can change the world in this extroverted society that we are in. 

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    Adam Wilson
    Written on February 28, 2018
    "This book helped me discover what it really means to be an introvert and in turn, what it means to be me. Now I understand why I am the way I am and there is nothing wrong with me. Through this book I learned what jobs would fit me and what jobs would be really bad."
  11. 1

    #14Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

    Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

    Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future is a non-fiction book by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel, a renowned entrepreneur. It includes insights into how startup companies become successful.

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    Brian Wright
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "Good read on how startups can be successful. Read about how actual successful entrepreneurs actually get their companies off the ground and successful. "
  12. 0

    #15Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe

    Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe

    Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe is a non-fiction novel written by John Boswell that tells the story of the LGBT people who got married even before the legality of the ceremony in Europe.

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    Terry Oliver
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "GOOD"
  13. 0

    #16The Hollow Dolls

    The Hollow Dolls

    The Hollow Dolls is a book by MT Dahl that tells the story of best friends Mel and Winnie. They will be both lost in the life of addiction. They do not believe in anything absolute so they will try and love and something will happen.  

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    Katherine Beck
    Written on March 16, 2018
    "This is not a good candidate for best 21st century non-fiction books. First off, it is fiction; in fact, it is in the category known as "young adult fiction". Secondly, the grammar and the story-telling is low brow. It reads the way an uneducated teenager might talk to another teenager who was a drop out. Lastly, the imagery is just gross. It is unnerving. Reading this book is sure to cause depression in any young person who reads it."
  14. 0

    #17The Great American Bunion Derby

    The Great American Bunion Derby

    The Great American Bunion Derby is a non-fiction book written by Molly Levite Griffis. First published in 2003, it tells the story of the Andy Payne Memorial Marathon, a continental foot race that tests the endurance of the racers.

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    Barbara Williamson
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "This is a great kids book. I recommend to anybody who is interested in a remarkable story."
  15. 0

    #18Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

    Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

    What is the most bizarre question you've heard on a bookshop? This book is a funny collection of them. Questions such as "Can books conduct electricity?' or 'Is this book edible?'.

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    Janice Schneider
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "This is a great book to get for the Barnes and Noble employee in your life. It's funny and relatable and sometimes exasperating."
  16. 0

    #19Bound By a Mighty Vow

    Bound By a Mighty Vow

    Bound By a Mighty Vow: Sisterhood and Women's Fraternities, 1870-1920 is a historical non-fiction book written by Diana B. Turk. It is first published in 2004 by New York University Press. 

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    Patrick Hall
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "Great non-fiction book. Shows the interesting background of sororities. "
  17. 0

    #20Black Greek 101

    Black Greek 101

    Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities is a historical non-fiction book written by Walter M. Kimbrough. It is published in 2003. 

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    Aaryan Trivedi
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "I was considering joining a Black Greek frat when I happened across this, and decided to read it in its entirety. This was way more research than I thought I’d end up doing on a fraternity, but it’s a super good book. It offers a straight and unbiased look at everything good and bad about frat culture across history, which is both informative and helpful if you’re looking to go into a fraternity and want to avoid issues. I’m happy to say that I’ve decided to join a fraternity after reading this book (it’s not a hit piece on frats). I’m happier to say I’ll be going in well-armed to make decisions and avoid the negative things discussed in the book, which range from implicit bias to partying too hard. This is one of those rare nonfictions that covers a subject you’d never usually even think about, much less write a book on, but does it with such charm and detail that you read the whole thing anyway. And it helps you understand that however unimportant the topic seems, it actually had a significant impact on the lives of many people across the country. It’s esoteric, but I highly recommend it. "
  18. 0

    #21India After Gandhi

    India After Gandhi

    India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy is a non-fiction book by Ramachandra Guha. It chronicles the history of democracy in India and the challenges that the country is facing to maintain political freedom.

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    Charlotte Ding
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "I have a thing for this type of book because it involves history. This is all about India facing difficult problems and coming up with solutions."
  19. 0

    #22Grown Up Digital

    Grown Up Digital
    Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World is an award-winning non-fiction book by Don Tapscott. It is an informative book about how the younger generations are evolving to be tech-efficient.
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    Jonathan Walker
    Written on April 14, 2018
    "Our world is changing, and this book helps to explain why. Based on a 4 million dollar study, it delves into the Net Generation and what makes them different from other generations. It does get repetitive at times, and sometimes relies too much on personal anecdote, but every educator and leader needs to read this book and understand how they'll have to change to meet the needs of the new generation. "
  20. 0

    #23Time Was Soft There

    Time Was Soft There
    Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. is a memoir by Canadian journalist Jeremy Mercer. It tells the story of his stay in the famous Parisian bookstore, Shakespeare & Co.
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    Terry Brewer
    Written on April 12, 2018
    " I am torn on this one. The writer is very good and the book is well written but it drones on terribly at times. It can become a chore to sod through at some parts. Would not be one of my choices."
  21. 0

    #24The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

    The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
    The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life is a biography written by Alice Schroeder which reveals the life of Warren Buffett also known as The Oracle of Omaha.  
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    Alice Morgan
    Written on March 30, 2018
    "This is an easy to listen to and interesting audiobook. It goes into detail about his life and how he accumulated so much wealth. It tells some of his experiences throughout his life which makes it more interesting than just about his wealth. A good read."
  22. 0

    #25The Universe in a Nutshell

    The Universe in a Nutshell

    In this book by Stephen Hawking, he introduces his ideas to readers Worldwide. 'The Universe in a Nutshell' exposes the secrets of quantum mechanics, M-theory, general relativity, superstrings or the black holes. 

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    Joseph May
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "An instant classic! A peak into this extraordinary mind."
  23. 0

    #26It's Complicated

    It's Complicated

    It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens is a non-fiction book by Danah Boyd. Based on years of fieldwork, it provides insights on how social networks greatly affect the lives of teenagers.

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    Pamela Stevens
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "After reading this book I had a whole new outlook on my children's lives. I didn't realize the effect our society is having on our young children. This book was eye opening and I would recommend it to any parent raising kids in the 21st century. Highly recommended. "
  24. 0

    #27Christopher And His Kind

    Christopher And His Kind
    Christopher And His Kind is a non-fiction book written by Christopher Isherwood that tells the story of the author his self. He shares his journey as a gay in Berlin and how he enjoyed it even if there are challenges. 
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    Stephanie Boyd
    Written on May 4, 2018
    "In Christopher and His Kind is a non fiction book during the early 20th century. Christopher must protect his friend from the Nazis in gay Berlin. Finally Christopher succeeds in making it to America."
  25. 0

    #28Dead Centre

    Dead Centre
    Dead Centre: Not All Suicide Bombers Are Religious! is a non-fiction war book written by Owen Jones. It is first published in 2014 by Megan Publishing Services.  
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  26. 0

    #29Radical Brewing

    Radical Brewing

    Radical Brewing is a guidebook by Randy Mosher that teaches readers how to brew different colors of beer. It includes classification different beers,  its tastes, and ingredients. 

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    Robert Robinson
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "Fun and informative! For the home brewer like myself, this really captures the spirit of the culture of brewing. The recipes are a little bland and I wish there some more adventurous tastes, but overall I think this was a good read."
  27. 0

    #30Death by Black Hole

    Death by Black Hole

    Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries is a non-fiction science book by the renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. It gives a comprehensive overview of mankind's knowledge on the final frontier: space.

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    Jean Hall
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "Death by Black Hole is a non fiction compilation of essays about the cosmos. When I was little I wanted to become an astronomer and work for the NASA. When I grew up I discovered I was bad at math and gave up, but I still enjoy to read about space. This book is an entertaining and fun read, the author explains everything clearly and is even a fun read. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in space, it doesn't matter if you don't know much about the topic or if you are an expert."
  28. 0

    #31The Improbability Principle

    The Improbability Principle

    The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day is a non-fiction book by David J. Hand, a statistician. It integrates the world we move in with the logical world of numbers.

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    Jeffrey Warren
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "This was a good read that was well written. Author put a lot of thought and effort into this. "
  29. 0

    #32LSD: My Problem Child

    LSD: My Problem Child

    LSD: My Problem Child is a science non-fiction book written by organic chemist Albert Hofmann wherein he tells his experience on his discovery of LSD and encounters with notable figures following his discovery. 

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    Raymond Brown
    Written on April 9, 2018
    "Someone who has been interested in psychedelics and LSD and is fascinated with the drug i would not recommend any other book This is the man the chemist that invented the drug so which better way to learn more about it than from the man himself. What a great educational book, i had to read it twice to process all the info. "
  30. 0

    #33Brewing Classic Styles

    Brewing Classic Styles

    Brewing Classic Styles is a book by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer that teaches readers how to brew beer in eighty different ways. It has a step-by-step guide that will let any reader understand brewing easily.

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    Julie Graham
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "If you think beer brewing is such difficult Jamil makes it so easy for you find the book and learn all this simple step"
  31. 0

    #34Freedom at Midnight

    Freedom at Midnight
    Freedom at Midnight is a history book by journalists Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. It chronicles events in Indian history in their struggle to gain freedom from colonial oppressors.
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    Jeffrey Gordon
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "The best 21st century non-fiction books include "Freedom at Midnight" which is a history book that chronicles events in Indian history in their struggle to gain freedom from colonial oppressors. Boasting an average customer rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on 132 customer reviews, I strongly recommend this book."
  32. 0

    #35Just My Type

    Just My Type

    Originally published in 2010, Just My Type: A Book About Fonts is a non-fiction book by Simon Garfield. It explores the history of individual fonts, including the emotions they convey and people's attitudes towards them.

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    Brenda Ramos
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "Not sure if it can be said to be one of the best books of this century. It is just a small dive into the world of fonts, how they came to be and how they shape the illustrative and textual landscape of today's world."
  33. 0

    #36Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

    Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

    Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation is a book by Chris White. It is a guidebook for those who want to know how to brew beer at their home. This has a step-by-step guide for easy understanding. 

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    Megan Arnold
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "Awesome nonfiction book! I couldn't put it down."
  34. 0

    #37Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

    Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

    Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King is a non-fiction biographical novel first published in 2000. This book was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

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    Jerry Lucas
    Written on March 19, 2018
    "This is a non-fiction book from 2000, which would fit with the 21st century requirement. The book also has a very high rating on Amazon and would be a great solution for anyone interesting in the subject matter."
  35. 0

    #38A Field Full of Butterflies

    A Field Full of Butterflies

    A Field Full of Butterflies: Memories of a Romany Childhood is a non-fiction biography book written by Rosemary Penfold. It is first published in 2011 by Orion. 

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    Samuel Harper
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "If you read a lot of non-fiction and you haven't read this yet go check it out. While it isn't my favorite out of all from recent years it is very good."
  36. 0

    #39American Sour Beers

    American Sour Beers
    American Sour Beers is a book by Michael Tonsmeire. This book is all about the different ways on how to brew the different kinds of American Sour Beers. 
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    Helen Lawrence
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "I love non-fiction books, and this is one of my favorites books out there. The author has a good way to tell a story. 5 stars and good reviews. Really recommend this book. The price is acceptable but the cover can be better. "
  37. 0

    #40What Young India Wants

    What Young India Wants

    What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat is a non-fiction novel originally published on August 6, 2012. This book contains the compilations of Bhagat's speeches and essays that focus on the Indian society.

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    Janet Olson
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "I found a lot to like in this book. There are some very thoughtful essays and speeches here."
  38. 0

    #41Stonewall

    Stonewall

    Stonewall is a non-fiction book written by Martin Bauml Duberman that tells the story of a gay bar named Stonewall. It has been raided before and it caused a riot between the cops and the LGBT people.

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    James Medina
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "This was a great read and I'm glad I picked it up. It goes very in depth into the background of the time period, which gives you a really great look at some of the things people actually went through. I found that extremely interesting. Great book on the Civil Rights Movement."
  39. 0

    #42The Heroic Present

    The Heroic Present

    The Heroic Present: Life among the Gypsies is a non-fiction book written by Jan Yoors. It was published in 2004 by The Monacelli Press.

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    Lawrence Diaz
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "A pictorial history of Gypsy life. If you are curious about gypsy life, this provides a first hand look from someone who lived with them off and on for years. A well written, thought provoking book."
  40. 0

    #43The Varieties of Scientific Experience

    The Varieties of Scientific Experience

    The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God is a non-fiction book written by Carl Sagan. It was published posthumously to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the acclaimed astronomer's death.

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    Amanda James
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "Carl Sagan was a genius. I don't particularly think this is the best non-fiction book of this century though. A lot of prolific works are coming out as non-fiction has become big sellers."

Summary

Best What are the best 21st century non-fiction books
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1A Short History of Nearly EverythingBooks 42 Paid
2EinsteinBooks 39 Paid
3The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday MachineBooks 38 Paid
4CollapseBooks 35 Paid
51776Books 33 Paid
6John AdamsBooks 30 Paid
7Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham LincolnBooks 29 Paid
8The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four MealsBooks 27 Paid
9The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of CancerBooks 20 Paid
10Unbroken: A World War II Story of SurvivalBooks 12 Paid
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