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

asked by Anonymous
382 contributors
29 solutions
  1. 47

    #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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    Brandon Vasquez
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "Wow... This really does have a little bit of everything. If you are interesting in learning more about the fascinating history of our world. This is a must read! "
  2. 42

    #2Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Daniel Kahneman's international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, is a book that aims to explain the two systems that drive us to thinks. This book that has garnered, multiple other awards, was published on October 25th, 2011 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.



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    May Liang
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "A must-read non-fiction book should be one that changes your life and how you think about yourself or the world around you. Thinking, Fast and Slow does that by offering you a deeper view of yourself and how you think. It has the potential to change your life by altering your perception of thought and of living life itself. "
  3. 41

    #3The 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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    Ryan Peters
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "This is a very good topic to know about since cancer seems to be everywhere. Lots of reviews support reading this book as well. It's worth the read."
  1. 39

    #4A People’s History of the United States

    A People’s History of the United States

    A People's History of the United States is 1980 bestseller by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn. The book reviews and analyzes important facts and events in the history of America.

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    Nicholas Scott
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "Knowledge is power and reading A People's History of the United States made me feel a true American. Some stories were very sad but it makes me feel strong because am part of the minority group that really suffered for the sake of our country. The book made me see the world in a very different way."
  2. 36

    #5Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

    This book by Atul Gawande discusses the most challenging part of his profession which is the improvement of medicine to one's life and how it can provide a good life and a good end. He also explores the limitations of his profession.

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    Aaron Taylor
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "A very insightful book. It really helps put things into prospective when it comes to life and getting older. It will have you questioning what matters to you most in your lifespan."
  3. 33

    #6Einstein

    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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    Debra Hernandez
    Written on April 15, 2018
    "Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk—a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate—became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom, and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals."
  4. 33

    #7The God Delusion

    The God Delusion
    The God Delusion is a book by Richard Dawkins that tells the how Dawkins analyzed the existence of God. He presented different approach like logical, historical and biblical, just to prove that the belief in God is wrong. 
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    Joyce He
    Written on April 15, 2018
    "Simple and good cover, nothing special. The price is very affordable. Give it a try after reading a few pages. Not for everyone. "
  5. 29

    #8Collapse

    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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    Ye Wu
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "I consider Collapse by Diamond as, "meh!" While the book is very informative about issues facing our world today, the author is a bit "gung-ho" about reaching hard conclusions based on scant supporting evidence. He should flesh out his theories a bit more if he expects to be taken more seriously in future."
  6. 27

    #9The Glass Castle

    The Glass Castle
    The Glass Castle is Jeanette Walls' best-selling memoir about her poverty-stricken family, which is a balanced story of despair, happiness, love, and loyalty. This novel spent seven years in NYT's bestsellers list and was adapted into a major motion picture.
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    Pamela Estrada
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "This is one of the great non-fiction books in the 21st century. I really enjoyed the flow of the story and both laughed and cried with the story-telling. We all have different things in our childhood that pull us down but Jeanette Walls story is so touching that you can't help be drawn in. "
  7. 26

    #10The 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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    Jennifer Evans
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "How can you begin a story that has no end? Henrietta Lacks continues through the ages as a remarkable part of history. Much is attributed to her life yet it is rare to speak her name. A tobacco farmer can work and care about those around her and can knowingly or not be propelled into the future. Take this in true period of history and perceive Ms. Lack's contribution. Think about it, wherever you go, Henrietta Lacks leads the way. "
  8. 0

    #11Same-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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    Brandon Meyer
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "same-sex union in premodern Europe defines the story about people who got married and followed the way of their religious. This also states the marriage will be not only the event, that describes the love about two hearts."
  9. 0

    #12Fast Food Nation:The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

    Fast Food Nation:The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
    Published in 2001, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser shows how the fast food industry has changed and altered America and its landscape in a level never seen before, like the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor and the obesity epidemic.

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    Daniel Reid
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "A must read book as the fast food industry is taking over our country. I would check this out in a heartbeat."
  10. 0

    #13The Discovery of India

    The Discovery of India
    Originally published in 1946, The Discovery of India is a non-fiction book on Indian history written by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. It includes a social, cultural, and spiritual history of colonial India.
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    Gregory Jenkins
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "There are a lot better books out there that would catch a wider audiences net interest than a book about the discovery of India, while it may be a very good and fun story to read, I do not think it would appeal to everyone and be classified as one of the best non fiction books of the 21st century. It is a very niche' subject."
  11. 0

    #14Silversmithing

    Silversmithing

    Silversmithing is a non-fiction book about jewelry design written by Rupert Finegold and William Seitz. It is first published in 1983 by Krause Publications.

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    Marie Torres
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "The Topic is spot on for this one. This book on Silversmithing is outstanding. It covers the tools and the craft itself, as well as the science behind the art. It will be useful to workers in not only silver, but also brass, coppers, gold, steel, and many other types of metal. "
  12. 0

    #15Stonewall

    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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    Pamela Ward
    Written on May 3, 2018
    "This is an interesting story about LGBT community, their problems and way of living. I can say that this book is very well written, and when you read it looks like you are part of the story because its so detailed. I have had a very good time reading this book and i am sure that it will be the same for every reader. "
  13. 0

    #16The Kid

    The Kid

    The Kid is a non-fiction book written by Dan Savage that tells the story of a gay American couple who decided they want to have a baby. They tackled societal judgments and struggles.

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    Randy Flores
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "I was given this book by a coworker as this definitely isn't one I would buy myself. I only got part way through it, the writing style was good, but the story wasn't one that could hold my attention. I've had friends who have adopted and this just didn't follow their stories."
  14. 0

    #17Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

    Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

    Zami: A New Spelling of My Name is a non-fiction novel written by Audre Lorde that tells the story of two women in love with each other. They will share their story in this book to inspire others.

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  15. 0

    #18Practical Blacksmithing and Metalworking

    Practical Blacksmithing and Metalworking

    Practical Blacksmithing and Metalworking is a non-fiction reference book written by Percy W. Blandford. It is first published in 1988 by McGraw-Hill Education. 

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    Barbara Jordan
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "Whether you are a beginner or experienced, craftsman, you'll find lots of projects in this book. The author gives you instructions so you can make basic nails or conquer more ornate work."
  16. 0

    #19Christopher 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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    Andrés Ochoa
    Written on May 4, 2018
    "Great book about the struggle of being gay in a society who looks down on it."
  17. 0

    #20A Blacksmithing Primer

    A Blacksmithing Primer

    A Blacksmithing Primer: A Course in Basic and Intermediate Blacksmithing is a non-fiction reference book written by Randy McDaniel. It is published in 2004 by Dragonfly Enterprises.

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    Laura Edwards
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "What an excellent reference for beginner blacksmiths. I don't find it to be a must-read for anyone not interested in the field though. "
  18. 0

    #21Radical 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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    Juan Warren
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "Brewing beer can be tough and it is good to get critical advice from a variety of sources. I find it easy to take in advice and this was a good book to go through. I got the idea that most craft beer can be a long process and this book surely helps you understand the patient process of brewing your own kegs. Nice one to add to your beer brewing section on your book shelf. I tend to look at this one the most. "
  19. 0

    #22Brewing 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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    Katherine Herrera
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "must-read non-fiction"
  20. 0

    #23La frontera/Borderlands

    La frontera/Borderlands

    La Frontera/Borderlands is a non-fiction book written by Gloria Anzaldúa. The book is about boundaries, but not the physical one. It tackles how people are separated by emotional boundaries, such as race, gender, and other aspects. 

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    Stephen Wallace
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "You can really tell someone went to college in this book. The author tries way to hard to come off as intelligent. I found this book boring and useless. It seemed to me like a 22 year old college graduate trying to give advice to someone in their 40s. "
  21. 0

    #24Yeast: 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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    Billy Walsh
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "This is a great reference for brewing beer! It has everything that I need and expect to be in this type of book. I'm glad I bought it! "
  22. 0

    #25Nobody Passes

    Nobody Passes
    Nobody Passes is a non-fiction book written by Matt Bernstein Sycamore. This book is a compilation of stories from LGBT people who struggle to fit with the societal standards. 
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    Wu Han
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "I have been trying to improve myself, and smarten up a bit, so I've been looking on lists of 'must-read' non-fiction books published in our new century, to peruse, and hopefully gain a little wisdom. An online book site recommended a novel called 'Nobody Passes', and not knowing much about the book I purchased it. I found it to be a preachy, stilted lecture about the struggles of LGBT individuals in society. It wasn't very well written or entertaining, but also its focus was pretty narrow. Some folks might like it more than me, but I don't see anything about it that makes it 'must read.'"
  23. 0

    #26A Short History of Myth

    A Short History of Myth
    A Short History of Myth is a non-fiction historical book written by Karen Armstrong. This mythology book is first published in 2004 by Canongate US. 
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    Hemant Trivedi
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "I'm not sure I'd call this a "must-read" book, but I found it enlightening to explore mythology across history and to see how it plays out in cultures of the modern era. The author has a balanced view of religion and belief and this shows in her writing. Her exploration of modern society and its lack of mythology is just as enlightening. I'd recommend this to any member of the clergy to go along with their holy text of choice."
  24. 0

    #27Merchants of Doubt

    Merchants of Doubt
    Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming is a scientific political non-fiction written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.
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    Willie Henderson
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "Merchants of Doubt is the story of how the public was bamboozled into a different way of thinking on certain matters. This is definitely a good read"
  25. 0

    #28American 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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    Jorge Alberto Baltazar
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "If you wanted to know something about sour beers this is the book for you. A thorough overview of a specialty that many people are interested in. Great for the beer enthusiast."
  26. 0

    #29Such a Pretty Fat

    Such a Pretty Fat

    Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer is a non-fiction book for women written by Jen Lancaster. This was originally published in 2008.

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    Bruce Stevens
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "I consider Such a Pretty Fat to be the best must-read non-fiction books in the 21st century. It was published approximately a decade ago but the material has aged well. I found this in an old bookshop locally and bought it inexpensively. I found it quite funny and was tired of fiction so it was actually a relief to read. Highly recommended!"

Summary

Best What are the best must-read non-fiction books in the 21st century
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1A Short History of Nearly EverythingBooks 47 Paid
2Thinking, Fast and SlowBooks 42 Paid
3The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of CancerBooks 41 Paid
4A People’s History of the United StatesBooks 39 Paid
5Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the EndBooks 36 Paid
6EinsteinBooks 33 Paid
7The God DelusionBooks 33 Paid
8CollapseBooks 29 Paid
9The Glass CastleBooks 27 Paid
10The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksBooks 26 Paid
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