My Non-fiction Reading List

When his adopted grandson entered college, George Washington lectured him thus: “Light reading (by this, I mean books of little importance) may amuse for the moment, but leaves nothing solid behind.”  (from Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow).

The books in this list are books that I feel are of much more than “little importance”and they leave behind lessons that are worth learning! I learned a lot from reading them and would recommend all of them to everyone!

The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More by Bruce Feiler

This book is a great handbook for families who, as the author states in the introduction, “have survived the parental death march of sippy cups and diaper caddies”. A guide for families who are facing the challenge of raising children in a modern world.

Leadership and Self-deception: Getting Out of the Box and The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict, both by The Arbinger Institute
These are both great books to read, with life-changing lessons if you open yourself up to it. A good reminder of how much our way of being influences the success we have in our relationships, both at home or in the workplace. Through an intriguing story we learn how and why we contribute to the divisions and problems we blame on others and the surprising way that these problems can be solved.

I Am a Mother by Jane Clayson Johnson

How do we get women to stop saying, “I’m just a mother”? Or, “I used to be such and such, but now I’m just a mother”? Jane’s fascinating personal story and unique insights will inspire women to raise their awareness and perception of this important–and often difficult–role.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

The author tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

I would recommend it for everyone to read. It is thought provoking on the subject of aging and death, and what that means in a modern medical setting. A topic that everyone is going to have to consider at some point, whether dealing with aging parents or ill loved ones or facing our own mortality.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Businss by Charles Duhigg

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism by Arthur C. Brooks

America’s Charity Divide: Who Gives, Who Doesn’t, and Why it Matters

How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen

In this groundbreaking book, Christensen puts forth a series of questions: How can I be sure that I’ll find satisfaction in my career? How can I be sure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness? How can I avoid compromising my integrity—and stay out of jail? Using lessons from some of the world’s greatest businesses, he provides incredible insights into these challenging questions.

In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto by Michael Pollan

Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The last lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

A biography well worth reading about one of the greatest men to ever live.

The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling

Dancing electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling shares her unconventional journey in an inspiring New York Times bestselling memoir filled with the energy, persistence, and humor that have helped her successfully pursue a passion outside the box.

I am Malala: How One Girl Stood up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai 

Malala’s powerful story will open your eyes to another world and will make you believe in hope, truth, miracles and the possibility that one person — one young person — can inspire change in her community and beyond.

What non-fiction books have inspired you?

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