17 Essential Non-Fiction Books to Add to Your Shelves

Narrowing down any type of book list is an impossible task.

That being said, we’ve managed to round up a few of our favorite non-fiction books that are essential to any man’s library. From harrowing tales of adventure to memoirs from some of the most famous men in recent history to one of the most talked-about reports in the world of politics, this list includes books that will inspire you and cause you outrage — one even details a step-by-step guide on how to influence others.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Could time run backwards? Was there a beginning of time? These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest minds.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of The American West by Dee Brown

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee generated a lot of buzz with its frank and heartbreaking depiction of the systematic annihilation of American Indian tribes across the Western frontier.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were brutally murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. The crime offered no apparent motive and almost no clues. Capote reconstructs the murder and investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers.

Hiroshima by John Hersey

Hiroshima by John Hersey

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city. This masterpiece by Hersey documents what happened on that day.

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

The author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya.

We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch

We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow

This is first-hand account of one of the defining outrages of modern history — an unforgettable anatomy of Rwanda’s decimation.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

The harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 attempt to reach the South Pole, Endurance is one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern age.

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read

Alive by Piers Paul Read

On October 12, 1972, a plane carrying a team of young rugby players crashed into the remote, snow-peaked Andes. Out of the 45 original passengers and crew, only 16 made it off the mountain alive.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential is an incredibly funny yet shocking collection of wild but true tales of life in the culinary world from the beloved chef.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

In this unsentimental and compelling memoir, the former President, who was the son of a Black African father and a white American mother, searches for a workable meaning to his life as a African American.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is filled with advice on how to make friends quickly and easily, win people over to your way of thinking, and become a better speaker.

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Friday Night Lights is a timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa, a winning high school football team in Texas that was socially and racially divided.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

This is a telling account of when Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 10, 1966.

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Life on the Mississippi is a romantic history of a mighty river, an autobiographical account of Twain’s early steamboat days, and a storehouse of humorous anecdotes and sketches.

Good-Bye to All That: An Autobiography by Robert Graves

Good-Bye to All That by Robert Graves

Published a decade after the end of World War I, poet and novelist Robert Graves was preparing to leave England for good.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Millions of words have poured forth about man’s trip to the moon, but until now, few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure.

The Mueller Report by The Washington Post

The Mueller Report by The Washington Post

Likely to be one of the most important sets of words to be published during the Trump presidency, The Mueller Report is a Washington tell-all that reveals the president in all his impulsiveness, insecurity, and disregard for rules and norms. Published with the intent to inform the American public, the damning report hasn’t been read by most Americans.

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