Non-Fiction November

I came across the #nonfictionnovember hashtag and thought I’d weigh in. I’ve upped my non-fiction game over the last few years, and while I don’t read it as fast as fiction, I’ve come across some good reads.

If you are looking to read more non-fiction or you are slowly building your Christmas list, these are good recs and are suitable for everyone. And they’re not self-help, so giving them as a gift won’t make you it seem like you’re sending a message. 🙂

Fiction and Non-Fiction

Did you know the non-fiction market is bigger than the fiction market? Surprised? So was I. I used to think non-fiction was limited to Self-Help and Biographies. But there’s a wide range of non-fiction. A few years ago a friend lent me some of her non-fiction and I felt it added to my reading spectrum and I learned a thing or two along the way. Since I always have a non-fiction novel going.

I write fiction, I love reading it. But I’m the first to encourage reading and reading widely. Change up your genre, see what you like and don’t. Read some non-fiction. Escapism is great but so is learning something. 

I tried to keep it a 1:1 ratio with fiction, but reading fiction is just easier and faster. A lot of my non-fiction makes me have to take a stop and think. And that’s the kind of fiction I like. Maybe it’s a background in psychology and sociology, but I like discovering why we think the way we do and how we can change mindset. I like explanations that go in depth and give me more understanding of a topic.

So, here are 5 non-fiction books I recommend.

1. 21 Lessons for the 21st century by Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Harari is a historian. I enjoyed this book because he always goes back in history to show us that whatever we think is immutable actually had a beginning and will certainly have an end. What was the world like before it was like this? How could humanity be redivided, other than our present geographical delimitations?  What was there before religion? What could be after? 21 Lessons is a look at where we come from, where we are and potentially where we’re going.

From AI and algorithms and the future of decision-making; the decline of religion and what could be new religion, rethinking nationalities, how we are shaped by what’s around us, and what is the truth anyway?  21 Lessons for the 21st Century is interesting, surprising, hopeful and sometimes frightening.

2.  What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro

Joe Navarro is ex-FBI and a body language/non-verbal cues expert. I’m always a little leery of books written by ex-military or ex-cops (shooting myself in the foot here, pun intended). However What Every Body is saying is intended for everyone. 

Whether you’re interrogating and interviewing or simply negotiating a car repair or looking to pass the time in a boring meeting, you can put what you learn here into practice. It’s both an entertaining and useful book and also an easy read. Joe Navarro’s style is straightforward and engaging.

Here’s something from me you might like to try. When someone is speaking, at work or a dinner or wherever one person is addressing  a group , don’t watch them, observe the listeners.

3. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This 510-page brick may seem daunting, but what’s a 510 page book but two 255-page books. Daniel Kahneman explains how we make decisions and the 2 systems our brain uses: one fast, the other slow. What is intuition and how reliable is it? An incredibly insightful explanation of how the mind works, thinks and makes decisions. Full disclosure: I haven’t finished it yet.

Daniel Kahneman is a scholar, researcher,  author, speaker and Nobel Prize laureate. Thinking, Fast and Slow is the culmination of years of Kahneman’s research in the field of behavioral psychology. Our brains have a fast mode that we think of as intuition and a slower one where we reason. But how valid is each one? Do you need to think everything through? Can you rely on your gut? 

4. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson started filming his lecture at the University of Toronto and putting them online, mostly as an experiment. It was his stance on gender neutral pronouns, and his refusal of being forced to use them that brought him into the spotlight. Suddenly he was in the media and his video views skyrocketed. People discovered a brilliant and articulate psychologist that could explain, in as much as that is possible, the human condition.

12 Rules for Life is subtitled An Antidote to Chaos. It is 12 Rules for better living, more structured living, based on Dr. Peterson’s vast knowledge of the mind. Each rule is explained in depth and is based on what is known in the field of psychology. The writing is complex at times, but it’s always at that moment that the reason for that rule becomes clear. So the reader gets the why behind each rule without feeling like they are slogging through a textbook.

5. Win Bigly by Scott Adams

I’m a Scott Adams fan and I’ve read almost all his books. Adams is the creator of the Dilbert cartoon but he is also a trained hypnotist and well versed in persuasion. In Win Bigly he teaches us about persuasion using the 2016 presidential race between Clinton and Trump.

How to recognize certain persuasion techniques? What is cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias?  What is our individual filter and how is it creating our reality? How is it facts now no longer matter?

Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

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