Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
Share your picks for the best non-fiction books you've read - DO NOT INCLUDE BIOGRAPHIES
1 The Devil in the White City...
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 237,271 ratings
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2 Freakonomics: A Rogue Econo...
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 372,252 ratings
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3 In Cold Blood
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 302,113 ratings
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4 A Short History of Nearly E...
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 128,667 ratings
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5 Guns, Germs, and Steel: The...
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 132,900 ratings
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6 The Omnivore's Dilemma: A N...
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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 109,168 ratings
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7 Into the Wild
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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 419,869 ratings
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8 Outliers: The Story of Success
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 227,629 ratings
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9 The Tipping Point: How Litt...
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 310,018 ratings
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10 Into Thin Air: A Personal A...
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 229,865 ratings
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11 Fast Food Nation: The Dark ...
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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 164,710 ratings
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12 Stiff: The Curious Lives of...
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 79,995 ratings
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13 A Walk in the Woods: Redisc...
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 157,440 ratings
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14 Midnight in the Garden of G...
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 119,285 ratings
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15 Blink: The Power of Thinkin...
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 214,170 ratings
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16 Under the Banner of Heaven:...
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 88,281 ratings
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17 Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) ...
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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58 avg rating — 141,585 ratings
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18 Unbroken: A World War II St...
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4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 227,824 ratings
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19 The God Delusion
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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 108,405 ratings
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20 The Immortal Life of Henrie...
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 216,650 ratings
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21 Night (The Night Trilogy, #1)
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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 452,131 ratings
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22 On Writing: A Memoir of the...
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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 93,069 ratings
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23 Man's Search for Meaning: G...
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4.32 of 5 stars 4.32 avg rating — 90,215 ratings
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24 A People's History of the U...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 74,769 ratings
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25 A Brief History of Time
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 107,935 ratings
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26 Columbine
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 29,996 ratings
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27 Helter Skelter: The True St...
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 65,190 ratings
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28 Seabiscuit: An American Legend
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 75,405 ratings
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29 Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The ...
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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 63,342 ratings
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30 Green Illusions
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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 423 ratings
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31 Surely You're Joking, Mr. F...
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 54,569 ratings
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32 The Professor and the Madma...
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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 47,276 ratings
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33 The Man Who Mistook His Wif...
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 67,411 ratings
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34 Three Cups of Tea: One Man'...
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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 212,252 ratings
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35 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:...
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 72,710 ratings
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36 Kitchen Confidential: Adven...
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 105,404 ratings
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37 The Origin of Species
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 43,927 ratings
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38 Collapse: How Societies Cho...
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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 37,948 ratings
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39 In the Heart of the Sea: Th...
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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 29,470 ratings
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40 Lies My Teacher Told Me
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 34,663 ratings
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41 In Defense of Food: An Eate...
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 62,561 ratings
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42 Endurance: Shackleton's Inc...
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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 30,434 ratings
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43 Cosmos
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4.36 of 5 stars 4.36 avg rating — 42,242 ratings
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44 Silent Spring
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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 17,986 ratings
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45 I'm a Stranger Here Myself:...
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 36,356 ratings
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46 Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe...
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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 69,097 ratings
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47 Walden
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 79,861 ratings
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48 Salt: A World History
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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 24,874 ratings
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49 The Hot Zone
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 48,443 ratings
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50 The Spirit Catches You and ...
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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 31,605 ratings
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51 Mere Christianity
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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 119,726 ratings
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52 The Selfish Gene
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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 52,524 ratings
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53 The World Without Us
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 21,015 ratings
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54 Marley and Me: Life and Lov...
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 259,795 ratings
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55 The Worst Hard Time: The Un...
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 21,457 ratings
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56 1776
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 76,562 ratings
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57 Predictably Irrational: The...
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 37,108 ratings
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58 The Shock Doctrine: The Ris...
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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 17,391 ratings
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59 We Wish to Inform You That ...
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4.33 of 5 stars 4.33 avg rating — 13,391 ratings
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60 The Perfect Storm: A True S...
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 58,869 ratings
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61 And the Band Played on
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4.38 of 5 stars 4.38 avg rating — 12,085 ratings
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62 The Year of Living Biblical...
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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 38,909 ratings
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63 How to Win Friends and Infl...
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 134,396 ratings
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64 The Black Swan: The Impact ...
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 33,336 ratings
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65 Nothing to Envy: Ordinary L...
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4.41 of 5 stars 4.41 avg rating — 24,138 ratings
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66 Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Tim...
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 19,096 ratings
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67 1491: New Revelations of th...
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 25,643 ratings
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68 The Rise and Fall of the Th...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 34,466 ratings
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69 The Ghost Map: The Story of...
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 16,732 ratings
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70 Confederates in the Attic: ...
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 13,283 ratings
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71 The Communist Manifesto
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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45 avg rating — 43,497 ratings
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72 The Mother Tongue: English ...
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 18,765 ratings
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73 All the President's Men
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 23,505 ratings
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74 Bird by Bird: Some Instruct...
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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 38,022 ratings
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75 The Know-It-All: One Man's ...
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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 18,806 ratings
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76 A Distant Mirror:  The Cala...
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 14,216 ratings
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77 Reading Lolita in Tehran
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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54 avg rating — 82,615 ratings
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78 Bonk: The Curious Coupling ...
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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 27,916 ratings
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79 King Leopold's Ghost: A Sto...
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 15,026 ratings
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80 Homicide: A Year on the Kil...
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4.36 of 5 stars 4.36 avg rating — 7,840 ratings
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81 Sliding on the Snow Stone
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 217 ratings
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82 There are No Children Here:...
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 7,771 ratings
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83 The Botany of Desire: A Pla...
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 28,843 ratings
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84 In a Sunburned Country
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 46,607 ratings
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85 Longitude: The True Story o...
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 27,293 ratings
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86 The Prince
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 113,541 ratings
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87 Dreams from My Father: A St...
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 80,081 ratings
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88 The Demon-Haunted World: Sc...
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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 27,754 ratings
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89 The Making of the Atomic Bomb
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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 8,792 ratings
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90 The Invention of Religion
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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 337 ratings
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91 The Rape of Nanking
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 10,802 ratings
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92 Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Ete...
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 22,530 ratings
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93 The Guns of August
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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 19,183 ratings
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94 Moneyball: The Art of Winni...
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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 49,552 ratings
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95 Mayflower: A Story of Coura...
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 17,732 ratings
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96 The World Is Flat: A Brief ...
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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61 avg rating — 59,726 ratings
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97 The Elements of Style
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 40,906 ratings
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98 Spook: Science Tackles the ...
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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54 avg rating — 18,458 ratings
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99 Shadow Divers
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 11,815 ratings
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100 He's Just Not That Into You...
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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62 avg rating — 40,664 ratings
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2,819 books · 4,778 voters · list created June 27th, 2008 by Susan (votes) .
Tags: best, non-fiction
574 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Susan
Susan
1242 books
55 friends
Jessica
Jessica
2049 books
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Jennifer
Jennifer
1487 books
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Cindi
Cindi
2531 books
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Lisa
Lisa
511 books
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Ben
Ben
577 books
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Brooke
Brooke
731 books
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Rebecca
Rebecca
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More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 92) (92 new)


message 1: by jeff (new)

jeff Anyone else feel a little troubled by this list?


message 2: by jeff (new)

jeff From about #63 on maybe?


message 3: by Chanel (new)

Chanel Earl What happened to no biography?


message 4: by Angel (new)

Angel I am not sure why some folks seem to find this list troubling. Maybe I missed something? For me at least, there are a few titles I would not mind reading, like Salt. But I did wonder, I thought no biographies. What gives? Bourdain's book is (arguably at least) biographical as are a few others. Anyhow, this list this give me an idea or two to pursue later.


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Schindler's List is a novel. Pet peeve.


message 6: by brian (new)

brian thunder Im very concerned by this list too.
George Lincoln Rockwell?
I'm all for freedom of expression, but it seems odd to find him on a list with a Jewish Cookbook.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Caddie Woodlawn? Novel.

The Joy Luck Club? Novel.

I have my doubts about the appropriateness of 84, Charing Cross Road for this list, as well.


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Me too. I have read dozens of great non-fiction that do not appear on this list!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It's easy to add books at the right of the screen.


message 10: by Jo (new)

Jo There is some real drivel here...and some good stuff, too. I think we need to pay more attention in putting Marley and Me on the same list as Shockwave. Yes?




message 11: by e. (new)

e. Seems like this list is ALL over the place!


message 12: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 02, 2010 10:19AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I question the presence of The Odyssey and The Iliad on a non-fiction list.


message 13: by Foxontherun (new)

Foxontherun God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff but I don't think I am up to that one. Have you read it?


message 16: by A. Steven (new)

A. Steven jeff wrote: "From about #63 on maybe?"

Yeah your right ... #92 really doesn't fit at all.


message 17: by Xenophon (last edited Jun 21, 2010 05:58PM) (new)

Xenophon Hendrix I've deleted The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley because the list clearly calls for non-biography, and I've deleted The Jungle because it is a novel.


message 18: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 22, 2010 10:56AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads What about The Diary of Anne Frank? Or, for that matter, The Iliad and The Odyssey?


message 19: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix I've not read The Diary of Anne Frank, so I have no idea how much is biography and how much is observations of the current scene, etc. The librarians here are enjoined from removing items from lists unless the items are clearly wrong, so I'm not willing to stick my neck out.

Similarly, The Iliad and The Odyssey might be considered religious texts. The classical Greeks tended to think of them that way. I'm not about to open the can of worms of calling someone's religious text "fiction."


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The two categories that I could slot Anne Frank into are auto-biography and novelized diary.


message 21: by Marla (new)

Marla Alice wrote: "Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff but I don't ..."


my dad gave me stiff for christmas one year--freakin' amazing. but gruesome. be warned. the one book i will not loan out.


message 22: by Shad (new)

Shad Marla wrote: "Alice wrote: "Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff ..."


Sorry to butt in...I loved Stiff. I'm not usually one for such topics but I found it fascinating. Gruesome is a good word. At times I thought I'd have to put it down forever. It's not all that way, though. Now I want to read CandyFreak!


message 23: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Vote "The Old Way: story of the first people" by elizabeth marshall thomas


 ~☆ Alice♥♥ Please remove Water for Elephants on the first page near the bottom.


 ~☆ Alice♥♥ Angel wrote: "I am not sure why some folks seem to find this list troubling. Maybe I missed something? For me at least, there are a few titles I would not mind reading, like Salt. But I did wonder, I thought no ..."

Salt is very good. I enjoyed it far more than I expected. Hope to vote for it when I find it.


message 26: by Rc (new)

Rc Stephens deleted user wrote: "Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff but I don't ..."


I'm reading Stiff right now. She treats cadavers with as much grace and respect and humor as any of her other subjects, so while there are gruesome moments, those moments aren't uncalled for. If you liked her other books, you'll like this one. I heartily recommend it - except during breakfast.


message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy The Kite Runner is fiction.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Amy wrote: "The Kite Runner is fiction."

Could you remember where it was when you saw it? Make it a lot easier for me to remove it.


message 29: by Amy (new)

Amy Susanna wrote: "Amy wrote: "The Kite Runner is fiction."

Could you remember where it was when you saw it? Make it a lot easier for me to remove it."

It's on the second page, #156. Also, The Help, number 266 on page 3 is fiction as well. Both are great books.



Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thanks! I shall go remove them.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for being fiction:

The Kite Runner
Anne of Green Gables
The Help
Cutting for Stone

Should I remove Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson? And Walter Isaacson's bio of Benjamin Franklin doesn't look kosher, either. King of the World is apparently a bio of Mohammed Ali.

Frankly, I don't know what to make of Mein Kampf being here.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Also removed Water for Elephants (fiction).


message 33: by Angelica (new)

Angelica I would consider "A child called It" as a biography. At least the author claims that it is biographical.


message 34: by Denae (new)

Denae 277: The Little Prince
268: The Name of the Rose

both of the above are fiction


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thanks, Dena - I'll remove them.


message 36: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Conner 330 Of mice and men
340 Catcher in the Rye
346 The Lincoln Lawyer
395 The Handmaidens Tale

All are fiction


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Will remove them - thanks for listing the location!


message 38: by Hayes (last edited Dec 17, 2011 11:30AM) (new)

Hayes 137 A Room of One's Own ... listed as non-fiction?
178 The Innocents Abroad


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I believe Innocents Abroad is non-fiction (I'm reading it currently, and in the author's note, I believe he explains how most of it was his account for the American papers at the time); haven't read the Woolf.

The note on the Woolf looks complicated; it seems to be half-and-half?


message 40: by Hayes (last edited Dec 17, 2011 12:50PM) (new)

Hayes I couldn't remember about The Innocents (I read it long ago), if it was a fictionalized thing, or not. The Woolf looked complicated to me too. So I guess it's best to leave them, but there are a lot of biographies that should go.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Well, starting with biographies: what about The Diary of Anne Frank?


message 42: by Hayes (new)

Hayes And Seabiscuit? And Feynman?


message 43: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 17, 2011 01:43PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads For that matter, A Child Called It?


message 44: by Amara (last edited Feb 21, 2012 07:03PM) (new)

Amara Fiction Removed:

Jack & Jill by James Patterson
Misery by Stephen King
Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


message 45: by Taryn (new)

Taryn Some of the books I would question because they simply are not the best non-fiction - on the contrary, they are horrible. But to each her own I guess.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I need at least 200 votes for this list. LOL


message 47: by Cricket (new)

Cricket I know this much is true by Wally Lamb is fiction as well


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Where is it on the list?


message 49: by Cricket (new)

Cricket I know this much is True PG 4 #366.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thanks!

Removed for being a novel:

I Know This Much is True


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