Nonfiction Books for Adults

It was William Nicholson who said, “We read to know we’re not alone.” While I know this to be true, I also know we all feel alone at times. I also know each one of us is going through our own journey and that we each have preferences for how to spend our free time. If reading non-fiction is one of those preferences, check out my list of the best non fiction books for adults!

1. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson

best non fiction books for adults - 12 rules for life

Jordan B. Peterson is a psychologist by training. His practice has made him well-renowned in the scientific community, and 12 Rules for Life is an exploration of ancient traditions backed by groundbreaking scientific research.

The topics of Peterson’s book range greatly, including discipline, freedom, adventure, and responsibility. But when all is said and done, the reader is left with 12 simple, but possibly profound rules for life.

This book will teach you why it’s best to leave skateboarding boys and girls alone and why one should always pet a cat when meeting one on the street.

Peterson’s dive into what has worked for many ancient civilizations, combined with modern research, make this book a must-read for adults looking for a little clarity by which to proceed.

2. A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

best non fiction books for adults - a higher loyalty

This bestseller written by former FBI director James Comey, who served in the role from 2013 to 2017, includes many behind-the-scenes accounts of various situations during his previous two decades in the American government. It’s also an exploration of ethical leadership and how it drives decision-making, often in life-and-death scenarios.

Comey’s tales give the reader a unique perspective of the corridors of power in American politics. It touches on influential and controversial topics such as the Hilary Clinton email investigation, the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, and Comey’s prosecution of the Mafia. For the adult interested in an in-depth journey into American politics, Comey’s book will be fascinating!

3. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

best non fiction books for adults - educated

Tara Westover’s memoir chronicles her childhood in a survivalist family, where she was held out of school, and continues through her eventual graduation with a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. It’s a coming-of-age tale that many adults considering where, and how, to best educate their children will find enlightening.

The first time Tara set foot in a classroom was at the age of 17. Her cuts and scrapes as a child and young adult were all treated at-home with herbalism. This is an amazing tale of the dangers of isolation, the grief that comes with cutting close ties with the ones we love, and the importance of self-discovery and self-invention.

4. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

best non fiction books for adults - you are a badass

Jen Sincero has put together a motivational masterpiece with You Are A Badass. The self-help genre can both be oversimplified and overcomplicated. We are all living our separate journeys, but Sincero hits the nail on the head when it comes to one of the major limiting factors in leading a healthy, happy life: self-doubt.

Sincero’s blunt approach is often exactly what we need to break out of these cycles of doubt. Her book is easy-to-digest and offers insights and exercises that can be applied to your life. If you’re someone who needs the occasional blunt assessment or well-timed swear word to help with motivation, this is the perfect book for you.

5. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

best non fiction books for adults - Ill be gone in the dark

An amazing selection for anyone interested in real-life crime stories, Michelle McNamara’s book centers on one woman’s search for the Golden State Killer. The killer, who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s, is dogged by a young, brilliant, and perhaps slightly obsessed, journalist who died tragically during the case, a case that went unsolved until just recently, in April 2018.

The ‘Golden State Killer’, as McNamara dubbed her villain, committed more than 50 sexual assaults over the course of a decade in Northern California before moving south and evading capture. McNamara’s untimely death while writing this book could be attributed to her intense devotion to finding the truth of the case, but that devotion also makes this a true crime classic; it led to the final unmasking of the killer!

6. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

best non fiction books for adults - present over perfect

The core of Shauna Niequist’s NY Times Bestseller is the exploration of whether it’s better to live a life of meaning and connection rather than the constant pursuit of perfection. It’s a creation that was spawned by the author’s personal life experiences of searching for depth and connection but, instead, settling for busy.

Mrs. Niequist’s writing style extends a warm hand and invites you to share in the journey that changed her life. It’s an olive branch extended to aid in your divergence from the pressures of performing more, better, and faster, all without making a single mistake. This collection of essays is perfect for anyone in search of motivation to make a positive and profound life change.

Which Are Your Favorite Nonfiction Books For Adults?

I hope you found these brief non-fiction reviews useful in guiding the selection of your newest reading material! As an affiliate, I will earn a small commission if you purchase any of these books by clicking the links I’ve provided, but this is not my main motivation. I believe reading is essential to our journey, as is sharing our thoughts and feelings from what we’ve read!

If you liked what you read, didn’t like what you read, or have questions about what you read, I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you’ve read any of these selections already, I’d love to know your thoughts, feelings, and what you took away from it.

Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond hastily.

I’d also encourage you to share this review with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals

Happy Reading!

Tucker Ballister

2 thoughts on “Nonfiction Books for Adults”

  1. Hello Tucker!

    Thank You for sharing some information about interesting books. I think it will be good and interesting to read and consider, debate or discuss.

    From Your list I would first choose ‘ Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist’. I did like an expression ‘whether it’s better to live a life of meaning and connection rather than the constant pursuit of perfection’. It raises more questions, thoughts and it asks questions about yourself.

    Keep up with the good work and inspiring ideas!


    • Hi Tomas! 

      I’m glad you found this helpful and I hope you’re able to find a copy of Present Over Perfect soon! 

      It’s kind of crazy that, in the two days since creating that review, I’ve run into two people who are already reading books that I included on the list! 

      Happy Reading! 


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.