5 Life-Changing Non-Fiction Books That Are Barely Talked About
And why you should read them right away!
Did you know that one of the fastest-growing industries in America is self-improvement?
The onset of the pandemic and the subsequent rise of remote work freed up a lot of folks to explore themselves. Many started online businesses, some began investing, and others improved their academic knowledge.
Good books fueled a lot of this upskilling. I started my own journey to financial awareness by reading popular books.
And this research revealed to me some super surprising facts. I noticed that while famous books contain good advice, the lesser-known ones are the most helpful.
This article spawned from those revelations. I scoured through Goodreads for self-help books and began reading titles with only a few ratings.
In the following paragraphs, I've summarized my top 5 favorite picks. I hope these will help my readers build a more fulfilling life.
1. Rezoom by Susan Pierce Thompson
Susan Pierce Thompson takes on food addiction in her 2021 book, Rezoom. It is a lifestyle book that teaches you how to eat healthy and lose weight without having to stress over calories and diet plans.
The core idea is to create four bright lines for yourself: a set of golden rules you follow without exception. These bright lines will guide you through the dark tunnel that is recovery from food addiction.
The Bright Line Eating (BLE) plan tells you to —
- Avoid all sugars (including artificial sweeteners), except fruits
- Avoid all flour (including processed grains)
- Only eat at meal times (no snacking)
- Only eat pre-measured quantities of food
I like this book because it feels genuine. The author struggled with food addiction for most of her early life, and that pain is evident in the text.
Thompson also takes an investigative, scientific approach to explaining things. This cold logic tempers her emotional prose, giving you a book that's simultaneously relatable and actionable. Add to that the online Bright Line Eaters community, and you have a readymade support system cum discussion forum.
And this is what elevates Rezoom from a mere book to a reliable tool.
2. How Luck Happens by Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh
How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love and Life examines the science behind luck. In it, authors Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh break down this lofty concept. Through this exercise, they seek to create a way of creating lucky breaks for yourself.
The book makes several astute observations on the habits and tendencies of successful people. For instance, great minds often surround themselves with people having the same drive. Each learns from the other(s), and everybody goes on to create success. Outside observers attribute these achievements to dumb luck. And the synergy of their collective hard work goes unnoticed.
The second idea that stood out for me is the concept of affirmation. Perfectly summarized in this quote, affirmation is a mental trick through which you affirm that your actions match your inner desires:
“We get lucky when we know where we want to focus — or which possibilities we want to fire up.”
Knowing what you want allows you to align your goals to your core identity. Which in turn lets you put in focused efforts towards attaining said goals. And that is the secret sauce to success.
3. The Dhando Investor by Mohnish Pabrai
Mohnish Pabrai’s The Dhando Investor is a distillation of the holy grail of investment theses, The Intelligent Investor. This book simplifies Benjamin Graham’s ideas on value investing, making them accessible to the modern American.
“Einstein also recognized the power of simplicity, and it was the key to his breakthroughs in physics. He noted that the five ascending levels of intellect were, “Smart, Intelligent, Brilliant, Genius, Simple.” For Einstein, simplicity was simply the highest level of intellect.”
Simplicity is the first half of the Dhando thesis: you give away something of value to get something else with even greater value. In this case, you risk your money to buy good stocks trading at a discount. Pabrai terms this as “Heads I win, tails I don’t lose much”.
While you’re doing this, the author urges you to mitigate risk. There’s never any point in taking any asymmetric bets. And that gives us the second half of the Dhando way: look for copycats, not innovators.
You must invest in proven ideas only. Support businesses managed by people who have consistently demonstrated the ability to scale. That’s how you can safeguard your money and make long-term gains.
4. Far As Human Eye Could See by Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov’s Far As Human Eye Could See taught me more about science than three years of high school. This book does what every piece of pop-science content wishes it could: explaining complex concepts without ever being condescending or overwhelming.
Asimov tells the story of the earth, its early life, human anatomy, and our foray into outer space in this collection of essays. A renowned sci-fi author, Asimov’s deft hand at storytelling makes for a wonderful, relatable and educational book.
And that, perhaps, is what makes FAHECS so appealing: the author shows you how and why something works. He doesn’t idly tell you things. The reader gets to experience the wonders of the natural world through Asimov’s own eyes, in his childhood.
In other words, FAHECS isn’t a mere textbook. Rather, it is a storybook containing facts. Reading FAHECS was literally life-changing for me: earlier, I’d believed studying science was futile. But this book completely changed my perspective. It’s as great for disgruntled students as it is for adults looking to expand their knowledge.
And Asimov’s crisp writing is the cherry on top.
5. This Here Is Flesh by Cole Arthur Riley
Cole Arthur Riley’s This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us is a book about attaining self-actualization by understanding your history.
The author shares the story of her growing up as a woman of color in modern America. Listening to her father and grandma talk about their own histories helped Riley discover herself. These talks instilled in her a deep sense of spirituality. She expresses this spirituality in religion and through the very act of living her life.
Flesh is different from the rest of the books on this list. It doesn’t contain any tutorials on making money or being successful.
Rather, it’s about your mindset. It removes the dogma from religion and turns it into a standard for leading a good life. Through spirituality, you’ll learn to accept yourself. That’ll bring you inner peace in turn.
And that’s what makes Flesh so compelling. It helps break the monotony of the rat-race that is modern life. Showing you the futility of endlessly chasing after borrowed dreams teaches you to be comfortable in your own skin.
So there you have it — 5 books, five genres, and an infinite number of ideas to improve your life.
Which book sparked your interest? Let me know in the comments.