10 nonfiction books that you must read in 2017

Your best friend just read this new book and can’t stop talking about it — it’s the best book ever, it’s totally going to change your life, you’ve got to read it, etc etc. Everyone has a list of books that are truly life-changing, which book carries all the secrets to the Universe, which book is the only book that can tell you how to get what you want. Don’t listen to them! These lists consist of books that are rated by one person, and one person only: the author of the list. This means that the books in that list were helpful to the author, and will only be helpful to people who are very similar to the author and have very similar goals to him/her.

So, what do you do if you have a different personality from the author or different goals that you want to achieve? It is for that reason that we at BookToAction.com have compiled this following list of books that are universally applicable. This means that no matter who you are, no matter what you hope to achieve in life, the following books will probably be able to help you. Each book has been rated by thousands of people from all over the world on Goodreads.com, which means that it has helped thousands of people from all walks of life. In fact, from our calculations, we can conclusively say roughly 1 million people have read at least one book from our list and become inspired. Check out the list below and you just might find that special book that will turn your life around!

How has the data been generated?

We built an algorithm to collect data about the 300 most popular nonfiction books on Goodreads.com. We then shortened the list to the top 10 nonfiction books that achieved the highest ratings. Our criteria are very strict — for a book to qualify as one of the top 10, it must have an average rating higher than 4.3/5, as well as a minimum of 80 new rates per week.

1. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. Van Der Kolk

Rating: 4.62/5

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One of the saddest and unknown facts of life is that nearly every single person on this planet has had a traumatic experience. An even lesser known fact is that undergoing trauma can actually alter a person’s brain chemistry and make them unable to feel emotions of trust and happiness easily. Unfortunately, most people do not have the resources to cope with their trauma and pain. Bessel A. Van Der Kolk thus wrote The Body Keeps the Score as a guide for survivors of traumatic events — be it sexual abuse, physical violence, or even emotional abuse — to rewire their brain back to how it originally was. This book is truly a godsend for anyone who has suffered a traumatic event and is still deeply affected by it today.

2. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu & Douglas Carlton Abrams

Rating: 4.54/5

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If you don’t know how to achieve happiness, listen to the advice of two great spiritual leaders and Nobel Prize winners — the 14th Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Known for being the happiest people on the planet, this book was compiled by Douglas Carlton Abrams to allow all of us to access the secrets to their happiness.


3. How Not to Die by Michael Greger

Rating: 4.52/5

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Most of the diseases that plague our society can actually be cured by slightly altering our lifestyle and diet. How Not to Die by Michael Greger explores the top 15 diseases and illnesses that cause death amongst Americans — including heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s and even cancer — and explains how a good diet is much more effective than pills and medical treatment when it comes to finding a cure. This book has a specific diet to prevent and cure several diseases, for example, soy milk greatly helps when battling breast cancer, coffee reduces liver inflammation for those suffering from liver disease, hibiscus tea is great for reducing high blood pressure, etc.

4. Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss

Rating: 4.41/5

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Learn from the best of the best by reading Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss. A compilation of the stories, tactics and patterns of the most highly successful people in this world, including celebrities, athletes, Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists, this book is perfect for those looking to “make it” in their industry.


5. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Rating: 4.40/5

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The Compound Effect is a book about the little things in life that you think don’t matter but actually, do. In fact, it’s those little things that determine whether you will achieve what you want, or end up in disaster. It teaches you that success isn’t achieved overnight, instead, you have to work hard every day to make the compound effect work in your favor. Written as a step-by-step guide, this book is easy to follow, making it a must-read for all those who want to achieve success in their lives.

6. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Rating: 4.37/5

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Homo Deus is a book about the future. Over the last century, mankind has conquered famine, plague and war — people now die from eating too much instead of too little, they pass away due to old age rather than disease and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, criminals and terrorists combined. So, now that we have become the “gods” of earth, what comes next? Homo Deus thus explores the possibility of the 21st century, from the implications of creating artificial life to overcoming death itself.

7. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Rating: 4.34/5

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Sapiens is a book about the past. By combining the learnings from the fields of paleontology, anthropology, biology and economics, Yuval Noah Harari explores the idea of how and more importantly, why, we Homo Sapiens, came to be. A comprehensive overview of human history, from the very first humans to ever walk the earth all the way up to the present, this book raises and discusses questions such as, “Are we happier than our ancestors?”, and “Is our behaviour rooted in the past?”.

8. Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Rating: 4.34/5

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Modern life is extremely hectic, so no wonder we spend so much of our time feeling stressed! In Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us how to access the peace in every moment, and positively use the things that usually pressure us. This book is about the art of mindfulness, and how to apply it to your life so you can keep your consciousness alive to experience joy and peace with every breath.

9. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Rating: 4.31/5

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First written in the 6th century in classic Chinese, Tao Te Chinghas been translated numerous times into English. Recently revised and re-translated, Tao Te Ching now reflects the true essence of Lao Tzu’s teachings. Although religion and Taoism are the overarching themes of this book, the advice given can be applied to even the lives of the most extreme atheists. This book outlines the simple actions that can be taken to be free of the negative effects of desire, greed and judgmental thinking.

10: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Rating: 4.30/5

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Trying to run a business can sometimes feel like fighting a war. Extreme Ownership is about how to win that war. With excellent advice on running a successful business, this guidebook has broken down every aspect of being a good leader so you can build a motivated, high-performance team that will bring you to greater heights. A must-read for any aspiring entrepreneur.


Author of the article: Abyramy Srikanth and Greg Swierad, data and analysis generated by: Greg Swierad