The Greatest Nonfiction Books


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 128 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists. On the lists that are actually ranked, the book that is 1st counts a lot more than the book that's 100th. If you're interested in the details about how the rankings are generated and which lists are the most important(in my eyes) please check out the list details page.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or corrections please feel free to e-mail me.


  1. 951 . Guerrilla Warfare by Che Guevara

    Che Guevara, the larger-than-life hero of the 1959 revolutionary victory that overturned the Cuban dictatorship, believed that revolution would also topple the imperialist governments in Latin Amer...

    - Google
  2. 952 . A Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

    A Short History of Nearly Everything (ISBN 0-7679-0817-1) is a general science book by Bill Bryson, which explains some areas of science, using a style of language more accessible to the general pu...

  3. 953 . A Childhood: The Biography of a Place by Harry Crews

  4. 954 . Pictures At A Revolution by Mark Harris

  5. 955 . Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

    Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001) is a book by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food indu...

  6. 956 . The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron

  7. 957 . Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

    Down and Out in Paris and London is the first full-length work by the English author George Orwell, published in 1933. It is a memoir[3] in two parts on the theme of poverty in the two cities. The ...

  8. 958 . Rising Tide by John Barry

    Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

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  9. 959 . The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford

    The American Way of Death was an exposé of abuses in the funeral home industry in the United States, written by Jessica Mitford and published in 1963. Feeling that death had become much too sentime...

  10. 960 . Cybernetics by Norbert Wiener

    Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to control theory and systems theory. Both in its origins and in its evolution in t...

  11. 961 . I and Thou by Martin Buber

    Ich und Du, usually translated as I and Thou, is a book by Martin Buber, published in 1923, and first translated to English in 1937. Buber's main proposition is that we may address existence in two...

  12. 962 . Syntactic Structures by Noam Chomsky

    Syntactic Structures is an influential book by American linguist Noam Chomsky, first published in 1957. Widely regarded as one of the most important texts in the field of linguistics, this work lai...

  13. 963 . An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Robert Malthus

    The book An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798 through J. Johnson (London). The author was soon identified as The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. While it ...

  14. 964 . Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke

    Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), by Edmund Burke, is one of the best-known intellectual attacks against the (then-infant) French Revolution. In the twentieth century, it much influen...

  15. 965 . Untold Stories by Alan Bennett

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  16. 966 . A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume

    A Treatise of Human Nature is a book by Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published in 1739–1740.

  17. 967 . Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B. F. Skinner

    In Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Skinner suggests that a technology of behavior could help to make a better society. We would, however, have to accept that an autonomous agent is not the driving forc...

  18. 968 . Journals by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark

    In 1803, when the United States purchased Louisiana from France, the great expanse of this new American territory was a blank -- not only on the map but in our knowledge. President Thomas Jefferson...

  19. 969 . Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Wind, Sand and Stars (French title:Terre des hommes (Land of Men)) is a memoir by Antoine de Saint Exupéry published in 1939. It was translated from the French by Lewis Galantiere. The pilot and p...

  20. 970 . The Exploration of the Colorado River by John Wesley Powell

    The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons by John Wesley Powell is a classic of American exploration literature. It is about the Powell Geographic Expedition of 1869 which was the first...

  21. 971 . Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

    The southern Arabian desert, a quarter million square miles of sand (650,000 square kilometers), is now a place of oil wells and Land Rovers, but before the 1950s it was still known as the Empty Qu...

  22. 972 . Annapurna by Maurice Herzog

    Annapurna is a book by Maurice Herzog, expedition leader of the first recorded expedition to reach the summit of Annapurna in the Himalayas. The original text was written in French, first published...

  23. 973 . Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood

    Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth is a non-fiction book written by Margaret Atwood, about the nature of debt, for the 2008 Massey Lectures. Each of the book's five chapters was delivered ...

  24. 974 . Travels by Marco Polo

  25. 975 . Farthest North by Fridtjof Nansen

  26. 976 . Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana

    Two Years Before the Mast is a book by the American author Richard Henry Dana, Jr., written after a two-year sea voyage starting in 1834 and published in 1840. A film adaptation under the same name...

  27. 977 . The Mind of the South by W. J. Cash

  28. 978 . South by Ernest Shackleton

  29. 979 . A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

  30. 980 . Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

  31. 981 . Travels in West Africa by Mary Kingsley

  32. 982 . Journals (Cook) by James Cook

    Captain James Cook FRS RN (7 November [O.S. 27 October] 1728 – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer, ultimately rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy. Cook...

  33. 983 . Home of the Blizzard by Douglas Mawson

  34. 984 . Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum

    Sailing Alone Around the World (1899) is a sailing memoir by Joshua Slocum about his single-handed global circumnavigation aboard the sloop Spray. Slocum was the first person to sail around the wor...

  35. 985 . Naked by David Sedaris

    Naked, published in 1997, is a collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The book details Sedaris’ life, from his unusual upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, to his...

  36. 986 . The Mountain of My Fear by David Roberts

  37. 987 . A Wilderness Narrative by David Roberts

  38. 988 . First Footsteps in East Africa by Richard Burton

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  39. 989 . Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi

    The author describes his twenty month ordeal in the Nazi death camp.

    - Google
  40. 990 . The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

    The Perfect Storm is a creative nonfiction book written by Sebastian Junger and published by W. W. Norton & Company in 1997. The paperback edition followed in 1999 from HarperCollins' Perennial imp...

  41. 991 . Blankets by Craig Thompson

    Blankets is a autobiographical graphic novel by Craig Thompson, published in 2003 by Top Shelf Productions. As a coming-of-age autobiography, the book tells the story of Thompson's childhood in an ...

  42. 992 . The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman

  43. 993 . Through the Dark Continent by Henry M. Stanley

  44. 994 . A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird

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  45. 995 . In the Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov

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  46. 996 . Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

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  47. 997 . Endurance by F. A. Worsley

  48. 998 . Scrambles Amongst the Alps by Edward Whymper

  49. 999 . Scott's Last Expedition: The Journals by Robert Falcon Scott

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  50. 1000 . Everest: The West Ridge by Thomas Hornbein

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