Best Nonfiction Books You Haven’t Heard of (But Will Love)

Are you a nonfiction lover who’s always dying to get their hands on the latest, most talked about books of the year, the month… maybe even the week? If you’ve blown through all of the options available to you on your bookshelf already, and you’re wondering what to dive into next—we’re one step ahead of you.

We’ve already perused the lesser-known archives and picked out a few nonfiction gems we’re sure you haven’t heard of yet. 

Don’t believe us? Keep reading to see for yourself!

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World 

With Wade Davis as your guide, there’s no telling how many thought-provoking paths you’ll go down in The Wayfinders

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like an anthropologist digging up new truths in every chapter, this one’s for you. Venture with Davis alongside Andean runners, Arctic hunters, and Polynesian settlers in an exploration of cultural history that’s fighting to hold a space for itself in the modern day. 

What contributions did these indigenous peoples make? What can we learn from them today? Join the thinkers of Joseph Campbell’s Myth and Meaning Book Club to find a hundred answers buried within each individual perspective.

Old Path White Clouds

Scour the internet and try to find a single bad review on this one. Go ahead. We’ll wait. 

Old Path White Clouds is another treasure we grabbed off of the Myth and Meaning bookshelf. Thich Nhat Hanh feels like your own personal teacher, taking you on a guided walk through the lessons of the Buddha. Not only will you walk away from this with a deeper understanding of the Buddhist spiritual tradition, but you’ll also be invited to participate, reflect, and find spiritual applications in your own life. 

Stolen Girls: Survivors of Boko Haram Tell Their Story

If the title alone doesn’t make you shudder, just wait until you read what lies within the pages of this gripping nonfiction selection from Malala’s Fearless Book Club

Boko Haram is a terrorist organization responsible for kidnapping a group of young girls in northeast Nigeria—276 of them, to be exact. German journalist, Wolfgang Bauer, now holds the microphone for the surviving girls to share their stories of captivity. 

Make no mistake—Stolen Girls will enrage you, and probably make you wish you could have protested alongside Malala herself when this all went down. But it will also leave you feeling inspired to lift up a story that you know is vital for people to hear. 

The Stranger in the Woods

We all need to be alone now and then. But some of us—namely, Christopher Knight—book a one-way ticket to solitude and don’t come back for 27 years. 

The woods of central Maine became the setting of an extreme, real-life version of Man vs. Wild for nearly three decades, and it was documented in great detail in The Stranger in the Woods by author Michael Finkel. This nonfiction read raises ethical questions about the choice to reject modern life for a primitive, nature-infused alternative, and the lengths needed to go to in order to do so. 

Bring this book on your next camping trip with your friends and let the debates begin. 

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

If challenging the status quo is what gets you out of bed in the morning, consider Originals by Adam Grant to be your caffeinated cup of non-conformity—brewed just the way you like it!

A Richard Branson pick from the Reading with Richard Literati book club, this is both for the natural-born leaders and the ones ready to unleash their inner authority. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist with a penchant for inserting as much creativity into everyday life as possible, helps us to consider what new shapes our world could take if only we were to approach it with a bit more originality. 

Malcolm Gladwell said that reading Originals felt like he was “seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party.” You, too, have been invited to the soirée. Bring Your Own Brainpower.  

Keep Reading with Literati

We did some digging and can now, hopefully, send you on your way with all kinds of hidden gems for you to add to your nonfiction bookshelf. Or maybe you’ll devour them all before they even make it there!

Either way, if you’d like us to be your personal literary sleuths again sometime, that’s what we do best. Rummage through our collections of historical fiction, romance, sci-fi, and more to see what else you can uncover. 

On Key

Related Posts

Best Nonfiction for Fiction Lovers

You’ve been itching to get more into nonfiction books, but sometimes it seems to take you weeks just to get past the first few chapters. We get it. Nonfiction can be slow. The genre is packed with stories that need to be told on topics that you’d love to know more about. But they don’t

On The Shelf: Malala’s Favorite Reads

Malala epitomizes fearlessness. So it’s no wonder her favorite reads aren’t for the faint of heart.  The protagonists in her picks mirror characters in her own life—a lionhearted hero, a daring daughter, maybe a lovable father or two. No matter the premise, Malala’s favorite reads invite readers into worlds culturally different than their own. They’re

On The Shelf: Stephen Curry’s Favorite Reads

Once considered too short for the court, champion baller and activist Stephen Curry knows a thing or two about being underestimated. It’s no wonder his bookshelf is filled with stories of unlikely heroes overcoming insurmountable odds and defining their own path. If that sounds like a bookshelf you want to peruse, we’ve got you. From

On The Shelf: Susan Orlean’s Favorite Reads

Susan Orlean: staff writer for The New Yorker by day, professional literary connoisseur by night. In Literati’s Private Collection Book Club, Susan Orlean’s book collection is a treasure trove of exceptional writing and unforgettable narratives. In her book selections, Orlean has a knack for finding fiction where the writing is truly an art form. Curious

Scroll to Top