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18 Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time According To Robert Greene

When it comes to delving into the world of nonfiction, few authors have the depth of insight and wisdom that Robert Greene possesses.

Known for his impactful books on strategy, power dynamics, and human behavior, Greene's recommendations hold a special place in the hearts of readers seeking knowledge and enlightenment.

In this curated list, we've gathered the 21 best nonfiction books of all time according to Robert Greene, covering a diverse range of topics that have captivated readers throughout history.

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In "The Fall of Public Man," Richard Sennett delves into the transformation of public life and the erosion of social bonds in modern society. He explores how the rise of individualism and the decline of shared spaces have impacted our interactions, offering a thought-provoking analysis of the changing dynamics of community and public engagement.

“Electronic communication is one means by which the very idea of public life has been put to an end.”― Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man

Written by legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, "The Book of Five Rings" is a treatise on strategy, combat, and the way of the warrior. Musashi imparts his insights on mastering various elements of life through martial philosophy, making it a timeless guide for achieving success and excellence in any endeavor.

“there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

Stefan Zweig's biography of Marie Antoinette offers a compelling narrative of the last Queen of France. It provides a glimpse into the opulent yet tumultuous world of 18th-century European royalty, as well as the complexities of Marie Antoinette's life, relationships, and the events that led to her tragic fate.

“Lightly, caressingly, Marie Antoinette picked up the crown as a gift. She was still too young to know that life never gives anything for nothing, and that a price is always exacted for what fate bestows. She did not think she would have to pay a price.”― Stefan Zweig, Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman

In "The Gay Science," Friedrich Nietzsche tackles existential questions, morality, and the pursuit of knowledge. This collection of aphorisms and reflections invites readers to critically examine societal norms, personal beliefs, and the nature of truth, making it a cornerstone of Nietzschean philosophy.

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.”― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs

Niccolò Machiavelli's "The Prince" is a timeless treatise on political power, leadership, and strategy. Machiavelli offers practical advice for rulers, exploring themes of cunning, manipulation, and the delicate balance between morality and effectiveness in the pursuit of authority.

“The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Carlos Castaneda's spiritual journey in "Journey to Ixtlan" chronicles his encounters with a Yaqui shaman named Don Juan. Through vivid storytelling, Castaneda imparts lessons on perception, awareness, and the nature of reality, offering readers a window into the world of shamanism and personal transformation.

“In a world where death is the hunter, my friend, there is no time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions.”― Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan

Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War" is an authoritative account of the conflict between Athens and Sparta in ancient Greece. As a foundational work of historical writing, it explores the dynamics of power, alliances, and human behavior during times of war and strife.

“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.”― Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Alain De Botton's "Consolations of Philosophy" explores the practical applications of philosophical ideas in everyday life. De Botton provides insights from philosophers such as Socrates, Epicurus, and Seneca to offer solace, guidance, and wisdom in navigating the challenges of existence.

“at the heart of every frustration lies a basic structure: the collision of a wish with an unyielding reality.”― Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy

Aldous Huxley's "The Devils of Loudun" recounts the sensational story of a convent possessed by the devil in 17th-century France. Huxley delves into themes of religious fanaticism, human psychology, and mass hysteria, offering a captivating exploration of the intersection between faith, sexuality, and the supernatural.

“The world' is man's experience as it appears to, and is moulded by, his ego. It is that less abundant life, which is lived according to the dictates of the insulated self. It is nature denatured by the distorting spectacles of our appetites and revulsions.”― Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun

Elizabeth Lev's biography, "The Tigress of Forli," unveils the life of Caterina Riario Sforza de' Medici, a courageous and controversial countess of Renaissance Italy. Lev's narrative delves into Caterina's roles as a strategist, warrior, and mother, shedding light on her indomitable spirit and influence.

“In the Renaissance world of arranged marriages, there were no romantic proposals on bended knee—only notaries and contracts.”― Elizabeth Lev, The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici

Stephen B. Oates' biography of Abraham Lincoln offers an intimate portrayal of the 16th President of the United States. Through meticulous research, Oates presents Lincoln's complex personality, leadership during the Civil War, and his enduring impact on American history.

“The legitimate object of government,” he later asserted, “is ‘to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they can not, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves.”― Stephen B. Oates, With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln

Ruth Harris' "Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century" revisits the infamous Dreyfus Affair in late 19th-century France. Harris uncovers the political intrigue, anti-Semitic sentiments, and the quest for justice that surrounded this historical scandal.

Anthony Everitt's biography of Augustus provides a comprehensive look into the life of Rome's first emperor. Everitt examines Augustus' rise to power, his political strategies, and the lasting impact he had on shaping the Roman Empire.

“For him, bravery was not an assertion of collective defiance and solidarity among colleagues but a solitary, obstinate act of will.”― Anthony Everitt, Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

Robert A. Caro's "Master of the Senate" is the third volume in his monumental biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. The book focuses on Johnson's influential years in the Senate, offering insights into his tactics, leadership style, and the art of wielding power.

“The most important thing a man has to tell you is what he’s not telling you,” he said. “The most important thing he has to say is what he’s trying not to say.”― Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate

Geoffrey Parker's biography of Philip II, "Imprudent King," challenges prevailing perceptions of the Spanish monarch. Parker delves into Philip II's rule, his impact on the Spanish Empire, and the intricacies of his complex personality.

Ryan Holiday's "Conspiracy" explores the gripping legal battle between Peter Thiel and Gawker Media. Holiday provides an in-depth analysis of the intersection of media, privacy, and power in the digital age.

“You rush in to stamp out the sparks and end up fanning them into flames. This is the risk.”― Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue

In "Ego is the Enemy," Ryan Holiday examines the destructive effects of unchecked ego on personal growth and success. Through historical examples and practical insights, Holiday offers a guide to overcoming ego-driven behaviors and achieving true greatness.

“Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.”― Ryan Holiday, Ego Is the Enemy

Ryan Holiday's "Stillness Is the Key" explores the value of inner tranquility in a fast-paced world. Drawing from historical figures and contemporary examples, Holiday presents strategies for finding stillness, mindfulness, and peace amidst chaos.

“Routine, done for long enough and done sincerely enough, becomes more than routine. It becomes ritual—it becomes sanctified and holy.”― Ryan Holiday, Stillness Is the Key


If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out more similar list on my on my blog —

These 18 nonfiction books, recommended by Robert Greene, offer a rich tapestry of insights, perspectives, and wisdom across a diverse range of subjects.

From philosophy and history to strategy and personal development, each book has the power to captivate and inspire readers on their intellectual journey.


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