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25 Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time According To Co-founder Of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian

When it comes to nonfiction literature, there is an overwhelming abundance of options.

From self-help and memoirs to science and business, the world of nonfiction offers an array of fascinating reads that can broaden your horizons and provide valuable insights.

Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit and a prominent tech entrepreneur, is known for his avid reading habit.

He has curated a list of recommended nonfiction books of all time that covers a diverse range of topics.

So, let's dive into this reading journey and explore these exceptional titles.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.

In "White Fragility," Robin DiAngelo explores the concept of white fragility and its role in maintaining racial inequality. Drawing on her extensive experience as a diversity trainer, DiAngelo examines why many white individuals find it challenging to engage in constructive conversations about race. She offers critical insights into dismantling systemic racism by addressing white fragility head-on.

“It is white people’s responsibility to be less fragile; people of color don’t need to twist themselves into knots trying to navigate us as painlessly as possible.”― Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

"Rage Becomes Her" by Soraya Chemaly delves into the transformative power of female anger. Chemaly argues that women's anger, often suppressed or dismissed, can be a catalyst for social and political change. Through personal anecdotes and compelling research, she advocates for the unapologetic expression of women's anger as a force for positive transformation.

“We are so busy teaching girls to be likeable that we often forget to teach them, as we do boys, that they should be respected.”― Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger

Phil Knight's memoir, "Shoe Dog," takes readers on a remarkable journey through the creation of Nike. From the company's humble beginnings to its global success, Knight provides an inside look at the challenges, risks, and victories that shaped the iconic brand. This book is a testament to entrepreneurship, perseverance, and innovation.

“The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.”― Phil Knight, Shoe Dog

"Influence" by Robert Cialdini is a classic exploration of the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini outlines six principles of influence—reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity—and delves into how they shape human behavior. He offers valuable insights into how these principles are used in advertising, sales, and everyday interactions.

“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”― Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger shares his leadership journey in "The Ride of a Lifetime." He reflects on his experiences at the helm of Disney, including the acquisition of Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. Iger's memoir offers lessons in effective leadership, decision-making, and the importance of embracing change.

“True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else.”― Robert Iger, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Edward Snowden's memoir, "Permanent Record," provides an intimate account of his life and the events leading to his decision to reveal classified government surveillance programs. He delves into the ethical dilemmas, privacy concerns, and the tension between individual conscience and government secrecy.

“Ultimately, saying that you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.”― Edward Snowden, Permanent Record

"The One Thing" by Gary Keller is a guide to optimizing productivity and achieving goals by focusing on the most important task at hand. Keller emphasizes the power of concentration and prioritization, helping readers eliminate distractions and make significant progress in their personal and professional lives.

“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-- family, health, friends, integrity-- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”― Gary Keller, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

In "Superforecasting," Philip Tetlock explores the world of superforecasters—individuals with a remarkable ability to make accurate predictions about the future. Tetlock's research sheds light on the strategies, critical thinking skills, and cognitive processes that enable these experts to outperform conventional forecasting methods.

“If you don’t get this elementary, but mildly unnatural, mathematics of elementary probability into your repertoire, then you go through a long life like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.”― Charles T. Munger, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

"Creativity, Inc." offers readers an insider's view of Pixar Animation Studios and its co-founder Ed Catmull's philosophy on fostering creativity and innovation. Catmull shares anecdotes from Pixar's history, emphasizing the importance of a supportive and collaborative work environment in nurturing creative talent.

“You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”― Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: an inspiring look at how creativity can - and should - be harnessed for business success by the founder of Pixar

"Billion Dollar Whale" is a gripping investigative account by Tom Wright that uncovers the audacious 1MDB scandal and the central figure behind it, Jho Low. This financial thriller unravels the complexities of global finance, deception, and corruption on an unprecedented scale.

“Steal a little and they throw you in jail Steal a lot and they make you king. —Bob Dylan,”― Bradley Hope, Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World

Nick Bilton's "American Kingpin" is a true-crime narrative that chronicles the rise and fall of the Silk Road, a notorious dark web marketplace. The book delves into the life of its enigmatic creator, Ross Ulbricht, and the intricate web of illegal activities that defined the online black market.

“Over time he learned that the way to have a leg up on everyone else was to anticipate something before it happened and then have the answer to it.”― Nick Bilton, American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road

In "Why We Sleep," Matthew Walker explores the science of sleep and its profound impact on human health and well-being. Walker reveals how sleep influences memory, cognitive function, emotional stability, and physical health. The book underscores the importance of prioritizing quality sleep in our lives.

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”― Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

"Masters of Doom" by David Kushner offers a captivating look at the birth of the video game industry through the stories of John Carmack and John Romero, the visionary creators behind groundbreaking games like Doom and Quake. It's a thrilling journey into the world of gaming pioneers.

“In the information age, the barriers just aren’t there,” he said. “The barriers are self-imposed. If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don’t need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on, and the dedication to go through with it. We slept on floors. We waded across rivers.”― David Kushner, Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture

Mike Isaac's "Super Pumped" provides an insider's view of the meteoric rise of Uber and the controversial leadership of co-founder Travis Kalanick. The book explores the disruptive nature of the ride-sharing industry and the ethical dilemmas that accompanied Uber's ascent.

“I waved him over, looking as harmless as I could. My reporter trick is to play dumb and friendly; dumb and friendly is always more approachable than eager and prodding.”― Mike Isaac, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

"Winners Take All" by Anand Giridharadas critically examines the role of philanthropy in addressing societal issues. Giridharadas questions whether the efforts of wealthy individuals and corporations genuinely contribute to systemic change or merely maintain the status quo of inequality.

“By refusing to risk its way of life, by rejecting the idea that the powerful might have to sacrifice for the common good, it clings to a set of social arrangements that allow it to monopolize progress and then give symbolic scraps to the forsaken—many of whom wouldn’t need the scraps if the society were working right.”― Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

"The Great CEO Within" by Matt Mochary serves as a practical guide for aspiring and current CEOs. Mochary, an executive coach, shares his expertise on leadership, personal development, and building high-performance teams. The book offers valuable insights for effective leadership.

“It’s often easy to make a decision, but it can be much harder to get your team to invest emotionally in that decision.”― Matt Mochary, The Great CEO Within: The Tactical Guide to Company Building

"High Growth Handbook" by Elad Gil is a comprehensive resource for startups seeking rapid growth. The book features insights from successful entrepreneurs and investors and covers key topics such as scaling, fundraising, and overcoming challenges faced by high-growth companies.

“In fact, the general model for successful tech companies, contrary to myth and legend, is that they become distribution-centric rather than product-centric. They become a distribution channel, so they can get to the world. And then they put many new products through that distribution channel.”― Elad Gil, High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People

Nick Bilton's "Hatching Twitter" provides an engaging account of the tumultuous early days of Twitter. The book explores the power struggles, betrayals, and innovations that shaped the social media platform and the personalities behind its explosive growth.

“The press pass and the a title of “journalist” had been replaced by a smart phone and a Twitter account.”― Nick Bilton, Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

In "Hooked," Nir Eyal delves into the psychology of habit-forming products and how companies design experiences that capture users' attention and keep them engaged. The book reveals the strategies and techniques used to create addictive technologies.

“79 percent of smartphone owners check their device within 15 minutes of waking up every morning.”― Nir Eyal, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

"The Creative Curve" by Allen Gannett explores the science of creativity and provides insights into how individuals can tap into their creative potential. Gannett dispels common myths about creativity and offers practical strategies for fostering innovation.

“Too many people with passion buy into the notion that creativity is the province of geniuses, give up even trying to be creators. They abandon their dreams and become consumers of culture rather Han creators of it.”― Allen Gannett, The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea at the Right Time

"Indistractable" by Nir Eyal offers strategies to help individuals overcome distractions and regain control of their time and attention in an era of constant digital stimulation. Eyal explores the psychology of distraction and provides actionable steps to enhance focus and productivity.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”― Nir Eyal, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

"Lagom" introduces readers to the Swedish concept of "lagom," which emphasizes balance and moderation in all aspects of life. Linnea Dunne explores how this principle can lead to contentment, sustainability, and a more fulfilled existence.

“It’s been proven that both creativity and time in nature contribute to increased happiness. Take up journalling, join a painting class or make a habit out of going for a lunchtime walk. The more regular the activity, the more you’ll feel the benefit in terms of increased contentedness as well as productivity in work.”― Linnea Dunne, Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living

Zach Anner's memoir, "If At Birth You Don't Succeed," is a heartwarming and humorous account of his life with cerebral palsy. Anner shares his experiences, challenges, and the pursuit of his dreams, offering a story of resilience, humor, and inspiration.

“Laughing at somebody is just another way of dismissing them, but laughing with somebody is a bridge to understanding.”― Zach Anner, If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny

"Traction" by Gabriel Weinberg provides a systematic framework for startups to achieve explosive customer growth. The book offers actionable advice on identifying and leveraging the most effective marketing channels for your business.

“This is what we call the 50% rule: spend 50% of your time on product and 50% on traction.”― Gabriel Weinberg, Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

"Who" by Geoff Smart outlines a comprehensive methodology for effective hiring and team-building. Drawing on extensive research and real-world examples, Smart presents a systematic approach to identifying and attracting top talent, enabling organizations to build high-performing teams.

“Do not hire anybody who has been pushed out of 20 percent or more of their jobs.”― Geoff Smart, Who: The A Method for Hiring

Buy "Who" by Geoff Smart On Amazon


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

These 25 nonfiction books, carefully curated by Alexis Ohanian, cover a wide range of topics, from social issues and personal development to entrepreneurship and psychology.

Each book offers a unique perspective and valuable insights, making them an invaluable source of knowledge, inspiration, and personal growth for readers.


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