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These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

Explore life, death, adventure and more

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

Book lovers have questionable spending skills.

How many unread books do you have at your home? Probably some dust has settled on them too.

It’s okay. As the owner of unread books myself, I am not judging. I am just sayin’.

Bibliophiles can overspend and regret it later. But what if I tell you that the books in today’s list are worth every penny?

Have a look at their overviews and find your pick.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

The tale of daring men and their adventure.

Ernest Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish man who led many expeditions in the Antarctic.

One of his trips was in 1914 on a ship called Endurance. This book details this journey which was entitled the ‘Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition’.

“No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.”

Endurance had 28 men onboard. For this book to be written, their diaries were made available to the author.

The surviving members also gave lengthy interviews.

Endurance got frozen in ice leaving the expedition with no ship. Hence began the almost two-year struggle for survival. They camped on the frozen ship for many months, hoping the ice would melt in spring.

“…it’s been my experience that most writers don’t talk about their craft — they just do it…”

Breaking ice, however, made the ship sink. The team had to abandon the ship. They made camps on ice floes, big floating blocks on ice. Food became scarce but they didn’t lose hope.

Many ups and downs come in their journey. Use of wooden boats, 36-hour walk in the snow, and whatnot.

But all of them were eventually rescued and made it back safely to England.

This book shows us the power of resilience, the importance of good leadership, and the benefits of teamwork.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

Two sides of the same coin.

We all have underlying moral psychology. This is why we use politics and religion to publicize our ideas.

Haidt invites us to open our hearts to those whose approach might appear at odds with our view of the world.

“The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.”

In writing this book, Haidt shares his journey of understanding morality. This personal touch makes it all easy to understand.

We are so consumed by how we view the world and what we have been taught that we close our minds to everyone else.

The author says that morality brings us together but it also blinds us. We think only our ideas will save the world. In reality, there are good people on every side.

“Morality binds and blinds.”

The author cites many resources to support his analysis.

This book is a great attempt at bringing people together.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

Should doctors be saving a life at all costs?

Atul Gawande is an American surgeon.

In this book, he confronts the biggest reality of life, death.

Through his experience and reflections, he discusses the lives of people as they near death.

“For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story.”

He makes us realize that saving a life no matter what, isn’t the right approach. The focus should be on the quality of life as well.

This goes against the modern standard of care as well as the wishes of most patient’s families as they want their loved ones to live.

The book also discusses nursing homes, hospice, and other forms of palliative care.

“You may not control life’s circumstances, but getting to be the author of your life means getting to control what you do with them.”

The author shares his personal experiences, the death of his father and his great mother-in-law.

The book is an honest look at the medical industry and old age.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

The wonders of the fungi world.

Erlin Sheldrake is a British biologist who has worked extensively on fungi.

He has also studied the underground fungal networks in the forests of Panama.

“Fungi make worlds. They also unmake them.”

This book details the incredible way fungi affect our world, perhaps even run it.

Research shows a link between animal behavior and the kind of bacteria and fungi that live in their guts. The microbes in the gut interact with the brain in complex and fascinating ways.

“The difference between animals and fungi is simple: Animals put food in their bodies, whereas fungi put their bodies in the food.”

The author tells us how important fungi networks are for an ecosystem to thrive. He also tells us about the medicinal and recreational (wink wink) use of fungi by humans.

This book will make you appreciate fungi so much more.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

It’s not your fault that you can’t focus.

Johann Hard blames the tech companies for stealing our focus.

The author tells us not to blame ourselves and shares his personal experiences to help the readers do better.

“The more people stared at their phones, the more money these companies made. Period.”

The tech companies’ higher brass is well- aware of the side effects, says the author. They do meditation and yoga and send their kids to tech-free Montessori.

Do they care about our attention?

Obviously not. They want to make money.

“In situations of low stress and safety, mind-wandering will be a gift, a pleasure, a creative force. In situations of high stress or danger, mind-wandering will be a torment.”

The book tells us that when we focus, our empathy kicks in. We also do better problem-solving. The author also discusses the importance of good sleep in order for a sustained and beneficial focus.

The most important thing? Limit social media. The author stays away from it for 6 months in a year.

This book will show you the importance of concentration.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

What does a pharma company have to do with the opioid crisis?

OxyContin was a pain management drug launched by a family-owned pharmaceutical company.

But it played a role in the opioid crisis that claimed many lives. This book discusses that.

“A 2016 study found that purchasing even a single meal with a value of $20 for a physician can be enough to change the way that he prescribes.”

The Sackler family used aggressive marketing techniques and also targeted the doctors to sell their products.

OxyContin led to patients developing drug use disorder. It was also used for recreational purposes.

Due to their influence and money, the family evaded responsibility for a long time. They found their way out of many lawsuits and other tricky situations.

“… when somebody who is already addicted to opioids starts to feel the first pangs of withdrawal, a lifetime’s worth of inhibitions can be swiftly cast aside.”

Nan Goldin, a photographer who herself got addicted to OxyContin campaigned to remove the name of the Sackler family from different museums that they donated to.

Finally, the company had to settle a lawsuit in Oklahoma for its part in the opioid crisis and declared bankruptcy.

This book is an honest look at how profits can blind corporate owners and lead to a public health crisis.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

An intimate look at the material that determines our life.

This book was published in 2016.

The author starts from the very beginning of gene discovery and genetic research. He takes us to the time of Aristotle and then Crick and Watson all the way to modern genome mapping.

“The universe seeks equilibriums; it prefers to disperse energy, disrupt organization, and maximize chaos.”

The author shares his family history of genetic diseases. He was transparent with his spouse about the possibility of mental illness being genetically present.

The author discusses how genes determine our traits and qualities.

While talking about his book, Mukherjee said that his family history and his earlier work on cancer, both inspired him to write this book.

“If you know the question, you know half.”

Mukherjee warns us about focusing too much on genetics because a human is so much more than that. He says that simplistic thinking of focusing only on DNA has given rise to eugenics.

This book is a thrilling ride down the history of genetic research.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

Body cells gone rogue.

What exactly is cancer?

This is the question that Mukherjee, a physician of great stature answers in this book.

He discusses how cancer is formed and its types.

In old times physicians thought cancer formed due to the accumulation of black bile. This was proven to be incorrect.

When a pathologist looked at cancer cells under a microscope, he realized that it was made of the body’s own cells.

“Cancer is an expansionist disease; it invades through tissues, sets up colonies in hostile landscapes, seeking “sanctuary” in one organ and then immigrating to another.”

Normal body cells respond to growth inhibitors and stop their growth when told to.

Cancer cells are mutated. They do not respond to growth inhibitors. They keep on growing and multiplying which makes them immortal.

This makes me think, maybe immortality isn’t that great after all. Yikes!

“Indeed, cancer’s emergence in the world is the product of a double negative: it becomes common only when all other killers themselves have been killed.”

The book discusses cancer treatments, research, and palliative care of patients.

This book will teach you so much about cancer, that you’ll be able to hold a conversation with an oncologist.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

The idea of this book is so absurd that it is funny.

Randall is the founder of xkcd webcomic which uses sarcasm aimed at technology, politics, and relationships. ‘xkcd’ is quite literally the name of the webcomic.

His comic readers send him weird hypothetical questions which Randall answers on his blog, ‘What If?’ This book is a compilation of those questions and many more.

Munroe answers these stupid questions logically and humorously.

The book is witty and funny. It’s a perfect combination of a light and dense read. I say dense because scientific questions, no matter how lame, do make you think.

“It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end.”

The author tells us his own story of asking questions starting with an incident from his childhood. He questioned whether there were more soft things in the world or hard. He concluded that the world has 3 billion soft things and 5 billion hard things.

His mom wrote down what he said.

“In conclusion, if the Sun went out, we would see a variety of benefits across many areas of our lives. Are there any downsides to this scenario? We would all freeze and die.”

To call this book a treat for a curious mind would be an understatement.

These Non-Fiction Books Are Worth Every Penny

Body without soul, what happens to it?

In this book, Mary Roach gives us the good, bad, and horrifying about human cadavers. (cadaver means corpse)

Did you know that car crash tests use human cadavers?

The role of human cadavers in saving lives is undisputed.

“A patient on the way to surgery travels at twice the speed of a patient on the way to the morgue.”

Medical students perform dissections on them to better understand the human body.

This kind of research has been done in the medical industry for a long time.

The author also tells us how the human body decays and how the scent dogs can locate it.

“We are all nature, all made of the same basic materials, with the same basic needs.”

Roach also touches upon organ donation and how it saves lives.

Parts of this book might make you queasy but it provides a comprehensive look at the journey that our body will take after death.


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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