Entertaining & Informative Nonfiction

  1. Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything - Joshua Foer
    A journalist decides to enter the Memory Olympics and documents the journey, including all the tricks he used to win!
  2. The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Read, Think, and Remember - Nicholas Carr
    A history of the written word and how its transformation over centuries has shaped our cognitive process. That may not sound terribly interesting but I've never been so engrossed in a book - it's a fascinating read.
  3. Born Standing Up - Steve Martin
    No explanation needed, Steve Martin is the funniest.
  4. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World - Steven Johnson
    Johnson's 6 innovations are not what you'd expect - not the car or the printing press or the Internet - but are instead certain building blocks on which our modern world was built. Really funny and witty read - you'll finish it in 2 days, I promise.
  5. The Rule of Nobody: Saving America From Dead Laws and Broken Government - Philip K Howard
    I'm not sure what side of the aisle Philip K Howard is on, but I get the feeling it's not my side. That said, I think he does a great job of illustrating how bureaucratic our country has become and presents a strong argument for why things need to change. He asserts that when a legal system is as complicated as ours, we eliminate the ability to use common sense.
  6. The Universe in a Nutshell - Stephen Hawking
    You may know Stephen Hawking from his breakout hit "The Theory of Everything" but did you know that he's got a pretty impressive back catalogue? This book has lots of great illustrations and classic Hawking humor, so even though you'll only understand 7% of it, you'll have a good time reading it.
  7. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - Malcolm Gladwell
    I'd recommend all the Gladwell books, but this is the first one I read so it's on the list. Listening to Gladwell read his own work via audiobook is also a great way to spend long road trips.
  8. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason - Sam Harris
    Harris is preaching to the choir - ironic, yes - but unlike his colleagues, Dawkins and Hitchens, I think he does a good job of not alienating the opposition too much. I can't imagine anyone is going to read this book and change their stance on faith and religion, but for those interested in reading a beautifully written and well articulated piece from a Godless heathen, I'd choose this one.
  9. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters - Matt Ridley
    I read this book my sophomore year of high school and have since read it 3 or 4 more times. It's a nice reminder of where we came from, how complex we are as humans - from a biological standpoint - and how much we still have to learn about ourselves.