Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
There’s no need to pick up another hackneyed romance novel to stimulate your most erotic organ — the brain. Not when you have your pick of an array of thought-provoking nonfiction options. From no-nonsense guides on how to get rich to the science of success from an actual rocket scientist, this summer book list is filled with tomes to inspire you. Read on for 11 of our favorite nonfiction reads.
Get to the Bottom of Your To-Do List
Feeling overwhelmed? Do Less, Get More: How to Work Smart and Live Life Your Way is about paring down your mindset by decluttering your schedule. U.K.-based entrepreneur and author Shaa Wasmund’s take: You’ll never appreciate what you already have when you’re piling too much on a to-do list that you can never truly finish. Wasmund breaks this self-defeating rut in a very readable guide to cutting down on goals in the path to true satisfaction. Doing less to get more never felt more irresistible.
The Science of Success
Author Mary Spio is a bona fide rocket scientist who holds patents at Boeing in addition to being a successful Internet entrepreneur. In It’s Not Rocket Science, Spio, now CEO of Next Galaxy Media, identifies seven game-changing traits we all have that can catapult us to stratospheric success.
Using lessons learned over the course of her lifetime, from her days as a poor child in Ghana to the insights she gleaned from studying engineering and computer science, Spio inspires with advice that breaks the mold. Just like she has.
Put It Into Perspective
Keep the Kleenex close when you jump into The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories, written by Marina Keegan. This work strikes an even deeper chord once you know that she wrote everything the age of 22 — when she died in a car accident five days after graduating magna cum laude from Yale.
Perceptive and illuminating, this posthumous body of work is not just inspiring but also bittersweet. From a career-related essay where Keegan declares, “We have so much time” to a short story in which a young woman pleads to her mother, “Don’t worry, I’m driving,” this collection asks us to put in perspective everything we think we know about goals and fulfillment.
So You Want to Get Rich?
The question of wealth accumulation may not be the first thing you think of as a relaxing summer read. So let CPA and author Sharon Lechter’s Think and Grow Rich for Women lull you into complicity. By addressing everything from job advancement to business ownership, Lechter offers step-by-step guidance specifically tailored to women on how to improve your financial situation and career outlook.
Get What You Want
In What More Can I Say, a guide to the art of persuasion, communications consultant Dianna Booher offers a crystal clear message: ”Good communication may not make a risky project sound safe, but poor communication may fail to convey the benefits of a good project or a good deal.”
So how do you prevent words from causing an epic fail? Booher acts like your very own consultant in a guide that analyzes statements that work — and those to avoid — to boost credibility in the office and your personal life.
In It for the Pictures
You think you’re dealing with professional adversity? Read Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs, by photographer Sally Mann, to understand how she grappled with the mother of all controversies back in 1992, when her art and duty as a parent were publically questioned. The piece in question? A photography collection called “Immediate Family” that included her three children, aged six and under, nude.
This memoir inspires because Mann delves into how she handled, and endured, the tough times that ensued. For anyone wanting strength to take risks for your art, this memoir is a must-read.
Sometimes you need a psychologist to tell you how you’re doing. And that’s when you may want to pick up author Heidi Grant Halvorson’s No One Understands You: And What to Do About It. As a social psychologist, Halvorson points out how we are misunderstood in everyday interactions and how to stop those slip-ups.
She helps to smooth out a range of relationships, from the personal to the professional. This 224-page book is like a session at a shrink’s office — but at a fraction of the cost.
Embrace the Single Life
What’s the big deal about marriage? That’s the question Kate Bolick asks in her memoir-biography mash-up, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own. “Whom to marry, and when will it happen — these two questions define every woman’s existence,” says fortysomething Bolick, who has chosen to remain single and proudly taken back the word “spinster.”
Bolick explains why she’s embraced singlehood — in part with historical analysis of five women (from Charlotte Perkins Gilman to Edna St. Vincent Millay), whom she dubs her “awakeners.” She proves you can live authentically without a partner or apologies.
To read an excerpt from the book, click here.
Get Out of Your Rut
Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling The Happiness Project, is now taking on a problem we all tackle: how to stop those habits holding us back. In Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Rubin blends scientific research with personal experiments to figure out a blueprint for breaking out of routines.
Her conclusions? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to busting out of a bad pattern. In fact, Rubin identifies four types of people who respond best to different strategies. Find out whether you’re an “Upholder” or a “Rebel” and then let Rubin guide you through the tough job of changing bad habits. Go!
Find Your Passion
Need a pep talk to turn those hopes into reality? Look no further than The Crossroads of Should and Must by author and illustrator Ella Luna. Luna shows with convincing words (and drawings) that now is the time to follow your deepest urges. “Should is how other people want us to live our lives,” she writes. Meanwhile, “Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self.”
Luna addresses common fears holding us back and uses stories of others to show how these anxieties are universal. Then, thanks to her background as an illustrator and painter, she motivates with visual images that back up sentiments that prose alone can’t capture.
The Meaning of Life ... and Death
As an obituary writer for about 20 years in Alaska, author Heather Lende has dealt with a lot of death. In Find the Good, she addresses what she’s learned and imparts wisdom: “We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there’s still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press.”
Got laid off? Divorced? Find the good, Lende reminds us, and live the meaningful life you deserve. This is a book for those stuck in a cycle of “Why me?” and helps you reframe the way you see a setback. “Writing obituaries is my way of transcending bad news. It has taught me the value of intentionally trying to find the good in people and situations, and that practice — and I do believe that finding the good can be practiced — has made my life more meaningful,” she writes.