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Top 10 Best Selling Non Fiction Books

Updated on December 3, 2012

Have a look here to see the top 10 best selling non fiction books. While fiction books are great to step inside and take ourselves outside of reality for a little while, non-fiction books are the kind we can read again and again, and keep in the house for future reference.

Written by experts in their fields, non-fiction books educate as well as entertain. There is truth in the stories recounted. Historical events that actually happened are brought to life. Factual things about the world around us are brought into our homes. We learn from non-fiction books.

Education and learning is not just for the young. All of us learn something new, every single day of our lives. It is a continuous process.

Non-fiction books are wonderful to keep a library of. They are reference books to real events, or real life facts and happenings.

Have a read of the top best selling non-fiction books today.

Enron Center
Enron Center

Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story (paperback)

Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald

New York Times financial journalist Kurt Eichenwald brings to life to events leading up to the collapse of the giant Enron Corporation.

In scene and dialogue, he catalogues events as they happened, how company personell cooked the books, bullied wall Street, manipulated electricity prices and how federal regulators even relaxed tight scrutiny laws to allow them.

Greedy bankers, high fliers and other high ranking employees stole, broke the law and portrayed an outrageous abuse of power that finally brought down not only the Enron, but other top companies too.

Highly readable, Eichenwald has managed to turn this 742 page epic into almost a novel where you can forget he is discussing real people and real events.

a dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas in 1935
a dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas in 1935

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan

For those people unaware of American history, from 1930 until 1940 a series of dust storms descended over the Great Plains in central USA. Millions of people died or were displaced as a result. The Great Plains, previously known as the Great American Desert, had only been farmed for around 40 years or so following promotional work by the federal government and its agents. Many immigrants flocked from Europe to take up the chance of a new life in the States. But the land should never have been farmed the way it was. Crops weren't rotated and soil erosion occurred when a great drought started in 1930 that went on for 8 years. The land dried out and the topsoil simply blew away. The dust storms were so great you could not see 3 feet in front of you.People had nothing to eat. Animals and farmsteads were buried under wind-borne black soil.

Timothy Egan has written a masterpiece where he brings this disaster into our homes. He tells us about the families, how people lived, how people survived and accompanies the whole book with photographs so we can see for ourselves what a terrible time it was. Highly recommended reading.


Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures by Robert K Wittman

Priceless is the perfect name for a book that gives a huge amount of information about collectibles and antiques. But this is not just just another antique book. This is really a collection of stories written by a former FBI agent who founded and headed the agency's Art Crime Team. Wittman himself had a lifetime interest and knowledge in antiques, and this book marks his exploits as he travelled undercover all over the world in search of stolen antiques, mixing with criminals along the way.

Priceless reads like a page turning crime thriller, made all the more fascinating because it is true to life, while imparting to the reader a working knowledge of collectibles.

Louis Zamperini
Louis Zamperini

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

This is a must-read detailing the amazing life of Italian American Louis Zamperini whose life went from being the bad boy who stole food on the streets of California and learnt how to run fast when being chased by the police, to Olympic medallist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Only the start of the War in Europe stopped him earning gold in the 1940 Olympics and he was later enlisted himself into the Army Air Core as America joined the war. Shot down over the Pacific ocean, he drifted for over 6 weeks in a small raft with two other men in shark-infested waters, before finally spotting land and what they hoped was salvation. Instead, the horror continued as they found themselves entrapped in a Japanese prisoner of war camp where they barely survived until the end of the war. Beaten and abused, the story, craftily and engagingly written, continues through Zamperini's return the States and his describes his difficulty in weaning himself back into society.

This book is one the best reads around today. Laura Hillenbrand, authoress of bestseller 'Sea Biscuit' brings the horrors of war alive. You won't want to put this book down once you start.

Seabiscuit winning
Seabiscuit winning

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

Sports writer Hillenbrand's first book and a runaway success. It is the story of Seabiscuit, the legendary racehorse from the 1930s and 1940s, and a historical reference piece detailing, as it does, not only the effects of the great depression on the populace but the American split between east and west.

But this is no reference book, this is a heart-warming and highly readable book about not only Seabiscuit himself, but of his owner, trainer and jockey, Team Seabiscuit, and how together they calmed a nervous and highly-strung horse and turned him into a loveable crowd-puller who ran faster than all the other horses in each race, despite his unseemly gait not often seen in a prize-winning racehorse.

Sarah's Key [Paperback]

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

This book is set in Paris during the Second World War and fictionalises the true story about how many Jewish people were rounded up in France by the French authorities and held in camps before being sent to Auschwitz and ultimately their deaths.

Written from the perspective of an American woman married to a French national and living in Paris, the book bounces back and forth between the past and present as the book's main character, writer Julia Jarmond, sets about tracking down the previous occupants of her house who were among those rounded up all those years ago. 10 year old Sarah Starzynski was taken along with her parents, while her 4 year old brother was left behind locked in a secret cupboard. (what happened to him?).

The book brings back into our homes the horror of the concentration camps and the Holocaust. A must-read!

boy soldier
boy soldier

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier [Paperback]

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

This is the author's true story of how he was forced to become a boy soldier in Sierra Leone in the 1990s.

Untouched by the horrors of the civil war, 12 year old Ishmael and his friends had travelled to a neighboring village to show off their American hip-hop dance skills when their home village was destroyed be rebel troops. The boys return to find the devastation, then spend many weeks and months travelling alone through deserts and jungles looking for their families who fled. Starving and alone, they are treated with suspicion and hostility by everyone they met, who suspecting them of being boy soldiers. Finally he finds haven in a government army camp and is enlisted into the army where he becomes himself the killer of families just like those who killed his. Finally at aged 15 he is rescued by UNICEF and partnering NGOs,and eventually sent to the city to live with a distant uncleand when war reached the city he fled to America.

A gifted writer, Ishmael brings the horrors or war and the usage of child soldiers into our homes. Fascinating and disturbing, this should be a required reading by all college students.

outbound and return route of the Lewis and Clark expedition
outbound and return route of the Lewis and Clark expedition

Undaunted Courage : Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West [Paperback]

Undaunted Courage : Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose

A must read for all college students, this phenonemal book is a biography of the life of Meriwether Lewis who along with William Clark led the first United States expedition to the Pacific Coast in 1804 - 1806. while the men's primary aim was to claim sovereignty for the U.S., they also made many major scientific discoveries along the way.

Filled with adventure, suspense, danger and excitement, Stephen Ambrose has made widespread use of diaries kept by Clark and other historical documents to bring the story of the expedition to life which will keep the reader glued to the pages.

This will bring a greater understanding of this historical event into many homes while being an excellent and thoroughly good read!


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    • htodd profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the nice list of books

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from UK

      Thanks. I think pictures help tell a story!

    • Jesse W James profile image

      Jesse W James 

      6 years ago from Texas

      The photos you provided along with the book list are great!

    • crystolite profile image


      7 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice listing there. Which means that you are current.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      haven't read that one CM, must look out for it :)

    • CMHypno profile image


      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Great selection of non-fiction Izzy, and I haven't read any of them! Must get reading, but am still finishing Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester which is a humorously written but totally sobering account of the money owed and the debts that must be paid by Western economies

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      not any more - can't even find it in the top 30!

    • Peter Owen profile image

      Peter Owen 

      7 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

      Nice list. I thought the Road Less travelled was still on t he list as it was on the best seller list for years.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      I know the feeling! Bit by bit, slowly we'll get which time there is sure to be yet another great list of non fiction books out.

    • Dr. Amilia profile image

      Dr. Amilia 

      7 years ago

      God, now I wish I only had the time to read them!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      Thanks A! They do look like great books if I say so myself :)

    • attemptedhumour profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Hi Izzy I only read non fiction these days. You have come up with some great titles, they all look interesting. Cheers.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      Glad you liked them Nan :)

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for an excellent book review. I can decide which ones to order.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      Great choice! I'd be undecided myself as to which one to buy as they are all great!

    • lindatymensky profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the detailed suggestions. I'm ordering one of the books right now... Seabiscuit. I'm following you. Keep 'em coming!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      You're welcome.I love how authors are writing non fiction books now that read like fiction, getting right inside people's lives instead of from a distance as non fiction books used to do.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am a great reader of non-fiction. Thank you for the suggestions of great books.


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