Favorite non-fiction book

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Mira
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Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Mira » August 17th, 2010, 5:27 pm

We talk alot about fiction here, but since I'm hoping to write non-fiction someday, I was wondering if there are any non-fiction books that touched your lives.

I mean, aside from the dictionary. I've found that one helpful, but I'm not convinced it's non-fiction.

I guess the non-fiction books that influenced me the most aren't the classic ones, but instead were "Please Understand Me" both I and II by David Kiersey. He explained the Myers-Briggs personality typology, but then took it alot further. When I finally figured out my type and read about it, I felt incredibly validated. It also really helped me to understand that other people really do see things from a very different perspective.

If anyone wants to share their favorites, I'd be very interested.

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Robin
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Robin » August 17th, 2010, 8:56 pm

My favorite non-fiction books are primarily self-empowerment types:

Mommy Millionaire (Kim Lavine- she is my mentor)- relied on this heavily when I created and launched my first consumer product
http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Millionaire ... 0312354576

Battlefield of the Mind (Joyce Meyer- love her!!)-
http://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-Mind- ... 928&sr=1-1

those have to be the ones I've read the most in the last 7 years or so.
Robin
"A glass slipper is only a shoe. Dreamers who only dream never have their dreams come true."

http://www.RobynLucas.com/

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steve
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by steve » August 17th, 2010, 9:08 pm

COLD NEW WORLD by William Finnegan
Read one of the best stories by Borges.

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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by craig » August 17th, 2010, 9:39 pm

An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-First Century
by Dr. James Orbinski

This is Orbinski's memoir of his time with Doctors Without Borders where, among many other things, he recounts being a humanitarian doctor during the Rwandan Genocide. It is a truly inspiring and thought-provoking work. It was the first (and so far only) non-fiction book that I was simply unable to put down. I was sucked in on the very first page and held in a tight grip till the very last page.

How has it influenced me? Well, I'm a masters student studying community and equality -- this book, and its vital central message on throwing away the differences between us and doing all we can to make the world a better place, has certainly kicked me toward the study path I'm on.

How has it influenced my writing? There are certain scenes in the book... very powerful scenes... scenes that you would think are fiction because of how morbid and gripping and powerful they are... that have stuck with me. The writing is superb. I've done what I can to create that same sense of "frozen time" in a tragic scene -- you know, where the world falls away and it's just the protag and someone else -- there are scenes like that in this book that are simply amazing -- and I like to think I've picked up a few skills in that realm for my own writing.

I really can't recommend this book enough. It has so changed how I view the world.

I used to work at a church -- I have structured a sermon around this book, and later structured two reflections times around this book for meetings I was at -- it is simply an amazing piece of work. Every time I re-read sections, I get teary. Every time I read sections aloud to other people, at least half the group is crying because Orbinski has just made his words so powerful.

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Quill
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Quill » August 17th, 2010, 10:46 pm

The Civil War, a Narrative, by Shelby Foote

Collected Poems of Robert Frost

History of the Second World War, by Liddell Hart

Joy of Cooking, by Rombaur and Becker

Lost Victories, by Erich Von Manstein

Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass

The Farming Ladder, by George Henderson

The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer

Malabar Farm, by Louis Bromfield

Miss O'Dell, by Christine O'Dell

An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard

And many, many others...

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 17th, 2010, 10:57 pm

Oh wow, just some off the top of my head:

IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X
INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer
THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM by James McPhereson

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Bryan Russell/Ink
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » August 17th, 2010, 11:32 pm

I'm rereading (to my wife) perhaps the best book I've ever read, and it's a memoir -- http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Piece-Par ... 615&sr=1-1 Strange Piece of Paradise, by Terri Jentz.

Ignore the Publishers Weekly review, as it's ridiculous. For one thing, it suggests that the book fails to live up to the "introspection" suggested in the full title, which has to be one of the worst bits of reviewing I've ever seen. Jentz is a brutally honest self analyst. Anyway, it's brilliant, and this quotation sums it up better: "Imagine that it had been Truman Capote himself who'd been savaged in Holcomb, Kansas, and that he had survived to describe his ordeal. That is the level of command and sinew at work in Terri Jentz's writing."
The New York Times Book Review
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

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Bryan Russell/Ink
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » August 17th, 2010, 11:37 pm

Though I'd put Into Thin Air up there, too. And Vassily Grossman's A Writer at War. And A Woman in Berlin, by Anonymous.
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

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Mira
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Mira » August 18th, 2010, 12:13 pm

Cool. I'm making a list. :)

bcomet
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by bcomet » August 18th, 2010, 12:16 pm

The Courage To Create by Rollo May

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections by Carl Jung

Spinning Straw into Gold by Joan Gould

Harper Karcz
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Harper Karcz » August 18th, 2010, 12:54 pm

Reading Joan Didion's nonfiction for the first time blew me away. I began reading her in my early 20s and was completely undone by some of her essays, notably the young-woman-in-New-York treatise "Goodbye To All That." The great thing about Didion is she has a pretty sizeable body of work, and her philosophies have changed throughout her writing and her life, so there are so many versions of Didion, so to speak, to explore. This year I read Where I Was From, which is what I'd call a biography of a place (California). And if anyone hasn't read The Year of Magical Thinking yet, you've gotta do that. I suspect that it's a book I'll return to throughout my life.

I'm also madly in love with Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation. Another book that showed up right when I needed it.

A few others:
The Language Instinct - Steven Pinker
Traffic - Tom Vanderbilt
Your Inner Fish - Neil Shubin
Having just the vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution.

-- Stephen Sondheim

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Bryan Russell/Ink
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » August 18th, 2010, 1:52 pm

oooh, and Michael Herr's Dispatches, and Tim O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, and 102 Minutes, and Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, and Elizabeth McCracken's An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty (which every writer should read).

And, for you San Franciscoers, Sean Wilsey's Oh The Glory Of It All.

Okay, I'll stop now. Maybe.
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by adamg73 » August 18th, 2010, 2:36 pm

"There Are No Children Here" by Alex Kotlowitz is an amazing book about two boys growing up in the projects and I highly recommend it.

http://www.amazon.com/There-Are-No-Chil ... 664&sr=8-1

But as far as life changing, no single book has done more to change mine than "Elements of Moral Philosophy" by James and Stuart Rachels. It made me look at the world in a completely new way.

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Moral-Ph ... 894&sr=1-1

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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by One of the Mad Ones » August 22nd, 2010, 1:31 pm

A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS.

JuiceinLA
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Re: Favorite non-fiction book

Post by JuiceinLA » August 23rd, 2010, 6:58 pm

I adore and live by anything by Michael Lewis. Anyone that can make the whole sub-prime mortgage mess comprehensible to the average schmuck like me and keep it lively, engaging and compelling is a genius. Moneyball is one of my all time faves, followed by The Big Short and then Liar's Poker. Sadly, I have not read The Blind Side, but I bet its awesome.

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