The best non-fiction books of all time

From eye-opening autobiographies to political exposés, broaden your horizons with our edit of the best non-fiction books of all time. 

The best non-fiction books can educate readers on vital subjects, offer fresh new perspectives, or simply give us a valuable, and often entertaining, insight into the lives of others. Here is our edit of the must-read non-fiction books of 2022 and the best non-fiction books of all time. 

The best general non-fiction books

God: An Anatomy

by Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Book cover for God: An Anatomy

Three thousand years ago, in the region we now call Israel and Palestine, people worshipped an array of deities led by a god called El. El had seventy children, all of whom were gods themselves; one of these children, Yahweh, fought humans and monsters and eventually evolved into the God of the great monotheistic faiths. The history of God in culture stretches back centuries before the Bible was written.

Elegantly written and fiercely argued, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou provides a fascinating analysis of God’s cultural DNA, and in the process explores the founding principles of Western culture.

Queen of Our Times

by Robert Hardman

Book cover for Queen of Our Times

This is the definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth II by one of Britain’s leading royal authorities. With original insights from those who knew her best, interviews with world leaders and access to unseen papers, bestselling author Robert Hardman explores the full, astonishing life of our longest reigning monarch in this compellingly authoritative yet intimate biography.

The Rise and Reign of the Mammals

by Steve Brusatte

Book cover for The Rise and Reign of the Mammals

In The Rise and Reign of the Mammals, palaeontologist Steve Brusatte weaves together the history and evolution of our mammal forebears with stories of the scientists whose fieldwork and discoveries underlie our knowledge, both of iconic mammals like the mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers of which we have all heard, and of fascinating species that few of us are aware of. For what we see today is but a very limited range of the mammals that have existed; in this fascinating and ground-breaking book, Steve Brusatte tells their – and our – story.

The Psychology of Stupidity

by Jean-Francois Marmion

Book cover for The Psychology of Stupidity

Edited by Jean-François Marmion, this dissection of stupidity is brought to you by some of the brightest brains around, including a Nobel Prize winner. The Psychology of Stupidity explains how lazy thinking leads to bad decisions, why even smart people can believe nonsense, how media manipulation makes us all dumber, and the pitfalls of trying to debate with a fool.

The Ship Beneath the Ice

by Mensun Bound

Book cover for The Ship Beneath the Ice

On 21 November 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, sank beneath the ice of the most hostile sea on Earth. While the miraculous survival of all those on board has entered legend, the iconic ship that bore them to the brink of the Antarctic was considered forever lost . . . until March 2022.

Including countless fascinating stories of Shackleton and his ship, photographs from Shackleton's original voyage and from the legendary recovery expedition itself; in The Ship beneath the Ice, the Director of Exploration tells the story of the monumental discovery in his own words.

The Reluctant Carer

by The Reluctant Carer

Book cover for The Reluctant Carer

The phone rings. Your elderly father has been taken to hospital, and your even older mother is home with nobody to look after her. What do you do? Drop everything and go and help of course. But it's not that straightforward, and your own life starts to fall apart as quickly as their health. This funny, deeply honest and moving book is a love letter to family, to all carers, and to anyone who has packed a bag to help out for a few days and found they are back to stay. 

The Book of Minds

by Philip Ball

Book cover for The Book of Minds

Philosophers have spent centuries trying to understand the workings of the human mind. But, asks award-winning science writer Philip Ball, what about the non-human mind? His contention is that we need to move on from considering the human mind as the standard to judge all others. And that the more we understand about the minds of other creatures, from octopuses to chimpanzees – as well as the potential minds of computers and aliens – the more we begin to see and comprehend our own.

Kurashi at Home

by Marie Kondo

Book cover for Kurashi at Home

Create an oasis of calm and find what sparks your joy with the first full-colour, beautifully photographed guide from Marie Kondo. Over a decade on from the launch of her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo is back with new wisdom on how to transform your life and home into spaces of calm. This guide introduces the concept of kurashi – meaning way of life – and encourages readers to spend every day in the pursuit of joy, moving her focus from the physical act of tidying towards an even more holistic and personal approach to curating our environments.

The Colour of Madness

by Samara Linton

Book cover for The Colour of Madness

and Rianna Walcott

Statistics show that people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds in the UK have not only experienced inadequate mental health treatment in comparison to their white counterparts, but are also more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act. People of colour are consistently fighting to be heard, believed, and offered help beyond the need for ticking off diversity boxes.

A compelling collection of memoir, essays, poetry, short fiction and artwork, this book will bring solace to those who have shared similar experiences, and provide a powerful insight into the everyday impact of racism for those looking to further understand and combat this injustice.

In Defence of Witches

by Mona Chollet

Book cover for In Defence of Witches

Who is a witch? In Defence of Witches recasts the term 'witch' into a powerful role model to women today, as an emblem of power free to exist beyond the narrow limits society imposes on women. 

Witches are everywhere, whether they are casting spells on Donald Trump or posting photos of their crystal-adorned altar on Instagram. But who were the predecessors of these modern witches? Historically accused of witchcraft, often meeting violent ends, many types of women have been censored, eliminated, repressed, over the centuries. Mona Chollet shows that by considering the lives of those who dared to live differently, we can learn more about the richness of roles available, just how many different things a woman can choose to be.

Scary Smart

by Mo Gawdat

Book cover for Scary Smart

In Scary Smart, The former chief business officer of Google outlines how artificial intelligence is way smarter than us, and is predicted to be a billion times more intelligent than humans by 2049. Free from distractions and working at incredible speeds, AI can look into the future and make informed predictions, looking around corners both real and virtual. But AI also gets so much wrong. Because humans design the algorithms that form AI, there are imperfect flaws embedded within them that reflect the imperfection of humans. Mo Gawdat, drawing on his unparalleled expertise in the field, outlines how and why we must alter the terrifying trajectory of AI development and teach ourselves and our machines to live better. 

Mo Gawdat is my life guru. His writing, his ideas and his generosity in sharing them has changed my life for the better in so many ways. Everything he writes is an enlightening education in how to be human.
Elizabeth Day

The Yoga Manifesto

by Nadia Gilani

Book cover for The Yoga Manifesto

How did an ancient spiritual practice become the preserve of the privileged?

Nadia Gilani is a yoga teacher, and has also been practising yoga for 25 years. Yoga has saved her life and seen her through many highs and lows; it has been a faith, a discipline, and a friend. But as yoga's popularity rose, Nadia also noticed how its modern incarnation no longer serves people of colour, working class people, or many other groups who originally pioneered its creation.

The Yoga Manifesto is both a love letter to yoga and a passionate critique of the billion-dollar industry that has shut out many of those it should be helping. In this vital read, Nadia explores where the industry has gone wrong, and what can be done to save the practice from its own success.

Empire of Pain

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Book cover for Empire of Pain

Described by the Washington Post as 'one of the most anticipated books of this spring', Empire of Pain is the story of three generations of the Sackler family, and their role in the stories of Valium and Oxycontin . . .

As one of the richest families in the world, the Sacklers are known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that they were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis – an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people.

This masterpiece of narrative reporting is the secret history of the Sackler dynasty.

Making It

by Jay Blades

Book cover for Making It

Making It is an inspirational memoir about beating the odds and turning things around even when it all seems hopeless. 

In this book, Jay Blades reflects on strength, weakness and what it means to be a man.He shares the details of his life, from his childhood growing up sheltered and innocent on a council estate in Hackney, to his adolescence when he was introduced to violent racism at secondary school, to being brutalized by police as a teen, to finally becoming a beloved star of the hit primetime show The Repair Shop.

With Jay's positivity, pragmatism and kindness shining through every page, he shows that with care and love, anything can be mended.

Read our interview with Jay here, as he tells us how hard work and 'mistakes' have been the making of him.

The Sleeping Beauties

by Suzanne O'Sullivan

Book cover for The Sleeping Beauties

In Sweden, refugee children fall asleep for months and years at a time. In upstate New York, high school students develop contagious seizures. In the US Embassy in Cuba, employees complain of headaches and memory loss after hearing strange noises in the night.

These disparate cases are some of the most remarkable diagnostic mysteries of the twenty-first century, as both doctors and scientists have struggled to explain them and – more crucially – to treat them. 

Inspired by a poignant encounter with the sleeping refugee children of Sweden, neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan travels the world to visit other communities who have also been subject to outbreaks of so-called ‘mystery’ illnesses.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

by Emmanuel Acho

Book cover for Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

This timely non-fiction book on race and racism from the host of the viral video series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man is an essential guide to systemic racism and how to address it. Emmanuel  Acho takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white people are afraid to ask – yet which everyone needs the answers to, now more than ever.

Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain

by Lisa Feldman Barrett

Book cover for Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain

In seven short essays about that big grey blob between your ears, neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett explores the origins and structure of the brain, as well as shelving popular myths about the alleged battle between thoughts and emotions, or between nature and nurture. Sure to intrigue casual readers and scientific veterans alike, the book is full of surprises, humour and revelations about human nature.

It's Not About the Burqa

by Mariam Khan

Book cover for It's Not About the Burqa

Mariam Khan brings together the voices of seventeen Muslim women living in the west in the twenty-first century. The women tackle issues from arranged marriage to queer identity, racism to wavering faith. Each essay is a passionate call to end the oppression, misogyny and Islamophobia that Muslim women face in western society.

Watch the contributors to It’s Not About the Burqa discuss what it means to be a Muslim woman.

Bad Blood

by John Carreyrou

Book cover for Bad Blood

How far can you get with no expertise, technology that doesn’t work, and an extraordinary sales pitch? Disturbingly far. Bad Blood is the story of one of the biggest corporate fraud cases of the 21st century. Journalist John Carreyrou explores the rise and shocking fall of tech start-up Theranos, which was valued at $9 billion based on its innovative medical technology before it was all revealed to be a lie.

Read everything you need to know about the Theranos scandal.

Queer Intentions

by Amelia Abraham

Book cover for Queer Intentions

What is it like to be queer in the 21st century? With gay marriage legal in many countries across the west, and brands embracing pride celebrations, some might think it’s an easy life. Amelia Abrahams’s book delves into the experiences of those across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, beyond these positive but limited changes, and reveals the battles for progress queer communities continue to fight.

The best non-fiction books about science

A Brief History of Black Holes

by Dr Becky Smethurst

Book cover for A Brief History of Black Holes

Right now, you are orbiting a black hole. The Earth goes around the Sun, and the Sun goes around the centre of the Milky Way: a supermassive black hole – the strangest and most misunderstood phenomenon in the galaxy. 

In A Brief History of Black Holes University of Oxford astrophysicist, Dr Becky Smethurst shares why black holes aren’t really ‘black’, that you never ever want to be ‘spaghettified’, and why beyond the event horizon, the future is a direction in space rather than in time. Full of wit and learning, this captivating book explains why black holes contain the secrets to the most profound questions about our universe.

How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch

by Harry Cliff

Book cover for How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch

‘If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.’ - Carl Sagan

Inspired by Sagan’s famous line, Harry Cliff ventures out in search of the ultimate apple pie recipe, tracing the ingredients of our universe through the hearts of dying stars and back in time to a tiny fraction of a second after our universe began. If you've ever wondered what matter is really made of, or how our world began after the Big Bang, or what the very first moments of our universe looked like – then this is the book for you.

The best biographies, autobiographies and memoirs

Scenes from My Life

by Michael K. Williams

Book cover for Scenes from My Life

When Michael K. Williams died on 6 September 2021, he left behind a career as one of the most electrifying actors of his generation. At the time of his death, Williams had nearly finished his memoir, which traces his life in whole, from his childhood and his early years as a dancer to his battles with addiction. Alongside his achievements on screen he was a committed activist who dedicated his life to helping at-risk young people find their voice and carve out their future. Imbued with poignance and raw honesty, Scenes from My Life is the story of a performer who gave his all to everything he did – in his own voice, in his own words.

Rogues

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Book cover for Rogues

From forgers to money launderers to arms merchants and those on death row, this is a book about behaving badly. Award-winning and hypnotically brilliant New Yorker writer Patrick Radden Keefe takes readers on a gripping but also humane trip into the psyches of those who society would rather forget. With global reach and meticulous research, this is a bravura piece of journalism. 

Every Good Boy Does Fine

by Jeremy Denk

Book cover for Every Good Boy Does Fine

A New York Times bestseller, this uniquely illuminating memoir is the story of the making of a musician, in which renowned pianist Jeremy Denk explores what he learned from his teachers about classical music: its forms, its power, its meaning - and what it can teach us about ourselves.

Brown Baby

by Nikesh Shukla

Book cover for Brown Baby

This heart wrenching but hilarious memoir is dedicated to Nikesh’s two daughters, and explores themes of racism, feminism and parenting as Nikesh struggles to prepare his children for a world that is racist, sexist and facing climate crisis. Faced with all this, it can be hard to find hope, and even joy, in the world but through love, grief, food and fatherhood Nikesh shows it is possible. 

Butterfly

by Yusra Mardini

Book cover for Butterfly

After fleeing her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015, Yusra Mardini boarded a small dinghy full of refugees headed for Greece. On the journey, the boat's engine cut out. It started to sink. Seventeen-year-old Yusra, her sister, and two others took to the water to push the overcrowded boat for three and a half hours in open water. Eventually, they managed to land on Lesbos, with Yusra and the others having saved the lives of those on board. 

Butterfly is Yusra Mardini's journey from war-torn Damascus to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as a swimmer competing in the 100m butterfly. A UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and one of People magazine's 25 Women Changing the World, discover Yusra and her incredible story of resilience and unstoppable spirit.

This Is Going to Hurt

by Adam Kay

Book cover for This Is Going to Hurt

This is Going To Hurt began life as a comedy show inspired by the junior doctors’ strike and is Adam Kay’s no-holds-barred account of his life as a junior doctor. Written in secret  between gruelling hospital shifts, the book is by turns shocking, sad and laugh-out-loud funny, while telling you everything you ever need to know - and more - about life on a hospital ward. Highlighting the long hours, poor pay and staffing problems caused by underfunding, this is a must-read for anyone who values the NHS.

Brown Girl Like Me

by Jaspreet Kaur

Book cover for Brown Girl Like Me

Equal parts memoir and manifesto, Jaspreet Kaur equips women with the confidence and skillset they need to navigate the difficulties that come with an intersectional identity.

Pulling no punches, and tackling topics from mental health and menstruation stigma to education and beauty standards, Brown Girl Like Me will educate, inspire and spark urgent conversations for change; essential reading for South Asian women and people with an interest in feminism and cultural issues.

Stronger

by Poorna Bell

Book cover for Stronger

Poorna Bell’s journey to get strong began when – following the death of her husband, Rob – she realized that she had been relying on the men in her life to take out the bins, carry the luggage and move furniture. Poorna is now a competitive amateur power-lifter and the strongest she has ever been. This inspiring non-fiction book is part memoir and part manifesto, starting a conversation about women’s mental and physical strength and fitness which has nothing to do with weight loss. 

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands

by Mary Seacole

Book cover for Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands

Mary Seacole was a fiercely independent self-funded entrepreneur from Jamaica. A trained nurse, she was desperate to offer help during the Crimean War, but was denied work by officials and by Florence Nightingale. Mary knew what she wanted to achieve and wouldn’t let anything stand in her way, so she set up her famous hotel for British soldiers, offering respite from the front line. Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands is her gutsy autobiography.


Hope Not Fear

by Hassan Akkad

Book cover for Hope Not Fear

Despite having experienced the unimaginable, BAFTA award-winner Hassan Akkad holds onto hope and demonstrates the kindness humanity is capable of every day. Hope Not Fear details both Hassan's life in Syria before the war and his perilous journey to the UK as an asylum-seeker, followed by his experiences from the Covid-19 frontline as an NHS cleaner at a London hospital. His account of the pandemic has even driven a government U-turn on the exclusion of the families of NHS cleaners and porters from its bereavement compensation scheme. Hassan's story of triumph over adversity by standing together, united in kindness and love, is the most important message of our time. 

Discover more of the best autobiographies and biographies.

The most inspirational non-fiction books

No Friend but the Mountains

by Behrouz Boochani

Book cover for No Friend but the Mountains

When Behrouz came to Australia seeking asylum he was wrongly incarcerated and found himself entirely stateless and alone. He wrote this book by sending one text at a time in Farsi from his cell in the detention centre, knowing that his story was also the story of so many others that had gone unheard.

Learn more about Behrouz’s story here.

The Happiest Man on Earth

by Eddie Jaku

Book cover for The Happiest Man on Earth

This heartbreaking yet hopeful memoir shows us how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times. In November 1938, Eddie Jaku was beaten, arrested and taken to a German concentration camp. He endured unimaginable horrors for the next seven years and lost family, friends and his country.  But he survived. And because he survived, he vowed to smile every day. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’. This is his story. 

Your Story Matters

by Nikesh Shukla

Book cover for Your Story Matters

Nikesh Shukla knows from first-hand experience that each voice has the power to make a difference in the world. As an author, writing mentor and bestselling editor of essay collection The Good Immigrant, Shukla aims to hone readers' skills and writing practices. This is a practical guide – complete with exercises and prompts – enabling you to figure out which story you want to tell, how you want to tell it and how to employ your authentic voice to do so. 

Non-fiction books about the environment and the natural world

Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

by Amanda Owen

Book cover for Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

From the rural heart of Swaledale, Yorkshire shepherdess Amanda Owen shares stories of life with a large family and a large herd of sheep, as the year turns from lambing to haymaking to midwinter feeds in the snow. From leaping hares to rare moorland flowers, her beautiful photos help bring the text to life, as do the interspersed recipes for the seasonal meals she feeds her family. Yorkshire curd tart anyone?

A World on the Wing

by Charles Scott Weidensaul

Book cover for A World on the Wing

This is the rousing story of the billions of birds that, despite the numerous obstacles we have placed in their path, continue to head to the far horizon. The past two decades have seen an explosion in our understanding of the feats of endurance and complexity involved in bird migration. A World on the Wing sees Pulitzer Prize-shortlisted writer and ornithologist Scott Weidensaul track some of the most remarkable flights undertaken by birds around the world.

A Bigger Picture

by Vanessa Nakate

Book cover for A Bigger Picture

Despite contributing the least to climate change and suffering from it the most, people of colour and from the Global South are often omitted from conversations surrounding the topic. In A Bigger Picture, Vanessa Nakate shows the dramatic consequences for the climate if this gap is not addressed. 

Uganda's first climate striker at just twenty-one-years old, Vanessa is an exceptional voice and here she reveals the links between climate crisis and anti-racism, feminism, education, economics and even extremist radicalisation. Vanessa's relentless courage shows readers that no matter your age, background or skin colour, you can be a meaningful climate activist. 

Green Living Made Easy

by Nancy Birtwhistle

Book cover for Green Living Made Easy

Many of us would like to switch to greener ways of living, but it can be hard to know where to start. Great British Bake Off winner Nancy Birtwhistle makes the process easy with 101 super-helpful tips and hacks about upcycling, gardening in a tiny space, creative crafting, eco cleaning (including the recipe for her Pure Magic cleaning spray) and much more. This clear, clever and beautifully illustrated book will launch you on the sustainable lifestyle you've been aspiring to.

The best history books

Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries

by Kate Mosse

Book cover for Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries

Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries is a celebration of unheard and under-heard women’s history. Within these pages you’ll meet nearly 1000 women whose names deserve to be better known: from the Mothers of Invention and the trailblazing women at the Bar; warrior queens and pirate commanders; the women who dedicated their lives to the natural world or to medicine; those women of courage who resisted and fought for what they believed; to the unsung heroes of stage, screen and stadium. Joyous, celebratory and engaging, this is a book for everyone who has ever wondered how history is made.

For more inspiration, discover all of Kate Mosse's books in order

Black Voices on Britain

by Hakim Adi

Book cover for Black Voices on Britain

In this compelling anthology, Professor Hakim Adi collates published works by Black voices who lived, worked, campaigned and travelled in Britain from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Hailing from England, America, Africa and the Caribbean, these authors each describe powerful experiences and offer a fascinating and thought-provoking portrayal of Black experiences in Britain.

Tutankhamun's Trumpet

by Toby Wilkinson

Book cover for Tutankhamun's Trumpet

This year marks 100 years since Howard Carter first peered into the newly opened tomb of ancient Egyptian boy-king, Tutankhamun. When asked if he could see anything, he replied: ‘Yes, yes, wonderful things.’

In Tutankhamun’s Trumpet, acclaimed Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson takes the objects buried with the king as the source material for a wide-ranging, detailed portrait of ancient Egypt – its geography, history, culture and legacy. One hundred artefacts from the tomb, arranged in ten thematic groups, are allowed to speak again – not only for themselves, but as witnesses of the civilization that created them.

A House Through Time

Book cover for A House Through Time

Historian and award-winning TV presenter David Olusoga and research consultant Melanie Backe-Hansen offer readers the tools to explore the histories of their own homes, as well as giving a vivid history of British cities, industry, disease and class. Packed with remarkable human stories, A House Through Time is an intimate history of ordinary lives through extraordinary buildings across Britain.

A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth

by Henry Gee

Book cover for A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth

This lyrical and moving account takes us back to the early history of the earth, a wildly inhospitable place with swirling seas, constant volcanic eruptions and an unstable atmosphere. The triumph of life as it emerges, survives and evolves in this hostile setting is Henry Gee's riveting subject: he traces the story of life on earth from its turbulent beginnings to the emergence of early hominids and the miracle of the first creatures to fly. You'll never look at our planet in the same way again.

Don’t miss our edit of the best history books

The best political books and legal books

The Fall of Boris Johnson

by Sebastian Payne

Book cover for The Fall of Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was touted as the saviour of the country and the Conservative Party, obtaining a huge commons majority and finally getting Brexit done. But within three short years, he was deposed in disgrace, leaving the country in crisis. Sebastian Payne, Whitehall Editor for the Financial Times, tells the essential behind-the-scenes story, charting the betrayals, rivalries and resignations that resulted in the dramatic Conservative coup and set in motion events that saw the party sink to catastrophic new lows.

Broken Heartlands

by Sebastian Payne

Book cover for Broken Heartlands

Labour could once rely on the red wall – the vote in the Midlands and the North of England – but in 2019 the region swung to the Conservatives, and Labour's grip was broken. Through interviews with local people and with major figures such as Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson, Payne gets to the core of this key political upheaval by exploring the reasons for this dramatic change in the political landscape of the United Kingdom, from Brexit to the changing nature of work.

Antisocial

by Andrew Marantz

Book cover for Antisocial

For several years Andrew Marantz immersed himself in the world of America’s alt-right, seeing first-hand how they use social media to advance their corrosive agenda, as well as meeting the social media entrepreneurs whose reckless ambition made this possible. Antisocial is the result – a shocking look at the changing political landscape in the face of ‘fake-news’ and fringe ideas going viral.

The best sports books

The Inner Game of Tennis

by W Timothy Gallwey

Book cover for The Inner Game of Tennis

Recently named by Bill Gates as one of his 'all-time favourite books', and described by Billie Jean King as her 'tennis bible', this bestseller has been a must-read for tennis players of all abilities for nearly fifty years. Rather than concentrating on how to improve technique, Gallwey deals with the 'inner game' within ourselves as we try to overcome doubt and maintain clarity of mind when playing. 'It’s the best book on tennis that I have ever read,' says Gates, 'and its profound advice applies to many other parts of life.'

Groundbreaking . . . It’s the best book on tennis that I have ever read, and its profound advice applies to many other parts of life. I still give it to friends today.
Bill Gates

Belonging: The Autobiography

by Alun Wyn Jones

Book cover for Belonging: The Autobiography

Belonging is the story of how Alun Wyn Jones left Mumbles as a talented young sportsman, and became the most capped rugby player ever. His rugby journey started with him mesmerised in the school hall watching the 1997 Lions Tour of South Africa, and culminated when he was named 2021 Lions Captain. Central to Wyn Jones' story is the concept of perthyn, or belonging – to his country, and to the clubs and regional teams he worked his way up through. Bracingly honest, this is a tale of what it means to play for your nation, and what it means to belong.

Too Many Reasons to Live

by Rob Burrow

Book cover for Too Many Reasons to Live

The inspirational memoir from rugby league legend Rob Burrow on his extraordinary career and his battle with motor neurone disease.

This is the story of a tiny kid who adored rugby league but never should have made it  and ended up in the Leeds hall of fame. It's the story of a man who resolved to turn a terrible predicament into something positive  when he could have thrown the towel in. It's about the power of love, between Rob and his childhood sweetheart Lindsey; and of friendship, between Rob and his faithful team mates. Far more than a sports memoir, Too Many Reasons to Live is a story of boundless courage and infinite kindness.

Discover our edit of the best sports books and autobiographies.

The best self-help books

The Greatest Self-Help Book (is the one written by you)

by Vex King

Book cover for The Greatest Self-Help Book (is the one written by you)

From Sunday Times bestselling author of Good Vibes, Good Life and Healing is the New High, Vex King and social media star Kaushal, this is a journal like no other. Filled with exercises, activities and visual prompts, it will help you to understand and regulate your emotions, maintain habits that work for you, shift negative mindsets and cultivate positive thought patterns, build self-awareness and carve out time to practise self-love and gratitude. Think of this as your companion to help you build a healthier relationship with yourself and others; The Greatest Self-Help Book is the one written by you.

Platonic

by Marisa G. Franco, PhD

Book cover for Platonic

When was the last time you put yourself out there to make a new friend? For many of us, the answer is too long ago. In Platonic, Dr Marisa G. Franco explains how the undervaluing of friendship in our culture has led to an epidemic of isolation, and what we can do about it. Platonic teaches us to identify and understand our individual attachment styles and why exploring how we behave in relationships is the key to unlocking what we’re doing right (and what we could do better) in our friendships. This book is the ultimate guide to learning how we make and keep friends for life.

That Little Voice In Your Head

by Mo Gawdat

Book cover for That Little Voice In Your Head

Mo Gawdat's That Little Voice in Your Head is a practical guide to rewiring your brain for joy. He reveals that by talking down the negative voice within, we can change the way we think, turn greed into kindness, transform apathy into compassionate action and create our own happiness. Gawdat's brain exercises draw on his experience as a former Google engineer and Chief Business Officer, as well as from his neuroscience studies. And he explains how – despite their complexity – our brains generally behave in predictable ways. Drawing inspiration from the life of his late son, Gawdat has written a manual for happiness that is steeped in empathy.

Cracking the Menopause

by Mariella Frostrup

Book cover for Cracking the Menopause

Deploying straight-talking but humorous prose, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and health journalist Alice Smellie aim to get us talking about the menopause. With the latest science, expert advice and personal stories, this book is crammed with information for something that half the population will experience, but which hardly anyone wants to discuss. 

Featuring case studies from women in every walk of life and all stages of their menopause journey, you'll find wise words and enlightenment throughout, whether you're entering the perimenopause or have been experiencing symptoms for years, this essential book separates the myths from the reality and offers expertise, hope and advice.

The Kindness Method

by Shahroo Izadi

Book cover for The Kindness Method

In these difficult times, we could all benefit from showing ourselves a little kindness. If you want to use this time to make a change, Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi believes there’s only one way to make change last, and that’s to be kind to yourself. The Kindness Method was developed through a combination of professional training and personal experience and will leave you feeling empowered, positive and ready to make a change, whether it’s weight loss, cutting down on alcohol or improving your relationships.

Here, Shahroo shares five ways to be kinder to yourself today. 

For more inspiring reads, don’t miss the best self-care books. 


In this episode of Book Break, Emma takes a look at some of the weird and wonderful non-fiction books you may not have heard of: