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5 of the Best Non-Business Books to Inspire Your Life and Career

Topics: Career Advice
Image Credit: Glen Noble/Unsplash

Sometimes, the greatest wisdom can be found in the most obscure places. For instance, some of the best career advice you’ll ever get is from books shelved far away from the business section of your local bookstore.

For example:

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

Starting off as a blog with only a few hundred followers, Humans of New York quickly became a worldwide sensation read by millions. Photographer Brandon Stanton captures the humanness of everyday people around New York and tells their stories of triumph, heartbreak, adversity, and love. This book, with its captivating images and incredible stories, is sure to pull on your heartstrings and reconnect you with what it is to be human again — which often gets lost in the monotony and stress of everyday life.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Set on the front lines of German-occupied France, The Nightingale tells the story of how two sisters interpret and deal with World War II in their own unique ways. Part of what makes this story so great is that the reader gets to see war from a woman’s perspective for once, giving the reader a glimpse into what the other half of war looked like back home. This novel truly captures stories of love and loss, but, most importantly, the resilience of the human spirit.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield

Considered one of the most seasoned and accomplished astronauts in the world, Chris Hadfield shows readers how to make the impossible possible by thinking like an astronaut. The unconventional platform Hadfield uses is what makes this book so captivating and addicting — if you’ve ever seen a space exploration movie, then you know what I’m talking about. Hadfield not only takes readers on a journey through space, but also an exploration of the human condition.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

We could all use a bit more happiness in our lives, right? After having an epiphany one day, Gretchen Rubin realized that she wasn’t focusing on the important things in life and decided that she wanted to be happier — so Rubin embarked on a 12-month journey to test out different schools of thought on attaining happiness. What she discovered was “novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference” (Amazon).

Think, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

International bestselling author, renowned psychologist, and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman explores the two systems that control the way the human brain thinks, one fast and one slow. This book will help readers understand why and how they make choices so that they can learn from their mistakes and become better decision-makers in the future.

While conventional leadership and business books are great for expanding your mind as a professional, sometimes you need a good non-business book to provide you with a fresh perspective on the world. A great deal of growing as a professional involves maturing as an individual, so don’t be afraid to curl up with an unconventional book to help you expand your horizons.

Tell Us What You Think

What other books have helped you develop as a person and a professional? Share your suggestions with our community on Twitter, or leave your recommendations below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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