Featured Image

Top 10 Best Non-Fiction Reads Recommended by Real Students

List produced by the Users more info

  • 1. Atomic Habits by James Clear
    This transformative guide delves into the science of habit formation and offers practical strategies to create positive and lasting changes. Clear's approach emphasizes the incremental power of small actions, demonstrating how tiny habits, when consistently practiced, can lead to significant personal and professional growth over time.

    What students are saying:
    "This book helped me reshape my mindset and habits." — Miracle O.

    "Master the art of small habits for big life changes." — Ehthadah H., Iowa

    "It provides great advice for pursuing and achieving goals." — Katherine H., Florida

    Author's education: Biomechanics: Denison University (Granville, OH)
  • 2. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
    This personal finance classic contrasts the financial philosophies of the author's "rich dad" and "poor dad." Through their differing approaches to money, assets, and investing, Kiyosaki imparts essential lessons about financial literacy, emphasizing the importance of building assets, passive income, and changing one's mindset to achieve greater financial independence.

    What students are saying:
    "I would recommend it to any friend who wants to gain a foundation in finance." — Ethan B., Pennsylvania

    "Literacy is the key to success not understood by most people." — Sarah L., Washington

    "It's great to help you become financially independent and pursue your actual dreams." — Arieanna N., Florida

    Author's education: United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, NY)
  • 3. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    This book explores the principles of power dynamics and manipulation throughout history. Learn concise strategies and anecdotes to navigate and understand the often complex and ruthless nature of power in various social, political, and interpersonal contexts.

    What students are saying:
    "The book focuses on laws that you can apply to your life." — Brad L., Utah

    "It's a strong tool to teach people how to be successful." — Brandon A. Jr., South Carolina

    "It teaches you how to think steps ahead in life." — Romanson S.

    Author's education: Classical Studies: University of Wisconsin—Madison (Madison, WI)
  • 4. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
    Noah's captivating memoir chronicles his upbringing in apartheid-era South Africa, where his existence as a mixed-race child of a Black mother and White father was considered illegal. He humorously and poignantly navigates his experiences of identity, resilience, and the complexities of race and culture under the backdrop of a deeply divided society.

    What students are saying:
    "It empowers people to face the challenges life throws at them." — Hannah E., Texas

    "It's a comedic yet sentimental book." — Anna R., Oregon

    "This book helps people be comfortable with themselves." — Zekel T., Florida

    Author's education: Maryvale College (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • 5. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
    This heartwarming memoir recounts Albom's visits with his former college professor, Morrie Schwartz, during the last months of Morrie's life. Through their poignant conversations, Morrie imparts profound life lessons on topics like love, work, aging, and death as insights into living a meaningful and fulfilling life.

    What students are saying:
    "It reminds us to live." — Jennifer N., California

    "Wonderful book with excellent teachings and touches the heart." — Miranda L., Texas

    "It changed my life by showing me the real importance of love." — Caitlyn M., New York

    Author's education: Sociology: Brandeis University (Waltham, MA)
  • 6. Educated by Tara Westover
    This compelling memoir details Westover's childhood in a strict, isolated survivalist family in rural Idaho and her pursuit of education against tremendous odds. It explores themes of resilience, self-discovery, and the transformative power of education and finding one's own path in the world.

    What students are saying:
    "It truly changed the way I view the world." — Bryson J., Arizona

    "A life experience complete with trauma, curiosity, and liberation." — Gabrielle K.

    "There is a valuable message that freedom is found through knowledge." — Ayisha N., Pennsylvania

    Author's education: History: Brigham Young University—Provo (Provo, UT)
  • 7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    This timeless self-help classic offers practical advice on effective communication, building relationships, and winning people over to your perspective. Drawing on principles of empathy, genuine interest, and positive reinforcement, it provides actionable strategies to enhance interpersonal skills and achieve personal and professional success.

    What students are saying:
    "Following practices in this book reduced my social anxiety." — Wang N., California

    "This book changed my life and can change yours too." — Aaron C., New York

    "It's a great book to read as college prep." — Aubree B., California

    Author's education: Warrensburg Teacher's College: University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg, MO)
  • 8. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
    In this motivational memoir, Goggins recounts his remarkable journey from a troubled childhood and obesity to becoming a Navy SEAL, ultra-endurance athlete, and motivational speaker. His story inspires readers to push past mental barriers, embrace discomfort, and cultivate a relentless mindset to achieve their fullest potential.

    What students are saying:
    "It's all about self-improvement and the effort you can truly give." — Evan S., North Carolina

    "This book is about finding your true limits in life." — Cody L., South Carolina

    "A remarkable memoir that will leave you inspired and motivated." — Mason D., Nevada

    Author's training: Navy Seals
  • 9. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
    This powerful memoir sheds light on systemic injustices within the criminal justice system, focusing on Stevenson's experiences as a lawyer advocating for marginalized individuals, particularly those facing wrongful convictions and harsh sentences. The book poignantly highlights the urgent need for compassion, reform, and equity in the pursuit of true justice.

    What students are saying:
    "It's an exposé of our flawed justice system, inspiring compassion and calling for change." — Abena S., New York

    "It forces you to re-examine your worldview and the US justice system." — Tirza P., California

    Author's education: Philosophy: Eastern University (St. Davids, PA)
  • 10. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
    In this poignant memoir by a neurosurgeon diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Kalanithi grapples with his own mortality and strives to find meaning in the face of death. The book chronicles his reflections on life, mortality, and the intersection of medicine and the human experience.

    What students are saying:
    "It portrays the struggles and victories associated with the life of a doctor." — Aderinsola A.

    "Thought-provoking, sad, but forces introspection." — Elizabeth B., Georgia

    "A memoir so gripping, I finished it on a two-hour bus ride." — Maria A., Washington

    Author's education: English Literature and Human Biology: Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

Source: CX Student Users

Want more information on how this list was compiled? Find out more about where our Lists & Rankings come from.

About This List

We asked the CollegeXpress student community what book they’d recommend to a friend to read in 2023, and we were blown away by the number of responses we received. We couldn’t keep these amazing books just between us, bestie. We had to share them with you! Out of 15,500+ entries, these are the top 10 non-fiction books recommended by students like you (or maybe even you, yourself). Check out which titles made the cut, where their authors went to college, who achieved success without a formal education, and why students are raving about these stories to help you decide what you’re adding to your reading list.

Non-fiction not your genre? Don’t worry! We also have lists of the Top 15 Most Popular Fiction Books and the Top 10 Best Classic Novels Recommended by Real Students if those are more your literary style. And keep an eye out for more one-question scholarships and surveys from CX for a chance to get a recommendation of yours added to a future list!

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress