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New Nonfiction Books – September 2016

new nonfiction books - September 2016

I’m a huge fan of reading list newsletters. A few of my favorites are Ryan Holiday, Adam Grant and Steve Rushing. However, other than Adam Grant providing some recommendations on new releases, I haven’t found anyone who highlights new nonfiction books that are coming out monthly.

So I’m trying to fix that.

I scour the usual sites like Amazon, Publisher’s Weekly and iBooks for new nonfiction books that pique my interest. I also keep a running list on Google docs of any books that I’m looking forward to as they cross my radar. As of today my list extends to June 2017.

So here are my top recommendations for the best new nonfiction books coming out in September 2016.

If you know of any nonfiction books that I missed that are in similar categories let me know on Twitter at GLRWriter.


A Farewell to Ice – Peter Wadhams
If the leading expert on the polar regions – someone who has been there some 50 times over his 45+ year career – has something to say about the state of those areas and what it means for the planet in general we should listen.


Pre-suasion – Robert Cialdini
Social psychologist Robert Cialdini literally wrote the book on persuasion – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – if you haven’t read it do so right now, I’ll be here when you get back. He’s back with why what you do before you try to influence someone can make all the difference.

A Field Guide to Lies – Daniel J. Levitin
Have you seen this quote on the internet – “The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln. There are so many bad arguments and creative stats in support of them that being able to think critically is a rapidly decreasing skill. Levitin, author of The Organized Mind, is here to the rescue in his latest book.

The 37th Parallel – Ben Mezrich
If the truth is out there this latest work from Mezrich is sure to shed some light on paranormal events along the “UFO Highway” and the man who made it his life’s mission to find out if we truly are alone in the universe.

Hitler: Ascent – Volker Ullrich
This penetrating biography of one of history’s most heinous leaders is required reading for serious WWII buffs.

Emotional Agility – Susan David
What if how we deal with our inner emotions is the true driver of our success? Psychologist Susan David argues that it is this ability that can lead to lasting behavior change as we all try to deal with an uncertain world.

The Cheat Code – Brian Wong
What if everyone is running a marathon and you can reach the finish line after only a 100 meter sprint? Entrepreneur Wong thinks he can bounce you up a few rungs on the ladder of success using his counterintuitive insights. Sure to speak to fans of Shane Snow’s Smartcuts and Liz Wiseman’s Rookie Smarts.

Chase the Lion – Mark Batterson
Make your dreams so big that only with the grace of God can you achieve them.

Weapons of Math Destruction – Cathy O’Neil
What if Big Data isn’t the cure-all we have all been promised? O’Neil rips open the black box of data’s dark side and reveals how unchecked algorithms can have devastating consequences.

She Made Me Laugh – Richard Cohen
A touching, tender and tough look at the life of Nora Ephron by her dear friend author Richard Cohen.

The Red Bandana – Tom Rinaldi
The heroic actions of one man on 9/11 and what it can teach us all about sacrifice, bravery and the power of character.

Words on the Move – John McWhorter
The evolution of the English language and the surprising lessons these changes have had on us and how we communicate.

Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly
The history of an unknown group of black female mathematicians who played significant roles in NASA’s success after World War II.

Strangers in Their Own Land – Arlie Russell Hochschild
You don’t learn about the American Right from Berkeley, California, so noted sociologist Hochschild went to Louisiana bayou country to understand a different America than that of her Northern California home. I’m looking forward to this one.


Directed by Purpose – Michael Stawicki
How focusing on one thing in a modern world based on distraction can change your life as it did for the author Stawicki.


The Jane Austen Writers’ Club – Rebecca Smith
Lessons and inspiration for all writers from a direct descendent of the great author.


Digital Freedom – Hung Pham & Matt Stone
A roadmap for those looking to break the chains of their 9-5 careers and use the internet to live the life of their dreams.


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
I suppose the title says it all. How about a little tough love in tough times. Sure to be filled with things we don’t want to hear, but probably need to if we want to succeed regardless of what life throws at us.

The Hidden Life of Trees – Peter Wohlleben
Who knew the life of trees so closely mirrors our own. Prepare to be shocked by the amazing world we see every day but truly don’t understand. Perhaps pair with The Forest Unseen or The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees.

Man of the World – Joe Conason
How has former President Bill Clinton spent his post-White House years? For political junkies a detailed look into the life of one of our era’s most intriguing politicians.

The Well-Tempered City – Jonathan F.P. Rose
How urban living and the cities we live in can impact the great social issues of our day.

Original Gangstas – Ben Westhoff
First came the movie on N.W.A., now comes an expansive narrative history of Easy-E, Dre, Cube and all the big names of West Coast rap. Bring that beat back indeed.

The Power of When – Michael Breus
This could be the right time to read this book. Based on research into the field of Chronotype, Dr. Michael Breus lays out his argument on when you do something can be as impactful as doing the thing itself.

Feminist Fight Club – Jessica Bennett
Apparently there is a fight club. Career advice and expert insight make this a must-read for women (and men) in the workplace.

Hustle – Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler
Do we need another book on success? We do if it brings something new to the genre and this book does. The authors argue that the best way to succeed is not wishing and hoping, but hustling and making your own luck and your own rules. A modern update on the new rules of success in a digital age.

Avid Reader – Robert Gottlieb
A fascinating memoir from a legendary editor whose career included working on Catch-22 and editing authors such as Michael Crichton, Toni Morrison and John Cheever.

Wolf Boys – Dan Slater
Drugs, death and lost youth on the US/Mexican border.

Writing Without Bullshit – Josh Bernoff
With so much distraction today, writing to get and hold attention is paramount. Bernoff’s Iron Imperative sums it up: treating your reader’s time as more valuable than your own.

Productivity for Creative People – Mark McGuinness
A roadmap for anyone looking to focus on the stuff that matters in an age where distraction is a click away.


Supremely Partisan – James D. Zirin
The Supreme Court has become more partisan. Thanks Captain Obvious. But why and how should make this an interesting read. Especially for those who can’t get enough of their Notorious RBG.

Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe – Roger Penrose
An eminent physicist critiques theoretical physics in what could be the best title alone this month. I will never understand the math, but when a leading figure in a field argues the emperor may not be wearing clothes it is worth reading.


Atlas Obscura – Joshua Foer & Dylan Thuras
Come visit over 700 of the most peculiar places on Earth with the author of the memory busting bestseller Moonwalking with Einstein. Full disclosure: there is a select group of writers that I would read anything they write. For instance an Adam Grant grocery list or a Dan Pink review on Yelp. Joshua Foer falls into that category.

Hero of the Empire – Candice Millard
Churchill in South Africa during the Boer War. If you thought his WWII exploits were heroic just wait to read what he did as an adventurous 24 year-old.

The Perfect Pass – S.C. Gwynne
Think Moneyball for football. Author Gwynne looks at two men who changed football at all levels. Gwynne is better known for his American history books, but this is sure to include the trifecta of sports, counterintuitive thinking and revolution in a hidebound culture. You had me at Omaha.

Pearl Harbor – Craig Nelson
No, not the one with Ben Affleck. This impressive piece of narrative nonfiction recounts that day of infamy some 75 years later.

Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
How to use design thinking to build the life of your dreams at any age. I have designs on this book.

Now – Richard A. Muller
Want to know what “now” really is in the flow of time? Physicist Muller has a theory ready to share with the world. Catnip for all you armchair physicists out there. Trust me, we do exist in large numbers.

The Growth Mindset Coach – Annie Brock & Heather Hundley
I’m a huge fan of Carol Dweck’s life-changing book Mindset. This new release written by teachers for teachers shows how to instill this way of thinking into any student.

Take Pride – Jessica Tracy
Psychologist Tracy shows how the good aspects of pride can lead to success beyond our wildest dreams and how the bad side of pride can lead to epic failure. And I thought it only came before the fall.

The Fix – Jonathan Tepperman
The subtitle says it all, “How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline.” An umbrella for anyone who watches the news every day and is pounded with story after story that the sky is falling. Perhaps pairs this with The Well-Tempered City (see above) or Abundance by Diamandis and Kotler.

A Truck Full of Money – Tracy Kidder
This tale of brilliance, start-up culture and modern internet business could not be in better hands than Kidder.

Simply Brilliant – William C. Taylor
When the cofounder of Fast Company writes about innovative companies far from what is considered the hub of innovation – yes, I’m looking at you Silicon Valley – you read it. Reminds me of Roadside MBA for innovation.

The Sultan and the Queen – Jerry Brotton
A little known piece of history detailing the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Ottoman Sultan Murad II and the economic and political ties it created between their respective empires.

Modified – Caitlin Shetterly
A deep look into the food we eat and the technology we use to grow it. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) were making Shetterly and her child sick and her pursuit of answers led to this examination of the modern food production issue of our day.

Eyes on the Street – Robert Kanigel
The first biography on Jane Jacobs and the monumental role she played in how we think about urban planning and city life in general.


Breaking the Trance – George T. Lynn & Cynthia C. Johnson
Getting kids away from screens and back to living IRL. Get it.


Time Travel – James Gleick
If Muller is analyzing Now (see above), Gleick is looking at the very idea of time by traveling through it. Mind = Blown.

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
It’s about The Boss written by Springsteen himself, of course you have to read it.

Shirley Jackson – Ruth Franklin
A telling biography of the author of The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House.

So there it is, my personal take on the must-read new nonfiction books coming out in September 2016.

I hope this helps all those die-hard nonfiction fans looking for great stuff to read this month.

Until next month, I’ll keep searching for great reads.

Published in New Nonfiction Books

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