Here are the best new nonfiction books out in May 2017.
If you enjoy nonfiction books on economics, memoirs, popular science, politics, personal development and history, you will find a book worth reading in this reading list.
Nonfiction books released May 1
Peter Georgescu arrived in this country as a penniless Romanian refugee and rose to become the CEO of Young & Rubicam. This is why he’s so heartsick that with flat wages, disappearing jobs, and a shrinking middle class, his kind of rags-to-riches story doesn’t seem possible now. But he has a message for his fellow CEOs: we’re the ones who must take the lead in fixing the economy.
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read.
A firsthand account and incisive analysis of modern protest, revealing internet-fueled social movements’ greatest strengths and frequent challenges.
Nonfiction books released May 2
The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom—and almost got away with it.
What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
From the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behavior, both good and bad, and an answer to the question: Why do we do the things we do?
From the bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia, a piercing account of how the contemporary Arab world came to be riven by catastrophe since the 2003 United States invasion of Iraq.
Having a lot of different interests, projects and curiosities doesn’t make you a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.” Your endless curiosity doesn’t mean you are broken or flaky. What you are is a multipotentialite: someone with many interests and creative pursuits. And that is actually your biggest strength.
A brilliant, illuminating reassessment of the life and work of Jane Austen that makes clear how Austen has been misread for the past two centuries and that shows us how she intended her books to be read, revealing, as well, how subversive and daring–how truly radical–a writer she was.
An indelible portrait of one of the most famous and beloved authors in the canon of American literature—a collection of letters between Harper Lee and one of her closest friends that reveals the famously private writer as never before, in her own words.
Imagine keeping a record of every book you’ve ever read. What would this reading trajectory say about you? With passion, humor, and insight, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life.
With a sharp eye and biting wit, incomparable rising star and cultural observer Scaachi Koul offers a hilarious, scathing, and honest look at modern life.
From Patricia Lockwood—a writer acclaimed for her wildly original voice—a vivid, heartbreakingly funny memoir about balancing identity with family and tradition.
Radical Hope is a collection of letters—to ancestors, to children five generations from now, to strangers in grocery lines, to any and all who feel weary and discouraged—written by award-winning novelists, poets, political thinkers, and activists.
The eye-opening true story of the government’s secret plans to survive and rebuild after a catastrophic attack on US soil—a narrative that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today.
13. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6′ 4″, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian – W. Kamau Bell
You may know W. Kamau Bell from his new, Emmy-nominated hit show on CNN, United Shades of America. Or maybe you’ve read about him in the New York Times, which called him “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.” Or maybe from The New Yorker, fawning over his brand of humor writing: “Bell’s gimmick is intersectional progressivism: he treats racial, gay, and women’s issues as inseparable.”
A timely examination by a leading scientist of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality.
In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.
In The Power of a Plant, globally acclaimed teacher and self-proclaimed CEO (Chief Eternal Optimist) Stephen Ritz shows you how, in one of the nation’s poorest communities, his students thrive in school and in life by growing, cooking, eating, and sharing the bounty of their green classroom.
Nonfiction books released May 3
Disruptive Technologies outlines the steps businesses can take to engage with emerging technologies today in order to serve the consumer of tomorrow.
Nonfiction books released May 4
The Strange Death of Europe is a highly personal account of a continent and culture caught in the act of suicide. Declining birth-rates, mass immigration and cultivated self-distrust and self-hatred have come together to make Europeans unable to argue for themselves and incapable of resisting their own comprehensive change as a society. This book is not only an analysis of demographic and political realities, but also an eyewitness account of a continent in self-destruct mode.
Nonfiction books released May 7
In The San Francisco Fallacy, serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Jonathan Siegel looks at the 10 biggest fallacies that run through startup culture. Over his many years launching companies, he’s fallen victim to what he now recognizes as a series of common errors, misconceptions that bedevil startups to this day. But he also learned how to sidestep and surmount many of these challenges.
Nonfiction books released May 9
In these lively and fascinating essays, scientists from around the world weigh in on the latest advances in the search for intelligent life in the universe and discuss just what that might look like.
The former top CEO examines the scandalous and corrupt reasons behind obscene pay packages for corporate executives—and explains how this hurts all of us–and how we can stop it.
From the former secretary of state — a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.
Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions.
Earth will have more than 9.6 billion people by 2050 according to U.N. predictions. With resources already scarce, how will we feed them all? Journalist Lisa Palmer has traveled the world for years documenting the cutting-edge innovations of people and organizations on the front lines of fighting the food gap. Here, she shares the story of the epic journey to solve the imperfect relationship between two of our planet’s greatest challenges: climate change and global hunger.
A brutally frank memoir about doctors and patients in a health care system that puts the poor at risk.
In a panoramic sweep, stretching from St Petersburg and Moscow to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire, Miéville uncovers the catastrophes, intrigues and inspirations of 1917, in all their passion, drama and strangeness. Intervening in long-standing historical debates, but told with the reader new to the topic especially in mind, here is a breathtaking story of humanity at its greatest and most desperate; of a turning point for civilisation that still resonates loudly today.
Rising Star is the definitive account of Barack Obama’s formative years that made him the man who became the forty-fourth president of the United States—from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross.
A riveting true-life thriller and revealing memoir from the daughter of an American intelligence officer—the astonishing true story of two spies and their families on opposite sides of the Cold War.
Yascha Mounk shows why a focus on personal responsibility is wrong and counterproductive: it distracts us from the larger economic forces determining aggregate outcomes, ignores what we owe fellow citizens regardless of their choices, and blinds us to key values such as the desire to live in a society of equals. In this book he proposes a remedy.
As a SEAL sniper and combat veteran, Webb was tapped to revamp the U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) Scout/Sniper School, incorporating the latest advances in technology and ballistics software to create an entirely new course that continues to test the skills and even the best warriors. In this revealing new book, Webb takes readers through every aspect of this training, describing how Spec Ops snipers are taught each dimension of their art.
From beloved golf writer James Dodson, author of Final Rounds and American Triumvirate and a two-time winner of the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Award for best golf book of the year, The Range Bucket List is a funny, intimate, nostalgic journey of self and sport in which the legendary author completes his golfing “bucket list.”
A behind-the-scenes, revelatory account of John F. Kennedy’s wily campaign to the White House, beginning with his bold, failed attempt to win the vice presidential nomination in 1956. A young and undistinguished junior plots his way to the presidency and changes the way we nominate and elect presidents.
In his New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis changed the lives of millions of people by teaching them to remove grains from their diets to reverse years of chronic health damage. In Undoctored, he goes beyond cutting grains to help you take charge of your own health.
Prepare to learn everything we still don’t know about our strange and mysterious universe.
Nonfiction books released May 11
In this eye-opening and timely book, Post-Truth is distinguished from a long tradition of political lies, exaggeration and spin. What is new is not the mendacity of politicians but the public’s response to it and the ability of new technologies and social media to manipulate, polarise and entrench opinion. Where trust has evaporated, conspiracy theories thrive, the authority of the media wilt and emotions matter more than facts.
Nonfiction books released May 16
In his illuminating, often hilarious, and always honest memoir, Tambor looks back at the key moments in his life that taught him about creativity and play and pain and fear.
The forgotten story of how the U.S. Army was created to fight a crucial Indian war.
Much of the advice we’ve been told about achievement is logical, earnest…and downright wrong. In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success and most importantly, how anyone can achieve it.
Book Blueprint gives a step-by-step framework that any entrepreneur can follow to write a great book quickly, even if they’re not a writer.
New York Times-bestselling author and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman sorts through the past decade and how we got to now.
What we can learn from Atlanta’s struggle to reinvent itself in the 21st Century.
A wise and entertaining guide to writing English the proper way by one of the greatest newspaper editors of our time.
In Grocery, bestselling author Michael Ruhlman offers incisive commentary on America’s relationship with its food and investigates the overlooked source of so much of it—the grocery store.
From Jeffrey Gettleman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist, comes a passionate, revealing story about finding love and finding a calling, set against one of the most turbulent regions in the world.
The long-awaited, definitive biography of The King of Soul, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Redding’s iconic performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.
An insightful portrait of Muhammad Ali from the New York Times bestselling author of At the Altar of Speed and The Big Bam. It centers on the cultural and political implications of Ali’s refusal of service in the military—and the key moments in a life that was as high profile and transformative as any in the twentieth century.
An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, THE FACT OF A BODY is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed — but about how we grapple with our own personal histories.
On the rainy morning of May 20, 1927, a little-known American pilot named Charles A. Lindbergh climbed into his single-engine monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, and prepared to take off from a small airfield on Long Island, New York. Despite his inexperience—the twenty-five-year-old Lindbergh had never before flown over open water—he was determined to win the $25,000 Orteig Prize promised since 1919 to the first pilot to fly nonstop between New York and Paris, a terrifying adventure that had already claimed six men’s lives.
Every week on the public radio show On the Media, the award-winning journalist Brooke Gladstone analyzes the media and how it shapes our perceptions of the world. Now, from her front-row perch on the day’s events, Gladstone brings her genius for making insightful, unexpected connections to help us understand what she calls—and what so many of us can acknowledge having—“trouble with reality.”
In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country’s youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America’s future.
In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as having “something approaching rock star status” by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in class cluelessness.
Nonfiction books released May 23
A safety expert reveals why few of us are as careful as we think we are, and what we can do about it.
In this thought-provoking and empowering book, cultural writer Roman Krznaric unpacks the history, philosophy, and modern-day applications of “seizing the day” and delivers a rousing call to action for anyone who wants to improve their lives–or our world.
A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.
A shocking exposé of Volkswagen’s fraud by the New York Times reporter who covered the scandal.
Meet the women who aren’t asking permission from Silicon Valley to chase their dreams. They are going for it—building cutting-edge tech startups, investing in each other’s ventures, crushing male hacker stereotypes, and rallying the next generation of women in tech.
In The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, Michael Walsh describes how Critical Theory released a horde of demons into the American psyche. When everything could be questioned, nothing could be real, and the muscular, confident empiricism that had just won the war gave way, in less than a generation, to a central-European nihilism celebrated on college campuses across the United States.
An unlikely marathoner finds her way through grief and into the untold history of women and running.
This book captures Desai’s lucid exploration of the ideas of finance as seen through the unusual prism of the humanities. Through this novel, creative approach, Desai shows that outsiders can access the underlying ideas easily and insiders can reacquaint themselves with the core humanity of their profession.
Warnings is the story of the future of national security, threatening technologies, the U.S. economy, and possibly the fate of civilization.
Wild Ride is the first truly inside look at Uber’s global empire. Veteran journalist Adam Lashinsky, the bestselling author of Inside Apple, traces the origins of Kalanick’s massive ambitions in his humble roots, and he explores Uber’s murky beginnings and the wild ride of its rapid growth and expansion into different industries.
Nonfiction books released May 24
This illustrated book suggests practical and charming methods of studying and practicing math. From addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to algebra and geometry, the brisk, lighthearted approach offers fun-to-solve problems and complete answers.
Nonfiction books released May 28
If you want to master the fundamentals of coding and kick start your career, Confident Coding is the book for you. Everyone has a digital life, but too few truly understand how the software that dominates the world actually works. Coding is one of the most in demand skills on the job market and grasping the basics can advance your creative potential and make you stand out from the crowd.
Nonfiction books released May 30
From Senator Al Franken – #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum – comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.
A revolutionary new appraisal of the Old West and the America it made.
CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself.
In this innovative new book, software studies theorist Matthew Fuller examines how the introduction and expansion of computational systems into areas ranging from urban planning and state surveillance to games and voting systems are transforming our understanding of politics, culture and aesthetics in the twenty-first century.
What science has gotten so shamefully wrong about women, and the fight, by both female and male scientists, to rewrite what we thought we knew.
Bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Dale Partridge provides a concrete, easily executed plan for readers looking to start a business that will result in greater freedom, a stronger family, and healthier finances.
Having a good, stable job used to be the bedrock of the American Dream. Not anymore.
Using psychology, philosophy, and her own experience, Daskal offers a breakthrough perspective on leadership. She’ll take you inside some of the most cloistered boardrooms, let you in on deeply personal conversations with industry leaders, and introduce you to luminaries who’ve changed the world. Her insights will help you rethink everything you know to become the leader you truly want to be.
The definitive, single-volume history of the Russian Revolution, from an award-winning scholar.
From the award-winning author of The Mushroom Hunters comes the story of an iconic fish, perhaps the last great wild food: salmon.