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The 10 Best Selling Non-Fiction Books of All-Time


Books magically transport us to marvelous places and expose us to either future or past that are unfamiliar and endless possibilities. Reading fiction might seem to be the ideal selection for the creative mind, but nonfiction is as fascinating and consuming as its fictional counterpart.

The best nonfiction books can draw your attention into their worlds, taking many forms and concentrating on everything from history, science, crime, politics, race, travel, and gender. A similar thing about non-functional books is that the authors give life to the subject and make them remarkably compelling. Here is a review of the 10 best-selling nonfiction books of all time.

10. Dinosaurs By Kathleen Zoefeld- Estimated 50K+ Copies Sold

Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures. Released in 2011, this Level 1 Reader teaches kids about these petrifying giants that roamed the earth before becoming extinct.

The kids are wowed by the rich information and magical illustrations from National Geographic, one of the reputable sources of nonfiction kid’s content. As one of the bestselling nonfiction books, it has already sold over 50k copies.

9. Spiders By Gail Gibbons - Estimated 50K+ Copies Sold

Spiders are amazing animals, from digging burrows and weaving webs to floating on silk strands. The nonfiction book takes you into the intriguing world of these arachnids, reminding readers that although they are scary, most of them are harmless.

The book highlights more than thirty thousand spider species and their survival ways, accompanied by clear illustrations and vocabulary.

8. Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer, Steve Jenkins- Estimated 50K+ Copies Sold

Worms are hand-working creatures, spending their lives crawling through the soil and promoting plant growth. These creatures help the vegetables and fruits we consume by feeding the plants and loosening the soil for enhanced soil aeration.

This book transports you into the world of worms and lets you understand how they work to help the entire environment. This nonfiction book is excellent for homeschooling children around five to seven years old and provides a fun way to read and learn.

7. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe- Estimated 100K+ Copies Sold

Being among one of the New York Times Top Ten Books of the Year, this is an intricate, stunning story about disreputable killings in Northern Ireland and the devastating consequences it has had.

Well meticulously articulated, the author tells the troubles and history of Northern Ireland. Interviewing both the conflicting side, the nonfiction story transforms a tragedy into an utterly gripping saga.

The book has already won various awards, including; the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Orwell Prize, and the TIME Magazine’s Best Nonfiction Book of The Year.

6. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar- Estimated 100K+ Copies Sold

Dead Mountain is a respectful and well-researched story about the Dyatlov Pass Incident that led to the loss of lives of nine Russian university students.

According to Goodreads, these students were experienced hikers who died mysteriously on the elevation popularly known as Dead Mountain in the Russian Ural Mountain in February 1959. Donnie Eichar, an investigative journalist, sets out to explore all the theories of the murder, a series that will leave you stuck in the story for hours.

5. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese- Estimated 200K+ Copies Sold

This nonfiction book is an attempt by a young neurosurgeon to answer the question of what makes life worth living. It’s no surprise that the book was named one of Paste’s Best Memoirs of the Decade and the New York Times Book of the Year.

After completing his neurosurgeon career, Paul Kalanithi gets diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. He was a doctor treating patients, and now he is the patient struggling to live. This is a story of memorable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and the relationship between a doctor and patient.

4. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky - Estimated 200K+ Copies Sold

According to reviews, Behave is one of the best nonfiction books ever. The book is a scientific nonfiction genre that examines human behavior, both bad and good, attempting to answer why humans do the things they do.

It starts by looking at what goes on in a person’s brain shortly before a behavior occurs, hormones influencing the response, and the stimuli that activate the nervous system. He builds the understanding to try and answer questions relating to xenophobia, tribalism, morality, competition, peace, and war.

3. The spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre - Estimated 500K+ Copies Sold

The Spy and the Traitor feature the most remarkable spy story about Oleg Gordievsky, a Russian whose secret work assisted in hastening the end of the Cold War.

As a graduate of one of the best Soviet institutions and a son of two KGB agents, Oleg grew up witnessing Russia’s communism. Posted as a Russian intelligence and rising to be the top man of the SOVIET union in London, he started to work for M16 secretly and helped the West turn tables on KGB.

The novel takes readers deep into the world of betrayal and treachery, where one person’s hatred for communism changed the future of nations.

2. On Writing Well: The Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser- Estimated 500K+ Copies Sold

Next on the list of the bestselling nonfiction books is On Writing Well. With an estimated sales of more than 500K copies, this book has received praises for its sound advice, excellent clarity, and warm style.

According to Amazon, it’s meant for anyone looking to learn how to write or who requires to do a bit of writing to complete their day, particularly in this age of internet and email. Whether you want to write about places, people, technology, science, sports, arts, sports, or a biography, On Writing Well provides vital insights and principles of an illustrious teacher and writer.

1. Breath: The New Science of Lost Art by James Nestor - Estimated 1M+ Copies Sold

With more than a million copies sold and given the award of the Best Book of 2020 by NPR, Breath is an incredible nonfiction book you should not miss.

According to Goodreads, the nonfiction book features a thrilling cultural, scientific, evolutionary, and spiritual history of human breathing and how they have been conducting it wrongly over past years. While breathing is essential, humans have lost their ability to breathe correctly, with fatal consequences.

James Nestor travels worldwide to find what went wrong and how to fix it. Slight adjustments to breathing are believed to reinstate higher athletic performance, treat respiratory disease and revitalize internal organs. With this book, you will never breathe the same.

Bottom Line

These are some of the 10 bestselling nonfiction books of all time. As you can see, reading nonfiction texts is the best way to get entertained while learning new things and undergoing intense personal growth at the same time.

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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