For the better part of my life as a reader, I have loved reading fiction, and only fiction. Specifically, I am a science-fiction and fantasy sort of gal. In fact, other than academic reading while at university, I have only really started reading non-fiction in the last year or so. And I have been delighted by what I’ve read! Here are three reasons why I’ve developed a new love affair with reading non-fiction, and why I think you should too!
#1. New ideas:
Being introduced to new topics, and new ideas has been the most interesting aspect of reading non-fiction for me. I have found much to think on, particularly in those fields in which I don’t have a lot of background. I recently read a book about Elon Musk, written by Ashlee Vance, which explored Elon’s business acumen, and polymath abilities in a variety of different fields of technology. Pagan Kennedy’s Inventology, in which she examines the many factors that lead to innovation and breakthroughs is one of my favourites and I recently read Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari; a fascinating exploration of how humanity emerged as the dominant species.
When writing, I spend a great deal of time thinking about how characters act, or react and what their motivations might be. It has been incredibly helpful for me to have read some non-fiction works to discover insights about the human condition, which I can then apply to my characters. This is especially important when writing characters with whom I share little to no personal characteristics. I have found Brene Brown’s books, particularly her work on vulnerability to be incredibly insightful. I have also enjoyed Amy Cuddy’s Presence, and have already implemented several suggestions from Cal Newport’s excellent book Deep Work.
I seek to always be changing and growing as a person. Frankly, if I’m the same person I was five years ago, I will view that as a failure. Personal growth is something I am constantly working on, and since chance is a natural aspect of the human condition, I think we should always be striving for more. I’ve found several books helpful in this regard. First, from a professional perspective, all of Joanna Penn’s non-fiction books about writing, and marketing are very helpful. Story Genius by Lisa Cron had some excellent insights as well.
From a personal perspective, I’ve recently read Brendon Bouchard’s book High Performance Habits, in which he explores actionable steps you can take to be successful in whatever field you work in. Shonda Rhimes’, Year of Yes was very enjoyable because I too am a cautious person, and sometimes I have found that overabundance of caution to block me from wonderful opportunities. I absolutely loved Ed Catmull’s Creativity Inc. in which he explores the process used at Pixar to continually produce top notch movies. I’ve even added several of the ideas to my own creative process!
Do you read any non-fiction? Got any book recs for me? Tell me in the comments below!
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