It’s time to indulge in these bestselling adult nonfiction books. They’ll make the perfect gift this Christmas, 2021 for any book-lover. This year we had, once again, less time surrounded by others and more time to ourselves. Both 2020 and 2021 have left a lot to reflect on, and left plenty of time for us to learn and grow as individuals. For those that took advantage of this time to better oneself, books remain a vital tool in order to accomplish this. As 2022 fast approaches, many will be turning to books to pass time, educate, and entertain. Here are some nonfiction novels that graced the New York Times Bestsellers list in 2021. These books will make the perfect gift for bookworms, friends, loved ones, educators, students, colleagues, and pretty much anyone that isn’t afraid to pick up a great book nonfiction book.
1) Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
This 400-page book was published in 2019 and still managed to have its paperback version remain on the New York Time’s bestseller’s list this year in 2021. Talking to Strangers is a great reflection on major moments in history and current times where seasoned author Malcolm Gladwell ponders a better way to understand people that we don’t relate to. He provides insight on where we’ve gone wrong in the past, and offers up a guidebook for future troublesome times and events that may lie ahead.
Talking to Strangers is a certified hit with almost a 5-star rating and over 12.8k reviews on Amazon. Given Malcolm’s triumphant writing catalog, the success of Talking to Strangers is certainly not a fluke. He is known for his wildly decorated #1 bestselling novel Outliers, which was released back in 2008. Other notable books include The Bomber Mafia, The Tipping Point, Blink, David and Goliath, and What the Dog Saw. Add this to your list of best adult nonfiction books to gift this Christmas in 2021.
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2) The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk provides a unique, rare, and well-researched perspective on trauma and how it affects your body and brain. Survivors of physical trauma in any capacity may find their ability to experience pleasure, self-control, or trust greatly hindered. In the book, Bessel explores and explains a diverse amount of innovative treatments. Furthermore, he insists how he’s seen success with these methods. Bessel himself is one of the world’s most foremost trauma experts, so this book will hold great value to many. You don’t have to be a trauma survivor to appreciate the profound value in reading this one-of-a-kind book from a respected specialist. Released in 2014, this book still holds invaluable healing tactics for trauma survivors, family members, and those simply seeking to learn or gain a better understanding of how the human body and mind deal with trauma.
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3) House of Gucci by Sara Gay Forden
It’s no surprise this book rose back to the top as the major motion picture featuring Lady Gaga just recently premiered. Although the film is getting mixed reviews, only rave reviews surround this 2021 bestselling novel. Author Sara Gay Forden covers the dark, crime-coated past of the Gucci family. The book colorfully recounts the March 27th, 1995 murder or Maurizio Gucci that struct the nation and had us desperately begging for answers. More specifically, who was Maurizio’s murderer. Pick up this well-written and well-researched book to uncover what really happened on that memorably tragic day. The book will also reveal what the Gucci family was really like: their personalities, roles, and everyday lives. This includes the glitz and glamour that enamored the world and made them the memorizing family to remember.
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4) Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
A New York Time’s Notable Book of the Year. A touching true story about a nondocumented child living in poverty in one of the richest countries in the world. Qian Julie Wang lets us peer behind her personal curtain. She recalls what it was like to grow up in her shoes. This coming-of-age novel eloquently tells the tale of what it’s like for immigrants in our country. The book’s description sums it up beautifully. “An essential American story about a family fracturing under the weight of invisibility, and a girl coming of age in the shadows, who never stops seeking the light.” Time travel back with Wang to 1994 as she arrives in the United States as a 7-year-old little girl. Follow along as she conquers the daunting truth of what life is really like as a Chinese-born American in the heart of New York City.
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5) Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard
This instant #1 bestselling novel is the 10th book in Bill O’Reilly’s series. Although many read his books, O’Reilly is most known for his on-screen presence as an American journalist on Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, Inside Edition, and his own show titled The O’ Reily Factor. This 2021 released book centers its focus around the nation’s most notorious robbers, murderers, mob bosses, and con men from the 1930s to the 1980s. Notable figures include Bonnie & Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger, Baby-Face Nelson, and more. O’Reilly and Dugard dive deep into these legendary criminals and make their horrid acts come to life as you pass through each gripping word on the page.
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6) The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by Chick Donohue and J.T. Molloy
Pick up this astounding true story today before it hits the big screen. This New York Times and USA Today bestselling book was released in 2017 but is still picking up steam. More recently it was announced that The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a motion picture in the works. As we all know, it’s an unspoken rule that you must read the book first before you see the film. Plus, it would be a great disservice to yourself to skip over this almost unreal true story. The unforgettable debut memoir recounts former Marine Donohue’s insane idea formulated in an NYC bar that led him to war in Vietnam in 1967. It only gets more exciting from there. An adventure sparked from unwavering friendship carries profound laughs, scares, and heartfelt moments throughout. A fantastic read for any adult.
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7) The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, Ph.D
The world has a tendency to think that sociopaths are violent criminals, but one psychologist offers a different perspective. Martha Stout presents statistics that challenge us to better understand the minds of those with mental disorders. One in 25 people often have an undetected mental disorder. The biggest common thread amongst those with mental disorders is that they do not possess a conscience. If anyone can debunk the mind of a Sociopath, it’s P.h.D possessing Martha Stout. This well-written book offers up warning signs that allow you to identify sociopaths. In addition, it provides solutions as to how to defend yourself against them, such as “the rule of threes.” Learn more by picking up a copy of The Sociopath Next Door or give it as a gift this Christmas.
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8) Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This mega-bestseller is brought to us by a world-famous psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics– Daniel Kahneman. Thinking, Fast and Slow gives a cognitive breakdown of two contrasting modes of thought. Kahneman refers to these modes as System 1 and System 2. The first is fast, distinctive, and emotional. Whereas the second system is slower, deliberate, and logical. This book makes for a perfect 2021 Christmas book if you know any reader that is even relatively curious about the mind. Thinking, Fast and Slow gives you a lot to chew on as it engages its readers and challenges them on their way of thinking. If you still aren’t convinced, here are just a few accomplishments this publication has achieved thus far:
- Major New York Times bestseller
- Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012
- Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011
- A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
- One of The Economist‘s 2011 Books of the Year
- One of The Wall Street Journal‘s Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011
- 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
As if that wasn’t enough, this idyllic Christmas nonfiction book also has over 22k Amazon reviews averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars. Not too shabby. Order Thinking, Fast and Slow from a vendor below:
9) Jackpot by Michael Mechanic
This book magnifies its focus on economic inequality in the United States. it unfolds how the rich live and how it affects others. The book’s subtitle sums up its theory: “How the Super-Rich Really Live– and How Their Wealth Harms Us All.” Author Michael Mechanic walks us through economic gaps in the United States. The book allows us an exclusive peer behind the curtain of how some of our nation’s wealthiest people and families live. He also gives notes on how they got to where they are today. How they accomplished their wealth.
Using real-life examples, Mechanic also draws attention to alarming statistics that note the lack of wealth in our country. One being that 40% of Americans do not live up to any standard of wealth. An important read for Americans of any socioeconomic class – this book breaks down how all Americans have an unhealthy obsession with wealth. As we spend frivolously for the holidays, this may be the perfect nonfiction book to gift this Christmas.
10) American Marxism by Mark R. Levin
This seven-time bestselling author has done it again with this #1 bestseller: American Marxism. Mark R. Levin delivers a thoughtful explanation of the dangers of Marxism in the United States. The Fox News star touches back on theories he brought to light in his previous nonfiction books such as Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. He also warns that American Marxism exists within the Democratic party and is being cloaked with deceptive labels such as “progressivism.” If you have a Republican-leaning friend or family member this will be a must-read for them this Christmas.
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11) A Promised Land by Barack Obama
In contrast to the previous recommendation on our list, this nonfiction memoir from Democratic President Barack Obama is the perfect Christmas gift for Obama fans, admirers, Democratic supporters, or simply anyone with a knack for politics. This deeply personal autobiography takes readers on an enthralling journey dating back to Obama’s early days struggling with his identity all the way to his time in power as the President of the United States. His road to get to the presidency reeks with personal details, thoughts, details, as well as entertaining and unexpected stories. A hypnotic page-turner from start to finish.
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12) Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants by George W. Bush
Years ago former President George W. Bush shocked many with his incredible hidden talent– painting. In 2017 he published Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors. The nonfiction art book focused on true stories of military veterans. Although Out of Many, One (released in 2021) isn’t his first published oil-painting book, this one stands out on its own as wildly successful, and possibly even more beautiful than the first as far as visualization.
This 2021 published nonfiction book provides pages of stunningly beautiful works of art masterfully crafted through the fingertips of former President George W. Bush. Each portrait focuses around a unique American immigrant with a story to tell. Alongside the image is an excerpt about that particular immigrant subject. Each describes where they came from, why they came to America, and their personal American Dream. The New York Times Bestselling book contains 43 portraits total. Instead of one nonfiction story to fall in love with, this book contains 43.
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Need More Recommendations of Best Adult Nonfiction Books to Gift This Christmas, 2021?
Not seeing any nonfiction books that suit your favorite reader? We’ve got plenty more recommendations for nonfiction books to gift this Christmas 2021. Check out our Founder & CEO’s list of timeless book recommendations, “Reads That Everyone Needs.”