The best nonfiction of October

Chris Schluep on October 15, 2020

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I really like the list of the best nonfiction of October, and I suspect you will as well. Maybe it's a little bit heavy in subject, but there are also some laughs. What connects all of the Best Nonfiction Books of the Month this month is that they are Big books (capital B intended), which is right in line with our expectations for fall books.

Below are four from the list, two of which also appeared on our list of the top 12 Best Books of the Month. Happy reading.

Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate

Christie Tate is a summer intern at a law firm, the top of her class, and headed for great things—and her memoir opens with her sitting in her car alone, wishing someone would shoot her in the head. This moment sends her in search of therapy, and she lands in an untraditional group led by a charismatic therapist who doesn’t allow secrets. It feels clichéd to write “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry,” but I promise you’ll do both, as well as examine your own life and happiness… even if you don’t want to. Written with the gift of hindsight, Group is an honest, heart-breaking and hilarious look at reaching rock bottom and climbing your way back to life. —Sarah Gelman

Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius by Ryan Holiday

Here is a book that a lot of people, including myself, have been waiting for. Ryan Holiday has written several books on Stoicism and deserves credit for making the Stoics more popular with contemporary readers. But it's not just about reading. Holiday is very much focused on how the lessons of the Stoics can be applied to situations in our own lives. In this book he presents mini biographies of Stoics, both known and unknown, to illustrate how the virtues of Courage, Temperance, Wisdom, and Justice can inform our lives today.

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria

Whether or not it feels like it right now, we will eventually be living in a post-pandemic world. But other pandemics will follow. Zakaria, who personifies thoughtful, levelheaded judgement, lays out the lessons learned from COVID-19, citing the success stories and recommending improvements for a possible future where we are able to competently navigate similar threats. In part, he writes, it requires an approach where the people listen to the experts—and the experts listen to the people.

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

What if you could look inside the mind of a great comedian? What would you find there? In the case of Jerry Seinfeld, you would find stacks of yellow legal pads scrawled with decades upon decades of jokes. Actually, you would find those legal pads in his closet—and lucky for us, he entered that closet and chose his favorite bits from all those years of joke writing. The result is Is This Anything?, which is what he asks himself any time he writes a joke. Starting when he was just 21 years old and doing his first stand up at "Catch A Rising Star" in New York, the book covers 45 years of comic genius.

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