The best nonfiction of September

Jon Foro on September 09, 2019
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There's just something irresistible about tales of business and bad behavior. Bad Blood — John Carreyrou's exposé of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, a Silicon Valley darling before it crashed and burned along with a pile of venture capital money — was one of our favorite books of 2018. This year, Mike Isaac's Super Pumped seems primed to end up on any number of best-of lists, with its engrossing, occasionally lurid behind-the-scenes account of Uber, a story still being written. But if business books aren't your bag, there are plenty of other great nonfiction to choose from, and you can see all of our picks across a number of categories in the best books of the month


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Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac

Isaac gives readers an insider’s view of the stunning highs and catastrophic lows of what he calls one of the first mobile unicorns. The abhorrent behavior, cut-throat mentality, and frat-boy corporate culture within Uber may make you question how it became such a success, but this was also a power structure founded on remarkable creativity, innovation, and tenacity. Super Pumped is a wild ride that you won’t want to miss. —Seira Wilson

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She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor

In the tradition of great investigative journalism, She Said tells a thrilling story about the power of truth, with shocking new information from hidden sources. Kantor and Twohey describe not only the consequences of their reporting for the #MeToo movement, but the inspiring and affecting journeys of the women who spoke up—for the sake of other women, for future generations, and for themselves.


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Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true? Talking to Strangers is a classic Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. 


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How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe

For any task you might want to do, Munro — author of What If?, Thing Explainer, and the webcomic xkcd — demonstrates that there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole. 



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Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal

Indistractable reveals the hidden psychology driving us to distraction. Eyal describes why solving the problem is not as simple as swearing off our devices: Abstinence is impractical and often makes us want more. Eyal lays bare the secret of finally doing what you say you will do with a four-step, research-backed model. Indistractable reveals the key to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of us.


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