Here are some non-fiction books that I got a lot out of and highly recommend:
The Feminine Mystiqe by Betty Friedan
Some parts of this books are a bit dated, as it was written 40 years ago in the 1960s. However, it is frightening how much of it seemed quite relevant still. I think it is a must read for anyone interested in feminism and women’s issues.
Herstory: A Woman’s View of American History by June Sochen
I would really call this book not a woman’s view of American history, but a humane view of American history. It presented new perspectives on work, war, industrialization, “progress” and many other things that were quite different from the standard fare in a high school history class. Although the book may move a bit slowly at times, it is definitely well worth reading. A sample quote: “In human history, people have made decisions they believed were inevitable and essential, though in fact they were cultural, value-laden, and debatable.”
Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem
This book is a collection of essays, some personal and some more political or social critique. They are well-written and will make you think.
Speaking of Sex: The Denial of Gender Inequality by Deborah L. Rhode
If you think that gender inequality is something belonging to the past, just read this book. Deborah Rhode, a lawyer at Stanford Law School, will convince you that gender inequality is most definitely still present in our society, but unfortunately is for the most part ignored or denied.
Banker to the Poor by Muhammed Yunus
Muhammed Yanus is the founder of the Grameen bank micro-loan program. This book was an interesting read about the process of starting that program.
Myth of the Welfare Queen by David Zucchino
This book reads like a novel, and it will strike you when you realize that it is not a novel, but the lives of real people. David Zucchino completely breaks down the myth of the lazy welfare queen by following the daily life of a few women on welfare. He highlights the high levels of bureaucracy and the way in which the system works against people in poverty.
The Code Book by Simon Singh
I have always had an intellectual love for cryptography, so I found this history of codes quite enjoyable.
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
This book is quite well-known so I don’t think I need to add much except to say that I learned a lot from it and I highly recommend it.
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
It has been awhile since I read this, but it was quite enjoyable with lots of little insightful remarks. For example: “Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away!”