Looking for something to keep you occupied on your daily commute? Skip the dramatic fiction novels and treat yourself to a non-fiction masterpiece. Reading the inspirational stories of real-life challenges and triumphs is a great way to set yourself up for a productive day, filled with gratitude.
1) Immortal Self: A Journey to the Himalayan Valley of the Amartya Masters
This book by Aaravindha Himadra will take you on an inspirational journey, whether you’re reading it at a yoga retreat or at your bus stop. This transformative literature follows Aaravindha Himadra on an ambitious trek through the Himalayan Mountains. Once there, he embraces the teachings of the Amartya Masters to unlock an ancient variety of spiritual mysticism. Originally intended only as a personal recount, Himadra has turned this book into a beacon of knowledge to help readers begin their own journey to enlightenment.
2) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Written by the brutally frank and undeniably hilarious Adainnthony Bour, Kitchen Confidential offers a no-holds-barred glimpse into what really goes on in commercial kitchens. Using his infamous acerbic wit, Bourdain will leave you cackling while recounting fascinating stories from his rise to fame. While it’s an eye-opening read for all, this book will particularly appeal to anyone who has navigated the fast-paced hospitality industry.
3) Eat, Pray, Love
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert has enjoyed no shortage of commercial success, including the honor of making it into Oprah’s Book Club. Follow Gilbert, reeling from a painful divorce, on a soul-searching journey far from home to discover herself and a high power. It might sound like chick-lit, but at its heart, the memoir is a celebration of life, finding balance and embracing faith, whatever that looks like to you. A fantastic read for people who feel they’re at crossroads in life.
4) 3,096 Days
Not for the faint of heart, this harrowing memoir was written by Austrian kidnapping survivor Natascha Kampusch. It tells the almost unfathomable tale of her 8 and a half years in captivity, after she was snatched off the street on her way to school by Wolfgang Priklopil. Since her daring escape, Kampusch has struggled with her fame and at times been vilified for her empathy toward her now deceased captor. Kampusch’s autobiography sheds some light on her complex journey from a Strasshof cellar to adulthood in the limelight.
Written by former First Lady, Michelle Obama, Becoming details Michelle’s uphill journey from humble beginnings in Chicago to the Oval Office. Fans of this beautifully written praise Obama’s frank and humble discussion of juggling work and motherhood. This inspirational read encourages us to fight against societal expectations and remain true to ourselves above all else.
Tara Westover grew up in the mountains of Idaho, with her survivalist Mormon family. Robbed of a traditional education until she turned 17, Educated tells the story of how Westover broke free of her circumstances and went on to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. This heart-wrenching memoir will encourage you to question your values and ask yourself how much you would be willing to sacrifice for those you love.
7) Between a Rock and a Hard Place
When experienced outdoorsman Aron Ralston set off on a canyoneering expedition to Bluejohn Canyon on a fresh spring day in 2003, he didn’t let anyone know where he was going. The severity of this near-fatal blunder became apparent when a 360 KG (800 lb) boulder was dislodged during his climb, pinning his wrist against the canyon wall. In the ensuing three days, brave Ralston made the awe-inspiring decision to amputate his own arm with a multi-tool. Delirious and now one-handed, Ralston then made a 6-mile hike down the canyon to safety. His autobiographical novel recounts his experience and highlights the true strength of the human spirit.
8) Emotional Female
Yumiko Kadota was a young surgeon training in the Australian public health care system. Despite receiving top marks in her studies and putting in long hours, she found herself battling against an insidious force: the male-dominated nature of her specialty. Called ‘emotional’, Kadota fought hard to prove her detractors wrong. However, Kadota eventually found the upward battle too much and withdrew from her profession. She will not let her story be a sad one, instead showing us what it takes to rebuild after reaching breaking point.
If you’re looking for a read that’ll stay with you long after the last page, you can’t go past these 8 non-fiction novels.