The Best Nonfiction Books of 2023: Level up your mind!

Book of the Year 2023
As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s time to look back on the nonfiction books that made 2023 special. This year I’ve read 40 books and 4 of these books altered my perspective on human nature and life in general. In this post I’ll share my top 4 nonfiction reads from 2023, spanning topics from science and psychology to philosophy and wealth creation. Let’s look at somee of the best books the world has to offer.

Determined by Robert Sapolsky
Determined by Robert Sapolsky

1. “Determined” by Robert M. Sapolsky: A Science of Life Without Free Will

Book Overview:
If you’ve followed this channel, you’re likely familiar with my adoration of Robert Sapolsky, particularly his previous work, “Behave.” “Determined” takes Sapolsky’s exploration of human biology a step further by challenging the very concept of free will. In essence, Sapolsky argues that everything in life is determined by things over which we have no control: our biology, the environment, and culture . In other words, we fail to recognize the determinism that lurks underneath the surface. In a dense yet captivating narrative, Sapolsky systematically dissects arguments for free will, which obviously raises thought-provoking questions about motivation and accountability.

Personal Note:
As a fan of Sapolsky’s earlier work, “Determined” did not disappoint. As a layperson I found it easier to plow through (or zone out a bit. hehe!) the intricate biological details when listening to Determined as an audiobook. This book not only pushed me out of my comfort zone but also provided a deeper understanding of human nature and behavior.

How to Break Free of the Drama Triangle and Victim Consciousness book cover
How to Break Free of the Drama Triangle and Victim Consciousness

2. “How to Break Free of the Drama Triangle and Victim Consciousness” by J K. Weinhold & J. B. Weinhold

Book Overview:
This book is about transactional analysis, a method of therapy wherein social interactions are analyzed as a basis for understanding behavior. It looks at how we speak and respond to others and what roles we take on in social interactions. The field of transactional analysis was pioneered by Eric Berne, and he wrote a famous book called “Games People Play”. “Games People Play,” he dissects the most common games that people play with each other during social interactions and in intimate relationships. This book focuses on one psychological social game in particular, and that’sThe Drama Triangle, and that’s a game you see everywhere. We see it in TV dramas, n families, in the workplace… well, it’s basically everywhere.. Similar to other games, the players uses indirect and toxic communication patterns to get their needs met indirectly instead of using direct communication. If you are a person that keep finding yourself in a roller coaster ride of drama and conflict in your interpersonal relationships, then this is a book that will help you guide you out of it. It will help you break free from the Drama Triangle loop that otherwise tends repeat endlessly.

Personal Note:
I believe that if you want to live a good and true life, then you have to be able to communicate your needs directly. And one way to do that is to break free from dysfunctional and toxic communication patterns that you might have learned in childhood that is not serving you anymore. This book, recommended by a bookish friend on instagram, unveils toxic communication patterns and provides practical tools. A gem for those seeking healthier relationships, it became an essential read on my shelf.

3. “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant”

Book Overview:
I Initially dismissed as just another self-help book, “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant” is a collection of insights from angel investor and philosopher Naval Ravikant. Focused on wealth and happiness, Ravikant distills timeless truths into simple blueprints. His elegant communication style and clear thinking from first principles makes this an excellent read seekers of wealth and happiness. You might even become interested in math, physics, and economics after reading this book.

Personal Note:
Ravikant’s wisdom reshaped my reading habits, becoming a companion on my journey towards economic independence and sustainable happiness. The simplicity and elegance of his advice made me a repeat reader, and I found myself incorporating his maxims into my daily life. Read my full review of “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant” to find out more.

4. “The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World” by David Deutsch

Book Overview:
David Deutsch, a physicist, philosopher, and quantum computing pioneer, explores the fundamental role of explanations in the universe. “The Beginning of Infinity” covers topics from science to human nature, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge. Brace yourself, your view of the world will shaken to the core if you take on this book. The world view of this book is that the universe is comprehensible, problems are solvable (but inevitable), and it’s rational to have an optimistic world view.

Personal Note:
Inspired by Naval Ravikant’s endorsement, I ventured into this intellectual journey. Despite a slow start, the book significantly expanded my thinking, prompting me to rethink my worldview. A challenging but rewarding read, it stands as a testament to the transformative power of ideas.I’m rereading this book again this year.

VIDEO: Find out more about these 4 books in this Book of the Year video

Video: Book of the Year 2023 – 4 life-changing nonfiction books you have to read!

2023 in review:
2023, like 2022 before that, Through challenges, discomfort, and moments of revelation, these reads not only enriched my intellect but also left an mark on my personal growth and understanding of the world. I hope you found at least one book that resonate with you as you embark on your own literary journey in the coming year. Happy reading!

Find more great books to read on the Great Books List
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