There’s nothing like a good book! Here are 30 great Non-Fiction Books for Father’s Day that the dads in your life will love.
It’s June and I’ve started getting requests for good Non-Fiction Books for Father’s Day.
This is something I have some experience with because my own dad is notoriously difficult to buy for. He doesn’t drink beer, play golf, or watch sports, and he’s already got a closet full of nice ties, which rules out basically everything on sale for Father’s Day. He does love to fish, but I know next to nothing about buying fishing gear. See why it’s tricky?
So, I revert back to what I do best: finding good books. A good Non-Fiction book paired with a big bag of pistachios has become my standard Father’s Day gift and I think it’s well received every time.
Your dad/husband/man may not have the same taste in books as mine. However, I’ve compiled a broad list here of Non-Fiction Books for Father’s Day. Whether he’s into Football, Hiking, Business, or History, there’s probably something on this list he’ll enjoy reading.
Non-Fiction Books for Father’s Day
I try to never recommend books I haven’t read, but I’m making an exception this time. In order to have a wide variety of books to share, I consulted a good readerly friend of mine for more recommendations. So basically, if it’s about sports, I didn’t read it, but my friend did and it will be good.
I’ve put them into a few categories so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the options. Some of the categories do overlap (like Dead Mountain is an Adventurous Read, but it’s also Historical), so scan the categories to see what your dad/husband/man will like best.
These may be science books, but they’re also FASCINATING. Some of them are even hot page turners. I’d venture to say that you don’t really have to care about science to enjoy most of these, but if science is your thing, then these are certain to be wins. If you’re not sure what the DAD in your life would like, I’d start here.
According to Kolbert, we are likely in the midst of the sixth period of a great extinction in the world’s history. This book is gripping and terrifying and extremely well researched. Very hard to put down and impossible to stop thinking about when you do.
This book scared me to death. Follow the path of a highly infectious virus, for which there is no cure, and watch, with terror, just how easily it can spread.
A memoir from an astronaut, a veteran of four space flights and the current record holder for most consecutive days in space. Wow! Need I say more?
How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights? Read and find out!
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
The Dust Bowl of the depression years was one of the worst environmental disasters ever visited upon this country. This book is the best account of why it happened and how the catastrophe played out. It’s incredible historical reportage and an absolute page turner.
In the summer of 1916, a great white shark terrorized the New Jersey Coast. This captivating true story changed the scientific and public view of sharks forever. A great read!
These are the books about scaling mountains, finding ancient cities, and crossing the desert on foot. Heart pounding, death defying adventures that can be enjoyed from the comfort of his favorite chair.
This is the ultimate in armchair travel! Head into the heart of the Amazon to search for a magnificent civilization. When you encounter the pit vipers, maggots, and never ending rain, you’ll be glad you’re doing it from the safety of your own comfortable chair.
I couldn’t put this one down. A five hundred year old legend and an ancient curse in the middle of the Honduran rain forest. Absolutely fascinating!
The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America’s Deadliest Avalanche by Gary Krist
This one combines history and adventure to tell the true story of one of the worst rail disasters in American history. It’s absolutely gripping and terrifying to read about two train loads of passengers trapped in the Cascade Mountains. Just when escape seems like it might be possible, a deadly avalanche in the snowy pass turns a disaster into an unthinkable tragedy.
We all know about the Donner Party disaster, but this is a new look at the saga with emphasis on one particular ill fated member of the group. It’s impressively well written and researched and a wonderful read.
Looking for a great true mystery? This is the one. In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. It’s super creepy and super good.
Whether he likes Football, Baseball, or a good long run, somebody has written a fascinating book about it that he will enjoy.
League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru
You may love your Monday night football, but what’s going on behind the scenes? With a fast paced narrative and comprehensive research, you won’t be able to put this one down.
You might like this for the interesting pre-history of the NFL. You might like it for the colorful, victorious football team of immortal heroes. You might even like it for the action, the humor, and the celebration of football. But really, I should just say, you will like it.
For all you baseball fans, this is a must read: the definitive account of the baseball legend Lou Gehrig.
Haruki Murakami is a well known, best selling author and in this memoir he talks about how he writes . . . he runs. He started running just to keep fit, but many marathons and triathlons later, he tells us that running is everything. It’s funny, insightful, and a wonderful read.
Agassi may have been one of the most gifted tennis players to ever set foot on a tennis court, but there’s so much more to it than that. This memoir is one of my most favorite memoirs of all time. This book is about tennis, but it’s also deeply human – a book for tennis fans, but also for people who know nothing at all about the sport.
According to Malcom Gladwell, this is cutting edge science blended with gripping storytelling. Everything you need to know about the capacity to endure and how to push yourself past what you think you’re capable of doing. I have it on good authority that this is a fantastic read.
Business/Self Improvement Books
These are the books to inspire and encourage the men in your life.
(This one is especially fun on audio too) This is a light read, full of anecdotes, that still packs in a lot of fascinating and useful information about forming and breaking personal and consumer/business habits.
This is a MUST READ book. Deep Work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task and Cal Newport knows everything there is to know about it. Want to know how to master this skill? This is the book.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport
It’s not about following your passion, it’s about putting in the hard work. For anyone wondering what do with their life, feeling frustrated at work, or looking for a new path in life, Cal Newport has the blueprint here for really creating work you love. It’s a fantastic read.
Hands down, the most helpful and comprehensive book out there about breaking bad habits and sticking to good habits. It’s a fun read, but also a really useful one.
(Also great on Audio) I love this book! It’s an informative and inspiring book about being creative. If you’re interested in start-ups and workplace innovation, this is the book for you.
(Also great on Audio) This is a really interesting memoir from the man who created Nike. So many failures, more than I would have expected, before he finally met with success. It’s a fun read, a riveting story, and a really inspiring memoir.
Social Justice / Political Reads
Does he love a good cause? Does he read the NYT’s every morning? Does he shake his fist in the air when Trump’s twitter feed is on the news? If so, he may enjoy some of these.
This is a powerful and incredible book about our broken justice system and death row and one man’s quest to right as many wrongs as he possibly can. A beautiful, heartbreaking read.
This is a hard book to read because it is so heartbreaking, but it is the best and most powerful book I’ve ever encountered on the subject of poverty. Desmond did his fieldwork well and the book is a masterpiece.
Since Columbus, Indian slavery has been illegal in America, but it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. This is an eye opening book, but one we should all know more about.
The true story of Henry Marrow, a 23 year old black man who, in 1970, walked into a crossroads store, came out running, and was brutally killed in public while he pleaded for his life. Read this! (Also, The Blood of Emmett Till by the same author is another excellent Civil Rights read.)
I love this beautiful, powerful book written by a black father for his adolescent son about what it means to be black in America. If you haven’t already, you really must.
History, but not the dry, boring kind you remember from your sophomore year of high school. These are all Fantastic reads!
This is a great book but a horrible history that not very many people even know about. In the 1880’s, King Leopold II of Belgium seized control of the territory surrounding the Congo River in Africa. What happened next was brutal and awful, but you should read it anyway.
This new National Book Award Finalist is an incredible read! It’s an intriguing historical true crime book that reads like a page turning thriller. After oil was discovered beneath their land in Oklahoma in the 1920’s, the Osage Indians became the richest people per capita in the world. And then they started to die violent and mysterious deaths.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
(Excellent on audio too) This has been a hit with everyone I’ve ever recommended it to. The 1936 Olympics in Berlin was the stuff of legends, and this book is absolutely legendary!
Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New West by Michael Punke
Who would have thought that a book about the extermination of America’s Buffalo could be so incredibly interesting. Must read, especially if your dad is a wild west fan!
This is the account of American Slavery that you’ve never heard before. Described as a “radical new interpretation” of American history, this book will blow your mind. I give this book my highest recommendation.