Best Non-Fiction Books of 2021

I read a lot. I read to learn and improve: body, mind, and soul. Here are some of the best non-fiction books I read in 2021. These books were not all published in 2021 (though many were,) rather they were ones I read in 2021. Today’s post is non-fiction books. My roundup of fiction books can be found here.

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Spiritual Health

I’ve read through the Bible several times. It’s good to be jolted into a fresh perspective sometimes. This year I read through (most of) the Bible in The Message translation. Many familiar passages hit me differently just because of the translation. The Message is a paraphrase, not a study Bible. But it brought me closer to God.

In my head, I know that God’s love is a gift. In theory, I know I don’t have to (can’t) earn it. In living out my life, however, I carry a mental tally: “am I doing enough good to be considered worthy of God’s love? Am I checking off all the right boxes? Do my actions mean I get a smile from God today?”

Gretchen Ronnevik’s book helped me to see, over and over, that God’s love is a gift. But she didn’t just say it, she spoke it into my heart and mind. Ragged is a book for the do-ers. It’s a book for the woman who is always striving to be better. You’re not going to hear to stop doing good things. But instead, this book helps you change your thoughts around why you are doing. It is a breath of fresh air. I will probably read it again in 2022.

Another day I will post a roundup of my favorite podcasts from the year. Let me give you a quick spoiler now in saying that anything that Chad Bird creates is worth your time and attention. I have learned so much from “40-minutes in the Old Testament” and “Unveiling Mercy.”

Knowing that my 9th grader would be reading the entire Old Testament this year for school, my interest was peaked by Chad’s new book The Christ Key: Unlocking the Centrality of Christ in the Old Testament. In it, he helps you see how everything points to Jesus. This book is not a quick-read. It’s a thoughtful one that is very helpful as you interact with the pages of the Bible. Joshua and I both read it and it has changed how we read the Bible.

Note: this book is for adults. I would put it at college/seminary level, not high school. However, Joshua is also a fan of the 40-Min podcast and has read through the entire Bible several times. He devours books and did fine reading through this one.

Understanding and Relating to Those Around Me

The Enneagram has intrigued me for years, yet I have never been in love with it. First of all, the accusations regarding the spirituality of it gave me pause. Secondly, it was confusing. I read a big book, took several quizzes, listened to podcasts, and still didn’t understand it. I decided to give the Enneagram one more chance when I received this ebook.

I have heard from several different people that Christians should not use the Enneagram. It was for this reason that I was most excited to read this book The Enneagram Goes to Church: Wisdom for Leadership, Worship, and Congregational Life. I wanted to get a christian’s view on the origins of the Enneagram and how it can be used at/in church. I love the analogy of transposing something and how the author applied that to the Enneagram.

I appreciated this author’s approach to the Enneagram. The way he explained things (especially the centers) made so much sense. This book helped me understand myself better as well as my kids and those I interact with regularly. It will impact how I teach and lead. It will impact my daily life as a person, wife, mom, Sunday school teacher, and nurse.

Other Non-Fiction Books Worth Your Time

Deeply impacted by his mother’s battle with Alzehimers disease, this author presents a very good dive into how we can create better health physically and mentally. I’m pretty critical of all health books I read. It’s like I have the book on one side of my head and all the research I’ve consumed on the other as well as patient and client experiences; I’m constantly comparing the two sides to see if they line up. This book is good! Lots of great advice (backed with research) and nothing misleading or harmful. (My only caveat is that if you have struggled with disordered eating, I do not recommend intermittent fasting if it puts your mind in a bad place with food again.)

This is a great book about how to do exactly what the title says: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done. It’s a great book for busy women who need to do just that.

Network marketing: The View from Venus is a textbook for network marketing. If you are in the industry, you will find this book helpful. There is a bit of spirituality which I do not agree with, but the network marketing part (98% of the book) is helpful in dispelling myths and bad practices while giving you excellent advice about how to build a NWM business in an authentic, people-driven, heart-led way.

What’s Next in 2022

A few years back, I reviewed two books perfect for transforming your life through your habits and focus. Your habits shape your day, your schedule, your reactions, and your heart. A book, therefore, that impacts your habits, can change your heart and your health. The author of one of those books, Justin Whitmel Earley, has written another impactful book: Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms. This is on the top of my TBR stack.

Who are some of your favorite nonfiction books and authors? What should I read in 2022? Comment on my Instagram post @EstherY.RN or join the discussion in my Telegram group.