30 Best Nonfiction Audiobooks

Everybody has a favorite book, but nobody will ever love an audiobook quite the same way they love the real thing. The warmth of paper in your hands, its crisp sound when you flip through its pages… Nothing can replace that experience. But audiobooks are undeniably here to stay.

They’re great for your daily commute, your workout, or just for relaxing under the covers on a rainy day. Best of all, listening to an audiobook is a great way to escape into another world without ever needing to leave your seat. People love to be entertained, and in this context, nonfiction audiobooks are no exception. They offer a wide range of genres such as history, science, current events, and more.

If you love nonfiction and prefer listening to your books instead of reading them, then this article is ideal for you. So, keep connected!

List of 30 Best Nonfiction Audiobooks

With the many forms of entertainment available today, it’s not hard to see why people choose audiobooks over traditional books. With some of the best nonfiction audiobooks, you can enjoy your favorite classic best-selling novels without having to hold a book in your hands!  

Here are some of the New York Times bestseller nonfiction audiobooks you can listen to right now:

Peril is a New York Times Best Seller non-fiction audiobook. It was written by the author, journalist, and editor Bob Woodward and Robert Costa and published in 2021 by Simon & Schuster Audio.  

Peril is an epic narrative that provides an in-depth look at the chaos that shaped Donald Trump’s presidency. The book reveals Trump’s relationships with his family, staff members, and political allies. It also looks into how Trump’s decisions will affect the country for generations to come.

Peril includes an exclusive interview with President Donald Trump in which he discusses his family and inauguration along with an insight into his presidency so far. 

This audiobook was recorded by the acclaimed Performing Arts Department at Macmillan Audio. It is a 14 hours long audiobook and is split into two parts. 

Peril’s narrators are Nelson Runger, Phil Gigante, Jonathan McClain, Jeremy Bobb, Suzanne Toren, Mark Bramhall, Dan Woren, and Joe Barrett.

“Greenlights” is the debut non-fiction audiobook release from actor Matthew McConaughey. The book has been a top ten bestseller for weeks after its release date.

Greenlights details the life of Matthew McConaughey, his mentors, and the lessons he learned throughout his life that turned him into the hyper-successful actor he is today. 

The book even includes tips for the listeners to use in their own lives, intending to help people worldwide with words of wisdom that anyone can use in their life. 

Greenlights is a must-read non-fiction audiobook that everyone will benefit from.

Heather Heying and her husband Bret Weinstein, a former professor at Evergreen State College, have written a book about living life as a hunter-gatherer in the 21st century. It is a nonfiction audiobook that was released on Amazon in December 2016.

Heather and Bret claim that A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide To The 21st Century is the first audiobook of its kind. This audiobook is about self-sufficiency and homesteading. It is a self-help/survival guide for those who are facing political persecution. 

This book can help you survive the impending political chaos.  This audiobook discusses urban preparedness, food production, gardening, shelter building, and animal husbandry. 

A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide To The 21st Century is for those who want lifestyle strategies to prepare themselves for the current social and political structure in the United States.

Vanderbilt is a nonfiction audiobook written by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe. It was published on January 10, 2017, by Penguin Audio. 

Vanderbilt has achieved being a New York Best Seller in its class. The tale comprises rags-to-riches, tragedy, and redemption.

Vanderbilt is an intimate history of one of America’s wealthiest and most powerful families, told through the lives of its first six generations.  Vanderbilt is the first book to tell the full story of this iconic family, from before Commodore Vanderbilt’s birth as the impoverished son of a sailor in 1794 to Bill Gates’ first billion-dollar deal in 1986. 

Vanderbilt also includes stories about two hundred years of American history through the prism of Vanderbilt homes and businesses across three continents.

It is a non-fiction audiobook written by South African Comedian  Trevor Noah. Born A Crime By Trevor Noah tells the unforgettable story of one man’s early life growing up in South Africa, where his parents raised him against apartheid. 

Born A Crime is a book that will take you into the life of this young boy who is just trying to hold on until he is old enough to leave home and live a life of his own. It tells the story of his struggles and how he dealt with them while growing up.

It is an interesting take on South Africa’s history, which many do not know but should. If you are looking for an interesting audiobook, Born A Crime can be your wonderful listen.

6. What Happened To You? By Bruce D. Perry And Oprah Winfrey

What Happened To You? By Bruce D. Perry And Oprah Winfrey is a best-selling non-fiction audiobook. It is a new kind of deeply personal memoir that tells how childhood trauma can shape adult lives. This book gives the listener the power to change their life into something wonderful and fulfilling.

Undeniably, it is a great audiobook that takes the listener through a twenty-six-year journey of unraveling addiction, violence, and crime to discover how childhood trauma affects our lives as adults.  What happened to you is the question that it asks the listener to contemplate, an answer they need to find for themselves.

This audiobook gives hope and solace to those suffering from difficult times in life due to childhood trauma. It calls for the listener to make a difference in their lives by seeking help from professionals. What happened to you can be fixed, but not on your own. 

The book contains methods on how to get help and advice on how to cope with difficult times in life. 

What Happened To You? By Bruce D. Perry And Oprah Winfrey is an excellent book worth listening to for its philosophy and explanations on complicated subjects like sexual abuse, childhood trauma, etc.

7. You Got Anything Stronger? By Gabrielle Union With Kevin Carr O’Leary

“You Got Anything Stronger?” is one of the best non-fiction audiobooks.  Did you get Anything Stronger? By Gabrielle Union With Kevin Carr O’leary is an autobiography of actress and activist Gabrielle Union.

In her previous book, Union discussed her personal sexual assault trauma and her struggle to conceive. After becoming a mother to two beautiful daughters and expanding her business, she now has the opportunity to lift the voices of others who need to be heard. 

However, as a Black woman, a mother, an older lady, and a human being, she demonstrates how this ever-changing existence brings both problems and moments of pure happiness. 

8. Based On A True Story By Norm Macdonald

“Based On A True Story” is 2017 is one of the best nonfiction audiobooks by comedian Norm Macdonald. The audiobook is narrated by the author Norm Macdonald and spans over three hours of listening time. 

It is an autobiography of the comedian and actor Norm Macdonald, well-received into mainstream culture. It’s considered one of the best non-fiction memoirs to date. It tells a story (or stories) from his life that brought him fame as a stand-up comedian.

9. The Body Keeps The Score By Bessel Van Der Kolk

“The Body Keeps The Score,” written by Bessel van der Kolk, is a top-rated non-fiction audiobook. This book explores the effects of trauma on people, primarily how it affects their bodies. 

Dr. van der Kolk uses research, real stories from other clinicians who have worked with trauma survivors, and his expertise to explain how people heal. 

The Body Keeps The Score explores the effects of trauma on numerous people, including veterans coming back from the cold war, victims of sexual assault, school shooting survivors, Holocaust survivors, and children exposed to domestic violence or who faced other kinds of physical abuse. 

It provides an honest look at the effects of trauma on our brains and bodies that offers reasons for hope. It can be an interesting piece to listen to if you or your loved ones are going through the same situation. 

10. Extreme Ownership By Jocko Willink And Leif Babin

Extreme Ownership is written by two retired United States Navy SEAL officers who served together in SEAL Task Unit Bruiser during the Iraq War. This book was also featured in the war documentary film The Hornet’s Nest. 

Extreme Ownership describes the leadership lessons learned by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin during their service in Iraq. It is listed on The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon, and iTunes bestseller lists.

This book is different from other military memoirs because Extreme Ownership uses leadership lessons to help people from all walks of life. 

The first part of Extreme Ownership explains the core principles and tactics used by SEAL Task Unit Bruiser during the Battle of Ramadi. It further emphasizes that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. It further explains how bad leaders create bad teams and how good leaders can make good teams great.

General Nonfiction Books (Audiobooks)

Nonfiction books contain something for everyone because of the wide range of subjects covered by enthusiastic authors. The nonfiction genre is full of incredible genuine tales, from memoirs to self-help to true-crime to history. 

If you’re looking for a good place to start, this list of the finest nonfiction audiobooks of all time should be your good starting point.

11. The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

The bestselling spiritual guide “The Four Agreements” has touched millions of readers around the world. The four simple yet powerful agreements, “say what you mean, don’t take things personally, don’t make assumptions, and always try to do your best,” provide a life-changing method to deal with the challenges of everyday living from relationships and parenting, to managing at work.

 The Four Agreements is a concise easy to read guide to personal freedom.

12. Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind By Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is written by Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli historian, and philosopher. Sapiens became a worldwide bestseller and was translated into more than 45 languages. This book will take you on a journey from 70,000 BC to the present day. 

Why did Sapiens become such a sensation? What makes Sapiens different from other books about human history? The uniqueness of Sapiens lies in the way that Harari discusses past events. Instead of looking at them as isolated incidents, he uses Sapiens to see how these events are interconnected. 

Sapiens is structured around ‘threshold moments,’ which helps Harari connect human history with current events. This book is meant to be eye-opening, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Sapiens is meant to stick with the reader long after they’ve finished the book.

13. 48 Laws Of Power By Robert Greene

“48 Laws of Power” is a bestselling book written by Robert Greene in 1998. The book is a practical guide for anyone seeking power, drawn from history’s darkest chapters.

48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, attempts to distill 3,000 years of wisdom on power and leadership into 48 simple rules. 

It doesn’t matter if you want to run a little business, a giant corporation, or anything in between; this book on the likes of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu will provide you with basic truisms that can be applied to every aspect of your life. 

Richard has a distinct voice for each character, allowing the tales’ many plotlines to come alive via his narration. You may start internalizing key learnings like “enter with bravery” to assist you in preparing for your next big encounter using short chapters to paint the image.

14. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou

Author and poet Maya Angelou’s book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” chronicles her early life and upbringing in her native New Orleans. There is no better way to appreciate these colorful, dramatic tales—both in terms of their humor and intensity. 

This listen seems like you’re listening in on a family member reminiscing about their own childhood spent recollections. 

While Angelou’s experiences might be difficult to hear at times, her courage and honesty in sharing her history make this compelling book well worth the time it takes to listen to it.

15. Dead Wake By Eric Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson, is historical nonfiction that documents one of the world’s most tragic maritime events in history, which was the sinking of the ocean liner RMS Lusitania. Scott Brick narrates this audiobook. 

Dead Wake has spent 45 weeks on the bestseller list of the New York Times, and it’s preparing for more lists soon to arrive!

16. All The Single Ladies By Rebecca Traister

All The Single Ladies By Rebecca Traister is a nonfiction audiobook that was published in 2015. All The Single Ladies By Rebecca Traister looks at how American history has been shaped by the presence and absence of single women. 

The book also discusses Rebecca Traister’s own personal stories and life experiences as a growing single woman. It is also an examination of unmarried women’s role in the United States, from the beginnings of American history up to the present day. 

17. A Short History Of Nearly Everything By Bill Bryson

“A Short History of Nearly Everything,” written by Bill Bryson, is exactly what it sounds like: a man’s journey to comprehend how we evolved from nothing to become who and what we are now. 

Taking us from the Big Bang to the development of civilization, Bryson goes to all parts of the globe to interview specialists and further develop his work. 

The narrator Richard Matthews gives life to this great history, making it seem light and breezy. Bryson and Matthews work together to make a massive amount of history seem enjoyable and simple to grasp.

18. Unbroken By Laura Hillenbrand

“Unbroken” audiobook is a gripping biography of Olympian Louis Zamperini about the loss of hope, redemption through faith, and overcoming life’s biggest challenges. 

This book narrates the story of the second world war when an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the ocean and disappeared. A lieutenant by the name of Louis Zamperini survived.

The book is an inspirational autobiography that teaches readers about human endurance and how to stay strong in the face of insurmountable, life-threatening adversities. 

Unbroken shows readers how to remain humble and grateful even after going through disturbing, spirit-breaking experiences. 

This audiobook also features Laura Hillenbrand’s triumph over her health problems and how she went on to tell Zamperini’s story after the war hero had already passed away in October 2014 at the age of 97.

19. When Breath Becomes Air By Paul Kalanithi And Abraham Verghese

“When Breath Becomes Air” was picked up by the New York Times, and it quickly became a bestseller. This book is the memoir of Paul Kalanithi, who was diagnosed with stage iv lung cancer when he was in his third year of residency training. 

The book contains stories about Paul’s early career, family life, and the last years of his life, grappling with critical questions about consciousness, meaning, and what it means to be human. 

The book is a heartfelt and beautifully written story that will make you think about what we often take for granted in life, such as our health and loved ones.

The epilogue, presented by Hall of Fame narrator Cassandra Campbell, offers the words of Kalanithi’s wife. An emotional shift from medical science to a widow’s memories makes a genuinely meaningful and moving listening experience.

20. The New Jim Crow By Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander tackles the phenomenon of mass imprisonment that unjustly affects black men. Segregationist laws from the 19th and 20th centuries are a contemporary continuation of Jim Crow laws. 

While many assume state-sanctioned discrimination ceased with the civil rights struggle, Alexander contends that the US jail system works similarly. 

Karen Chilton narrates this work’s dark, terrible facts in a sad yet captivating style. Her own voice is authoritative and informed, much like a radio broadcaster.

21. In Cold Blood By Truman Capote

“In Cold Blood” is a famous work written by Truman Capote in 1966. The book looks into an actual cold case in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959, when four people were murdered at their house.

Two ex-convicts, Richard Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, executed the murder of four people, including an entire family of three generations. In Cold Blood is considered Truman Capote’s best work and one of the best books ever written.    

22. A Room Of One’s Own By Virginia Woolf

A Room Of One’s Own By Virginia Woolf is one of the most popular books ever written. A Room Of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf, is a feminist essay that challenges the social obstacles that prevented women from writing fiction during the 1920s and has helped to inspire and influence female writers for generations. 

23. Outliers: The Story Of Success By Malcolm Gladwell

“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell is a nonfiction audiobook that takes on the idea of success. The book shows how people who are seen as outliers, people who are seen to be aberrations, can be explained statistically.

Outliers look at everyone from Bill Gates to Paul Allen and Steve Jobs of Apple Computers. It is a fascinating examination of how success happens.

24. Man’s Search For Meaning By Viktor E. Frankl

In “Man’s Search for Meaning,” listeners hear the harrowing details of Frankl’s experiences in four distinct concentration camps before learning about the roots of logotherapy. 

The book is based on the fundamental concept that our basic motive is a search for meaning. Throughout this powerful and crucial listening experience, listeners are encouraged to comprehend Frankl’s pain while honoring his outstanding human-focused research. 

While the narration is delivered with weight and gravity, it is also calming to the listener amid the most traumatic retellings, which Hall delivers of Fame narrator Simon Vance.

25. Calypso By David Sedaris

David Sedaris’ Calypso is a best-seller non-fiction audiobook. It explores life in the American south through his dry sense of humor and wit. 

Each chapter tells a story from a different aspect of life, so it feels like sitting down with friends talking about their lives. Calypso By David Sedaris is very popular because it’s an easy listening, humorous non-fiction audiobook. 

All the chapters are stand-alone stories, which makes Calypso perfect for short commutes or if you are looking for something to listen to between books.

26. Castles Of Steel: Britain, Germany, And The Winning Of The Great War At Sea By Robert K. Massie

“Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea” is a non-fiction book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert K. Massie. With a focus on those carried out by the United Kingdom and Imperial Germany during the First World War, the book tells the story of the key naval battles of the war. 

During a visit to Spithead in 1914, the First Lord of the Admiralty of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, invented the phrase “castles of steel” to describe the vast number of Royal Navy battleships he witnessed.

27. 1776 By David Mccullough

For those who desire to learn more about American history without going back to school, the novel 1776 by David McCullough is one of the best ways to get up to speed on the period. It is primarily concerned with the events that led up to the outbreak of the American Revolution. Also included is a more in-depth examination of lesser-known historical individuals such as King George III and Henry Knox to present a complete picture of the American Revolutionary War period. 

The narration of McCullough’s work will pique your attention even more. Following along with his vibrant retelling of American history will be no problem, thanks to his extensive knowledge and extensive study on the subject, as well as his obvious enthusiasm for the subject.

28. Hidden Figures By Margot Lee Shetterly

Margot Lee Shetterly Hidden Figures is a remarkable human story about African American women who were the brains behind NASA’s greatest successes in space. These brilliant women broke significant boundaries between the late 1940s and early 1970s to become part of America’s greatest achievements in aeronautics and space flight.

The story tells how these “hidden figures” finally received well-deserved recognition. Hidden Figures shows how the three African American women joined NASA but were segregated to non-technical work, which was considered at that time as menial labor. However, they soon proved themselves more than capable of working with engineering and mathematical data like computers, scientists, and mathematicians.

29. Life On The Mississippi By Mark Twain

The Mississippi was Mark Twain’s first non-fiction book and is an example of Literary Nonfiction. It is a collection of articles about his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War and a travel book recounting his trip along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to New Orleans many years after the war. Life on the Mississippi focuses on recounting his experiences when he was a steamboat pilot for ten years, before the American Civil War.

30. 101 Ways To Be Less Stressed By Caroline Leaf

“101 Ways To Be Less Stressed” By Caroline Leaf was the best-selling audiobook in 2014 in the nonfiction genre. The book holds the #1 spot for stress management and #16 spots overall for sales of all audiobooks released in 2014.

I listen to this in my car, and I can’t help but feel like each chapter is a little everyday life lesson that I need to take with me every day. Often, scripture ties into her points, and I love that because it helps me see and understand God’s word differently. I have taken in so much already in just the first chapter, and it was an eye-opener in terms of how I’m living my life right now. 101 Ways To Be Less Stressed has inspired me to take a different look at how I live.

Final Thoughts on Best Nonfiction Audio Books

When it comes to learning something new on the fly, non-fiction audiobooks are a convenient and flexible option. The author’s voice brings the most heart and passion to a tale, particularly when the author speaks it. By reading this article, you have a list of best-selling nonfiction audiobooks, ranging from comedy and history to memoirs and self-help.

To sum up, non-fiction audiobooks are usually narrated by actors, authors, and anyone who can read aloud for others to enjoy. These genres of novels give readers more opportunities to learn about themselves and the world around them. Not only do they help readers to learn about their passions, interests, and goals, but they also offer a new perspective on both the world and themselves. Such books have been read by people worldwide because it allows them to be entertained while still receiving information that may make them more knowledgeable or confident.


Are audiobooks good for nonfiction?

Yes, it is. Nonfiction audiobooks for young readers help them to read at a higher level of style and content. Listening to audiobooks while on the go is a convenient and flexible method to expand your knowledge base. The author’s voice, particularly their own, gives a level of authenticity to any piece. You may find anything from comedy and history to memoirs and self-help under this genre.

Does audible have nonfiction?

If you’re wondering, Does audible have non-fiction audiobooks? We’ve got the answer! Yes, they do. You can find a list of all their non-fiction titles on their official website. You can also see this list of free audible audio stories, which will let you choose the kind of books you’re interested in.

What is the highest-rated audiobook?

The book “Peril: Trump in the White House,” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa is currently listed as the highest-rated audiobook on Amazon.com, based on  8,284 customer reviews and a 4.5/5.0 rating.

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