Non-fiction is a powerful medium to state facts or convey opinions. From essays and journals, to auto(biographies) and philosophy, non-fiction spans a copious variety of types of writing. Here are ten of the most popular works of non-fiction.

1. The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana

Author: Vatsyayana

Written in 2 nd century BC, this classic treatise on sexual education by Maharishi Vatsyayana highlights different aspects of physical love. Kamasutra may be dedicated to erotic love, but it is much more than a sex manual. It explores the entire gamut of man-woman relationship and the sexual customs prevailing in the East in those times.

2. The Prince

Author: Nicolo Machiavelli

The Prince is the most infamous treatise on politics for its recommendation of governance which is cruel and manipulative and therefore has since been called Machiavellian. In Prince, Machiavelli advises newly appointed rulers how to destroy enemies and how to impose their will on their subjects, but in a manner that they are not despised and hated. Machiavelli writes about politics as it is rather than how it should be.

3. The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome

Author: E.M. Berens

This book by E.M. Berens is about the myths and legends of Greek and Roman culture. It is an exhaustive study of all major and minor deities, demons, demi-gods, and other characters whose mention is there in these myths and legends. This book is a must read for those who enjoy the classics of literature, as these classics are teeming with allusions to Greek and Roman mythology.

4. The Communist Manifesto

Author: Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx

The world that Marx and Engels described in The Communist Manifesto written in 1848, is recognizably the world that we live in, almost 160 years later. The insights offered by the book corroborate the Manifesto's startling present day relevance: it recognizes capitalism as a world system capable of mobilizing production on a global scale; its disastrous effects on all aspects of human life, work, family and distribution of wealth; and also the understanding that, instead of providing a stable system, it is, on the contrary, liable to crisis and instability, and carries within the seeds of its own destruction.

5. On the Origin of Species

Author: Charles Darwin

The Origin of Species, written by Charles Darwin in 1859, is one of the most significant and influential books ever written. It is one of those very few innovative works of science that is fascinating to read. Although Alfred Russel Wallace had also thought of the same theory of evolution that Darwin did, but it was Darwin who gathered mass of evidence on domestic animals and plants, on variability, on sexual selection, on dispersal to corroborate his theory. Throughout the book, you are astounded by Darwin’s knowledge, his observation, and how much thought had gone into formulating his argument. An interesting journey that leads you to intellectual discovery, The Origin of Species is a valuable historical document, definitely worth reading.

6. The Republic

Author: Plato (translated by Benjamin Jowett)

The Republic is the most famous dialogue composed by Plato in about 375 BC. It is in form of a conversation between Socrates and three different interlocutors. They discuss the nature of man, the soul, justice, and what the most just society should be like. It is a utopian account of how to best organize a society and how to plan out a stable and violence-free society or republic. Plato’s Republic has greatly influenced Western culture and philosophy.

7. Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future

Author: Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche is few of those inspiring thinkers who experimented with a very different approach to expose the contemporary society which was full of fake altruism, hypocrisy and smug moral complacency. He shocked the readers by making them listen to their own inmost thoughts. In his book Beyond Good and Evil (1886), Nietzsche targets “slave morality” which he feels is responsible for holding humanity captive. The book considers topics such as: Judeo-Christian morality, virtues of science, merits of democracy, and emancipation of women. The finely crafted work of Friedrich Nietzsche provides a keen insight into the nineteenth-century Europe which according to him was a moral wasteland.

8. The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

The Art of War by Sun Tzu, written more than 2000 years ago, chronicles every aspect of military warfare at that time with emphasis on handling conflict situations wisely and honorably. It is a treatise on warfare, but its strategies are relevant even to modern day conflicts within organizations. Such has been the influence of this ancient Chinese classic that the tactics and theories presented in this book are practiced even today.

9. Walden‚ and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Author: Henry David Thoreau

A mystic and transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau produced his timeless masterpiece- Walden after having spent a considerable time in the woods near Walden Pond. The book strongly conveys a mystic’s deep desire for the spiritual truth and expresses the wonder of a naturalist. Through On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, which is a part of this volume, Thoreau voices his anti-slavery and anti-war sentiments. His work has had profound influence on environmentalists and social reformers. It was his philosophy that initiated environmentalism and the concept of non-violent resistance.

10. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Author: Adam Smith

Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, provided the first in-depth-analysis of the workings of a market economy. Smith gave brilliant analysis of the theories of capital accumulation, growth, and suggested how the living standards of a nation can be raised. This great seminal work, written in a lucid and persuasive style, can be enjoyed even by those with little or no scholarly interest in political economy.

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