500 Best Books Tentative List, Nonfiction

I’m writing a book “500 best books originally written in
English for Japanese audience”
, and this is a tentative list of 75 non-fiction
(76 at the moment). I have lists for fiction
books, children’s
books, and classics

This list is not completed and I would like your input. Some of the book’s
audience are beginning readers of English and some are native level, so I need
a mix of books that would appeal to these various levels that I believe
are enjoyable for the Japanese readers.  Some are entertaining, and some
are mind stimulating, and some of them are informative.  The most
important thing is that the book gives a Japanese reader a good reading experience.
If that experience encourages the reader to pick up another English book, it
will be a success.

The following are the criteria I used for the tentative list.  

1)   The reader feels “ I’m glad I have read this book”.

2)   The book has a reasonably wide range of audience.

3)   The book must be reasonably well written.

4)   The book must be still in print and available in Japan.

I’m including some books I personally do not like very much, because I believe
there are many Japanese readers who can learn to enjoy English books from
them.  Because of the limited number I can list for the book, I decided to
chose only one book by each author.

I separated into several genres, but please keep in mind that some of them are
mixture of different genres.


回想録/伝記 Biographies, memoirs


Angela’s Ashes by
Frank McCourt

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Look me in the Eye by John Elder Robison

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

Open by Andre Agassi

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Marley & Me by John Grogan

Dewey by Vicki Myron, Bret Witter

Saving Sammy by Beth
Alison Maloney




In Cold Blood (1965) by Truman Capote

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Googled by Ken Auletta

Embracing Defeat
 by John W. Dower

Columbine by Dave Cullen

A Thousand Lives by
Julia Scheeres

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Seabuiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

The Great
by Matt Taibbi

Game Change by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared M. Diamond

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Lost in Shangri-La by Michell Zuckoff

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

A Year in Province by Peter Mayle

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace



Nature, Science,
Medicine, Music


A Brief History of Time (2005年改訂版) by Stephen Hawking

Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

How Music Works by David Byrne

How Doctors Think
by Jerome Groopman

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks

Telling Lies
by Paul Ekman

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

Stuff by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee

with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
by Joshua Foer 

A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, et al

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Sticks and Stones by Emily Bazelon

NurtureShock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

Play by Stuart Brown


ビジネス/経営/社会科学/実用書/自己啓発 Business, management, and marketing, social


Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam

The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

Tipping point by Malcolm Gladwell

The End of Big by Nicco Mele

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Daniel H. Pink

The Dip by Seth Godin

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead by David Meerman
Scott & Brian Halligan

Emotional Intelligence
by Daniel Goleman

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff–and it’s all small stuff by
Richard Carlson

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

How Starbucks Saved My Life
by Michael Gates Gill

The Happiness Trap
by Russ Harris

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Fall in Love for Life by Barbara Cooper

On Writing by Stephen King

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR’s National Story Project

Give Your Speech, Change the World by Nick Morgan


ユーモア Humor


The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt

I Suck at Girls
by Justin Halpern

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson



(art, cooking, and other genre)


Asylum by Christopher Payne

Dancers Among Us
by Jordan Matter

PostSecret by Frank Warren

Guinness World Records

Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham



*****The following books are also considered******


Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

Helter Skelter by
Vincent Bugliosi

Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

J. D. Salinger by Kenneth Slawenski

Escape by Carolyn

A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke

Life in Rewind by
Terry Weible Murphy & Michael A. Jenike

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos by Lucy Jo Palladino Ph.

A Little
History of Philosophy
by Nigel Warburton

Einstein Never Used Flashcards by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff,
et al

The Best American Essays

The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller

Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer

New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Story by Robert McKee

This is Your Brain on
Music by Daniel J. Levitin

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr



Justice by Michael Sandel(日本で過剰に評価されているほど米国では評価されていないし、ここで紹介する必要もないほど知られているから)

Strong in the Rain (今の日本人には、かえって良くないかもしれないから)

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo

How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus(非常に売れた作品なので、紹介しなくてもよいかも…)

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, Musicophelia
by Oliver Sacks, etc. Because of “one book by one author for one

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

1776 by David McCullough

Incognito by David Eagleman ( I instead chose his short
stories, Sum)

A Girl Named Zippy

A Heart-Breaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Pattern Language, Alexander, et al

Are You Somebody?: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman

Bossy Pants (A very good book, but Japanese audience don’t
know who she is)

Influence, Cialdini

Northern Nurse

One Hundred Names for Love

The Snow Leopard, Matthiessen

The Songlines, Chatwin

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her
American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures 

The Wisdom of Crowds 

Townie: A Memoir 

Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language

Undaunted Courage

Darth Vader and Son 

Yokai Attack

It’s Not How Good You Are, … 

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell(映画に比べて本の評価があまりにも低い。著者に好感が抱けないという意見が多い)

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff(手紙のやりとりは面白いが、制限ある中に入れる価値があるかどうか不明)


Food Inc. by Participant Media