5 Nonfiction Books That Taught Me More Than My College Degree …

5 nonfiction books that outshine a college degree

Chirag Malik
8 min readAug 25, 2023
Photo by Shiromani Kant on Unsplash

Although I enjoyed college, I can now see that the education I gained there didn’t really benefit me in the real world. Those textbooks don’t provide me with the information or tools I need to get by in life or make wise decisions.

Later, I understood that education doesn’t end with graduation from college. Actually, it’s the beginning of it where you are faced with real-life challenges. There are many books that taught me skills that college did not. Here’s a list of five of them.

1. Thinking Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman

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This book is a result of 40 years of work by psychologist Daniel Kahneman & he has managed to deliver a brilliant, fascinating, & at times intimidating account of human judgment & decision making

The central argument of the book is that the human brain has two systems

System 1: It’s the brain’s automatic, intuitive, & unconscious thinking mode. It requires little energy or attention but it is often biased prone. It guides our day-to-day decisions. So if you are solving the equation of 2+2 your system 1 is at work.

System 2: It is a slow, controlled, & analytical method of thinking where reasons dominate. System 2 allocates its attention to the effortful mental activities that require a high level of concentration. So if you are solving the equation of 17x72 your system 2 is at work.

Key Insights:

  • It reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions, and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking.
  • You’ll be able to recognize that how vulnerable our minds are to repetition & how we perceive repetition as truth.
  • It will assist you in making better-informed decisions, thinking faster, and strategizing effectively.
  • How the concept of priming works, if you are shown the word “CLOTHES” and then you are asked to fill a blank SO_P, you are more likely to write SOAP
  • On the other hand, if you are shown the word “EAT” and then you are asked to fill in a blank SO_P, you are more likely to write SOUP
  • Crazy right? The book is filled with stuff like that, you’ll be shocked & intimidated by our very own minds.

Final Thoughts:

  • This book can make you a better thinker and decision-maker, also it’ll make you aware of the cognitive biases that hinder our rational lines of thought.
  • If you are interested in reading human psychology or behavioral science then do read this book. You’ll be mesmerized to know how little we know about our own minds.

2. The Almanack Of Naval Ravikant By Eric Jorgenson

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This book is & will be my most cherished possession to this day. I’ll tell you why. Naval talks about building wealth, and learning happiness, Yes you read that right learning happiness. It also talks about authenticity, specific knowledge, philosophy, freedom, leverage, and building judgment.

All of these concepts are discussed & expressed in a very unorthodox way. The book is a masterpiece because it teaches you to unlearn things before you learn them and helps you think clearly right from the first principle basis. The sheer wisdom which has been laid out in this book is just phenomenal.

All the concepts are broadly divided into two parts i.e. Wealth & Happiness.

Key Insights:

While reading this book you’ll stop after almost every other paragraph & you’ll just stare at the walls to just think & absorb the wisdom that is showered upon you by this book. Not a lot of books will be able to do that with you. This is one such book.

Apart from that, you’ll learn

1. The significance of finding & building specific knowledge and how you can leverage that to build wealth. Both of these combined will help you to earn from your mind, not your time.

2. In the age of leverage, good judgment can win everything. Moving along the pages of this book you’ll learn how to be a clear thinker & make better judgments.

3. You’ll learn how to be happy & how wealth has little role to play in it. Happiness is our default state, but we are so used to living in the customized state that we are finding it hard to go to default again.

4. Choose to be yourself, there is no one exactly like you, & no one in the world is going to beat you at being you.

Final Thoughts:

I’ve read this 2 times in a span of 2 weeks and I still feel I’m just scratching the surface, there is so much to learn from this book. If you are serious about your life, happiness, & personal growth then I plead with you to read this book.

3. Exactly What To Say: The Magic Words For Influence And Impact By Phil M. Jones

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I like what Warren Buffet said about communication
“If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark — nothing happens. You have to be able to put forward your ideas”

He couldn’t have been more precise about the importance of communication.

The goal of this book is just that, to help you in communicating & always be in control of the conversation. It’ll provide you with “Magic Words” that you can use in your conversations with your clients, colleagues, friends & family.

You all know these words, but the way & how you use them is different. You all know the ingredients, but the recipe is different. So nothing’s different, but everything has changed.

These words are tried, tested & proven to deliver results when applied properly.

Key Insights:

The book is short, precise, written in an engaging format, and with the sole intention of helping people improve how they interact in their personal & professional lives.

It contains lots of examples that will help you apply these words in different conversations instantly, with ease & the science behind why these Magic words actually work.

The roadblocks you face during the meetings or conversations such as

  • You hesitate before presenting an idea.
  • Too shy to follow up on a client who is important to your business.
  • Not able to close the deal because your client needs “more time to think.”
  • Convincing someone that your set of services is better, without actually saying it out loud.

This book helps you navigate through these conversation roadblocks.

Final Thoughts:

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, freelancer, solopreneur, or someone working in the corporate space and you are open-minded towards change and personal development. Then pick this book without a second thought.

4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

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What are the factors that cause one person to say YES to another person?

Which techniques most effectively use these factors to bring about such obedience?

Why is it that a request presented in a certain way will be rejected, while a request that asks for the same favor in a slightly different manner will be successful?

If you want to know the answers to these questions and techniques that get people to say YES then read along.

This book is organized around 6 principles. These are
1. Consistency
2. Reciprocation
3. Social Proof
4. Authority
5. Liking
6. Scarcity

Each of these principles is discussed in terms of their function in society and in terms of how their enormous force can be exploited by individuals to serve their vested interests.

These principles are also known as “WEAPONS OF INFLUENCE.”

One Of The Weapons of Influence:


There is a deep-rooted sense of duty to authority within all of us. It is known as obedience to authority. Our extreme willingness to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority.

The most dangerous part is that it doesn’t matter to us whether the order to comply comes from a person of real authority or not. A person with fake authority can easily make us do things that we are not supposed to do.

Final Thoughts:

A fundamental book if you want to learn about persuasion techniques and masterful storytelling with relevant examples and studies. it has applications in sales, marketing, social media, e-commerce, and in your daily interactions with people.

You can use it to correct those blind spots or to make people comply with your requests in your business.

5. The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime! By M. J. DeMarco

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You must be thinking ahh!! Another get-rich-quick guide, claiming to make you a millionaire through affiliate marketing or any other dirty old tricks used by get-rich-quick gurus.

But what if I tell you that it isn’t the small old crap that you’ve heard already?

What if I tell you that the author in fact called out on all of these so-called financial gurus?

What if I tell you that it is actually a practical book that can be implemented?

What if I tell you that it doesn’t talk about index fund investing?

In the words of MJ DeMarco, there are only three routes that can take you to financial freedom,

1. The Sidewalk
2. The Slow lane
3. The Fast lane

The book explores each dimension of each of these lanes to wealth.

Key Insights:

To attract money is to forget about money, people are usually obsessed with what they want and they are completely clueless about what the market or the audience wants. You can make a fortune by building a product that nobody wants.

It discusses the five fast-lane commandments known as CENTS which validate that you are on a fast-lane road to wealth.

1. The Commandment of Control
2. The Commandment of Entry
3. The Commandment of Need
4. The Commandment of Time
5. The Commandment of Scale

Final Thoughts:

This book states the facts which are never been stated openly,

The only people who will not like this book are the fake gurus who preach “Get Rich Quick” schemes and people who are teaching others how to run a business but their actual business is “how to run your business” courses online. Because the author has stated what they’ve been hiding from us.

And for all other readers interested in getting started with their financial freedom journey, this book is meant for you.

That’s it from my side. Feel free to share these helpful tips with your fellow readers to help them choose the right books.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this article and paying attention to it.

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Chirag Malik

Top writer on Medium, in Books, Social Media, Reading, Self Improvement, & Productivity. 90k+ Followers On Instagram. Mails At: booksmyrefuge101@gmail.com