Go beyond just the current list of New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers to discover every bestselling book listed on the NYT Bestseller List in 2021.
Since 1931, The New York Times has been publishing a weekly list of bestselling books. Since then, becoming a New York Times bestseller has become a dream for virtually every writer.
When I first started reading adult books, one of the first places I went for book recommendations was the New York Times Nonfiction Nonfiction Best Sellers. I wanted to know what books were the most widely read, and start with those.
However, scrolling through the list week by week on The New York Times website is rather annoying. I just wanted all the bestselling nonfiction books gathered together in one place.
When I couldn’t find it, I decided to create it.
Here are all the New York Times nonfiction bestsellers from this year. I’ve got the current #1 and this week’s bestselling list, both of which you can find all over the place.
This list also compiles every book that appears on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers list in 2021 for Hardcover Nonfiction. Every week I update it so you can get the most accurate view of the year in one place.
Since this is a bit of a sprawling post, feel free to jump to the section that most interests you or take your time scrolling through the complete list of New York Times nonfiction best sellers.
Current #1 New York Times Best Seller
(4 Weeks) A look at the life and work of Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna, who pioneered the development of CRISPR. With this new genetic ability, scientists can cure diseases and create vaccines, including the coronavirus. But Doudna has also wrestled with the ethical and moral issues of this new technology.
Current List of New York Times Best Sellers
1.The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson
How the Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues invented CRISPR, a tool that can edit DNA.
2.Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
The Academy Award-winning actor shares snippets from the diaries he kept over the last 35 years.
3.Caste by Isabel WilkersonThe Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist examines aspects of caste systems across civilizations and reveals a rigid hierarchy in America today.
4.The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone
The actress and human rights activist recounts her childhood difficulties and biggest accomplishments.
5.Untamed by Glennon Doyle
The activist and public speaker describes her journey of listening to her inner voice and falling in love with her wife.
6.Think Again by Adam Grant
An examination of the cognitive skills of rethinking and unlearning that could be used to adapt to a rapidly changing world.
7.The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee
The chair of the board of the racial justice organization Color of Change analyzes the impact of racism on the economy.
8.A Promised Land by Barack Obama
In the first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama offers personal reflections on his formative years and pivotal moments through his first term.
9.This is the Fire by Don Lemon
The CNN host looks at the impact of racism on his life and prescribes ways to address systemic flaws in America.
10.A World on the Wing by Scott Weidensaul
The navigational and physiological undertakings performed by billions of birds as they circumnavigate the globe.
11.Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson
The late iconic actress describes how she worked to change perceptions of Black women through her career choices.
12.How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
A prescription for what business, governments and individuals can do to work toward zero emissions.
13.Rock Me on the Water by Ronald Brownstein
How popular culture was impacted by what happened in Los Angeles in 1974 in movies, music, television and politics.
14.Breath by James Nestor
A re-examination of a basic biological function and a look at the science behind ancient breathing practices.
15.The Marathon Don’t Stop by Rob Kenner
A biography of the late hip hop mogul and artist Nipsey Hussle.
Previous #1 New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers
(136 Weeks) Westover grew up in the rural mountains of Idaho with no formal education. Despite her extremist survivalist parents and violent older brother, Westover managed to make her way into college, eventually earning a Ph.D. You’ll be inspired by her amazing determination but sadden by the circumstances of her childhood.
(107 Weeks) Detailing her childhood on the South Side of Chicago, her success as a working mother, and her years in the White House, Michelle Obama shows how her past has shaped her into who she has become today. A poignant memoir of a woman trying to do her best for her family while balancing the greater good of having a husband in politics.
(54 Weeks) After writing about recovering a marriage rocked by infidelity in Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle has a new memoir about her love story with US soccer star Abby Wambach. Doyle details how she found herself by realizing her true power comes from within and not from the expectations others put on her.
Ibram X. Kendi
(46 Weeks) Ibram X. Kendi has penned the premier work on racial justice in America. Kendi’s premise is that the opposite of racist policies is antiracist policies that actively aid in creating more equity between races. Using history, law, ethics and, science, Kendi shows what an antiracist society would look like and helps illustrate how we can contribute to the building of a more equitable world.
(35 Weeks) When you think of castes, India’s strict caste system likely comes to mind. Wilkerson argues that America has its own hidden caste system, a hierarchy that has influenced the United States both historically and currently. Using fascinating stories, Wilkerson points out that on top of race and class, our understanding of caste systems must also change if we are to better ourselves as a nation.
(33 Weeks) Erik Larson turns his attention to Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister as he unites a nation in the face of the horrors of the London Blitz. With thorough in-depth research, Larson brings Churchill to life – sharing details on his political and personal life.
(30 Weeks) After retiring from professional basketball, Kobe Bryant decided to share an intimate look at how he approached the game. Discussing the steps he took to mentally and physically prepare to excel at his chosen sport, Bryant provides a unique perspective from one of basketball’s greatest players.
(24 Weeks) Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey offers a memoir on his approach to getting the most satisfaction out of life. McConaughey poured over decades of his diaries to share the highs and lows of his life and the funny stories that shaped him along the way.
(20 Weeks) Former United States President Barack Obama describes his political journey, from the grassroots movement that helped him rise to the presidency to the politics and diplomacy from his term in office. Along with intimate insights into his presidency, Obama ponders the reach and limits of presidential power.
(19 Weeks) Among the best new nonfiction books is James Nestor’s interesting exploration of something as basic as breathing. Nestor has traveled the world to understand the lost art of breathing correctly, studying ancient breathing practices, and modern-day scientific research to show that how we inhale and exhale matters.
(12 Weeks) Photographer Brandon Stanton became famous for his photography and storytelling blog covering intimate stories of the humans of New York. Now he expands his focus, traveling around the world to share personal interviews with people throughout the globe.
(10 Weeks) Published just days before her death, Just As I Am is a memoir from the iconic actress with six decades of experience on screen and stage. Cicely Tyson examines her life and discusses how she worked to change perceptions of Black women through her career choices.
Edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
(6 Weeks) A one-volume “community” history of African-Americans edited by Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to Be an Antiracist) and Keisha N. Blain. From the year before the Mayflower to the present-day, over ninety of today’s Black authors explore history through various methods to give this book a unique feel.
by James Patterson and matt Eversmann
(6 Weeks) Master storyteller James Patterson and Retired First Sergeant US Army Matt Eversmann, (part of the Ranger unit portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down) share brutally honest tales of life in combat based on hundreds of interviews of troops who fought overseas.
(7 Weeks) Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates sets out a detailed practical guide to how the world can achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to prevent a climate disaster. Leaning on experts in physics, engineering, political science, and finance, Gates shares an analysis of the challenge we face and the potential solutions that, although difficult, are doable.
(3 Weeks) Don Lemon, America’s only Black prime-time anchor, considers the ways that racism has impacted his life. From his slave ancestors to his confrontations with politicians, Lemon shows how systemic racism affects America and proposes ways we can address and resist racism in America.
(10+ Weeks on the NYT Bestseller List)
Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
(15 Weeks) Continuing the Killing series, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard tackle the Westward expansion of the American people into Native lands. The first half focuses on the entire history of the conflicts with Native Americans before narrowing its focus to Crazy Horse and Custer’s Last Stand in the second part.
(16 Weeks) For over three decades, Trebek hosted the trivia game show Jeopardy before his death this fall. Grateful for the outflowing of support after his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer last year, Trebek finally decided to write a memoir. Full of personal anecdotes and Jeopardy trivia, you’ll get an insightful look at a man who became an icon in American pop culture.
(13 Weeks) Ever since the start of his career as a stand-up comedian, Jerry Seinfeld has saved all his material and ideas on big yellow legal pads. Scouring through all his old material, Seinfeld has picked out the best of the best, letting you see the evolution of his craft through the decades.
(11 Weeks) A former NFL player and current Fox Sports analyst, Emmanuel Acho takes on the hard questions that many white Americans are afraid to ask but need to know to be more informed. Based on his hit Youtube series, Acho presents his topic as a way to help people increase their understanding and change their behaviors to help end racism in America.
(5+ Weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List)
Think Again by Adam Grant
(9 Weeks) An examination of the cognitive skills of rethinking and unlearning that could be used to adapt to a rapidly changing world.
World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
(8 Weeks) In a collection of essays, poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil celebrates various aspects of the natural world and its inhabitants.
The Sum of Us by Heather McGee
(7 Weeks) The chair of the board of the racial justice organization Color of Change analyzes the impact of racism on the economy.
Dolly Parton, Songteller by Dolly Parton
(5 Weeks) A memoir from iconic country singer Dolly Parton. Parton highlights 75 of her songs and takes you behind the lyrics to share personal stories and never before seen photographs.
Bag Man by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz
(5 Weeks) MSNBC host Rachel Maddow gives an account of the 1973 investigation of then Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and its impact on politics and the media.
A Swim in the Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
(5 Weeks) A collection of essays paired with seven iconic short stories examining the functions and importance of works of fiction.
(2-4 Weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List)
Modern Warriors by Pete Hegseth – The Fox News host and former combat veteran interviews soldiers about the different kinds of battles they encountered.
The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson – The story of the killing of the former member of the Beatles by Mark David Chapman in 1980 and interviews with some of Lennon’s friends and associates.
Wintering by Katherine May – Personal reflections on the potential benefits of embracing and living through painful times of isolation.
Evil Geniuses by Kurt Anderson – The author of “Fantasyland” looks at the economic, cultural and political forces to which he ascribes the undermining and dismantling of the American middle class.
You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar – A pair of sisters who live in different parts of the country share their perspectives on the absurdities and everyday experiences of racism.
Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion – A collection of 12 pieces written between 1968 and 2000 that includes observations on the underground press and the act of writing.
Unmasked by Andy Ngo – A former writer for the online magazine Quillette gives his perspective on the activist movement antifa.
Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad – The writer of the New York Times column “Life, Interrupted” chronicles her fight with cancer and an impactful road trip.
The Daughters of Kobani by Gayle Tzemarch Lemmon – In 2014, a group of all-female Kurdish militia faced off against ISIS in a small town in Syria.
Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff – A look at different approaches to rearing children from various parts of the planet.
One Hit Wonders
(1 Week on the New York Times Best Seller List)