A Guide to Understanding Non-Fiction Books

Posted by Rashmi Aggrawal on


Reading non-fiction books is a great way to broaden your knowledge horizon and take a step further to understand this world.

 But if you don’t know how to read it well, it can just be another new book in your shelf you thought you would read but never got the motivation to. Yes, that’s true even for the inspiration books or self-help books from your favourite author.

But don’t worry. We have all been guilty of that. This is why, we put our thinking hats up and spoke to experts to create this perfect guide and help you become a non-fiction reader.

 Let’s get started!


Source: FreePik

 Top Three Things To Keep In Mind While Selecting Non-Fiction Books

Whether you wish to pick any personal development books or a scientific book, you should think of the three things we have jotted down. This will make sure your beginning is correct.

  1. The Purpose:

Don’t pick a non-fiction book randomly or it will certainly gather dust in your bookshelf. You have to understand why you are buying it at the first place.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • Why am I reading about this specific topic?
  • How will it help me in the future?

 Once you have an idea, select the genre and decide on a book.

  1. The Author

Sometimes, people read non-fiction books just because they like the author. Ankur Warikoo is a great example for this. He created a strong personal brand and finally published his book Do Epic Shit which went viral among his fans.

 So, if you think there is an author you love, choose their book first. Or if you have no favourites, whichever book you pick, find out more about his author. It will increase your interest in the book.


  1. The Length

Again, this is for people who are not really non-fiction readers. Even the best non-fiction books of all time may seem too much if it’s huge and bulky.



So, begin with a small and light book.

 For instance, you can read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Select one with 100 pages or less and finish it in a day or two. You will feel like a winner and get motivated to read new non-fiction books

Tips To Understand Non-Fiction Books

Once you have selected a non-fiction book, use the following tips to ensure you read it well and understand what it imparts:

  • Pre-Read the Book

Yep, before you begin the “understanding” part, it’s good to catch up with things like the summary, bio, and reviews of the non-fiction books. This will help you understand what to expect from the book and what is it that you will learn. A little background check of the author is also good to build your own understanding. 

  • Don’t Forget The Highlighter

It’s no less than a sin to read non-fiction books without a highlighter. You ought to keep one in handy to mark anything that resonates with you. It could be a quote or even the whole paragraph. This will also make it easy for you to go back to the book and recall what you loved about it.

  • Make Notes and Action Points.

Some people also make notes of their favourite non-fictions books to ensure they put the learnings in their life. If you are reading non-fiction books for self-improvement, this is something you should definitely try. Or you can just ear-mark the pages that feel like really really important.


In addition, try activities like writing a summary or review to fine-tune the idea of what you are learning. You can also explain ideas to others that you understood from the book.

  • Read at Your Pace

Even when you are reading best-selling non-fiction books, try not to rush the process under peer pressure. The “I need to finish this book” trap can totally ruin the whole idea of reading non-fiction book itself.

 Instead, focus on the learnings and take time to understand what it is talking about. You don’t have to torture yourself but try to fall in love with the book. So, take time and enjoy.


  • It’s Okay to Skim

If you thought that reading non-fiction books is about taking in all the details, you are wrong. Remember, it’s not a fictional book where you may miss the storyline.

 You can do a quick “fly over” in chapters or paragraphs you feel is repetitive. Make your own method of reading.


  • Put Learnings to Practice

The true understanding of non-fiction books come when you practice what you read. So, try to practice the principles of the book.

 Let’s say you read How to Be a Writer by Ruskin Bond– one of the top rated non-fiction books. There are several activities and tips to improve your writing. Read and try to implement them in your writing. This way, you won’t get stuck in the theory and make the most of your non-fiction book.


  • Add A Fiction Book

This might sound like a contradiction but trust us, experts suggest this tip. Adding a fiction book to our reading routine along with non-fiction books will be like giving a fresh breath of air.


Whenever you feel that non-fiction is being a bit too much, you can shift to the fiction book. This way, it won’t become mundane or monotonous. 


Best Non-Fiction Books To Try from Kitabay

Feeling excited to start your journey with non-fiction books? We have jotted down the best non-fictions books you can pick this year. These are short and engaging so that you won’t find them overwhelming:

  • How To Be A Writer by Ruskin Bond
  • Calm by Fearn Cotton
  • Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama
  • The Switch: Activating Your Genes for a Leaner, Longer, Healthier Life by James W. Clement
  • Who’s Afraid of Jane Austen? by Henry Hitchings
  • The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer


The list is even longer. So, check out our non-fiction books section and pick what you love.

 Or if you still feel confused on what to pick, try our Mystery Box collection! All you need to do is select genres you love and we’ll handpick popular non-fiction books to give you an element of surprise.


Click here to start your reading journey!

← Older Post Newer Post →

Second Hand Books

Memoirs Unmasked: How Personal Stories Give Life a Plot Twist!

Memoirs Unmasked: How Personal Stories Give Life a Plot Twist!

By Shubhra Saxena|

Picture this: You're cozied up with a cup of tea, diving into the juicy details of someone else's life. Sounds scandalous, right? Well, welcome to...

Read more
The Gods' Symposium: Celebrating the Timeless Wisdom of Vintage Classics, Historical Fiction, and Mythology Books

The Gods' Symposium: Celebrating the Timeless Wisdom of Vintage Classics, Historical Fiction, and Mythology Books

By Shubhra Saxena|

In the hallowed halls of Mount Olympus, where the gods convened, a spirited discussion unfolded. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, posed a question that echoed...

Read more