Now that I’m a mom, I don’t have a tremendous amount of time devoted to hobbies. Writing is one of them (and seemingly the most time-consuming!). Cooking too, although that’s sort of been relegated to the “chores” category these past few years. And while I have many interests and moods (Gardening! Dancing! Calligraphy! Musicals!), I don’t devote too much time or effort into these hobbies the way I probably should. But then I have reading.

Aside from writing, reading has been a constant hobby, a friend that hasn’t left me in all these years (or rather, a friend I haven’t abandoned). After my baby was born, I felt empty because I couldn’t read as much as I used to. I remember finally chugging along through a long novel during those first few weeks and celebrating when I finally finished months later.

Sadly I didn’t get into reading until after college. Maybe having too many required reading deterred me from opening a book for leisure. But since then, I have a constant list of books to read, and some which I re-read. Many have the same themes, reflecting my interests. And almost all of them—parenting book or not—offer me pointers I apply as I parent my toddler.

I’ve read my fair share of parenting books, many of which I recommend. But so many more books are applicable to parenting despite not being directly related our jobs as moms and dads. Many are psychology books, which offer a glimpse into how our brains process information and analyze our behaviors, often helpful when dealing with our kids. Others are about the rest of the world, influencing my own perceptions of what is truly necessary in our lives.

Some relate to personal finances which can help you define what’s enough for your family as well as guide you in your own financial know-how. And still others are about food, from slow food to fast food and how to grow and eat wholesome meals.

I’ve narrowed down this list to non-fiction books (just so that I have an excuse to make another one devoted to fiction in the near future). So without further ado, below are a few of my favorite non-parenting reads, in alphabetical order by author, that every parent can read, enjoy and apply:

22 non-parenting books every parent should read

  1. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely (psychology)
  2. Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan (world issues)
  3. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath (psychology)
  4. The Second Shift by Arlie Russell Hochschild (women’s issues and work)
  5. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (food)
  6. Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools by Jonathan Kozol (education)
  7. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy (women’s issues)
  8. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall (world issues and fitness)
  9. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson (world issues and education)
  10. The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors by Hal Niedzviecki (privacy and social media)
  11. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink (psychology)
  12. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan (food)
  13. Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin (finances and consumerism)
  14. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser (food)
  15. Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet B. Schor (finances and consumerism)
  16. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz (psychology)
  17. Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Gail Steketee (finances and consumerism)
  18. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris (psychology)
  19. All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan by Elizabeth Warren (finances)
  20. The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke by Elizabeth Warren (finances and consumerism)
  21. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Sheryl WuDunn (women and world issues)
  22. Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty by Muhammad Yunus (women, world issues and finances)

Have you read any of the books I listed? What are some non-parenting books that you love and recommend?

p.s. Check out the 14 books I read—and liked—in 2013.

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