August 17, 2012

This isn't Fiction - Look who's popular!

Jet wants to know, "Who are some of the most popular non fiction authors?"

With so many different non fiction genres that's a pretty tough question to answer. To add insult to injury, my research has brought up lists, but they were all sorted by, you may have already guessed, the genre. Then, suddenly, light on the horizon.

Luckily, I discovered the book 100 Most Popular Nonfiction Authors (Bernard Alger Drew) and as it turns out the author has written similar books with the 100 most popular authors of eg Young Adult or contemporary mystery among others. Thing is, these books are not only awfully expensive they are all a bit outdated too. The one about Young Adult authors is ten years old which definitely leaves out numerous new, but highly popular, authors in that segment. But let's not digress. The good news must be that the book is available on Google Books, not in full obviously, but you get a good idea about which authors are the most popular according to Drew's research.

I browsed through the list of contents and wouldn't you know it, there are indeed several authors I've read or at least heard of. I'm not going to list them all now as you may just have a look at the content through the Google Books link yourself, but I do feel the need to name at least a few ...

Maya Angelou, Bill Bryson, Richard Dawkins, Jane Goodall, Jon Krakauer, Ruth Reichel, Carl Sagan, Paul Theroux, Henry David Thoreaux, Sarah Vowell.

To be honest, while there are several authors on the list who, in my opinion, certainly deserve being on it, some authors do make me wonder. Others I had to look up as I've never even heard the names. Then, of course, it's not as though I'd be familiar with each and every of the most popular fiction authors either.

And we also need to keep in mind that this list concentrates on contemporary authors, and as far as I can see, mostly US authors to boot. Not meaning to be judgmental, but you know ... bottom line is this is a fine list, but a very specialized one.


After taking a look at the list of the 100 Most Popular Non Fiction Authors, which authors were you happy to see on it? Which were a complete surprise? Please share!


  1. Stephen Hawking should definitely be there. As for 85% of them, their names do not ring a bell...Off topic, I have a problem with seeing your blog, I am not sure, is it just me? I don't see the background and sometimes parts of the post...

    1. Strange. I can see the blog just fine. Have you tried another browser?

  2. Dave Barry? Oh well, it IS about popular, but really! He might be sort of funny, but that's about it. Or is that another Dave Barry than the one that I am thinking of?
    Who is missing? Bertrand Russell!!!!!