Maybe we can’t call all of these parenting books — but if they make for better informed parents, I’ve included them here.
1. Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider — As Tsh says, “Simple living is a state of mind. It’s a choice to not let the consumer driven culture dictate how you live, what you invest in, and how you spend your valuable resources.” A great primer to de-cluttering your life.
2. NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman — The science of childhood development made simple and easy to understand.
3. The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier — Need a review of highschool science? (Or maybe an introduction?) This magisterial review of scientific basics makes a surprisingly great read.
4. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell — An oddball collection of great ideas regarding the common characteristics of ultra-successful people. Gladwell painstakingly develops his belief that these superstars are “the beneficiaries of hidden advantages, extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” This is a fantastically interesting book.
5. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme — How is the story of a childless cookbook writer relevant to parents? Julia Child found herself, her passion, and her eventual riches well after the age of 40. This book reminds us that it’s never too late to find new pleasures, passions, and profits. You don’t need to feel like your life is drawing to a close just because you’ve had kids and crossed into middle age.
6. Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet — This incredible story of an autistic savant boy — with Asperger’s Syndrome — offers something rare: a self told account of life out on the fringes.
7. Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality by Laura A. Jana MD and Jennifer Shu MD — The best book I’ve read on early childhood. Great practical advice for the modern parent.
8. Don’t Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health by Aaron Carroll MD and Rachel Vreeman MD — Much of what society believes has no basis in science and fact. Here the authors go through some of the most popular myths that surround health, society, and humans — and there’s lots in here for parents.
9. Ah-Choo!: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman — You — and your child — will spend the better part of 5 entire years of your life with a cold. Knowing how cold viruses spread (they’re harder to pass that you think), what treatments work, and how best to avoid them is time well spent.
10. Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy — I put this one at the end for good reason. In some ways Free Range parenting is about ignoring all the other parenting books out there. Lenore believes that parents — and kids — do just fine on their own, without the advice of pseudo experts and the warnings of fear-mongers. So lose the helicopter parenting and stay focused on having fun and enjoying the whole crazy process.