First let me start with three books from my immediate cohort, which I will keep separate from the rest:
Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life.
Bryan Caplan, The Case Against Education.
All of those are wonderful, but Stubborn Attachments is the best of the three. Otherwise, we have the following, noting that the link often contains my longer review. These are in the order I read them, not by any other kind of priority. Here goes:
Nassim Taleb, Skin in the Game.
Quinn Slobodian, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism.
Cecilia Heyes, Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking.
David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here.
Allen C. Guelzo, Reconstruction: A Concise History.
Philip Dwyer, Napoleon: Passion, Death, and Resurrection, 1815-1849.
David Olusoga, Black and British: A Forgotten History.
David Edgerton, The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth Century History.
Francesca Lidia Viano’s Sentinel: The Unlikely Origins of the Statue of Liberty.
W.J. Rorabaugh, Prohibition: A Concise History.
Victor Sebestyen, Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror.
Porochista Khakpour, Sick: A Memoir.
M. Mitchell Waldrop, The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the revolution that made computing personal.
David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.
There are also books which I think very likely deserve to make this list, but I have not had time to read much of them. Most notably, those include the new biographies of Alain Locke, Thomas Cromwell, Gandhi, and Winston Churchill.
Overall I thought this was a remarkably strong year for intelligent non-fiction. And as always, I have forgotten some splendid books — usually it is yours. Sorry!