I read a fair number of books every year. Based on the stuff I’ve read last couple of years, I have observed a winning method of structuring concepts in non-fiction books. The easiest to consume non-fiction books appear to use this familiar structure to present the chapters/concepts:
- Start with an anecdote, or a story. The story displays, or better, ends with the concept the chapter intends to impress.
- Follow up with an explanation of the concept—its definition, origins, benefits, why-it-works, side-effects, etc.
- Reinforce with references to research, or interviews with researchers who have studied the characteristic in depth.
- Finish with a few more short anecdotes. Even better if these are follow-up stories to the ones in the first section, and/or lead to the concept in the following chapter.
One author who leverages this structure quite well is Cal Newport. I have read two of his books in the last year or so, and enjoyed reading them both. I would usually prefer a more concise of his books, but his structuring and writing made them a breeze to read. I have a third book by him lined up for reading soon.