Learn something new with non-fiction books written by SLO County authors

The Sobering Truth
The Sobering Truth

Studies show that exercising your brain can minimize memory loss and boost mental agility.

Although it’s probably been years since many of us cracked open a textbook or sat in a classroom, it’s never too late to learn something new.

Educate yourself with these six non-fiction books by local authors. You’ll find an adventure-minded memoir, a fun dating guide, an insightful political history and three self-help books aimed at creating a healthier, happier you.

“More Than My Share”By Starr JenkinsMerritt Star Books, $25

Starr Jenkin’s autobiography opens on a thrilling scene: two smokejumpers parachuting more than 8,000 feet into a wildfire burning in Yellowstone National Park.

“Cole gets the slap to go,” the San Luis Obispo resident writes. “I’m out with him a half second later the opening shock jolts me in the chest, and then that wonderful nylon flower is open above me with sunlight streaming through.”

That’s just one of the adventures mentioned in the detailed memoir “More Than My Share.” Jenkins also shares his experiences as a West Point plebe, a Yosemite National Park ranger and a Cal Poly English teacher – reveling in the rewards of an active life.

“Returning to the Land of Oz”By John A. TamiazzoEloquent Books, $12

A new book draws fresh insight from the children’s classic “The Wizard of Oz.”

In “Returning to the Land of Oz: Finding Hope, Love and Courage on Your Yellow Brick Road,” holistic health expert John A Tamiazzo uses the familiar figures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion to teach readers about love, hope and healing.

“Within the story line of this seemingly simple tale, Baum gave us one of the greatest resources for personal transformation ever written,” the Cambria resident writes.

Quoting frequently from L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book and the 1939 film, Tamiazzo takes readers on a transformative journey down the Yellow Brick Road.

“Six Life Secrets of Content Women”By Azarm GharemanMazda Connections, $14

San Luis Obispo psychologist Azarm Ghareman shares tips for regaining energy and emotional well-being in “Six Life Secrets of Content Women: A Guide for Emotional Self-Care.”

Written for women of all ages and backgrounds, the book outlines such simple steps as setting boundaries, pursuing healthy habits and living frugally.

Many of the examples the author uses have the ring of real life, such as the frazzled mother who serves as her family’s own short-order cook or the overworked professional who skips her workouts. She doesn’t hesitate to use herself as a model, either, sharing favorite recipes and personal anecdotes.

“The Sobering Truth”By Dr. Jeff HertenSobering Truth Press, $23

San Luis Obispo physician Jeff Herten spent more than 30 years as a high-functioning alcoholic, a hard-working professional whose daily drinking didn’t interfere with his job or personal life. Or so he thought.

As Herten discovered, “Alcohol is the most destructive drug on the planet.”

In his book “The Sobering Truth,” Herten describes the harrowing effects of alcohol addiction, from relationship problems to health problems to criminal behavior. He also explores the connections between alcohol and depression, insomnia, heart disease and a host of other ills, detailing dozens of individual cases to prove his points.

“Tricks to Pick Up Chicks"By Rich FergusonRich Ferguson Entertainment, $20

Need to impress a date or woo your future wife?

All you need are a pack of cards, a couple dollar bills and a copy of “Tricks to Pick Up Chicks: Magic Tricks, Lines, Bets, Scams & Psychology.”

Written with guys in mind, San Luis Obispo magician Rich Ferguson’s new book offers plenty of ways to break the ice using simple sleight-of-hand and ordinary household objects such as coins, bottle caps and salt shakers. Each trick comes with easy-to-follow instructions and photo illustrations.

Ferguson also teaches readers how to read body language and team up with a wingman. There’s even a list of one-liners and pick-up lines tailored to every occasion.

“The Young Nixon and His Rivals”By James WorthenMcFarland & Company, Inc., $35

Decades before Richard M. Nixon became our nation’s 36th president, he was an aggressive young politician with a tireless will to win, a new book by Pismo Beach resident James Worthen reveals.

“The Young Nixon and His Rivals: Four California Republicans Eye the White House, 1946-1958” explores the relationship between Nixon and three of California’s most prominent political figures of that era -- William Rowland, Earl Warren and Goodwin Knight. The so-called “four giants” controlled the state’s judicial, legislative and executive branches.

Starting with Nixon’s successful bid for Congress and ending with a contentious Senate race, Worthen’s book lends valuable insight to a pivotal point in California’s history.