How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor is the sixth book for adults in the How to Read... series by Thomas C. Foster. Foster previously wrote How to Read Literature Like a Professor (first published in 2003, and revised in 2014), followed by How to Read Novels Like a Professor (2008), Reading the Silver Screen (2016), and How to Read Poetry Like a Professor (2016). Foster also published a book for children called How to Read Literature Like a Professor—for Kids in 2012.
Foster's previous books focused on genres and forms that were very well-established, and while How to Read Nonfiction also discusses genres with long histories (such as essays and biographies), it has a significant focus on newer forms of communication such as blogs, social media, and online journalism. Many of Foster's key points reflect a need for critical thinking and healthy skepticism that has increased in importance as both information and misinformation have proliferated in the online era. Foster's impetus for the book also seems to draw from the Trump presidency (2016-2020) where concerns about accurate information and "fake news" became important talking points in American culture.