The 21 Best Nonfiction Books of 2018
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The 21 Best Nonfiction Books of 2018

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The 21 Best Nonfiction Books of 2018

Groundbreaking. Science-based. Actionable. World-renowned authors Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink spent the year searching for new nonfiction that met these three criteria, and they featured what they found in the rapidly-growing Next Big Idea Club. Below you’ll find the 8 Official Selections, 12 Finalists, and 1 Bonus Book that Next Big Idea Club members enjoyed this year.


21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Following the staggering success of Sapiens and Homo Deus, world-renowned historian Yuval Noah Harari takes on artificial intelligence, fake news, the future of the workforce, and more in a deep dive into where we are now—and where we’re going.

Buy now on Amazon


The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

From family reunions to meetings at work, our gatherings are often unfocused, unproductive, and a little awkward—so Priya Parker is here with new guidelines for gathering, which will leave everyone feeling understood and deeply fulfilled.

Buy now on Amazon


The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect

Renowned computer scientist Judea Pearl and mathematician Dana Mackenzie dive into the surprising science behind whether one event causes another, and explore not only the world that is, but also the worlds that could have been.

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The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors that Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders

Following their breakthrough study of over 2,600 leaders, Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell overturn the myths about what it takes to get to the top—and offer guidelines for succeeding once you’re there.

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Changeable: How Collaborative Problem Solving Changes Lives at Home, at School, and at Work

When it comes to changing problem behavior—in our kids, our colleagues, and even ourselves—Harvard Medical School professor J. Stuart Ablon makes a compelling case that it’s a matter of skill, not will.

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The Coddling of the American Mind: How good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt trace college campuses’ headline-making unrest back to three commonly held beliefs, then suggest a better, stronger way forward for our society.

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The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

Bestselling author Daniel Coyle breaks down the key habits and mindsets that make the world’s most productive, cohesive groups function, culminating in a groundbreaking leadership playbook for the 21st century.

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Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change

Theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow takes readers into the neuroscience of creative and analytical thinking, offering useful reflections on how we can think more flexibly and come up with our best ideas yet.

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Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

World-class runner Alex Hutchinson explains the latest science of endurance and offers tips for helping us perform at our best—no matter if we’re at an athletic event or powering through a late night at the office.

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Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most

Whether we’re deciding where to move or whom to marry, we often struggle with life’s big, tough decisions. So science historian Steven Johnson is here to offer specific techniques and strategies we can use to make the best choices possible.

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How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

World-renowned journalist and bestselling author Michael Pollan unpacks the latest research on how psychedelics affect the brain, and reflects on what they can teach us about what it means to be human.

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The Infinite Desire for Growth

Economist Daniel Cohen examines our society’s obsession with economic growth, and charts a new, more sustainable way forward.

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Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

The way our surroundings look and feel have a measurable impact on our productivity, creativity, and more writes designer Ingrid Fetell Lee. She then explains which small changes to our homes and workspaces can help maximize our sense of well-being.

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Never Stop Learning: Stay Relevant, Reinvent Yourself, and Thrive

To keep up with a changing world, we have to keep learning. By combining research from both operations and behavioral psychology, UNC business school professor Bradley R. Staats outlines how we can learn better and faster—without getting in our own way.

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New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World—and How to Make It Work for You

Along with co-author Jeremy Heimans, renowned philanthropist Henry Timms writes that this age of social media, crowdfunding, and movements like #MeToo is an age of new power, and he explains how to harness it to make positive change in the world.

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The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias

According to social psychologist Dolly Chugh, even “good” people can unknowingly perpetuate the forces of racism, sexism, and more. Fortunately, she outlines how we can all fight our biases—and truly become the people we wish to be.

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Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the rules at Work and in Life

Award-winning Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino explains why playing it safe may not be the best way forward, and why rebellion can actually give us a leg up at the office and elsewhere.

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Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

The world’s countries have wildly divergent cultures—but why is this the case? Cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand shows how much cultural diversity emerges from a single factor: how tightly or loosely people adhere to social norms.

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Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America

Recent college grad and beloved TED speaker Zachary R. Wood tells the remarkable story of his upbringing, and describes what he has learned about staying open to diverse, challenging opinions in today’s politically charged world.

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What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today’s Biggest Problems

As our world grapples with Trumpism, Brexit, and beyond, economist Linda Yueh brings the wisdom of history’s great economic minds to bear on our most pressing challenges.

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When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

It turns out that good timing isn’t an art—it’s a science. Leading business thinker Daniel Pink unpacks research from psychology, economics, chronobiology, and more to illustrate how we can have great timing in all of our endeavors.

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Ready to take on great books like these in 2019? Join the Next Big Idea Club today!

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