You may be familiar with the cultural injunction to “seize the day.” Maybe you’ve seen it printed on a coffee cup, heard it spoken in a graduation speech, or watched Robin Williams teach it to his class in Dead Poets Society.
It’s an inspiring, even moving idea—but how can we truly act on and live by it? How can we, to borrow a followup phrase from Robin Williams’ character, make our lives extraordinary? Check out the fifteen remarkable reads below to find out.
Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World
By Gretchen Rubin
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project discovers a surprising path to a life of more energy, creativity, luck, and love: by tuning in to the five senses. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Gretchen Rubin, in the Next Big Idea App
Life Worth Living: A Guide to What Matters Most
By Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, and Ryan McNally-Linz
In A Life Worth Living, named after its authors’ highly sought-after undergraduate course, three Yale University professors provide readers with jumping-off points, road maps, and habits of reflection for figuring out where their lives hold meaning and where things need to change. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-authors Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, and Ryan McNally-Linz, in the Next Big Idea App
The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life
By Mike Rucker
Discover the latest compelling scientific evidence for the potent and revitalizing value of fun, and how to make having fun a habitual and authentic part of your daily life. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Mike Rucker, in the Next Big Idea App
Soul Shift: The Weary Human’s Guide to Getting Unstuck and Reclaiming Your Path to Joy
By Rachel Macy Stafford
An acclaimed blogger and special education teacher offers a practical, inclusive guide to navigating a culture of distraction and depletion to find our way back to what delights our heart, makes us feel alive, and brings us peace. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Rachel Macy Stafford, in the Next Big Idea App
Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age
By Katherine May
Blending lyricism and storytelling, sensitivity and empathy, Enchantment invites each of us to open the door to human experience in all its sensual complexity, and to find the beauty waiting for us there. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Katherine May, in the Next Big Idea App
What Do You Want Out of Life?: A Philosophical Guide to Figuring Out What Matters
By Valerie Tiberius
Blending personal stories, philosophy, and psychology, this insightful and entertaining book offers invaluable advice about living well by understanding your values and resolving the conflicts that frustrate their fulfillment. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Valerie Tiberius, in the Next Big Idea App
The Power of Awe: Overcome Burnout & Anxiety, Ease Chronic Pain, Find Clarity & Purpose―in Less Than 1 Minute Per Day
By Jake Eagle and Michael Amster
The A.W.E. Method ensures that awe and its many benefits are accessible to you at any time, in any place—sitting at a stoplight, cooking a meal, petting an animal, or listening to a loved one’s laugh. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-authors Jake Eagle and Michael Amster, in the Next Big Idea App
The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power
By Katherine Morgan Schafler
Which of the five types of perfectionist are you? Classic, intense, Parisian, messy, or procrastinator? As you identify your unique perfectionist profile, you’ll learn how to manage each form of perfectionism to work for you, not against you. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Katherine Morgan Schafler, in the Next Big Idea App
Lighter: Let Go of the Past, Connect with the Present, and Expand the Future
By Yung Pueblo
A radically compassionate plan for turning inward and lifting the heaviness that prevents us from healing ourselves and the world, from the New York Times bestselling author of Clarity & Connection. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Yung Pueblo, in the Next Big Idea App
The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness
By Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz
What makes for a happy life, a fulfilling life? A good life? According to the directors of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest scientific study of happiness ever conducted, the answer to these questions may be closer than you realize. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-authors Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz, in the Next Big Idea App
How to Be Weird: An Off-Kilter Guide to Living a One-of-a-Kind Life
By Eric G. Wilson
With brief digestible entries on how to make sense of the random, guidelines on how to defamiliarize familiar objects through meditation, and exercises for locating weird states and phenomena for ourselves, How to Be Weird is an invitation to lean into the weird and to live a fuller life. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Eric G. Wilson, in the Next Big Idea App
Modern Wisdom, Ancient Roots: The Movers and Shakers’ Guide to Unstoppable Success
By Srikumar S. Rao
An unconventional success coach distills and condenses valuable life lessons from ancient masters, sacred writings, and his own experience into quick-to-read, easily digestible chapters. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Srikumar S. Rao, in the Next Big Idea App
Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life
By Emily Austin
A Wake Forest University professor shares the wisdom Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, outlining time-tested strategies for diminishing anxiety, achieving satisfaction, and relishing joys. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Emily Austin, in the Next Big Idea App
Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way
By Kieran Setiya
Warm, accessible, and good-humored, this book is about making the best of a bad lot. It offers guidance for coping with pain and making new friends, for grieving the lost and failing with grace, for confronting injustice and searching for meaning in life. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Kieran Setiya, in the Next Big Idea App
Happiness in Action: A Philosopher’s Guide to the Good Life
By Adam Adatto Sandel
A young philosopher and Guinness World Record holder in pull-ups argues that the key to happiness is not goal-driven striving but forging a life that integrates self-possession, friendship, and engagement with nature. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Adam Adatto Sandel, in the Next Big Idea App
The Key Ideas in 15 Minutes
“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books,” Roald Dahl once famously said. The only trouble is, reading even one book from cover to cover takes hours—and you may not have many hours to spare.
But imagine for a moment: What if you could read a groundbreaking new book every day? Or even better, what if you could invite a world-renowned thinker into your earbuds, where they personally describe the 5 key takeaways from their work in just 15 minutes?
With the Next Big Idea App, we’ve turned this fantasy into a reality. We partnered with hundreds of acclaimed authors to create “Book Bites,” short audio summaries of the latest nonfiction that are prepared and read aloud by the authors themselves. Discover cutting-edge leadership skills, productivity hacks, the science of happiness and well-being, and much more—all in the time it takes to drive to work or walk the dog.
Go Deeper with a Next Big Idea Club Membership
The Next Big Idea App is free for anyone to try—and if you love it, we invite you to become an official member of the Next Big Idea Club. Membership grants you unlimited access to Book Bites and unlocks early-release, ad-free episodes of our LinkedIn-partnered podcast. You also gain entry to our private online discussion group, where you can talk big ideas with fellow club members and join exclusive live Q&A sessions with featured authors.
For a more focused learning experience, we recommend a Hardcover or eBook Membership. Every few months, legendary authors and club curators Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink select two new nonfiction books as the must-reads of the season. We then send hardcover copies straight to your doorstep, or eBook versions to your favorite digital device. We also collaborate with the authors of selected books to produce original reading guides and premium video e-courses, 50-minute master classes that take you step by step through their most life-changing ideas. And yes, it’s all available through the Next Big Idea App.
Learn Faster, from the World’s Leading Thinkers
Whether you prefer to read, listen, or watch, the Next Big Idea is here to help you work smarter and live better. Wake up with an always-fresh Idea of the Day, the perfect shot of inspiration to go with your morning coffee. Then dive into one of our Challenges, hand-picked collections of Book Bites that form crash courses in subjects like communication, motivation, and career acceleration. Later, watch the playback of an interview with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, or philosopher John Kaag. And be sure to check the “Events” tab in the app, so that you can join an upcoming live Q&A and personally chat with the next featured thought leader.
If you’re hoping to grow as a person or as a professional, we hope you’ll join us and tens of thousands of others who enjoy the Next Big Idea. Get started by downloading the app today!