When you hear the word “history,” what do you think of? Maybe a dusty textbook full of dates you had to memorize, or a decades-old documentary that your teacher put on so that she could nap.
Indeed, our first introduction to history may not have been love at first sight. But the truth is, there are new books coming out that share remarkable, even shocking stories and secrets from humanity’s past. Check out the five superb books below, and watch history come alive in your mind’s eye.
Learn something new every day with “Book Bites,” 15-minute audio summaries of the latest and greatest nonfiction. Get started by downloading the Next Big Idea App today!
Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop
By Martin Puchner
An acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Martin Puchner, in the Next Big Idea App
Revolutionary Roads: Searching for the War That Made America Independent…and All the Places It Could Have Gone Terribly Wrong
By Bob Thompson
In the ride-along tradition of Sarah Vowell and Bill Bryson, Revolutionary Roads revisits the pivotal figures and key turning points of the American Revolutionary War, bringing readers to the crucial places where American independence was won and might have been lost. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Bob Thompson, in the Next Big Idea App
Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World
By Malcolm Harris
The first comprehensive, global history of Silicon Valley examines how and why Northern California evolved in the particular, consequential way it did, tracing the ideologies, technologies, and policies that have been engineered there over the course of 150 years of Anglo settler colonialism. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Malcolm Harris, in the Next Big Idea App
The Age of Interconnection: A Global History of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century
By Jonathan Sperber
From a Pulitzer Prize finalist comes a panoramic view of global history from the end of World War II to the dawn of the new millennium, and a portrait of an age of unprecedented transformation. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Jonathan Sperber, in the Next Big Idea App
Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence
By Amy B. Zegart
A fascinating and revealing account of espionage for the digital age, Spies, Lies, and Algorithms is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the reality of spying today. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Amy B. Zegart, 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!