At first, pop culture may not seem worthy of much study or consideration. After all, the latest celebrity gossip often deserves more eye-rolls than dissertation papers.
But the truth is that pop culture sets society’s standards for what is desirable, who is beautiful, even what is normal—and that affects all of us, whether we like it or not. So to take a closer look at how pop culture really works, check out the seven eye-opening books below.
Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers
By Landon Jones
A former People magazine editor reveals how our cult of celebrity has shaped our politics, our culture, and our personal lives. A lively analysis of celebrity culture’s impact on nearly every facet of our lives, Celebrity Nation helps us understand how the apparatus of fame operates. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Landon Jones, in the Next Big Idea App
Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital
By Elise Hu
From the NPR host-at-large and host of TED Talks Daily comes an audacious journalistic exploration of the present and future of beauty, all through the lens of South Korea’s booming “K-beauty” industry and the culture it promotes. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Elise Hu, in the Next Big Idea App
Young and Restless: The Girls Who Sparked America’s Revolutions
By Mattie Kahn
From the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement to nuclear disarmament protests and the women’s liberation movement, an award-winning writer uncovers how girls have leveraged their unique strengths to lay political groundwork for movements that often sidelined them. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Mattie Kahn, in the Next Big Idea App
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
Swipe Up for More!: Inside the Unfiltered Lives of Influencers
By Stephanie McNeal
Swipe Up For More! offers a rare glimpse into how three major influencers build their empires, struggle with the haters and snarkers, fight for creative control from the tech platforms that enable their businesses, parent in public, and try to look good while doing it. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Stephanie McNeal, in the Next Big Idea App
The Overlooked Americans: The Resilience of Our Rural Towns and What It Means for Our Country
By Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
A public policy expert reveals that rural America has not been left behind the rest of the nation but instead is surprisingly successful. She also shows how rural and urban Americans share core values, appealing for us all to reconnect across a rural-urban divide that isn’t so wide after all. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, in the Next Big Idea App
Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness
By Roy Richard Grinker
An anthropologist chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental illness stigma―from the 18th century, through America’s major wars, and into today’s high-tech economy. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Roy Richard Grinker, 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!