In all of human history, never has it been harder to stay focused than right now. Always within reach is our smartphone, a bustling universe of memes and notifications and “hot takes” that was designed to capture our attention—and keep it for as long as possible.
So how can we resist that ever-present siren song of distraction, then buckle up and get things done? The seven excellent books below will show you the way. (But while you read, maybe put your phone on Silent Mode.)
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!
The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction
By Jamie Kreiner
A revelatory account of how Christian monks identified distraction as a fundamental challenge―and how their efforts to defeat it can inform ours, more than a millennium later. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Jamie Kreiner, in the Next Big Idea App
How to Calm Your Mind: Finding Presence and Productivity in Anxious Times
By Chris Bailey
The pursuit of calm ultimately leads us to become more engaged, focused, and deliberate—while making us more productive and satisfied with our lives. In an anxious world, investing in calm can be considered the best productivity strategy around. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Chris Bailey, 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
Tranquility by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters
By Laura Vanderkam
For anyone who’s sick of letting to-do lists dictate their time, the bestselling author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast shares nine strategies for reclaiming your hours. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Laura Vanderkam, in the Next Big Idea App
Intrinsic Motivation: Learn to Love Your Work and Succeed as Never Before
By Stefan Falk
Intrinsic motivation―doing a thing for its inherent satisfaction rather than external rewards―is the key to success and satisfaction in any endeavor. A legendary performance coach shares his simple, proven, and fun methods for cultivating and keeping it. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Stefan Falk, in the Next Big Idea App
Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire
By Dan Martell
Buy Back Your Time is the definitive guide for entrepreneurs at every level on how to succeed in business while enjoying more freedom than you ever imagined. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Dan Martell, in the Next Big Idea App
I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt
By Madeleine Dore
An inspiring call to take productivity off its pedestal; by dismantling our comparison to others, aspirational routines, and the unrealistic notions of what can be done in a day, we can finally embrace the joyful messiness and unpredictability of life. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Madeleine Dore, 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!