The Next Big Idea Club’s April 2024 Must-Read Books
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The Next Big Idea Club’s April 2024 Must-Read Books

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The Next Big Idea Club’s April 2024 Must-Read Books

I’m pleased to share what I consider the most promising, must-read nonfiction titles scheduled for release in April 2024. These titles make up our second group of nominees for Season 24 of the Next Big Idea Club (the first group was announced here).

Our Next Big Idea Club curators—Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink—will narrow the list down to a handful of finalists and, ultimately, two official season selections.

Authors will also be invited to create a “Book Bite”, a 15-minute audio self-recording that features five key insights from their book. Imagine chatting with a stranger on an airplane—only that person just happened to write a fascinating nonfiction book!

And now, the April 2024 titles are…

The Invention of Prehistory: Empire, Violence, and Our Obsession with Human Origins

By Stefanos Geroulanos
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

An eminent historian demonstrates how claims about the origins of humanity have been used to justify many of the worst events of the last three hundred years. View on Amazon

Uptime: A Practical Guide to Personal Productivity and Wellbeing

By Laura Mae Martin
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

Google’s Executive Productivity Advisor offers insights on how to make the new way of work work for you, providing actionable steps to optimize your productivity, accomplish more, prevent burnout, and cultivate a harmonious work-life balance. View on Amazon

Before It’s Gone: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change in Small-Town America

By Jonathan Vigliotti
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

A character-driven and shocking up-close look at the way climate change is affecting America, right now, and a call to action to protect the people and places we stand to lose if nothing is done to preserve our planet. View on Amazon

The Beauty of Falling: A Life in Pursuit of Gravity

By Claudia de Rham
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

A world-renowned physicist seeks gravity’s true nature and finds wisdom in embracing its force in her life. View on Amazon

A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks

By David Gibbins
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

From renowned underwater archaeologist David Gibbins comes an exciting and rich narrative of human history told through the archaeological discoveries of twelve shipwrecks across time. View on Amazon

Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI

By Ethan Mollick
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

From Wharton professor and author of the popular One Useful Thing Substack newsletter Ethan Mollick comes the definitive playbook for working, learning, and living in the new age of AI. View on Amazon

Total Garbage: How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World

By Edward Humes
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

An investigative narrative that dives into the waste embedded in our daily lives—and shows how individuals and communities are making a real difference for health, prosperity, quality of life and the fight against climate change, by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. View on Amazon

City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America’s Highways

By Megan Kimble
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

An eye-opening investigation into how our ever-expanding urban highways accelerated inequality and fractured communities—and a call for a more just, sustainable path forward. View on Amazon

What Do You Need?: How Women of Color Can Take Ownership of Their Careers to Accelerate Their Path to Success

By Lauren Wesley Wilson
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

Founder and CEO of ColorComm Corporation, uncovers the skills that women of color need to know to reach leadership positions. View on Amazon

Finding a Likeness: How I Got Somewhat Better at Art

By Nicholson Baker
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

From the acclaimed and bestselling writer Nicholson Baker, a deeply personal account of his journey learning how to paint for the first time, and a meditation on the power of art in times of crisis. View on Amazon

Sociopath: A Memoir

By Patrick Gagne
Publication Date: April 2, 2024

A fascinating, revelatory memoir revealing the author’s struggle to come to terms with her own sociopathy and shed light on the often maligned and misunderstood mental disorder. View on Amazon

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality

By Amanda Montell
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

A delicious blend of cultural criticism and personal narrative that explores our cognitive biases and the power, disadvantages, and highlights of magical thinking. View on Amazon

Red Helicopter―A Parable for Our Times: Lead Change with Kindness (Plus a Little Math)

By James Rhee
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

A true story of triumph by award-winning business leader, impact investor, and educator James Rhee that will inspire and empower us to transform our lives and our businesses with the simple and yet powerful combination of kindness and math. View on Amazon

Somehow: Thoughts on Love

By Anne Lamott
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

Lamott explores the transformative power that love has in our lives: how it surprises us, forces us to confront uncomfortable truths, reminds us of our humanity, and guides us forward. View on Amazon

The Ritual Effect: From Habit to Ritual, Harness the Surprising Power of Everyday Actions

By Michael Norton
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

A renowned social psychologist demonstrates the power of small acts—and how a subtle turning of habits into rituals can add purpose and pleasure to life. View on Amazon

The Twentysomething Treatment: A Revolutionary Remedy for an Uncertain Age

By Meg Jay
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

Jay explains why the twenties are the most challenging time of life and reveals essential skills for handling the uncertainties surrounding work, love, friendship, mental health, and more during that decade and beyond. View on Amazon

Slow Burn: The Hidden Costs of a Warming World

By R. Jisung Park
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

How the subtle but significant consequences of a hotter planet have already begun—from lower test scores to higher crime rates—and how we might tackle them today. View on Amazon

The Generous Leader: 7 Ways to Give of Yourself for Everyone’s Gain

By Joe Davis
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

An innovative and insightful 7-part guide to heartfelt and collaborative actions that transform the reader into a generous leader. View on Amazon

The Stoic Mindset: Living the Ten Principles of Stoicism

By Mark Tuitert
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

A ten-step guide to reaching your peak potential through the wisdom of Stoic philosophy by entrepreneur and Olympic champion speed skater Mark Tuitert. View on Amazon

Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today. View on Amazon

The Weight of Nature: How a Changing Climate Changes Our Brains

By Clayton Page Aldern
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

A deeply reported, eye-opening book about climate change, our brains, and the weight of nature on us all. View on Amazon

LIT: Life Ignition Tools: Use Nature’s Playbook to Energize Your Brain, Spark Ideas, and Ignite Action

By Jeff Karp
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

Radically simple experimental tools to help anyone tap into a high-energy brain state to fire up innovative potential and shape their lives with intention—by the founder of a Harvard biomedical engineering innovation lab. View on Amazon

Everest, Inc.: The Renegades and Rogues Who Built an Industry at the Top of the World

By Will Cockrell
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

Featuring original interviews with mountain guides and climbers—including Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker—this vivid and authoritative adventure history chronicles one of the least likely industries on Earth: guided climbing on Mount Everest. View on Amazon

Other People’s Words: Friendship, Loss, and the Conversations That Never End

By Lissa Soep
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

Soep shows us how we carry within us the language of loved ones who are gone, and how their words can be portals to other times and places. View on Amazon

MicroSkills: Small Actions, Big Impact

By Adaira Landry & Resa Lewiss
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

Every big goal, complicated task, healthy habit, and, yes, even what we think of as character traits, can be broken down into small, learnable, skills that can be practiced, and incorporated real-time. View on Amazon

Briefly Perfectly Human: Making an Authentic Life by Getting Real About the End

By Alua Arthur
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

A deeply transformative memoir that reframes how we think about death and how it can help us lead better, more fulfilling and authentic lives, from America’s preeminent death doula. View on Amazon

The Gravity of Math: How Geometry Rules the Universe

By Steve Nadis & Shing-Tung Yau
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

One of the preeminent mathematicians of the past half century shows how physics and math were combined to give us the theory of gravity and the dizzying array of ideas and insights that has come from it. View on Amazon

The Importance of Being Educable: A New Theory of Human Uniqueness

By Leslie Valiant
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

After breaking down how we process information to learn and apply knowledge, and drawing comparisons with other animals and AI systems, Valiant explains why education should be humankind’s central preoccupation. View on Amazon

Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos

By Lisa Kaltenegger
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

Riveting and timely, a look at the research that is transforming our understanding of the cosmos in the quest to discover whether we are alone. View on Amazon

The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing

By Adam Moss
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

From former editor of New York magazine Adam Moss, a collection of illuminating conversations examining the very personal, rigorous, complex, and elusive work of making art. View on Amazon

New Cold Wars: China’s Rise, Russia’s Invasion, and America’s Struggle to Defend the West

By David Sanger
Publication Date: April 16, 2024

Three decades after the end of the Cold War, the United States finds itself in a volatile rivalry with the other two great nuclear powers—Xi Jinping’s China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia—in a world far more complex and dangerous than that of half a century ago. View on Amazon

Sovereign: Reclaim Your Freedom, Energy, and Power in a Time of Distraction, Uncertainty, and Chaos

By Emma Seppala
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

A radically fresh, science-backed path to break the bonds of self-destructive patterns and beliefs and live a fuller, more authentic life. View on Amazon

Burnout Immunity: How Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Build Resilience and Heal Your Relationship with Work

By Kandi Wiens
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

An essential guide everyone needs to protect themselves from burnout by learning to develop and master key emotional intelligence skills. View on Amazon

The Complications: On Going Insane in America

By Emmett Rensin
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

A compelling, often devastating, blend of memoir, cultural commentary, and history, Rensin elevates the conversation around mental illness and challenges us to reexamine what we think we know about what is to go insane. View on Amazon

All That Happiness Is: Some Words on What Matters

By Adam Gopnik
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

From New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik, a slim, elegant volume presenting a radical alternative to our culture of relentless striving. View on Amazon

The Everything War: Amazon’s Ruthless Quest to Own the World and Remake Corporate Power

By Dana Mattioli
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

The shocking, explosive, and untold exposé of Amazon’s endless strategic greed. Mattioli explains what led to the US government, and nations around the world, to charge the tech giant with one of the biggest antitrust cases in modern history. View on Amazon

The Longevity Imperative: How to Build a Healthier and More Productive Society to Support Our Longer Lives

By Andrew Scott
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

Scott charts a course to address the individual, social, political, economic, and cultural changes required so that all of us—regardless of age—can live lives that are not just longer but healthier, happier, and more productive. View on Amazon

I Just Keep Talking: A Life in Essays

By Nell Irvin Painter
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

From the New York Times bestselling author and finalist for the NBCC Award, comes a comprehensive new collection of essays spanning art, politics, and the legacy of racism that shapes American history as we know it. View on Amazon

The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society

By Joseph Stiglitz
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

A major critique, by one of the world’s leading economists, of the dominant idea of political and moral freedom in the West. View on Amazon

When You Care: The Unexpected Magic of Caring for Others

By Elissa Strauss
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

Journalist Elissa Strauss explores the powerful role caring for others plays in our individual and communal lives, weaving together research about care and stories from parents and caregivers with a feminist bent. View on Amazon

Leaders Leap: Transforming Your Company at the Speed of Disruption

By Steve Dennis
Publication Date: April 23, 2024

The secrets to creating the bolder, faster, and essential transformation needed to avoid becoming irrelevant in an era of profound and accelerating change. View on Amazon

The Age of Grievance

By Frank Bruni
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

From longtime New York Times columnist Frank Bruni comes a lucid, powerful examination of the ways in which grievance has come to define our current culture and politics, on both the right and left. View on Amazon

Unstressable: A Practical Guide to Stress-Free Living

By Mo Gawdat & Alice Law
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

A handbook for those who understand that stress isn’t what happens to you; it’s how you handle what happens to you. It’s a practical and rounded approach to an ever increasing modern day problem. View on Amazon

Secure Relating: Holding Your Own in an Insecure World

By Sue Marriott & Ann Kelley
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

Find empowerment amidst the many barriers to emotional closeness and provocations towards self-protection with this comprehensive approach to understanding and transforming any relationship into a more secure and satisfying bond. View on Amazon

The Algebra of Wealth: A Simple Formula for Financial Security

By Scott Galloway
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

A must-have guide to optimizing your life for wealth and success, from bestselling author, NYU professor, and co-host of the Pivot podcast Scott Galloway. View on Amazon

The Swans of Harlem: Five Black Ballerinas, Fifty Years of Sisterhood, and Their Reclamation of a Groundbreaking History

By Karen Valby
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

The forgotten story of a pioneering group of five Black ballerinas and their fifty-year sisterhood, a legacy erased from history—until now. View on Amazon

Mean Boys: A Personal History

By Geoffrey Mak
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

A ferocious inquiry into art and desire, style and politics, madness and salvation, and coming of age in our volatile, image-obsessed present. View on Amazon

Just the Good Stuff: No-BS Secrets to Success (No Matter What Life Throws at You)

By Jim VandeHei
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

A deeply personal, authentic, and clear-eyed guide to navigating today’s complex world and building a meaningful, successful career and life—no matter where you start out—from the co-founder of Axios and Politco. View on Amazon

Intertwined: Women, Nature, and Climate Justice

By Rebecca Kormos
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

A powerful argument that greater inclusion of women in conservation and climate science is key to the future of the planet. View on Amazon

Silk: A World History

By Aarathi Prasad
Publication Date: April 30, 2024

Through the scientists who have studied silk, and the biology of the animals from which it has been drawn, Prasad explores the global, natural, and cultural history (and future) of a unique material that has fascinated the world for thousands of years. View on Amazon

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