The Next Big Idea Club’s August 2023 Must-Read Books
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The Next Big Idea Club’s August 2023 Must-Read Books

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The Next Big Idea Club’s August 2023 Must-Read Books

I’m pleased to share what I consider the most promising, must-read nonfiction titles scheduled for release in August of 2023. These titles are included in the longlist of nominees for Season 22 of the Next Big Idea Club.

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 5 key insights from their book. Imagine chatting with a stranger at a party—only that person just happened to write a fascinating nonfiction book!

And now, the August 2023 titles are…

The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean

By Susan Casey
Publication Date: August 1, 2023

An awe-inspiring portrait of the mysterious world beneath the waves, and the men and women who seek to uncover its secrets. View on Amazon

Anansi’s Gold: The Man Who Looted the West, Outfoxed Washington, and Swindled the World

By Yepoka Yeebo
Publication Date: August 1, 2023

The astounding, never-before-told story of how an audacious Ghanaian con artist pulled off one of the 20th century’s longest-running and most spectacular frauds. View on Amazon

The Master Builder: How the New Science of the Cell Is Rewriting the Story of Life

By Alfonso Martinez Arias
Publication Date: August 1, 2023

A leading developmental biologist argues that cells, not DNA, hold the key to understanding life’s past and present. View on Amazon

How to Make a Killing: Blood, Death and Dollars in American Medicine

By Tom Mueller
Publication Date: August 1, 2023

An investigation into how a lifesaving medical breakthrough became a for-profit enterprise that threatens the people it’s meant to save. View on Amazon

Valiant Women: The Extraordinary American Servicewomen Who Helped Win World War II

By Lena Andrews
Publication Date: August 1, 2023

A groundbreaking new history of the role of American servicewomen in WWII, illuminating their forgotten yet essential contributions to the Allies’ victory. View on Amazon

Autonomous Transformation: Creating a More Human Future in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

By Brian Evergreen
Publication Date: August 1, 2023

From technologist and strategist Brian Evergreen, a bold new agenda for the role of organizational leaders in creating a more human future with technology. View on Amazon

Fascination of Science: 60 Encounters with Pioneering Researchers of Our Time

By Herlinde Koelbl
Publication Date: August 1, 2023

An intimate collection of portraits of internationally renowned scientists and Nobel Prize winners, paired with interviews and personal stories. Beautifully bringing together art, science, and the written word, Fascination of Science is an inspiring read that shows how creativity, obsession, persistence, and passion drive the pioneering researchers of our time. View on Amazon

Please Unsubscribe, Thanks!: How to Take Back Our Time, Attention, and Purpose in a World Designed to Bury Us in Bullshit

By Julio Vincent Gambuto
Publication Date: August 8, 2023

Atomic Habits meets The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k in this life-changing guide to freeing yourself from the automated behaviors, values, and relationships that keep you from being happy. View on Amazon

The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America

By Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer & Timothy Nelson
Publication Date: August 8, 2023

Three of the nation’s top scholars turn their attention from the country’s poorest people to its poorest places. The unfolding revelation in The Injustice of Place is not about what sets these places apart, but about what they have in common. This history and its reverberations demand a commitment to wage a new War on Poverty, with the unrelenting focus on our nation’s places of deepest need. View on Amazon

Devil’s Coin: My Battle to Take Down the Notorious OneCoin Cryptoqueen

By Jennifer McAdam
Publication Date: August 8, 2023

The astonishing true story of the Scottish coal miner’s daughter who took on the Mafia-endorsed creators of the world’s biggest financial fraud and helped the FBI to convict them—soon to be a major motion picture. View on Amazon

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: The Astonishing New Science of the Senses

By Maureen Seaberg
Publication Date: August 8, 2023

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made takes readers through their own bodies, delving into the molecular and even the quantum, and tells the story of our magnificent sensorium and what it means for the next wave of human potential. View on Amazon

From One Cell: A Journey into Life’s Origins and the Future of Medicine

By Ben Stanger
Publication Date: August 8, 2023

In From One Cell, physician and researcher Ben Stanger offers a breathtaking glimpse into what scientists are discovering about how life and the body take shape, and how these revelations stand to revolutionize medicine and the future of human health. View on Amazon

The Perfection Trap: Embracing the Power of Good Enough

By Thomas Curran
Publication Date: August 8, 2023

Acclaimed professor at the London School of Economics explores how the pursuit of perfection can become a dangerous obsession that leads to burnout and depression—keeping us from achieving our goals. View on Amazon

Where Is My Office?: The Post-Pandemic Edition

By Chris Kane & Eugenia Anastassiou
Publication Date: August 8, 2023

An examination of the future of our workspaces and how the pandemic will continue to shape how and where we work. View on Amazon

Tyranny of the Gene: Personalized Medicine and Its Threat to Public Health

By James Tabery
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

A revelatory account of how power, politics, and greed have placed the unfulfilled promise of personalized medicine at the center of American medicine. View on Amazon

Is Math Real?: How Simple Questions Lead Us to Mathematics’ Deepest Truths

By Eugenia Cheng
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

A much-needed repudiation of the rigid ways we’re taught to do math, and a celebration of the true, curious spirit of the discipline. Is Math Real? brings us math as we’ve never seen it before, revealing how profound insights can emerge from seemingly unlikely sources. View on Amazon

Breaking Through Depression: A Guide to the Next Generation of Promising Research and Revolutionary New Treatments

By Philip Gold
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

For the millions who struggle with depression and those who support them—an inspiring exploration of the recent advances and remarkable new methods that offer promising paths to wellness. View on Amazon

The Good Virus: The Amazing Story and Forgotten Promise of the Phage

By Tom Ireland
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

How a mysterious, super-powerful, yet long-neglected, microbe rules our world and can rescue our health in the age of antibiotic resistance. View on Amazon

A Brief History of the Female Body: An Evolutionary Look at How and Why the Female Form Came to Be

By Deena Emera
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

From breasts and orgasms to periods, pregnancies, and menopause―A Brief History of the Female Body is a fascinating science book explaining the mysteries of the female body through an evolutionary lens. View on Amazon

The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth

By Elizabeth Rush
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

An astonishing, vital book about Antarctica, climate change, and motherhood from the author of Rising, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. View on Amazon

All Pride, No Ego: A Queer Executive’s Journey to Living and Leading Authentically

By Jim Fielding
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

An inspiring and personal roadmap to servant leadership. View on Amazon

How Trust Works: The Science of How Relationships Are Built, Broken, and Repaired

By Peter Kim
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

From the world’s leading expert on trust repair, a guide to understanding the most essential foundation of our relationships and communities. View on Amazon

The Problem of Twelve: When a Few Financial Institutions Control Everything

By John Coates
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

A “problem of twelve” arises when a small number of institutions acquire the means to exert outsized influence over the politics and economy of a nation. The Big Four index funds of Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and BlackRock control more than twenty percent of the votes of S&P 500 companies—a concentration of power that’s unprecedented in America. View on Amazon

Stay Sane in an Insane World: How to Control the Controllables and Thrive

By Greg Harden
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

Greg Harden spent over 30 years building champions at the University of Michigan, including 400 future professional athletes, 50 NFL first-round draft picks, and 120 Olympians from over 20 countries (including Michael Phelps and Tom Brady). He has also advised CEOs of major companies. Now, in his first book, Harden is reaching out to help anyone who wants to live their best life. View on Amazon

The PARA Method: Simplify, Organize, and Master Your Digital Life

By Tiago Forte
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

Tiago Forte outlines a simple and intuitive four-step system that will help us sort all the information flooding our brains into four major categories—Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives—allowing us to manage our commitments while achieving our goals and dreams. View on Amazon

Tyranny, Inc.: How Private Power Crushed American Liberty–and What to Do About It

By Sohrab Ahmari
Publication Date: August 15, 2023

The inside story of how our political class enabled an era of unaccountable corporate might that left ordinary Americans isolated and powerless—and how we can fight back—from the acclaimed author of The Unbroken Thread. View on Amazon

Containing Big Tech: How to Protect Our Civil Rights, Economy, and Democracy

By Tom Kemp
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

The path forward to rein in online surveillance, AI, and tech monopolies. View on Amazon

Unearthing: A Story of Tangled Love and Family Secrets

By Kyo Maclear
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

An unforgettable memoir about a family secret revealed by a DNA test, the lessons learned in its aftermath, and the indelible power of love—for readers of Dani Shapiro’s Inheritance and Katherine May’s Wintering. View on Amazon

Going on Offense: A Leader’s Playbook for Perpetual Innovation

By Behnam Tabrizi
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

Explore the challenges of once-innovative tech giants like Facebook and Google and the factors behind their struggles. Delve into the reasons behind an organization’s decline through in-depth analysis and real-world examples. Going on Offense offers a practical playbook for companies and individuals looking to transform into a winning mindset. View on Amazon

Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in An Economy That Hates You

By Chris Guillebeau
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

Join New York Times bestselling author Chris Guillebeau on a fascinating tour of this brave new world where novelty and creativity are currency, and the creators are in control. View on Amazon

Moving On Doesn’t Mean Letting Go: A Modern Guide to Navigating Loss

By Gina Moffa
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

Licensed grief and trauma therapist Gina Moffa illuminates a non-linear path through grief, with tools and practices to grieve at your own pace and use loss as a catalyst for a more connected, meaningful life moving forward. View on Amazon

Why We Need to Be Wild: One Woman’s Quest for Ancient Human Answers to 21st Century Problems

By Jessica Carew Kraft
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

A bold examination of how Paleolithic wisdom could solve our 21st century problems. View on Amazon

The Dawn of a Mindful Universe: A Manifesto for Humanity’s Future

By Marcelo Gleiser
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

An award-winning astronomer and physicist’s spellbinding and urgent call for a new Enlightenment and the recognition of the preciousness of life using reason and curiosity—the foundations of science—to study, nurture, and ultimately preserve humanity as we face the existential crisis of climate change. View on Amazon

On Disinformation: How to Fight for Truth and Protect Democracy

By Lee McIntyre
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

A powerful, pocket-sized citizen’s guide on how to fight back against the disinformation campaigns that are imperiling American democracy, from the bestselling author of Post-Truth and How to Talk to a Science Denier. View on Amazon

Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic—and What We Can Do About It

By Jennifer Breheny Wallace
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

The definitive book on the rise of “toxic achievement culture” overtaking our kids’ and parents’ lives, and a new framework for fighting back. View on Amazon

The Age of Prediction: Algorithms, AI, and the Shifting Shadows of Risk

By Igor Tulchinsky & Christopher Mason
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

The Age of Prediction is about two powerful, and symbiotic, trends: the rapid development and use of artificial intelligence and big data to enhance prediction, as well as the often paradoxical effects of these better predictions on our understanding of risk and the ways we live. View on Amazon

The Perennials: The Megatrends Creating a Postgenerational Society

By Mauro Guillén
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

Bestselling author of 2030 Mauro Guillén unpacks a sweeping societal shift triggered by demographic and technological transformation. Guillén argues that outmoded terms like Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z have long been used to pigeonhole us into rigid categories and life stages, artificially preventing people from reaching their full potential. View on Amazon

Empire of the Sum: The Rise and Reign of the Pocket Calculator

By Keith Houston
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

In this witty mathematic and social history, Keith Houston transports readers from the nascent economies of the ancient world to World War II, where a Jewish engineer calculated for his life at Buchenwald, and into the technological arms race that led to the first affordable electronic pocket calculators. View on Amazon

Writing for Their Lives: America’s Pioneering Female Science Journalists

By Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

A breathtaking history of America’s trail-blazing female science journalists—and the timely lessons they can teach us about equity, access, collaboration, and persistence. View on Amazon

Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity

By Laura Meckler
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

Award-winning journalist Laura Meckler tells the story of a decades-long pursuit in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and uncovers the roadblocks that have threatened progress time and again―in housing, in education, and in the promise of shared community. View on Amazon

Leadership Is Overrated: How the Navy SEALS (and Successful Businesses) Create Self-Leading Teams That Win

By Kyle Buckett & Chris Mefford
Publication Date: August 29, 2023

An award-winning pair of executive consultants reveal why to be successful, businesses need self-leading teams, not just good leadership. View on Amazon

Team Habits: How Small Actions Lead to Extraordinary Results

By Charlie Gilkey
Publication Date: August 29, 2023

In this guide to companywide success, the author of Start Finishing reveals how to improve any team’s habits in a way that leads to bottom line results while also boosting belonging, morale, and engagement. View on Amazon

Mother Tongue: The Surprising History of Women’s Words

By Jenni Nuttall
Publication Date: August 29, 2023

An enlightening linguistic journey through a thousand years of feminist language—and what we can learn from the vivid vocabulary that English once had for women’s bodies, experiences, and sexuality. View on Amazon

Interstellar: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Our Future in the Stars

By Avi Loeb
Publication Date: August 29, 2023

From the New York Times bestselling author of Extraterrestrial comes a mind-expanding new book explaining why becoming an interstellar species is imperative for humanity’s survival and detailing a game plan for how we can settle among the stars. View on Amazon

The Rise and Fall of the EAST: How Exams, Autocracy, Stability, and Technology Brought China Success, and Why They Might Lead to Its Decline

By Yasheng Huang
Publication Date: August 29, 2023

The long history of China’s relationship between stability, diversity, and prosperity, and how its current leadership threatens this delicate balance. View on Amazon

This Is Wildfire: How to Protect Yourself, Your Home, and Your Community in the Age of Heat

By Nick Mott & Justin Angle
Publication Date: August 29, 2023

A practical guide for living with wildfire, including essential history and science, actions you can take to protect your home, and guiding principles for life in an increasingly fiery future. View on Amazon

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