Magazine / The Next Big Idea Club’s May 2023 Must-Read Books

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

Creativity Habits & Productivity Health

I’m pleased to share what I consider the most promising, must-read nonfiction titles scheduled for release in May of 2023. These titles make up our first group of nominees for Season 22 of the Next Big Idea Club.

All nominated books will be shared with our Next Big Idea Club curators—Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink—who 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 May 2023 titles are…

Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others

By Scott Lyons
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Clinical psychologist and mind-body expert Dr. Scott Lyons turns the notion of the “drama queen” on its head, showing that drama is actually an addiction and those who are suffering with it are experiencing a much deeper psychological, biological, and social pain. View on Amazon

Quantum Supremacy: How the Quantum Computer Revolution Will Change Everything

By Michio Kaku
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

An exhilarating tour of humanity’s next great technological achievement—quantum computing—which may eventually illuminate the deepest mysteries of science and solve some of humanity’s biggest problems, like global warming, world hunger, and incurable disease, by the bestselling author of The God Equation. View on Amazon

Turnaround Time: Uniting an Airline and Its Employees in the Friendly Skies

By Oscar Munoz
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Go behind the scenes with the CEO who led United Airlines’ remarkable turnaround. View on Amazon

You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live: Ten Weeks in Birmingham That Changed America

By Paul Kix
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

The story of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s pivotal 10 week campaign in 1963 to end segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Kix’s book is the first to zero in on the ten weeks of Project C, as it was known. It’s about Where It All Began, for sure, but it’s also the key to understanding Where We Are Now and Where We Will Be. View on Amazon

The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age

By Gladys McGarey
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Dr. Gladys McGarey, a centenarian still-practicing doctor and the mother of holistic medicine, reveals her powerful and life-changing secrets for how to live with joy, vitality, and purpose at any age. View on Amazon

Natality: Toward a Philosophy of Birth

By Jennifer Banks
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

An exhilarating exploration of natality, a much-needed counterpoint to mortality, drawing on the insights of brilliant writers and thinkers. Natality invites readers to attend to birth as a challenging and life-affirming reminder of our shared humanity and our capacity for creative renewal. View on Amazon

The Story of Art Without Men

By Katy Hessel
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Explore the Dutch Golden Age, the astonishing work of postwar artists in Latin America, and the women defining art in the 2020s. Have your sense of art history overturned and your eyes opened to many artforms often ignored or dismissed. From the Cornish coast to Manhattan, Nigeria to Japan, this is the history of art as it’s never been told before. View on Amazon

Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I Wish I’d Known Earlier

By Kevin Kelly
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Kelly’s timeless advice covers an astonishing range. He has wisdom for career, relationships, parenting, and finances, and gives guidance for practical matters ranging from travel to troubleshooting. View on Amazon

Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right Wing Extremism

By Jeffrey Toobin
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

The definitive account of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the enduring legacy of Timothy McVeigh, leading to the January 6 insurrection—from acclaimed journalist Jeffrey Toobin. View on Amazon

For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be

By Marcus Collins
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

The architect of some of the most famous ad campaigns of the last decade argues that culture is the most powerful vehicle for influencing behavior, and shows readers how to harness culture to inspire other people to share their vision. View on Amazon

Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral

By Ben Smith
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

The origin story of the Age of Disinformation: the candid inside tale of two online media rivals, Jonah Peretti of HuffPost and Buzzfeed and Nick Denton of Gawker Media, whose delirious pursuit of attention at scale helped release the dark forces that would overtake the internet and American society. View on Amazon

Green Card Soldier: Between Model Immigrant and Security Threat

By Sofya Aptekar
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

An in-depth and troubling look at a little-known group of immigrants—non-citizen soldiers who enlist in the US military. Giving voice to this little-heard group of immigrants, Green Card Soldier  shines a cold light on the complex workings of US empire, globalized militarism, and citizenship. View on Amazon

The New Designer: Rejecting Myths, Embracing Change

By Manuel Lima
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

As he covers fields ranging from graphic design to industrial design to user experience design, Lima identifies the major steps that designers must take to be a force for good in the world. View on Amazon

Beyond Disruption: Innovate and Achieve Growth without Displacing Industries, Companies, or Jobs

By W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

A practical guide for driving innovation and growth, the rich research behind this book coupled with its frame-breaking message make it the must-read for the next generation of innovators who want to do well and do good. View on Amazon

Outrage Machine: How Tech Is Amplifying Discontent, Undermining Democracy, and Pushing Us Towards Chaos

By Tobias Rose-Stockwell
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

There has been an inescapable rise of anger and aggression across our planet. For the first time, almost all of the information we consume as a species is being controlled and curated by algorithms designed to capture our emotional attention. This, media researcher and strategic advisor Tobias Rose-Stockwell argues, is the outrage machine. View on Amazon

Radical Inclusion: Seven Steps to Help You Create a More Just Workplace, Home, and World

By David Moinina Sengeh
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

As the newly appointed minister of education in Sierra Leone, David Moinina Sengeh assumed that the administration he served―not to mention his family and friends―shared his conviction that all girls belong in the classroom. Radical Inclusion is the dramatic narrative of Sengeh’s drive to guarantee pregnant girls’ right to an education. His story functions as a parable that can help us all advocate for change by reimagining the systems that perpetuate exclusion. View on Amazon

The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality

By Andy Clark
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Unveiling the extraordinary explanatory power of the predictive brain, The Experience Machine is a mesmerizing window onto one of the most significant developments in our understanding of the mind. View on Amazon

Plunder: Private Equity’s Plan to Pillage America

By Brendan Ballou
Publication Date: May 2, 2023

The authoritative exposé of private equity: what it is, how it kills businesses and jobs, how the government helps, and how we stop it. View on Amazon

How to Think like a Philosopher: Twelve Key Principles for More Humane, Balanced, and Rational Thinking

By Julian Baggini
Publication Date: May 8, 2023

In the face of disinformation and disaster, we cannot hot take, life hack, or meme our way to a better future. Julian Baggini turns to the study of reason itself for practical solutions to this question, inspired by our most eminent philosophers, past and present. View on Amazon

The Phoenix Economy: Work, Life, and Money in the New Not Normal

By Felix Salmon
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

An award-winning journalist presents a tour-de-force analysis—drawing from history, economics, sociology, and popular culture—of the profound and transformative years of the early 2020s, both for individuals and for the global economy. View on Amazon

Accelerated Minds: Unlocking the Fascinating, Inspiring, and Often Destructive Impulses that Drive the Entrepreneurial Brain

By Neil Seeman
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

Drawing on his own business experience and his father’s research into the brain’s processing of risk and reward, Seeman explains the entrepreneurial mindset-the world’s primary wealth creation engine-is in fact a form of addiction. He suggests ways in which the vital energies of the entrepreneurial class can be directed in a constructive and sustainable manner. View on Amazon

When the Heavens Went on Sale:The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach

By Ashlee Vance
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

A momentous look at the private companies driving a revolutionary new economy in space, from the New York Times bestselling author of Elon MuskView on  Amazon.

The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History

By Serhii Ploky
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

An authoritative history of Europe’s largest military conflict since World War II, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Gates of Europe. View on Amazon

Into the Groove: The Story of Sound From Tin Foil to Vinyl

By Jonathan Scott
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

The story of recorded sound–the technological developments, the humans that made them happen and their impact on society, from the phonograph to LPs, EPs and the recent resurgence of vinyl. View on Amazon

Happiness Is Overrated: Simple Lessons on Finding Meaning in Each Moment

By Cuong Lu
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

Stop chasing happiness and reconnect to the meaning of each moment with this poignant guide, told through vignettes of life growing up as a Buddhist monk under the spiritual leader Thich Nhat Han. View on Amazon

Night Vision: Seeing Ourselves through Dark Moods

By Mariana Alessandri
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

A philosopher’s personal meditation on how painful emotions can reveal truths about what it means to be truly human. View on Amazon

Notes on Complexity: A Scientific Theory of Connection, Consciousness, and Being

By Neil Theise
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

An electrifying introduction to complexity theory, the science of how complex systems behave—from cells to human beings, ecosystems, the known universe and beyond—that profoundly reframes our understanding and illuminates our interconnectedness. View on Amazon

The Joy of Politics: Surviving Cancer, a Campaign, a Pandemic, an Insurrection, and Life’s Other Unexpected Curveballs

By Amy Klobuchar
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

In her candid, honest, and at times bitingly funny memoir, this pragmatic senator shares insider stories from historic moments, while also inviting readers into her personal life. An underdog in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign, she built surprising early momentum–only to suspend her candidacy in order to support Joe Biden. View on Amazon

Arrangements in Blue: Notes on Loving and Living Alone

By Amy Key
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

Key celebrates the bliss of sleeping in an empty bed, the intimate energy required for cooking solo, and the transformative power of traveling alone―especially to the sea. Written with the exquisite finesse of a poet, this bold manual for navigating life alone provides an alternative perspective on a shared human experience so rarely explored. View on Amazon

Wonder Confronts Certainty: Russian Writers on the Timeless Questions and Why Their Answers Matter

By Gary Saul Morson
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

A noted literary scholar traverses the Russian canon, exploring how realists, idealists, and revolutionaries debated good and evil, moral responsibility, and freedom. View on Amazon

Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World

By Henry Grabar
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

Parking determines the design of new buildings and the fate of old ones, patterns of traffic and the viability of transit, neighborhood politics and municipal finance, the quality of public space, and even the course of floodwaters. Can this really be the best use of our finite resources and space? A story about the strange and wonderful superorganism that is the modern American city. View on Amazon

American Breakdown: Our Ailing Nation, My Body’s Revolt, and the Nineteenth-Century Woman Who Brought Me Back to Life

By Jennifer Lunden
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

A Silent Spring for the human body, this wide-ranging, genre-crossing literary mystery interweaves the author’s quest to understand the source of her own condition with her telling of the story of the chronically ill 19th-century diarist Alice James—ultimately uncovering the many hidden health hazards of life in America. View on Amazon

Sleeping Beauties: The Mystery of Dormant Innovations in Nature and Culture

By Andreas Wagner
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

Looking at the book of life, from apex predators to keystone crops, and informed by his own cutting-edge experiments, renowned scientist Andreas Wagner demonstrates that innovations can come frequently and cheaply to nature, well before they are needed—and human history fits the pattern too. View on Amazon

Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

By Landon Jones
Publication Date: May 9, 2023

A former People magazine editor reveals how our cult of celebrity has shaped our politics, our culture, and our personal lives—for better or worse. View on Amazon

Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity

By Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

The bestselling co-author of Why Nations Fail and the bestselling co-author of 13 Bankers deliver a bold reinterpretation of economics and history that will fundamentally change how you see the world. View on Amazon

Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life

By Kristen Ghodsee
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

A dazzling tour through 2,000 years of audacious utopian thinking and experiments, exploring better ways to arrange our daily lives, plus a globetrotting jaunt to the communities already putting these seemingly fanciful visions into practice today. View on Amazon

The New China Playbook: Beyond Socialism and Capitalism

By Keyu Jin
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

A myth-dispelling, comprehensive guide to the Chinese economy and its path to ascendancy. View on Amazon

A Renaissance of Our Own: A Memoir & Manifesto on Reimagining

By Rachel Cargle
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

From a highly lauded modern voice in feminism and racial justice comes a deeply personal and insightful approach to the power of reimagining to dismantle the frameworks and systems that no longer serve us while building liberating new ones. View on Amazon

Walk Away to Win: A Playbook to Combat Workplace Bullying

By Megan Carle
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Megan Carle draws on her own experience as a target of workplace bullying and reveals how unhealthy workplace cultures enable bullying, describes the costs of such bullying to the bottom line, and explains what business professionals of all levels can do to combat bullying against themselves and their coworkers. View on Amazon

NFTs Are a Scam / NFTs Are the Future: The Early Years: 2020-2023

By Bobby Hundreds
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

The national bestselling author and streetwear entrepreneur Bobby Hundreds’s manifesto about NFTs, the future of creativity, and bringing his brand and community into the modern digital space. View on Amazon

What the Greeks Did for Us

By Tony Spawforth
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Tony Spawforth explores our classical heritage, revealing its legacy in everything from religion to popular culture, and unearths the darker side of Greek influence. Paying attention to the huge breadth and variety of Hellenic influence, this book paints an essential portrait of the ancient world’s living legacy. View on Amazon

Seven Crashes: The Economic Crises That Shaped Globalization

By Harold James
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

A leading economic historian presents a new history of financial crises, showing how some led to greater globalization while others kept nations apart. View on Amazon

Up to Speed: The Groundbreaking Science of Women Athletes

By Christine Yu
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Sports and health journalist Christine Yu disentangles myth and gender bias from real science, making the case for new approaches that can help women athletes excel at every stage of life, from adolescence to adulthood, through pregnancy, menopause, and beyond. View on Amazon

The Yellow Pad: Making Better Decisions in an Uncertain World

By Robert Rubin
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, shares thoughts on decision-making developed over more than six decades in markets, business, government, and politics, and offers readers an astute and original guide for navigating uncertain times. View on Amazon

Beyond Bias: The PATH to End Gender Inequality at Work

By Andrea Kramer & Alton Harris
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

For both women and men who believe in gender equality: a how-to manual for becoming visible, effective change agents. View on Amazon

Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck and Thrive When It Matters Most

By Adam Alter
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

A groundbreaking guide to breaking free from the thoughts, habits, jobs, relationships, and even business models that prevent us from achieving our full potential. View on Amazon

The Secret To Getting Along (And Why It’s Easier Than You Think): 3 Steps To Life Changing Conflict Resolution

By Gabrielle Hartley
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Whether you’re fighting with your partner about housework, struggling to set boundaries with a difficult family member, or dealing with a toxic coworker, this book is a resource for navigating difficult conversations and situations. View on Amazon

The World: A Family History of Humanity

By Simon Sebag Montefiore
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Montefiore chronicles the world’s great dynasties across human history through palace intrigues, love affairs, and family lives, linking grand themes of war, migration, plague, religion, and technology to the people at the heart of the human drama. View on Amazon

Edison’s Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History’s Greatest Geniuses

By Katie Spalding
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Overturn everything you knew about history’s greatest minds in this raucous and hilarious book, where it turns out there’s a finer line between “genius” and “idiot” than we’ve previously known. View on Amazon

Building: A Carpenter’s Notes on Life & the Art of Good Work

By Mark Ellison
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

In Building, a visionary carpenter shares indelible stories on building a life worth living, revealing powerful lessons about work, creativity, and design through his experience constructing some of New York’s most iconic spaces. View on Amazon

On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good

By Elise Loehnen
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

A groundbreaking exploration of the ancient rules women unwittingly follow in order to be considered “good,” revealing how the Seven Deadly Sins still control and distort our lives and illuminating a path toward a more balanced, spiritually complete way to live. View on Amazon

The Good Enough Job: Reclaiming Life from Work

By Simone Stolzoff
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

A challenge to the tyranny of work and a call to reclaim our lives from its clutches. View on Amazon

Bridgebuilders: How Government Can Transcend Boundaries to Solve Big Problems

By William Eggers & Donald Kettl
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

Government can’t reorganize itself out of the challenges it faces or muscle its way through with a command-and-control approach to problem solving. Bridgebuilders provides a new model that current public managers and leaders, as well as young people aspiring to public service, can apply to transform government performance and restore public trust. View on Amazon

Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs

By Jamie Loftus
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

Part travelogue, part culinary history, all capitalist critique―comedian Jamie Loftus’s debut, Raw Dog, will take you on a cross-country road trip in the summer of 2021, and reveal what the creation, culture, and class influence of hot dogs says about America now. View on Amazon

Fancy Bear Goes Phishing: The Dark History of the Information Age, in Five Extraordinary Hacks

By Scott  Shapiro
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

An entertaining account of the philosophy and technology of hacking―and why we all need to understand it. View on Amazon

The Art of Clear Thinking: A Stealth Fighter Pilot’s Timeless Rules for Making Tough Decisions

By Hasard Lee
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

Based on a career of making high-stakes, split-second decisions as a U.S. fighter pilot, The Art of Clear Thinking teaches readers to apply Hasard Lee’s combat-tested techniques in everyday life. View on Amazon

We Need to Talk About Inflation: 14 Urgent Lessons from the Last 2,000 Years

By Stephen D. King
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

Celebrated economist Stephen D. King—one of the few to warn ahead of time about the latest inflationary upheaval—identifies key lessons from the history of inflation that policy makers chose not to heed. View on Amazon

The West: A New History in Fourteen Lives

By Naoise Mac Sweeney
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

An exploration of how “Western Civilization”—the concept of a single cultural inheritance extending from ancient Greece to modern times—is a powerful figment of our collective imagination. She offers a bold new account of Western history, real and imagined, through the lives of fourteen remarkable individuals. View on Amazon

Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital

By Elise Hu
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

An audacious journalistic exploration of the present and future of beauty through the lens of South Korea’s booming “K-beauty” industry and the culture it promotes, by Elise Hu, NPR host-at-large and the host of TED Talks Daily. View on Amazon

Why Politics Fails: The Five Traps of the Modern World and How to Escape Them

By Ben Ansell
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

We want equality, but we are loathe to give away our own wealth. We want solidarity but we are much better at receiving it than offering it. We want security but not if it constrains our freedom. And we want to end the climate crisis but we also want a prosperous economy. In every case, we want a collective goal, but are undermined by our individual actions. Our aims are altruistic, our actions governed by self-interest. View on Amazon

Fires in the Dark: Healing the Unquiet Mind

By Kay Redfield Jamison
Publication Date: May 23, 2023

The acclaimed author of An Unquiet Mind considers the age-old quest for relief from psychological pain and the role of the exceptional healer in the journey back to health. View on Amazon

Genealogy of a Murder: Four Generations, Three Families, One Fateful Night

By Lisa Belkin
Publication Date: May 30, 2023

Following these threads to their tragic outcome in July 1960, and beyond, Belkin examines the coincidences and choices that led to one fateful night. The result is a brilliantly researched, narratively ingenious story, which illuminates how we shape history even as we are shaped by it. View on Amazon

The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams

By Seth Godin
Publication Date: May 30, 2023

An urgent manifesto for teams and leaders facing unprecedented challenges, from the bestselling author of Linchpin and Tribes. View on Amazon

The Search: Finding Meaningful Work in a Post-Career World

By Bruce Feiler
Publication Date: May 30, 2023

After dismantling the three lies about work, Feiler lays out the one truth: that each of us must write our own story. Showing that the people who are happiest at work don’t climb, they dig, Feiler introduces the six questions to ask to create the meaning we crave and the success we deserve. View on Amazon

Our Tribal Future: How to Channel Our Foundational Human Instincts into a Force for Good

By David Samson
Publication Date: May 30, 2023

An astounding and inspiring look at the science behind tribalism, and how we can learn to harness it to improve the world around us. View on Amazon

Allergic: Our Irritated Bodies in a Changing World

By Theresa MacPhail
Publication Date: May 30, 2023

An exploration of allergies, from their first medical description in 1819 to the cutting-edge science that is illuminating the changes in our environment and lifestyles that are making so many of us sick. View on Amazon

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