The Next Big Idea Club’s May 2024 Must-Read Books
Magazine / The Next Big Idea Club’s May 2024 Must-Read Books

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

Arts & Culture Environment Politics & Economics
The Next Big Idea Club’s May 2024 Must-Read Books

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

Fair Shake: Women and the Fight to Build a Just Economy

By Naomi Cahn, June Carbone & Nancy Levit
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

A stirring, comprehensive look at the state of women in the workforce—why women’s progress has stalled, how our economy fosters unproductive competition, and how we can fix the system that holds women back. View on Amazon

Ask: Tap Into the Hidden Wisdom of People Around You for Unexpected Breakthroughs In Leadership and Life

By Jeff Wetzler
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

A hands-on approach to discovering what others think, know, and feel, for the sake of making smarter decisions, finding creative solutions, and building deeper relationships. View on Amazon

Trippy: The Peril and Promise of Medicinal Psychedelics

By Ernesto Londoño
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

A riveting look at the tremendous promise and inherent risks of using psychedelics in mental health treatment, through the lens of a New York Times reporter whose journalistic exploration of this emerging field began with a personal crisis. View on Amazon

The Wolves of K Street: The Secret History of How Big Money Took Over Big Government

By Brody Mullins & Luke Mullins
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

Two veteran investigative journalists trace the rise of the modern lobbying industry through the three dynasties—one Republican, two Democratic—that have enabled corporate interests to infiltrate American politics and undermine our democracy. View on Amazon

Everything Is Predictable: How Bayesian Statistics Explain Our World

By Tom Chivers
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

A captivating and user-friendly tour of Bayes’s theorem and its global impact on modern life from the acclaimed science writer and author of The Rationalist’s Guide to the Galaxy. View on Amazon

Math-ish: Finding Creativity, Diversity, and Meaning in Mathematics

By Jo Boaler
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

From the Stanford professor—an expert in the field of mathematics education—and author of Limitless Mind, a groundbreaking guide to finding joy and understanding by adopting a diverse approach to learning math. View on Amazon

Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits and Disturbing Risks of the New Weight-Loss Drugs

By Johann Hari
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

A revelatory look at the new drugs transforming weight loss as we know it—from Hari’s personal experience on Ozempic to our ability to heal society’s dysfunctional relationship with food, weight, and body image. View on Amazon

15 Lies Women Are Told at Work: …And the Truth We Need to Succeed

By Bonnie Hammer
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

What holds women back at work? Bonnie Hammer, one of the most powerful women in corporate America, debunks the bad advice that too many women get—and reveals the surprising, yet straightforward truths that will help all of us succeed. View on Amazon

The Year of Living Constitutionally: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Constitution’s Original Meaning

By A.J. Jacobs
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

The New York Times bestselling author chronicles his hilarious adventures in attempting to follow the original meaning of the Constitution, as he searches for answers to one of the most pressing issues of our time: How should we interpret America’s foundational document? View on Amazon

Then I Am Myself the World: What Consciousness Is and How to Expand It

By Christof Koch
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

The world’s leading investigator of consciousness argues that by understanding what consciousness does—cause change in the world—we can understand its origins and its future. View on Amazon

The Light Eaters: How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers a New Understanding of Life on Earth

By Zoë Schlanger
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

Award-winning Atlantic environment and science reporter Zoë Schlanger delivers a groundbreaking work of popular science that probes the hidden world of the plant kingdom and reveals the astonishing capabilities of the green life all around us. View on Amazon

But What Will People Say?: Navigating Mental Health, Identity, Love, and Family Between Cultures

By Sahaj Kaur Kohli
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

A deeply personal, paradigm-shifting book rethinking traditional therapy and self-care, creating much-needed space for those left out of the narrative. View on Amazon

Is Your Work Worth It?: How to Think About Meaningful Work

By Jennifer Tosti-Kharas & Christopher Wong Michaelson
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

What is work that’s worth doing in a life worth living? A revealing exploration of the questions we ask and the stories we tell about our work. View on Amazon

The Problem with Change: And the Essential Nature of Human Performance

By Ashley Goodall
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

Drawing on two decades spent leading HR organizations at Deloitte and Cisco, Ashley Goodall reveals the truth about human performance and offers a radical new alternative to the constant turbulence that defines corporate life. View on Amazon

Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World

By Jen Psaki
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

Former White House Press Secretary and current MSNBC host Jen Psaki shares the surprising lessons she’s learned on her path to success and offers unique yet universal advice about how to be a more effective communicator in any situation. View on Amazon

You Only Die Once: How to Make It to the End with No Regrets

By Jodi Wellman
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

A kick-in-the-pants wake-up call to start living meaningfully in light of how many Mondays you have left from longtime coach, positive psychology expert, and Penn Resilience Program instructor Jodi Wellman. View on Amazon

Relentless: My Story of the Latino Spirit That Is Transforming America

By Luis Miranda Jr.
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

Essential reading from an expert voice: Luis Miranda Jr.’s personal and political memoir reveals a deep understanding of Latino culture and how to build community to change our world for the better. View on Amazon

Coming Home

By Brittney Griner with Michelle Burford
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

From the nine-time women’s basketball icon and two-time Olympic gold medalist—a raw, revelatory account of her unfathomable detainment in Russia and her journey home. View on Amazon

The Way of the Champion: Pain, Persistence, and the Path Forward

By Paul Rabil
Publication Date: May 7, 2024

From lacrosse legend Paul Rabil, lessons on becoming a true champion— in sports, business, and life. View on Amazon

Amphibious Soul: Finding the Wild in a Tame World

By Craig Foster
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

How can we reclaim the soul-deepening wildness that grounds us and energizes us when so much of the modern world seems designed to tame us? View on Amazon

Brave New Words: How AI Will Revolutionize Education (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

By Salman Khan
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

From the founder of Khan Academy, the first book written for general audiences on the AI revolution in education, its implications for parenting, and how we can best harness its power for good. View on Amazon

May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases―And What We Can Do About It

By Alex Edmans
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

A groundbreaking book that reveals why our human biases affect the way we receive and interpret information. View on Amazon

The Devil’s Best Trick: How the Face of Evil Disappeared

By Randall Sullivan
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

Melding cultural and historical commentary, Randall Sullivan takes on a bold task that is both biography of the Devil and a look at how evil manifests in the world. View on Amazon

The Third Perspective: Brave Expression in the Age of Intolerance

By Africa Brooke
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

In our deeply divided, binary world, honest discussion is stressful for all sides. International thought leader Africa Brooke says there is another way: the Third Perspective. View on Amazon

Fat Leonard: How One Man Bribed, Bilked, and Seduced the U.S. Navy

By Craig Whitlock
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

A masterful account of one of the biggest public corruption scandals in American history—exposing how a charismatic Malaysian defense contractor bribed scores of high-ranking military officers, defrauded the US Navy of tens of millions of dollars, and jeopardized our nation’s security. View on Amazon

American Bloods: The Untamed Dynasty That Shaped a Nation

By John Kaag
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

A history of a family spanning centuries and continents—one that unfolds into a new portrait of America. View on Amazon

The Infernal Machine: A True Story of Dynamite, Terror, and the Rise of the Modern Detective

By Steven Johnson
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

A sweeping account of the anarchists who terrorized the streets of New York and the detective duo who transformed policing to meet the threat—a tale of fanaticism, forensic science, and dynamite. View on Amazon

Good Energy: The Surprising Connection Between Metabolism and Limitless Health

By Casey Means with Calley Means
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

Dr. Casey Means explains how nearly every health problem we face can be explained by how well the cells in our body create and use energy. For the first time ever, we can monitor our metabolic health in great detail and learn how to improve it ourselves. View on Amazon

Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space

By Adam Higginbotham
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

The definitive, dramatic, minute-by-minute story of the Challenger disaster based on fascinating new archival research and in-depth reporting—a riveting history that reads like a thriller. View on Amazon

The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis

By George Stephanopoulos with Lisa Dickey
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

George Stephanopoulos, former senior advisor to President Clinton and (for more than 20 years) anchor of This Week and co-anchor of Good Morning America, recounts the crises that decided the course of history, from the place 12 presidents made their highest-pressure decisions: the White House Situation Room. View on Amazon

New Happy: Getting Happiness Right in a World That’s Got It Wrong

By Stephanie Harrison
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

Well-being expert and social media sensation Stephanie Harrison of @newhappyco reveals the counterintuitive secrets to happiness and provides a practical guide to help us all learn how to live a happy life. View on Amazon

The Klansman’s Son: My Journey from White Nationalism to Antiracism

By R. Derek Black
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

From the former heir-apparent to white nationalism comes an astonishing memoir of a childhood built on fear, of breaking from a community of hate. View on Amazon

The Profiteers: How Business Privatizes Profits and Socializes Costs

By Christopher Marquis
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

An exposé of how society pays for corporations’ “free lunch” and the cost of environmental damage, low wages, systemic discrimination, and cheap goods. View on Amazon

Chasing Hope: A Reporter’s Life

By Nicholas Kristof
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

From New York Times columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and best-selling author Nicholas D. Kristof, an intimate and gripping memoir about a life in journalism. View on Amazon

Quanta and Fields: The Biggest Ideas in the Universe

By Sean Carroll
Publication Date: May 14, 2024

Beyond Newton, beyond Einstein, and all the intuitive notions that have guided homo sapiens for millennia, this book is a journey to a once unimaginable truth about what our universe is. View on Amazon

And Then? And Then? What Else?

By Daniel Handler
Publication Date: May 21, 2024

A bold, candid, vulnerable, and entertaining memoir of a literary life by the writer otherwise known as Lemony Snicket. View on Amazon

Team: Getting Things Done with Others

By David Allen & Edward Lamont
Publication Date: May 21, 2024

A groundbreaking book about how to harness the power of collaboration and work most effectively in groups. View on Amazon

In My Time of Dying: How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife

By Sebastian Junger
Publication Date: May 21, 2024

A near-fatal health emergency leads to this powerful reflection on death—and what might follow—by the bestselling author of Tribe and The Perfect Storm. View on Amazon

Undue Burden: Life and Death Decisions in Post-Roe America

By Shefali Luthra
Publication Date: May 21, 2024

An urgent investigation into the experience of seeking an abortion after the fall of Roe v. Wade, and the life-threatening consequences of being denied reproductive freedom. View on Amazon

When We Are Seen: How to Come Into Your Power–and Empower Others Along the Way

By Denise Young
Publication Date: May 21, 2024

From one of the first and few women of color to reach the C-suite in Silicon Valley, Apple’s former chief of HR and first VP of inclusion and diversity, comes a heartfelt story of growing up Black and female in a world with little regard for either and a practical road map for embodying the best in yourself and emboldening others along the way. View on Amazon

Take Back Your Brain: How a Sexist Society Gets in Your Head–and How to Get It Out

By Kara Loewentheil
Publication Date: May 21, 2024

A bold new paradigm for breaking free from negative self-talk and creating a life of confidence, power, and joy, from Master Coach and host of the UnF*ck Your Brain podcast Kara Loewentheil. View on Amazon

The Whole Story: Adventures in Love, Life, and Capitalism

By John Mackey
Publication Date: May 21, 2024

Whole Foods Market’s Cofounder and CEO for 44 years, John Mackey offers an intimate and provocative account of the rise of this iconic company and the personal and spiritual journey that inspired its remarkable impact. View on Amazon

Proximity: How Coming Breakthroughs in Just-in-Time Transform Business, Society, and Daily Life

By Robert Wolcott & Kaihan Krippendorff
Publication Date: May 28, 2024

An indispensable guide to the Proximity revolution, showing how it’s transforming every industry―and our lives. Proximity-driven delivery represents an entirely new way to serve customers, with critical implications for corporate strategy, investing, public policy, supply chain resilience, and even sustainability. View on Amazon

Poverty for Profit: How Corporations Get Rich off America’s Poor

By Anne Kim
Publication Date: May 28, 2024

A devastating investigation into the “corporate poverty complex”—the myriad businesses that profit from the poor. View on Amazon

Cheaper, Faster, Better: How We’ll Win the Climate War

By Tom Steyer
Publication Date: May 28, 2024

Renowned investor and climate champion Tom Steyer gives us a unique and unvarnished perspective on how we can all fight climate change—joyfully, knowledgeably, and even profitably—at a time of unparalleled consequence and opportunity. View on Amazon

In This Economy?: How Money & Markets Really Work

By Kyla Scanlon
Publication Date: May 28, 2024

An illustrated guide to the mad math and terrible terminology of economics, from one of the internet’s favorite financial educators. View on Amazon

Download the Next Big Idea App to enjoy “Book Bite” summaries of hundreds of groundbreaking books like these:

Listen to key insights in the next big idea app

When you buy through our Amazon links, the Next Big Idea Club may earn an affiliate commission.

the Next Big Idea App

app-store play-market

Also in Magazine