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

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

I’m pleased to share what I consider the most promising, must-read nonfiction titles scheduled for release in October 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 October 2023 titles are…

What the Bears Know: How I Found Truth and Magic in America’s Most Misunderstood Creatures

By Steve Searles & Chris Erskine
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

The incredible story of how one man went from a hired hunter to becoming one of America’s top champions for this iconic animal. View on Amazon

The Future of Us: The Science of What We’ll Eat, Where We’ll Live, and Who We’ll Be

By Jay Ingram
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

A fascinating look at the cutting-edge science and technologies that are on the cusp of changing everything from where we’ll live, how we’ll look, and who we’ll be, by the popular science broadcaster and bestselling author Jay Ingram. View on Amazon

Level Up: Get Focused, Be More Productive, and Actually Improve 1% Every Day

By Rob Dial
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Rob Dial, life coach and host of the popular podcast The Mindset Mentor, shows the science behind how taking small actions every day will build momentum that leads to life-changing success. View on Amazon

A Healthy State of Panic: Follow Your Fears to Build Wealth, Crush Your Career, and Win at Life

By Farnooshi Torabi
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

The creator of the popular finance podcast So Money demonstrates how leaning into your fear can actually become your greatest superpower, in this accessible and clever guide to maximizing your financial success and beyond. View on Amazon

The Perfect Story: How to Tell Stories that Inform, Influence, and Inspire

By Karen Eber
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Learn how to take any story and make it perfect–from storytelling expert Karen Eber, whose TED Talk on the subject has nearly two million views. View on Amazon

Economics in America: An Immigrant Economist Explores the Land of Inequality

By Angus Deaton
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Blending rare personal insights with illuminating perspectives on the social challenges that confront us today, Nobel Prize–winning economist Angus Deaton offers a disarmingly frank critique of his own profession while shining a light on his adopted country’s policy accomplishments and failures. View on Amazon

Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall

By Zeke Faux
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Fueled by the absurd details and authoritative reporting , Number Go Up is the essential chronicle, by turns harrowing and uproarious, of a $3 trillion financial delusion. View on Amazon

Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet

By Taylor Lorenz
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Acclaimed Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz presents a groundbreaking social history of the internet—revealing how online influence and the creators who amass it have reshaped our world, online and off. View on Amazon

Code to Joy: Why Everyone Should Learn a Little Programming

By Michael Littman
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

In this informative, accessible, and very funny book, Littman inspires readers to learn how to tell machines what to do for us. View on Amazon

The Beauty of Games

By Frank Lantz
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

How games create beauty and meaning, and how we can use them to explore the aesthetics of thought. View on Amazon

I’ve Been Thinking

By Daniel Dennett
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

This memoir by one of the greatest minds of our time will speak to anyone who seeks to balance a life of the mind with adventure and creativity. View on Amazon

Alfie and Me: What Owls Know, What Humans Believe

By Carl Safina
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

A moving account of raising, then freeing, an orphaned screech owl, whose lasting friendship with the author illuminates humanity’s relationship with the world. View on Amazon

This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us About Creativity

By Richard Deming
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

An examination of the life and work of six brilliant minds of the twentieth century, intent on answering the question “What can be done not despite but because of loneliness?” View on Amazon

Clear Thinking: Turning Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Results

By Shane Parrish
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Few things will change your trajectory in life or business as much as learning to think clearly. Yet few of us recognize opportunities to think in the first place. View on Amazon

The Idea Is the Easy Part: Myths and Realities of the Startup World

By Brian Dovey
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Venture capitalist Brian Dovey offers readers a personal, humorous, story-driven compendium of practical advice for navigating the risky entrepreneurial journey. View on Amazon

Project UnLonely: Healing Our Crisis of Disconnection

By Jeremy Nobel
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Insight into our new world of loneliness that offers solace, hope, and solutions. View on Amazon

High Bias: The Distorted History of the Cassette Tape

By Marc Masters
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

This book charts the journey of the cassette from its invention in the early 1960s to its Walkman-led domination in the 1980s to decline at the birth of compact discs to resurgence among independent music makers. Scorned by the record industry for “killing music,” the cassette tape rippled through scenes corporations couldn’t control. For so many, tapes meant freedom—to create, to invent, to connect. View on Amazon

Free Agents: How Evolution Gave Us Free Will

By Kevin Mitchell
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Traversing billions of years of evolution, Mitchell tells the remarkable story of how living beings capable of choice arose from lifeless matter. View on Amazon

Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and The Washington Post

By Martin Baron
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

A first-row seat to the epic power struggle between politics, money, media, and tech. Marty Baron took charge of The Washington Post newsroom in 2013, after nearly a dozen years leading The Boston Globe. Just seven months into his new job, Baron received explosive news: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, would buy the Post, marking a sudden end to control by the venerated family that had presided over the paper for 80 years. Just over two years later, Donald Trump won the presidency. View on Amazon

Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution

By Cat Bohannon
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

A myth-busting, eye-opening landmark account of how humans evolved, offering a paradigm shift in our thinking about what the female body is, how it came to be, and how this evolution still shapes all our lives today. View on Amazon

American Purgatory: Prison Imperialism and the Rise of Mass Incarceration

By Benjamin Weber
Publication Date: October 3, 2023

In this explosive new book, historian Benjamin Weber reveals how the story of American prisons is inextricably linked to the expansion of American power around the globe. View on Amazon

Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens

By Rajiv Shah
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

Rajiv J. Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation and former administrator of President Barack Obama’s United States Agency for International Development, shares a dynamic new model for creating large scale change, inspired by his own involvements with some of the largest humanitarian projects of our time. View on Amazon

The Sound of the Future: The Coming Age of Voice Technology

By Tobias Dengel
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

Why voice technology is the next big thing in technology, as big as mobile a decade ago and the internet in the late 90s, fundamentally altering the way companies do business. View on Amazon

The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves

By Alexandra Hudson
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

From classical philosophers like Epictetus, to great twentieth-century thinkers like Martin Luther King Jr., to her own experience working in the federal government during one of the most politically fraught eras in our nation’s history, Hudson examines how civility―a respect for the personhood and dignity of others―transcends political disagreements. Respecting someone means valuing them enough to tell them when you think they are wrong. View on Amazon

How Work Works: The Subtle Science of Getting Ahead Without Losing Yourself

By Michelle King
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

A unique and revelatory guide to understanding and navigating the unwritten rules of the workplace—the key to achieving success, finding meaning, and staying true to your authentic self in today’s business world—from the organizational expert and celebrated author of The Fix. View on Amazon

We, the Data: Human Rights in the Digital Age

By Wendy Wong
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

A rallying call for extending human rights beyond our physical selves—and why we need to reboot rights in our data-intensive world. View on Amazon

How the Talmud Can Change Your Life: Surprisingly Modern Advice from a Very Old Book

By Liel Leibovitz
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

The Talmud is humanity’s first self-help book, with sage advice on an unparalleled scope of topics, including dealing with grief, choosing friends, and communicating with your partner. Weaving together psychology, philosophy, and history with examples from Weight Watchers and the lives of Billie Holiday and Aristotle, Leibovitz makes the Talmud’s insights reverberate for our modern age. View on Amazon

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios

By Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales & Gavin Edwards
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

The unauthorized, behind-the-scenes story of the stunning rise―and suddenly uncertain reign―of the most transformative cultural phenomenon of our time: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. View on Amazon

Nothing Is Missing: A Memoir of Living Boldly

By Nicole Walters
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

A profound and gripping memoir by Nicole Walters, the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants who became a self-made multi-millionaire by showing others how to recognize their own strengths—and her own harrowing journey to the discovery that she was worthy all along of the life of her dreams. View on Amazon

Reasons Not to Worry: How to Be Stoic in Chaotic Times

By Brigid Delaney
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

In this heartfelt and soul-searching work, brimming with warmth, humor, and insight, the beloved Guardian columnist spends a year exploring how to pursue a rich and meaningful life, turning to the wisdom of the Stoics for insights into the deepest questions of existence. View on Amazon

Smart Startups: What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know–Advice from 18 Harvard Business School Founders

By Catalina Daniels & James Sherman
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

Two startup company founders and angel investors go inside eighteen companies founded by Harvard Business School graduates, uncovering surprising lessons for success and unexpected pitfalls essential for aspiring entrepreneurs. View on Amazon

A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: One Farm, Six Generations, and the Future of Food

By Will Harris
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

From a pioneer of the regenerative agriculture movement, a memoir-meets-manifesto on betting the farm on a better future for our food, animals, land, local communities, and our climate. View on Amazon

Which Way Is North: A Creative Compass for Makers, Marketers, and Mystics

By Will Cady
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

Through a combination of essays, meditations, and memoir, Which Way Is North helps you explore that question, opens new pathways to creativity by guiding you to your True North, and equips you with new tools for the journey to becoming a conscious participant in creation. View on Amazon

Nobility in Small Things: A Surgeon’s Path

By Craig Smith
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

Nobility in Small Things not only takes us into the mind and soul of a surgeon with the ability to “play God” but into the heart of a man who chose a lifesaving career. The book introduces us to patients and peers, and moves from family-building and heartbreak at home, to the tragic suicide of two fellow M.D.s. Dr. Smith also writes vulnerably about his debilitating social anxiety and how he overcame it. View on Amazon

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life

By Arnold Schwarzenegger
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

The seven rules to follow to realize your true purpose in life—distilled by Arnold Schwarzenegger from his own journey of ceaseless reinvention and extraordinary achievement, and available for absolutely anyone. View on Amazon

Breaking Through: My Life in Science

By Katalin Kariko
Publication Date: October 10, 2023

A story of perseverance and the power of convictions from the groundbreaking immigrant scientist whose decades-long research led to the COVID-19 vaccines, hailed as “an inspiration” by Bill Gates. View on Amazon

Techlash: Who Makes the Rules in the Digital Gilded Age?

By Tom Wheeler
Publication Date: October 15, 2023

Warning that today is not the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” some envision, Wheeler calls for a new era of public interest oversight that leaves behind industrial era regulatory ideas to embrace a new process of agile, supervised and enforced code setting that protects consumers and competition while encouraging continued innovation. View on Amazon

How Infrastructure Works: Inside the Systems That Shape Our World

By Deb Chachra
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

A new way of seeing the essential systems hidden inside our walls, under our streets, and all around us. View on Amazon

Her Space, Her Time: How Trailblazing Women in Physics and Astronomy Decoded the Hidden Universe

By Shohini Ghose
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

An exciting new title in the vein of Hidden Figures, which tells the inspiring stories of long-overlooked women physicists and astronomers who discovered the fundamental rules of the universe and reshaped the rules of society. View on Amazon

The Big Fail: What the Pandemic Revealed About Who America Protects and Who It Leaves Behind

By Joe Nocera & Bethany McLean
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

Journalists Nocera and McLean follow up All the Devils Are Here with this analysis of the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and the failures of government and business leaders. View on Amazon

Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will

By Robert Sapolsky
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

One of our great behavioral scientists, the bestselling author of Behave, plumbs the depths of the science and philosophy of decision-making to mount a devastating case against free will, an argument with profound consequences. View on Amazon

The Canceling of the American Mind: Cancel Culture Undermines Trust and Threatens Us All―But There Is a Solution

By Greg Lukianoff & Rikki Schlott
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

A timely deep dive into cancel culture, an account of its dangers to all Americans, and the much-needed antidote from the team that brought you Coddling of the American Mind. View on Amazon

Gray Areas: How the Way We Work Perpetuates Racism and What We Can Do to Fix It

By Adia Harvey Wingfield
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

A leading sociologist reveals why racial inequality persists in the workplace despite today’s multi-billion-dollar diversity industry—and provides actional solutions for creating a truly equitable, multiracial future. View on Amazon

Think You’ll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief with Grit, Grace, and Gratitude

By Nicole Avant
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

A spirit-lifting memoir on how to turn pain into purpose, how to live always in gratitude, and how to face down tragedy and turn it into love. View on Amazon

The Dish: The Lives and Labor Behind One Plate of Food

By Andrew Friedman
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

Acclaimed “chef writer” Andrew Friedman introduces readers to all the people and processes that come together in a single restaurant dish, creating an entertaining, vivid snapshot of the contemporary restaurant community, modern farming industry, and food-supply chain. View on Amazon

He/She/They: How We Talk About Gender and Why It Matters

By Schuyler Bailar
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

Schuyler Bailar didn’t set out to be an activist, but his very public transition to the Harvard men’s swim team put him in the spotlight. He uses storytelling and the art of conversation to give us the essential language and context of gender, meeting everyone where they are and paving the way for understanding, acceptance, and, most importantly: connection. View on Amazon

How to Be: Life Lessons from the Early Greeks

By Adam Nicolson
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

Nicolson crafts a geography of the ancient world and a brilliant exploration of our connections to the past. View on Amazon

I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country

By Elena Kostyuchenko
Publication Date: October 17, 2023

A fearless, cutting portrait of Russia and an essential cri de coeur for journalism in opposition to the global authoritarian turn. View on Amazon

A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

By Michael Muthukrishna
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

A Theory of Everyone draws on the most recent research from across the sciences, humanities, and the emerging field of cultural evolution to paint a panoramic picture of who we are and what exactly makes human beings different from all other forms of life on the planet. View on Amazon

Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed the Publishing Industry and American Literature

By Dan Sinykin
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

Dan Sinykin explores how changes in the publishing industry have affected fiction, literary form, and what it means to be an author. Giving an inside look at the industry’s daily routines, personal dramas, and institutional crises, he reveals how conglomeration has shaped what kinds of books and writers are published. View on Amazon

Ours Was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream

By David Leonhardt
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

The clear-eyed, definitive history of the modern American economy and the decline of the American Dream, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist behind The New York Times‘s “The Morning” newsletter. View on Amazon

On the Brink of Utopia: Reinventing Innovation to Solve the World’s Largest Problems

By Thomas Ramge & Rafael Laguna de la Vera
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

Offering a new perspective on innovation that centers on readers from all over the world, On the Brink of Utopia is a hopeful and visionary book that reimagines the roles of innovators, citizens, governments, and financial markets to foster innovation leaps that maximize the well-being of the greatest number of people. View on Amazon

How We Ended Racism: Realizing a New Possibility in One Generation

By Justin Michael Williams & Shelly Tygielski
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

A look back from a future in which racism is no more―inspiring us to start taking positive action today. View on Amazon

A+ Parenting: The Surprisingly Fun Guide to Raising Surprisingly Smart Kids

By Eva Moskowitz
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

Eva Moskowitz, founder of the highly lauded Success Academy Charter Schools, shares her advice for raising smart, successful, and intellectually engaged children. View on Amazon

A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains

By Max Bennett
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

Artificial intelligence entrepreneur Max Bennett chronicles the five “breakthroughs” in the evolution of human intelligence and reveals what brains of the past can tell us about the AI of tomorrow. View on Amazon

The Upstairs Delicatessen: On Eating, Reading, Reading About Eating, and Eating While Reading

By Dwight Garner
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

Dwight Garner, the beloved New York Times critic, serves up the intertwined pleasures of books and food. The product of a lifetime of obsessively reading, eating, and every combination therein, this book is a charming, emotional memoir. View on Amazon

How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen

By David Brooks
Publication Date: October 24, 2023

A practical, heartfelt guide to the art of truly knowing another person in order to foster deeper connections at home, at work, and throughout our lives. View on Amazon

White Holes

By Carlo Rovelli
Publication Date: October 31, 2023

Journey with beloved physicist Carlo Rovelli, bestselling author of  Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and The Order of Time, into the heart of a black hole: where geometry folds, time and space pull and stretch, space and time dissolves, and a white hole is born. View on Amazon

Mischievous Creatures: The Forgotten Sisters Who Transformed Early American Science

By Catherine McNeur
Publication Date: October 31, 2023

The untold story of two sisters whose discoveries sped the growth of American science in the nineteenth century. View on Amazon

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