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

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

I’m pleased to share what I consider the most promising, must-read nonfiction titles scheduled for release in April of 2023. These titles make up our third group of nominees for Season 21 of the Next Big Idea Club (the February group was announced here, and March here).

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 April 2023 titles are…

The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Lessons Made Simple (But Not Easy)

By William H. McRaven
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

Admiral McRaven dealt with every conceivable leadership challenge, from commanding combat operations—including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Phillips, and the raid for Osama bin Laden. The Wisdom of the Bullfrog draws on these and countless other experiences from Admiral McRaven’s incredible life, including crisis situations, management debates, organizational transitions, and ethical dilemmas, to provide listeners with the most important leadership lessons he has learned over the course of his forty years of service. View on Amazon

Life is Tough, But So Are You: Tips and Thoughtful Advice for Developing Mental Strength and Resilience

By Debbi Marco
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

With bite-sized tips and pointers, this is an accessible, all-round introductory guide to bouncing back from adversity and finding your inner strength. It’s the perfect caring gift for yourself or for others. View on Amazon

Assyria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Empire

By Eckhart Frahm
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

Although Assyria was crushed by rising powers in the late seventh century BCE, its legacy endured from the Babylonian and Persian empires to Rome and beyond. Assyria is a stunning and authoritative account of a civilization essential to understanding the ancient world and our own. View on Amazon

Unbreakable: How I Turned My Depression and Anxiety into Motivation and You Can Too

By Jay Glazer
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

All of Glazer’s success from his screeching-and-swerving joy ride through professional football, the media, the fighting world, Hollywood, and the military-warrior community, comes with a side of relentless depression and anxiety. Living in the gray, as Glazer calls it, is a constant for him, but he works through it and succeeds using an Unbreakable Mindset. View on Amazon

If It Sounds Like a Quack… : A Journey to the Fringes of American Medicine

By Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

It’s no secret that American health care has become too costly and politicized to help everyone. So where do you turn if you can’t afford doctors, or don’t trust them? In this book, Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling examines the growing universe of non-traditional treatments–including some that are really non-traditional. View on Amazon

The Human Experience: How to Make Life Better for Your Customers and Create a More Successful Organization

By John Sills
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

An essential guide to creating a successful organization by making things easier, better and more straightforward for your customers. View on Amazon


A Living Remedy: A Memoir

By Nicole Chung
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

Exploring the enduring strength of family bonds in the face of hardship and tragedy, A Living Remedy examines what it takes to reconcile the distance between one life, one home, and another–and sheds needed light on some of the most persistent and tragic inequalities in American society. View on Amazon

Crack-Up Capitalism: Market Radicals and the Dream of a World Without Democracy

By Quinn Slobodian
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

In a revelatory dispatch from the frontier of capitalist extremism, an acclaimed historian of ideas shows how free marketeers are realizing their ultimate goal: an end to nation-states and the constraints of democracy. View on Amazon

The Power of Language: How the Codes We Use to Think, Speak, and Live Transform Our Minds

By Viorica Marian
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

This revolutionary book goes beyond any recent book on language to dissect how language operates in our minds and how to harness its virtually limitless power. View on Amazon

Beautiful Trauma: An Explosion, an Obsession, and a New Lease on Life

By Rebecca Fogg
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

A compelling account of surviving a freak accident, and a fascinating exploration of the science of trauma and recovery. View on Amazon

Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature

By Sarah Hart
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Hart shows us the myriad connections between math and literature, and how understanding those connections can enhance our enjoyment of both. View on Amazon

Faster Cures: Accelerating the Future of Health

By Michael Milken
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Partly a memoir and partly a recent history of medicine, the definitive account of Michael Milken’s lifetime work to accelerate medicine’s evolution from a dark past to a bright future. View on Amazon

Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom

By Sharon Salzberg
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

To live in a less constricted way―with a more spacious, open sense of possibility, creativity, connection, and joy―Salzberg says we need to get real about what’s most important, to ask ourselves, what do I most deeply yearn for? What would I benefit from letting go of? What do I believe is possible for me? View on Amazon

Wealth Warrior: 8 Steps to Heal Your Money Wounds, Claim Abundance, and Make Stakes in the Stock Market

By Linda Garcia
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

This much-needed conversational guide to the stock market by a financial expert empowers you to heal money wounds, establish financial literacy, and make your money work for you. View on Amazon

Advanced Parenting: Advice for Helping Kids Through Diagnoses, Differences, and Mental Health Challenges

By Kelly Fradin
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Dr. Fradin explores how a child struggling can affect the entire family dynamic including the parent’s relationships and the siblings overall well-being, and with her experience as a complex care pediatrician, she will help parents avoid common mistakes. Parents will feel seen, supported, and better prepared to be both a parent and a caregiver. View on Amazon

Awaken Your Genius: Escape Conformity, Ignite Creativity, and Become Extraordinary

By Ozan Varol
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Great thinkers operate unconstrained by the opinions of others—or their own past opinions. They can act on new information regardless of the beliefs they once held, or identities they once adopted. They distinguish fact from manipulation. And just as importantly, they act first instead of reacting—creating new ideas and opportunities for themselves and others. View on Amazon

The Anxious Achiever: Turn Your Biggest Fears into Your Leadership Superpower

By Morra Aarons-Mele
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

A book with a mission: to normalize anxiety in the workplace and help leaders and high achievers transform anxiety from an apparent weakness into a strength. Aarons-Mele argues that anxiety is normal, built into the very nature of leadership; it can—and should—be harnessed into a superpower. View on Amazon

My Father’s Brain: Life in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s

By Sandeep Jauhar
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

A deeply affecting memoir of a father’s descent into dementia, and a revelatory inquiry into why the human brain degenerates with age and what we can do about it. View on Amazon

Waiting to Inhale: Cannabis Legalization and the Fight for Racial Justice

By Akwasi Owusu-Bempah & Tahira Rehmatullah
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Waiting to Inhale illuminates the stories of those on the front lines of the War on Drugs—the individuals and communities disproportionately harmed, sometimes seemingly beyond repair; the official and social forces ranged against them; and the victims, legal and political activists, and cannabis entrepreneurs who are fighting back. View on Amazon

Worlds Without End: Exoplanets, Habitability, and the Future of Humanity

By Chris Impey
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

The science of finding habitable planets beyond our solar system and the prospects for establishing human civilization away from our ever-less-habitable planetary home. View on Amazon

Ending Epidemics: A History of Escape from Contagion

By Richard Conniff
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Conniff tells the story behind “the mortality revolution,” the dramatic transformation not just in our longevity, but in the character of childhood, family life, and human society. He recounts the moments of inspiration and innovation, decades of dogged persistence, and, of course, periods of terrible suffering that stir individuals, institutions, and governments to act in the name of public health. View on Amazon

Inside the Competitor’s Mindset: How to Predict Their Next Move and Position Yourself for Success (Management on the Cutting Edge)

By John Horn
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

When it comes to competitive strategy, knowing what your competition is doing is good; understanding why they do what they do and predicting what they are going to do next is best. View on Amazon

On the Origin of Time: Stephen Hawking’s Final Theory

By Thomas Hertog
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Stephen Hawking’s closest collaborator offers the intellectual superstar’s final thoughts on the cosmos—a dramatic revision of the theory he put forward in A Brief History of Time. View on Amazon

Invisibility: The History and Science of How Not to Be Seen

By Gregory J. Gbur
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

Science writer and optical physicist Gregory J. Gbur traces the science of invisibility from its sci-fi origins in the nineteenth-century writings of authors such as H. G. Wells and Fitz James O’Brien to modern stealth technology, invisibility cloaks, and metamaterials. View on Amazon

Rethinking Intelligence: A Radical New Understanding of Our Human Potential

By Rina Bliss
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

If we truly want to nurture potential, we must eliminate toxic stress so that our genes can work optimally, in harmony with our environment. Dr. Bliss offers successful strategies we can use as individuals and a society, including embracing a growth mindset, prioritizing connection, becoming more mindful, and reforming systemic issues. View on Amazon

It. Goes. So. Fast.: The Year of No Do-Overs

By Mary Louise Kelly
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

This chronicle of Kelly’s eldest child’s final year at home, of losing her father, as well as other curve balls thrown at her, is not a definitive answer―not for herself and certainly not for any other parent. But her questions, her issues, will resonate with every parent. And, yes, especially with mothers, who are judged more harshly by society and, more important, judge themselves more harshly. What would she do if she had to decide all over again? View on Amazon

The Possibility of Life: Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship in the Cosmos

By Jaime Green
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Weaving in expert interviews, cutting-edge astronomy research, philosophical inquiry and pop culture touchstones ranging from A Wrinkle in Time to Star Trek to Avatar, The Possibility of Life explores our evolving conception of the cosmos to ask an even deeper question: What does it mean to be human? View on Amazon

Quitting: A Life Strategy: The Myth of Perseverance and How the New Science of Giving Up Can Set You Free

By Julia Keller
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Quitting humanely reminds us that, in order to live meaningful, satisfying lives, sometimes we have to say “no”—full stop. With Keller’s guidance, readers will learn the art of the quasi quit, see how quitting makes space for key breakthroughs, navigate the relationship between quitting and our public lives, manage quitter’s guilt, and more. View on Amazon

Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother

By Peggy O’Donnell Heffington
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Drawing on deep research and her own experience as a woman without children, historian Peggy O’Donnell shows that many of the reasons women are not having children today are ones they share with women in the past: a lack of support, their jobs or finances, environmental concerns, infertility, and the desire to live different kinds of lives. View on Amazon

The 5 Practices of Highly Resilient People: Why Some Flourish When Others Fold

By Taryn Marie Stejskal
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Stejskal works from the premise that Resilient People bounce forward, not back, take an active approach to facing challenge, and most importantly, Resilient People are made, not born. She shows us how to develop these practices in our own lives, as adults, as parents, and across organizations. View on Amazon

1% Leadership: Master the Small, Daily Improvements that Set Great Leaders Apart

By Andy Ellis
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Ellis says that there are no “irrefutable laws” of leadership or power; there is no secret. As a result, 1% Leadership does not provide one path to leadership—it provides dozens of practical lessons that anyone, at any stage of their career, can use continuously make tiny “1% at a time” improvements. View on Amazon

You and Your Adult Child: How to Grow Together in Challenging Times

By Laurence Steinberg
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

A much-needed guide for parents of people in their twenties and thirties. View on Amazon

The Family-First Entrepreneur: How to Achieve Financial Freedom Without Sacrificing What Matters Most

By Steve Chou
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Most entrepreneurs start a business seeking freedom but end up in a prison of hundred-hour workweeks isolated from their loved ones. This book is a guide to do entrepreneurship differently—letting go of the hustle and embracing a family-first mindset instead. View on Amazon

Avocado Anxiety: and Other Stories About Where Your Food Comes From

By Louise Gray
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

The food stories behind your favorite fruits and vegetables. View on Amazon

The Microstress Effect: How Little Things Pile Up and Create Big Problems–and What to Do about It

By Rob Cross & Karen Dillon
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

How a million little things are dragging you down, and what to do about it. View on Amazon

Meta-Leadership: How to See What Others Don’t and Make Great Decisions

By Constance Dierickx
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Dierickx reveals how to effectively use uncertainty to counterbalance overconfidence; how to show courage without being reckless in a crisis; how to demonstrate that different situations call for different types of action; and more. You’ll learn how to be a better judge of other people to lead more effectively and empathetically. View on Amazon

Rising: From a Mud Hut to the Boardroom — and Back Again

By Graci Harkema
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Harkema revisits her experience growing up as an adoptee from the Congo in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She traces her path to claiming and living her own story, becoming a successful consultant on diversity, equity and inclusion, racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality, and women in business. View on Amazon

Parenting on Earth: A Philosopher’s Guide to Doing Right by Your Kids and Everyone Else

By Elizabeth Cripps
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Environmental catastrophes, pandemics, antibiotic resistance, institutionalized injustice, and war: in a world so out of balance, what does it take—or even mean—to be a good parent? This book is one woman’s search for an answer, as a moral philosopher, activist, and mother. View on Amazon

The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions

By Jonathan Rosen
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Rosen’s haunting investigation of the forces that led his closest childhood friend, Michael Laudor, from the heights of brilliant promise to the forensic psychiatric hospital where he has lived since killing the woman he loved. A story about friendship, love, and the price of self-delusion, The Best Minds explores the ways in which we understand—and fail to understand—mental illness. View on Amazon

Like, Literally, Dude: Arguing for the Good in Bad English

By Valerie Fridland
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

A lively linguistic exploration of the speech habits we love to hate—and why our “like”s  and “literally”s actually make us better communicators. View on Amazon

The Two Moralities: Conservatives, Liberals, and the Roots of Our Political Divide

By Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Janoff-Bulman asks readers to consider the challenging possibility that both liberalism and conservatism are morally based and reflect genuine concern for the country. Moral psychology is an invaluable lens for understanding the roots of political differences. View on Amazon

The Portfolio Life: How to Future-Proof Your Career, Avoid Burnout, and Build a Life Bigger than Your Business Card

By Christina Wallace
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Harvard professor, serial entrepreneur, and self-described “human Venn diagram” Christina Wallace adapts tried-and-true practices from the business sector to help you eschew the cult of ambition and experience the freedom of building the flexible, fulfilling, and sustainable life you want. View on Amazon

Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World

By Gretchen Rubin
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Life in Five Senses is an absorbing, layered story of discovery filled with profound insights and practical suggestions about how to heighten our senses and use our powers of perception to live fuller, richer lives—and, ultimately, how to move through the world with more vitality and love. View on Amazon

Pathogenesis: A History of the World in Eight Plagues

By Jonathan Kennedy
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

A sweeping look at how the major transformations in history—from the rise of Homo sapiens to the birth of capitalism—have been shaped not by humans but by germs. View on Amazon

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

By David Grann
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

A thrilling story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. With the twists and turns of a thriller, Grann unearths the deeper meaning of the events on the Wager, showing that it was not only the captain and crew who ended up on trial, but the very idea of empire. View on Amazon

Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe

By Philip Plait
Publication Date: April 18, 2023

For the aspiring extraterrestrial citizen, casual space tourist, or curious armchair traveler, Plait is an illuminating, always-entertaining guide to the most otherworldly views in our universe. View on Amazon

The Wellness Trap: Break Free from Diet Culture, Disinformation, and Dubious Diagnoses and Find Your True Well-Being

By Christy Harrison
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

As we experience a growing amount of physical and mental-health trauma, society has become increasingly vulnerable to bogus ideas about health for which conventional medicine lacks satisfying treatments. Weaving together history, memoir, reporting, and practical advice, Harrison leads the way in a radical re-thinking of wellness. View on Amazon

Pandora’s Gamble: Lab Leaks, Pandemics, and a World at Risk

By Alison Young
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Young details the shocking safety failures at government, academic, and private labs all across the United States and the world, exposing the lax system of oversight that allows dangerous lab practices to put us all at risk. View on Amazon

Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution

By Rainn Wilson
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Comedic actor and performer Rainn Wilson, cofounder of the media company SoulPancake, explores the benefits spirituality gives us in creating solutions for an increasingly challenging world. View on Amazon

The Shotgun Conservationist: Why Environmentalists Should Love Hunting

By Brant MacDuff
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

An avid animal lover and raised as a non-hunter, MacDuff started his journey intending to investigate the claim that “hunting is conservation.” So convinced, he now holds a hunting license in four states and gives lectures on the positive impact it has on conservation efforts nationwide. View on Amazon

The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Essays on Desire and Consumption

By Katy Kelleher
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Kelleher blends science, history, and memoir to uncover the dark underbellies of our favorite goods. With prose as stunning as the objects she describes, Kelleher invites readers to examine their own relationships with the beautiful objects that adorn their body and grace their homes. View on Amazon

Knowing What We Know: From the First Encyclopedia to Wikipedia

By Simon Winchester
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

At a time when we seem to be stripping all value from the idea of knowing things—no need for math, no need for map-reading, no need for memorization—are we risking our ability to think? As we empty our minds, will we one day be incapable of thoughtfulness? From the creation of the first encyclopedia to Wikipedia, from ancient museums to modern kindergarten classes—a look at how humans acquire, retain, and pass on information and data, and how technology continues to change our lives and our minds. View on Amazon

Cold Peace: Avoiding the New Cold War

By Michael Doyle
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Doyle explores the impacts of cyberwarfare, foreign election meddling, and the unprecedented schism of modern politics on American foreign policy. He demonstrates that there can be no success in addressing climate change without China’s cooperation, nor any hope of averting nuclear catastrophe without Russia’s. View on Amazon

Wonder Boy: Tony Hsieh, Zappos, and the Myth of Happiness in Silicon Valley

By Angel Au-Yeung & David Jeans
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Wonder Boy is a riveting investigation into the turbulent life of Zappos visionary Tony Hsieh, whose radical business strategies revolutionized both the tech world and corporate culture, based on rigorous research and reporting by two seasoned journalists. View on Amazon

Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture

By Virginia Sole-Smith
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

In this illuminating narrative on the daily onslaught of body shame that kids face from peers, school, diet culture, and parents themselves, journalist Virginia Sole-Smith offers a compelling reported look at how families can change the conversation around weight, health, and self-worth. View on Amazon

The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History

By Ned Blackhawk
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

A sweeping and overdue retelling of U.S. history that recognizes that Native Americans are essential to understanding the evolution of modern America. View on Amazon

The Age of Guilt: The Super-Ego in the Online World

By Mark Edmundson
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

How Freud’s concept of the super-ego can help us to understand the harsh cultural climate of the digital age. View on Amazon

Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents―and What They Mean for America’s Future

By Jean Twenge
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

A groundbreaking, revelatory portrait of the six generations that currently live in the United States and how they connect, conflict, and compete with one another—from the acclaimed author of Generation Me and iGen. View on Amazon

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