At first, society’s definition of “normal” is something we accept completely—why question the very air you breathe? But as we get exposed to new people and perspectives, we realize that what we call “normal” is relative and conditional.
So if you’re curious about the psychological, religious, and political diversity that lies beneath the surface of alleged normalcy, we recommend checking out the five eye-opening reads below.
Download the Next Big Idea App for “Book Bite” summaries of hundreds of new nonfiction books like these—all prepared and read by the authors themselves.
Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness
By Roy Richard Grinker
An anthropologist chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental-illness stigma―from the eighteenth century, through America’s major wars, and into today’s high-tech economy. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Roy Richard Grinker, in the Next Big Idea App
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution
By Carl R. Trueman
In this timely book, a religious scholar analyzes the development of the sexual revolution as a symptom—rather than the cause—of the human search for identity. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Carl R. Trueman, in the Next Big Idea App
This Is Not Normal: The Politics of Everyday Expectations
By Cass Sunstein
Exploring Nazism, #MeToo, the work of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, constitutional amendments, pandemics, and the influence of Ayn Rand, a renowned Harvard professor reveals how norms change, and ultimately determine the shape of society and government around the world. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Cass Sunstein, in the Next Big Idea App
Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World That’s Lost Its Mind
By Jamie Wheal
Recapture the Rapture shares a revolutionary new practice that combines the best of neuroscience and optimal psychology. It’s an intensive program of breathing, movement, and sexuality that mends trauma, heightens inspiration, and tightens connection, helping us show up for a world that needs us all. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Jamie Wheal, in the Next Big Idea App
The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous
By Joseph Henrich
The WEIRDest People in the World explores how culture, institutions, and psychology shape one another, and explains what this means for both our most personal sense of who we are as individuals and also the large-scale social, political, and economic forces that drive human history. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Joseph Henrich, in the Next Big Idea App
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