Human beings are curious creatures. We’re capable of altruism, love, and reason, but we’re also prone to selfishness, ignorance, and downright irrational behavior. This apparent paradox lies at the heart of what makes psychology such a fascinating subject.
So here at the Next Big Idea Club, we crunched the numbers to identify the psychology books that were loved most by our tens of thousands of app users this year. (Our curators Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink, and Adam Grant only pick each season’s two official selections.) So if you’re ready for a journey into the human mind, check out the 21 books below.
Learn something new every day with “Book Bites,” 15-minute audio summaries of the latest and greatest nonfiction. Get started by downloading the Next Big Idea App today!
21. Future Tense: Why Anxiety Is Good for You (Even Though It Feels Bad)
By Tracy Dennis-Tiwary
A psychologist confronts our pervasive misunderstanding of anxiety, and presents a powerful new framework for reimagining and reclaiming the confounding emotion as the advantage it evolved to be. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, in the Next Big Idea App
20. A More Just Future: Psychological Tools for Reckoning with Our Past and Driving Social Change
By Dolly Chugh
From an NYU social psychologist comes a revolutionary, evidence-based guide for developing resilience and grit to confront our whitewashed history and build a better future. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Dolly Chugh, in the Next Big Idea App
19. Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends
By Marisa G. Franco
A psychologist and University of Maryland professor provides a clear and actionable blueprint for forging strong, lasting connections with others—and for becoming our happiest, most fulfilled selves in the process. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Marisa Franco, in the Next Big Idea App
18. Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides
By Geoffrey Cohen
A Stanford University psychologist applies his and others’ groundbreaking research to the myriad problems of communal existence and offers concrete solutions for improving daily life at work, in school, in our homes, and in our communities. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Geoffrey Cohen, in the Next Big Idea App
17. How the Mind Changed: A Human History of Our Evolving Brain
By Joseph Jebelli
From genetic accidents and environmental forces to historical and cultural advances, a renowned neuroscientist takes the reader on a seven-million-year journey to explore how our brain’s evolution turned us into Homo sapiens and beyond. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Joseph Jebelli, in the Next Big Idea App
16. Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away
By Annie Duke
Drawing on stories from leading athletes, entrepreneurs, and entertainers, a former pro poker player explains why quitting is integral to success, sharing strategies for determining when to hold ’em or fold ’em that will save you time, energy, and money. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Annie Duke, in the Next Big Idea App
15. Thinking 101: How to Reason Better to Live Better
By Woo-kyoung Ahn
Thinking 101 is a book that goes far beyond other books on thinking, showing how we can tackle real-world problems and improve our daily lives—and the lives of everyone around us—through better awareness of our cognitive biases. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Woo-kyoung Ahn, in the Next Big Idea App
14. Between Us: How Cultures Create Emotions
By Batja Mesquita
Brilliantly synthesizing original psychological studies and stories from peoples across time and geography, Between Us skillfully argues that acknowledging differences in emotions allows us to find common ground, humanizing and humbling us all for the better. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Batja Mesquita, in the Next Big Idea App
13. Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
By Florence Williams
A remarkable merging of science and self-discovery that will change the way we think about loneliness, health, and what it means to fall in and out of love. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Florence Williams, in the Next Big Idea App
12. Toxic Positivity: Keeping It Real in a World Obsessed with Being Happy
By Whitney Goodman
A powerful guide to owning our emotions—even the difficult ones—in order to show up authentically in the world, from the popular therapist behind the Instagram account @sitwithwhit. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Whitney Goodman, in the Next Big Idea App
11. Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking
By Leonard Mlodinow
We’ve all been told that thinking rationally is the key to success. But at the cutting edge of science, researchers are discovering that feeling is every bit as important as thinking. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Leonard Mlodinow, in the Next Big Idea App
10. The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss
By Mary-Frances O’Connor
A renowned grief expert and neuroscientist shares surprising discoveries about what happens in our brain when we grieve, providing a new paradigm for understanding love, loss, and learning. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Mary-Frances O’Connor, in the Next Big Idea App
9. The Anatomy of Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming the Body’s Fear Response
By Ellen Vora
From an acclaimed psychiatrist comes a groundbreaking understanding of how anxiety manifests in the body and mind—and what we can do to overcome it. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Ellen Vora, in the Next Big Idea App
8. Choose Your Story, Change Your Life: Silence Your Inner Critic and Rewrite Your Life from the Inside Out
By Kindra Hall
This eye-opening journey will transform you from a passive listener of limiting, unconscious thoughts into the definitive author of who you are and everything you want to be. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Kindra Hall, in the Next Big Idea App
7. Hidden Games: The Surprising Power of Game Theory to Explain Irrational Human Behavior
By Moshe Hoffman and Erez Yoeli
Two MIT economists use game theory to explain our most puzzling behavior, from the mechanics of Stockholm syndrome and internalized misogyny to why we help strangers and have a sense of fairness. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-authors Moshe Hoffman and Erez Yoeli, in the Next Big Idea App
6. Speaking in Thumbs: A Psychiatrist Decodes Your Relationship Texts So You Don’t Have To
By Mimi Winsberg
From a Harvard- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist comes an essential look at the love language of texts, helping you decipher the personalities of online daters, the subtle signals from your romantic partner, and the red flags hiding in plain sight. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Mimi Winsberg, in the Next Big Idea App
5. The Secret Life of Secrets: How Our Inner Worlds Shape Well-Being, Relationships, and Who We Are
By Michael Slepian
Drawing on over a decade of original research, The Secret Life of Secrets reveals the surprising ways that secrets pervade our lives, and offers science-based strategies that make them easier to live with. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Michael Slepian, in the Next Big Idea App
4. How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion
By David McRaney
A brain-bending investigation of why some people never change their minds—and others do in an instant—by the bestselling author of You Are Not So Smart. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author David McRaney, in the Next Big Idea App
3. Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness
By Steve Magness
Drawing from mindfulness, military case studies, sports psychology, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, a beloved performance coach provides a roadmap for navigating life’s challenges and achieving high performance that makes us happier, more successful, and, ultimately, better people. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Steve Magness, in the Next Big Idea App
2. The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your World
By David Robson
Melding neuroscience with narrative, a science journalist takes readers on a deep dive into the many life zones the “expectation effect” permeates—like how associating aging with wisdom can add seven plus years to your life. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author David Robson, in the Next Big Idea App
1. The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward
By Daniel Pink
Drawing on research in social psychology, neuroscience, and biology, a world-renowned thinker debunks the myth of the “no regrets” philosophy of life. In fact, regrets offer compelling insights into how we live—and how we can find a better path forward. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Daniel Pink, in the Next Big Idea App
The Key Ideas in 15 Minutes
“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books,” Roald Dahl once famously said. The only trouble is, reading even one book from cover to cover takes hours—and you may not have many hours to spare.
But imagine for a moment: What if you could read a groundbreaking new book every day? Or even better, what if you could invite a world-renowned thinker into your earbuds, where they personally describe the 5 key takeaways from their work in just 15 minutes?
With the Next Big Idea App, we’ve turned this fantasy into a reality. We partnered with hundreds of acclaimed authors to create “Book Bites,” short audio summaries of the latest nonfiction that are prepared and read aloud by the authors themselves. Discover cutting-edge leadership skills, productivity hacks, the science of happiness and well-being, and much more—all in the time it takes to drive to work or walk the dog.
Go Deeper with a Next Big Idea Club Membership
The Next Big Idea App is free for anyone to try—and if you love it, we invite you to become an official member of the Next Big Idea Club. Membership grants you unlimited access to Book Bites and unlocks early-release, ad-free episodes of our LinkedIn-partnered podcast. You also gain entry to our private online discussion group, where you can talk big ideas with fellow club members and join exclusive live Q&A sessions with featured authors.
For a more focused learning experience, we recommend a Hardcover or eBook Membership. Every few months, legendary authors and club curators Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink select two new nonfiction books as the must-reads of the season. We then send hardcover copies straight to your doorstep, or eBook versions to your favorite digital device. We also collaborate with the authors of selected books to produce original reading guides and premium video e-courses, 50-minute master classes that take you step by step through their most life-changing ideas. And yes, it’s all available through the Next Big Idea App.
Learn Faster, from the World’s Leading Thinkers
Whether you prefer to read, listen, or watch, the Next Big Idea is here to help you work smarter and live better. Wake up with an always-fresh Idea of the Day, the perfect shot of inspiration to go with your morning coffee. Then dive into one of our Challenges, hand-picked collections of Book Bites that form crash courses in subjects like communication, motivation, and career acceleration. Later, watch the playback of an interview with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, or philosopher John Kaag. And be sure to check the “Events” tab in the app, so that you can join an upcoming live Q&A and personally chat with the next featured thought leader.
If you’re hoping to grow as a person or as a professional, we hope you’ll join us and tens of thousands of others who enjoy the Next Big Idea. Get started by downloading the app today!
To enjoy Book Bites from anywhere, download the Next Big Idea app today: