From ancient mythological traditions to pulpy science fiction novels, humans have always imagined what life would be like on other worlds. These days, however, such fantasies are drifting closer and closer to the realm of actual possibility. So to find out if the human race will ever explore the cosmos and live off-Earth, check out the five eye-opening reads below.
Worlds Without End: Exoplanets, Habitability, and the Future of Humanity
By Chris Impey
A University of Arizona astronomer explores 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. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Chris Impey, in the Next Big Idea App
Off-Earth: Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space
By Erika Nesvold
An acclaimed astrophysicist calls on experts in ethics, sociology, history, social justice, and law to launch a hopeful conversation about the potential ethical pitfalls of becoming a multi-planet species—and, ideally, to shed light on similar problems we presently face here on Earth. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Erika Nesvold, in the Next Big Idea App
Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe
By Philip Plait
On this lively, immersive adventure through the cosmos, a renowned astronomer draws on both the latest scientific research and his prodigious imagination to transport you to ten of the most spectacular sights outer space has to offer. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Philip Plait, in the Next Big Idea App
Astrotopia: The Dangerous Religion of the Corporate Space Race
By Mary-Jane Rubenstein
A philosopher of science and religion offers a revealing look at the parallel mythologies behind the colonization of Earth and space—and a bold vision for a more equitable, responsible future both on and beyond our planet. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Mary-Jane Rubenstein, in the Next Big Idea App
Taxi from Another Planet: Conversations with Drivers About Life in the Universe
By Charles S. Cockell
Insightful, good-humored essays on the possibilities of alien life and the uses of space exploration, based on an astrobiologist’s everyday conversations with his fellow humans―taxi drivers, to be precise. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Charles S. Cockell, 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!