- As in-person socializing returns, sharing a recent read can help cut through awkward small talk.
- The following article by The Next Big Idea Club, republished here with permission, shares eight books to get started.
- From what trends might exist in 2030 to the history of mass hysteria, these books will spark a conversation.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
With the end of the coronavirus pandemic in sight, it seems that we’ll soon return to get-togethers, cocktail parties, and other social engagements. And inevitably, the conversation will turn to what everyone did with all that time at home. While we can – and should – proudly admit to binge watching those dozen seasons of “Survivor,” we may also want to join others in mentioning a book or two that we enjoyed.
So if you’re hoping to become a bit more well-read, we recommend checking out the eight new books below. They’re sure to make for fascinating conversation, and who knows? They might help you become the smartest person in the room.
1. “2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything” by Mauro F. Guillén
Wharton professor Mauro F. Guillén offers a groundbreaking analysis on the global trends shaping the future, including an analysis on how COVID-19 will amplify and accelerate each of these dramatic, often surprising changes.
2. “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race” by Walter Isaacson
The bestselling author of “Leonardo da Vinci” and “Steve Jobs” returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.
3. “The Delusion of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups” by William J. Bernstein
Financial theorist William J. Bernstein shares stories of mass hysteria that are as revealing about human nature as they are historically significant. He observes that if we can absorb the history and biology of mass delusion, we can recognize it more readily in our own time, and avoid its frequently dire impact.
4. “The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred” by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly nontraditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions.
5. “Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age” by Annalee Newitz
Acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on a quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history – and figure out why people abandoned them.
6. “Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality” by Frank Wilczek
Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek shares a simple yet profound exploration of reality based on the deep revelations of modern science. With an infectious sense of joy, Wilczek investigates the ideas that form our understanding of the universe, such as time, space, matter, energy, complexity, and complementarity.
7. “Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives” by Michael Heller and James Salzman
A hidden set of rules governs who owns what, explaining everything from whether you can recline your airplane seat to why HBO lets you borrow a password illegally. And in this lively and entertaining guide, two acclaimed law professors reveal how things become “mine.”
8. “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” by Heather McGhee
One of today’s top experts on social and economic policy offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone – not just for people of color.
A version of this article was published by The Next Big Idea Club, which delivers key insights from all the best new books via the Next Big Idea App, website, and podcast. To hear the audio version of this post, narrated by the author, and to enjoy more Book Bites, download the Next Big Idea App today.