The Fall Idea Books to Teach You Something New

Six months into the pandemic, if you’re getting tired of escaping into a novel, it might be time to try some nonfiction. My favorite new releases this fall are about building careers and companies, rebuilding our lives and our institutions, including those who have been underrepresented or marginalized, thinking more clearly, entertaining the people around us, and sustaining our energy, our workplaces, and our environment.

Building

1. Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye Archambeau (October 6)

As one of the first Black women to become a CEO in Silicon Valley, Shellye is a trailblazer. She shares powerful lessons from her experience on confronting impostor syndrome, taking risks, building relationships and reputations, and making sure that work doesn’t consume life.

2. Eat a Peach by David Chang (September 8)

Dave is one of the most beloved chefs on earth, but his bracingly honest memoir isn’t just for foodies. It’s for anyone who has ever felt like an underdog or an underachiever—or aspires to become an entrepreneur or a more decent person.

3. Creativity by John Cleese (September 8)

The comedian and writer behind Monty PythonFawlty Towers, and A Fish Called Wanda pulls back the curtain on his own creative process and hilariously teaches you how to jumpstart yours.

4. Undaunted by Kara Goldin (October 20)

Many people are dreamers, but Kara is also a doer. Reflecting on her impressive track record of beating the odds, she shows how entrepreneurs can build better products, marketers can build better brands, and leaders can build better companies.

5. The Practice by Seth Godin (November 3)

What separates great innovators from the rest of us is not so much the creativity of their ideas as the consistency of their execution. Seth is a master of finishing what he starts, and his engrossing book gives us the tools we need to follow his lead.

6. How I Built This by Guy Raz (September 15)

Behind every great entrepreneur is a great story, and no one is better at identifying and telling that story than Guy. After spending countless hours inside the heads of the world’s best founders, he’s written the mother of all entrepreneurship memoirs: a must-read for anyone who wants to start a business, grow a business, or be inspired by those who do.

Rebuilding

7. Right/Wrong by Juan Enriquez (October 13)

A life sciences venture capitalist offers a guide for making sure that our ethics don’t fall behind our technological progress.

8. Uncharted by Margaret Heffernan (September 8)

As an entrepreneur and CEO turned thought leader and TED speaker, Margaret has a gift for both shaping and anticipating trends. In this powerful book, she challenges the common assumption that history repeats itself and teaches us how we can prepare for—and adapt to—the unexpected.

9. When More Is Not Better by Roger Martin (September 29)

As one of the world’s leading thinkers on strategy, Roger delivers a message that’s as timely as it is important: efficiency is overrated. He offers a road map for reinventing democratic capitalism and designing economies for resilience.

10. The Innovation Delusion by Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell (September 8)

Two historians of technology challenge us to ask an urgent question: what if we invested as much in maintenance, care, and upkeep as we do in growth, change, and disruption?

Including

11. Building for Everyone by Annie Jean-Baptiste (August 18)

The head of Google’s product inclusion team reveals how we can infuse diversity into design. Through vivid case studies, Annie demonstrates how to create products and services that benefit people of all backgrounds.

12. Making Conversation by Fred Dust (December 1)

As a senior leader at IDEO, Fred has helped some of the world’s most powerful people have more productive conversations. Reading this book feels like being engaged in a direct conversation with him as he offers sage advice on how we can all stop talking past each other.

13. Vanguard by Martha S. Jones (September 8)

A historian covers a vital but neglected wave of the suffrage movement, profiling the Black women who persisted in the face of racism as well as sexism to move America closer to our ideal of equality.

14. Confessions from Your Token Black Colleague by Talisa Lavarry (August 21)

A diversity and inclusion consultant opens up about the discrimination she faced, the nervous breakdown she encountered, and what she’s learned about creating more just, more equitable workplaces.

15. Just Us by Claudia Rankine (September 8)

An award-winning poet and playwright explores how we can move past silence and start building bridges across racial and political divides. It’s an arresting, thought-provoking work of art.

16. Better Boys, Better Men by Andrew Reiner (December 1)

Too many boys grow up believing that ‘be a man’ means ‘be a jerk.’ Building on the masculinity course he teaches, Andrew offers a compelling alternative, where we teach boys to take responsibility for their mistakes, treat others with dignity and compassion, and approach life as a team sport.

17. The Next Smart Step by Kelly Watson and Jodi Ecker Detjen (February 9)

A candid, readable, and useful book about how we can get past talking about gender bias and actually start doing something about it.

Thinking

18. Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett (November 17)

As a pioneer in cognitive neuroscience, Lisa Feldman Barrett is one of today’s most provocative thinkers about the mind. Get ready to have your mind blown as she takes you through the science behind some of her most startling ideas—beginning with her argument that the purpose of the brain is not to think.

19. Calling Bullshit by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West (August 4)

A pair of science experts introduce a series of tools to help you recognize fake news, bad data, misinformation, and disinformation.

20. How to Decide by Annie Duke (October 13)

Many books teach us why we make bad choices, but few help us make better ones. At long last, poker champ Annie Duke has tackled that problem. Her handbook isn’t just evidence-based and practical—it’s engaging too.

21. Too Much Information by Cass Sunstein (September 1)

The behavioral economics and law expert best known for Nudge makes a convincing case that policy should focus less on what we have the right to know and more on what knowledge will improve our lives.

22. The Socrates Express by Eric Weiner (August 25)

With signature clarity and humor, a journalist picks up where The Good Place left off. In a rare philosophy book that’s a delight to read, he illuminates what deep thinkers through history have known about a life well lived.

Entertaining

23. Humor, Seriously by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas (October 6)

Of all the known ways to ruin humor, the most common start with the words “research,” “analyze,” and “professor.” The bad news is that this book features all of those words… prominently. The good news is that against all odds, you’ll actually have fun reading it. It probably won’t turn you into Ali Wong, Dave Chappelle, or Hannah Gadsby, but it will give you a window into how they think—and teach you some new ways to make people laugh.

24. Is This Anything by Jerry Seinfeld (October 6)

It was called a show about nothing, but this is a book about everything. For 45 years, he’s saved every joke he’s ever written; now, for the first time, he’s compiled his greatest hits.

Sustaining

25. Do Good at Work by Bea Boccalando (November 24)

The founder and head of a global consulting firm presents a manual for making work meaningful that’s both actionable and enjoyable to read.

26. Exceptional by Dan Cable (September 22)

Athletes achieve excellence by compiling and studying their personal highlight reels, and there’s no reason why the rest of us can’t do the same thing. In this buoyant, evidence-backed book, a leading researcher shows us how.

27. Conscious Leadership by John Mackey et al. (September 15)

The Whole Foods founder is living proof that we don’t have to choose between purpose and profits. He and his colleagues offer the practical guidance leaders need to build businesses that do well by doing good and prioritize lifetime impact over quarterly earnings.

28. Better Business by Christopher Marquis (September 13)

An expert on corporate responsibility busts myths about shareholder primacy and reveals how it’s possible for companies to integrate social impact into their missions. This may well be the book that puts teeth in the B Corp movement.

29. Can’t Even by Anne Helen Petersen (September 22)

A media scholar builds on her viral Buzzfeed article to examine why Millennials are burning out. As one of the most insightful culture critics of our time, Anne explains how individuals, organizations, and societies can prevent emotional exhaustion.

30. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty (September 8)

It’s not every day that you meet a former monk whose vision is to make wisdom go viral. Jay’s book is full of memorable takeaways on mindfulness, purpose, and showing more compassion to others—as well as to ourselves.

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