The Big Idea

The Big Idea

Key insights from bestselling nonfiction books

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3 h 1 min
12 Episodes
1 Resource

For most of us, it's hard to keep up with all the books we'd like to read. The Big Idea summarizes key insights from bestselling nonfiction books, helping you turn the time spent on chores and errands into a valuable opportunity to learn on the go. Each 15-minute episode summarizes a different book, and new episodes are published weekly. 

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  • Himalaya Learning
    Himalaya Learning
    Key insights from bestselling nonfiction books
12 Episodes

Trailer: The Big Idea


1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg


How are habits formed? How can habits be changed? How do companies exploit consumer habits in order to keep them buying? In a book that lives at the intersection of science, business, and sociology, Charles Duhigg explains the answers to these questions and more. The book’s main message is that habits are not our destiny––with the right insights, they can be changed, and as a result, we can live better lives. About the author: Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist. He was a re...

2. Deep Work by Cal Newport


Deep work is the ability to focus on mentally demanding tasks without distraction. It allows workers to learn new skills faster and perform those skills better. So what’s holding us back from becoming “deep workers?” Things like mundane emails, social media, mandatory meetings, and countless other uniquely twenty-first century distractions all take a massive toll on our ability to focus and perform well at work. In “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World,” Cal Newport provides a roadmap to the kind of self-discipline needed to transcend distractions and become a truly deep worker. About the author: Cal Newport is a computer science professor at Georgetown University who studies the theory of distributed systems. In addition to his academic work, he writes about the intersection of technology and culture for general audiences and is the author of 6 bestselling books.

3. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz


Drawing on the wisdom of ancient Toltec culture, Don Miguel Ruiz suggests that society has “domesticated” individuals with self-limiting beliefs that ultimately cause suffering. In order to lead an authentic life governed by freedom, happiness, and love, we must replace our old detrimental beliefs with new advantageous ones. This transformation boils down to four agreements that we must make with ourselves: Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Alw...

4. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi


Our success in life is often dependent on our networks. It might seem like a network is something that “just happens,” but the reality is that we can create and curate our networks over time. In Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, Keith Ferazzi draws on his autobiography to lay out the practical steps and mindset needed to develop meaningful relationships in both business and life at large.

5. The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone


According to Grant Cardone, the formula to achieve success is simple, and that formula is the 10X Rule. According to the 10X Rule, if you set your goals ten times higher than average and work ten times harder than average to achieve them, you’re guaranteed to get the “above average” results you’re after, aka real success.The 10X Rule might be a motivational treatise on how to “level up” your business, but it’s also a principle that can be applied to any goal one might have for one’s sel...

6. Shrill by Lindy West


Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman is a collection of autobiographical essays in which comedian, writer, and activist Lindy West reminds us that we live in a world where not everyone is treated equally––especially fat women. West shares honest insights into her life, revealing her transformation from a quiet, shy girl into an outspoken feminist.About the author: Lindy West is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir.

7. Everyone Communicates


Success often depends on how well we connect with those around us––our coworkers, our clients, our family, and so on. The ability to connect at a deep level might seem like an inborn talent that some have and others don’t, but according to John C. Maxwell, becoming a better connector is a learnable skill. In Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, Maxwell shares five ways to to help anyone elevate their communication into powerful connections: Find common ground Keep your communication simple Create an enjoyable and interesting experience Inspire people Stay authentic in your communication.About the author:John C. Maxwell is a #1 NYT bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold more than 25 million books in fifty languages. In 2014, he was identified as the #1 leader in business by the American Management Association and the most influential leadership expert in the world by Business Insider and Inc. magazine. He has trained over 5 million leaders. In 2015, he reached the mile...

8. Smartcuts By Shane Snow


How do some people and companies manage to achieve incredible successes in short amounts of time? The key is lateral thinking. For lateral thinkers, conventional rules are meant to be broken. “Paying dues” just takes time. From Alexander the Great to Youtube sensation Michelle Phan, from SpaceX to the Cuban Revolution, Smartcuts dismisses old-fashioned ideas about success by showing how we working smarter, not necessarily harder, can revolutionize our mindsets and the pace of our success.

9. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday


It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking and acting as if the world revolves around you––aka having an ego. In Ego Is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday argues that having an ego holds us back from achieving the success we desire and living the life we actually want to live. Drawing on teachings ranging from the ancient philosophy of stoicism to his own experience as a PR manager for major brands, Holiday distills ego management into three main action items: Stay humble, learn to trust others, and always transform negative results into opportunities to grow.

10. The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger


The title of Bob Iger’s book, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, says it all. During his tenure as CEO of Disney, Iger was responsible for closing the deal on partnerships with Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, all of which have made Disney the most formidable media company in the world. Throughout his memoir, Iger shares insights into his guiding principles for leadership, a delicate balancing act between the pursuit of perfection and fairness to employees when things go wrong––because things will go wrong. Iger emphasizes the importance of putting people before product and innovating outdated business models that no longer work. Iger’s optimism, courage, fairness, and decisiveness are not only lessons for the world’s top CEOs, but also for leaders at all levels from all walks of life.

11. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey offers an approach to success and happiness that focuses on developing one’s inner character and motivations. Most people go through their careers and lives in a state of “dependence.” Covey’s principles advocate for a state “interdependence.” “Interdependence” acknowledges that we are indeed individuals that must independently cultivate strength, but working with others allows us to achieve greater results than working alone. The seven habits are: Be proactive Begin with the end in mind Put first things first Think win-win Seek first to understand, then to be understood Synergize Sharpen the saw - in other words, take some R&R time for yourself

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