20 Books As Inspiring As A TEDTalk — According To The People Who Give The Talks

Want to spend your vacation working on self-improvement and -enrichment? There are 20 books TED speakers want you to read this summer, and I've got them all lined up for you to check out below.

Founded in 1984 as a convention for those in the technology, entertainment, and design fields, TED is known today for distributing filmed, digestible presentations from scholars of a wide variety of disciplines, for free. For people who love books more than just about anything else, there are TED talks from writers, TED talks about writing, and TED talks about books. Of course, there are speakers who cover just about everything else, so no matter what you're interested in learning, there's more than likely a TED talk about it.

The 20 books on the following list were recommended by 21 TED speakers, and the books are just as diverse as the people who want you to read them. Below, you'll find poetry, popular fiction, self-help, memoir, and more. And with plenty of quirkiness to go around, these books guarantee that your summer reading list will be anything but boring.

Check out the 20 books TED speakers want you to read this summer — and start planning out all your travel reading:

'How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain' by Lisa Feldman Barrett, recommended by Simone Bianco

In How Emotions Are Made, Lisa Feldman Barrett offers up a new theory on how our brains create and process the feelings we experience every day, and examines the implications of her findings on health care and law enforcement.

Watch Simone Bianco's TED Talk here.

'Astonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life' by Roger-Pol Droit, recommended by Rebecca Kleinberger

If you're bored by meditative practices that require you to be in a particular place or pose in order to reap their full benefits, you need to check out Astonish Yourself!, which contains 101 tiny meditations you can do anywhere.

Watch Rebecca Kleinberger's TED Talk here.

'A Lucky Man' by Jamel Brinkley, recommended by Felice Belle and Jennifer Murphy

The nine stories in A Lucky Man focus on black masculinity, examining the experiences of black boys and men in a spectrum of situations, from a suburbian day camp to a capoeira conference.

Watch Felice Belle and Jennifer Murphy's TED Talk here.

'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel García Márquez, recommended by Iké Udé

More than 50 years ago, Florentino and Fermina fell in love. Circumstances drove Fermina to marry a rich doctor instead of Florentino, but the man she spurned never stopped loving her. Now, on the occasion of her death, he is determined to announce his love for her once more. Maybe you've always meant to read Love In The Time of Cholera, but now is definitely the time.

Watch Iké Udé's TED Talk here.

'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty, recommended by Wendy Troxel

When Jane enrolls her son in the same school as their children, Madeline and Celeste befriend her to help her navigate the community's cutthroat hierarchy. But Jane has a lot of secrets to keep, and a past she's trying to outrun. You've probably already seen the HBO show, but it's worth picking up a copy of Big Little Lies.

Watch Wendy Troxel's TED Talk here.

'Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude' by Ross Gay, recommended by Drew Philp and Heather Lanier

This poetry collection from Ross Gay won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle and NAACP Image Awards for Poetry.

Watch Drew Philp's TED Talk here.

Watch Heather Lanier's TED Talk here.

'Do Not Say We Have Nothing' by Madeleine Thien, recommended by Seema Bansal

Madeleine Thien's family saga Do Not Say We Have Nothing follows two generations in a Chinese family as they negotiate art-making in a changing world, moving from the Cultural Revolution to the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square.

Watch Seema Bansal's TED Talk here.

'Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout' by Laura Jane Grace and Dan Ozzi, recommended by Christian Picciolini

In this memoir, Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace walks readers through her life, from her childhood in Florida, to the founding of her punk band in 1997, to the moment when she came out as trans in 2012.

Watch Christian Picciolini's TED Talk here.

'Quantum Entanglement for Babies' by Chris Ferrie, recommended by Vikram Sharma

Quantum entanglement, like most concepts in quantum physics, is a difficult idea to wrap your mind around if you don't already have a strong background in the field. In Quantum Entanglement for Babies, Chris Ferrie distills the concept into a message so simple, a child can understand it.

Watch Vikram Sharma's TED Talk here.

'Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics' by Ruth Lewin Sime, recommended by David Brenner

After working with Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann to discover nuclear fission, Jewish physicist Lise Meitner was forced to flee Germany for safety in the late 1930s. Her flight from the Nazis resulted in the erasure of her contributions to nuclear physics by Hahn, who won the 1944 Nobel Prize for their discovery. Her story comes to light in Ruth Lewin Sime's Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics.

Watch David Brenner's TED Talk here.

'The Left Hand of Darkness' by Ursula K. Le Guin, recommended by Raphael Arar

In this 1969 sci-fi novel, an emissary from Terra visits Gethen, an alien planet, to encourage its government to join an intergalactic alliance. But Gethen is inhabited by the ambisexual Gethenians, who spend the majority of their lives without discrete male or female sex characteristics, and the emissary, Genly Ai, does not understand how he can interact with people who lack fixed genders.

Watch Raphael Arar's TED Talk here.

'A Door Into Ocean' by Joan Slonczewski, recommended by Molly Winter

Scientifically advanced and totally peaceful, the Sharers of Shora have set up their all-female society by perfecting parthenogenetic reproduction in A Door Into Ocean. But when another civilization decides to invade and colonize their Ocean Moon, the Sharers' entire way of life is threatened by war.

Watch Molly Winter's TED Talk here.

'Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance' by Angela Duckworth, recommended by Minda Dentler

If you've been going through life thinking that talent is what makes people successful, you need to read this book. In Grit, Angela Duckworth examines how tenacity, not talent, is the driving factor behind most success stories.

Watch Minda Dentler's TED Talk here.

'Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing' by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, recommended by Shubhendu Sharma

Forest bathing is a spiritual practice of taking in a stroll through the woods as a holistic experience. In his book on the subject, Yoshifumi Miyazaki examines the history and health benefits of shinrin yoku.

Watch Shubhendu Sharma's TED Talk here.

'Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility' by Patty McCord, recommended by Jason Shen

As Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, Patty McCord created one of the strongest companies in the world by throwing out typical human resources practices in favor of her own tried-and-true methods of retaining ace workers and encouraging great work. She talks about how she did it in Powerful.

Watch Jason Shen's TED Talk here.

'Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley' by Antonio García Martínez, recommended by Tasos Frantzolas

In the tech world, a chaos monkey is a litmus test that shows engineers how well their product is equipped to handle massive failure. In Chaos Monkeys, author Antonio García Martínez examines tech-industry entrepreneurs as chaos monkeys of a different sort.

Watch Tasos Frantzola's TED Talk here.

'Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor' by Virginia Eubanks, recommended by Erica Stone

In Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks exposes the failures that occur when governments install high-tech "solutions" to overburdened systems that are intended to protect the poor.

Watch Erica Stone's TED Talk here.

'The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History' by Elizabeth Kolbert, recommended by Vivek Maru

There have been many mass extinctions in history, but in The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert argues that we are in the middle of a new, manmade extinction event caused by global climate change.

Watch Vivek Maru's TED Talk here.

'A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"' by Marianne Williamson, recommended by Azim Khamisa

Based on Helen Schucman's A Course in Miracles, A Return to Love is a treatise on the transformative power of a life lived with intentional, active love.

Watch Azim Khamisa's TED Talk here.

'Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies' by Nick Bostrom, recommended by Natasha Hurley-Walker

What does the future of artificial intelligence hold for us? In Superintelligence, Nick Bostrom attempts to prepare readers for a world in which humans are no longer the most intelligent and capable creatures on the planet.

Watch Natasha Hurley-Walker's TED Talk here.