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
'Astonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life' by Roger-Pol Droit, recommended by Rebecca Kleinberger
'A Lucky Man' by Jamel Brinkley, recommended by Felice Belle and Jennifer Murphy
'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
'Do Not Say We Have Nothing' by Madeleine Thien, recommended by Seema Bansal
'Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout' by Laura Jane Grace and Dan Ozzi, recommended by Christian Picciolini
'Quantum Entanglement for Babies' by Chris Ferrie, recommended by Vikram Sharma
'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
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
. But when another civilization decides to invade and colonize their Ocean Moon, the Sharers' entire way of life is threatened by war. A Door Into Ocean Watch Molly Winter's TED Talk here.
'Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance' by Angela Duckworth, recommended by Minda Dentler
'Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing' by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, recommended by Shubhendu Sharma
'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
, author Antonio García Martínez examines tech-industry entrepreneurs as chaos monkeys of a different sort. Chaos Monkeys 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
'The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History' by Elizabeth Kolbert, recommended by Vivek Maru
'A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"' by Marianne Williamson, recommended by Azim Khamisa
'Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies' by Nick Bostrom, recommended by Natasha Hurley-Walker