Category Archives: Books

TED Speakers on Books Worth Sharing

Photo by Christian Schnettelker (www.manoftaste.de)

Photo by Christian Schnettelker (www.manoftaste.de)

Looking for something to spark your imagination over the winter break? The following list showcases books in our collection that have ignited a spark in the minds of TED speakers. For more books, see the full list at the TED site.

 

1.  The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
“This is cheating, because it’s a series of novels! Like so many great novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries, very little actually happens, but the characters and their world are painted so well, and so truthfully, that every page becomes a thing of almost unbearable beauty.”
— Recommended by Simon Anholt

Get it from Thomas Library.

2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
“This is one of those books where you feel like you have fallen deeply into someone else’s dream. It’s an epic World War II story, but it’s the tenderness on every page that is haunting.”
— Recommended by
Rachel Botsman

Get it from Thomas Library.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
“I read this when I was eight. And I’ve read it a few times since, and watched it onscreen too. Nothing dulls it or stops me loving small, plain Jane, a Yorkshire lass like me, who had more spirit and fire in her 150 years ago than I probably do today, with all my modern freedoms and privilege. I love the story because it is a tale of a woman becoming free, while still being a classic love story. I mean, there’s even a madwoman in the attic. But I love Jane because I love Charlotte too: a woman who triumphed in a deeply patriarchal world, getting published and getting famous, while living in a cold, glum vicarage on the edge of the moors. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is seen as a trickier, better book by many, because they are fooled by the romance of Jane Eyre. Look behind that, and you find a character as complex and wonderful as any Cathy or Heathcliff, in little, plain Jane, who would always ‘rather be happy than dignified.’”
— Recommended by Rose George

Get it from Thomas Library.

4. Silence by Shusaku Endo
“Set in 17th-century Japan, this stark, impeccably structured novel revolves around a haunting question: How can God remain silent in the face of human suffering? Endo’s work traces the journey of Sebastian Rodrigues, a Portuguese Jesuit sent to minister to local Christians under violent state persecution — and to investigate reports of another priest’s apostasy. This deeply ambiguous work refuses to provide any easy answers to its central inquiry — it just raises another that readers, regardless of belief, will grapple with long after: How much are we willing to suffer to end the suffering of others?”
— Recommended by Noy Thrupkaew

Get it from Thomas Library.

5. Where Wizards Stay Up Late by Katie Hafner
“It’s the remarkable and rarely told story of the people who created the internet. For all its ubiquity and importance in the modern world, we tend to forget that the internet was the result of imagination, hard work and remarkable feats of engineering from a relatively small group of brilliant people. One day the people behind the first networked computing in the late 1960s and early 1970s might be held in the same regard as Fleming, Faraday or Edison. Where Wizards Stay Up Late tells their story in meticulous (and occasionally quite funny — such as the very first word ever transmitted online, which was ‘lo’ before the system crashed) detail. Anyone who is interested in where the internet came from, and why it was designed like it was — which really should be all of us — must read this book.”
— Recommended by Jamie Bartlett

Get it from Thomas Library.

6. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
“This book really showed me the amazing pathways that led to innovations that make our lives work today. The stories are told almost like a dramatic mystery to make the history come to life with excitement and aha moments.”
— Recommended by Bill Gross

Get it from Thomas Library.

7. Against Method by Paul Feyerabend
“I love this book very much because it helped me reconsider how I think, how knowledge is produced, organized, what is science, what is belief and how the logic of play and chaos can be fertile grounds to a healthy living culture.”
— Recommended by
Cesar Harada

Get it from Thomas Library.

8. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
“It’s a great novel about urban crime that just happens to have Batman in it.”
— Recommended by Chip Kidd

Get it from Thomas Library.

9. Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter
“This is one of my daughter’s favorite books. I like it too because it is never too early to teach children about protecting the environment, social activism and standing up for what is right.”
— Recommended by Benedetta Berti

Get it from Thomas Library.

10. My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
“‘No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.’ To me, this quote perfectly illustrates the effect that slavery had on those who were raised to uphold its tenets. That a system can be a detriment even to those that may benefit from it I find incredibly poignant even in today’s society. It’s so important that we recognize the implications of our beliefs both in how they affect ourselves as well as others. My Bondage and My Freedom not only taught me about the cruel reality of slavery but also showed that in the most depraved systems humanity will seek to reach its potential no matter what obstacles are placed in its path.”
— Recommended by Zak Ebrahim

Get it from Thomas Library.

11. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
“This book showed that you can tell the stories of the roughest, the most searing, the most inhumane parts of our world, and leave your audience feeling more human and more hopeful than before.”
— Recommended by Jake Barton

Get it from Thomas Library.

12. Art as Experience by John Dewey
“I love that he pulls the aesthetic out of the rarified and into the everyday. He makes the point of art as absolutely accessible and essential.”
— Recommended by BJ Miller

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13. The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body by Steven Mithen
“This is a brilliant read for anyone who is passionately connected to music. Mithen brings together psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, archaeology and more to uncover just how deeply music is embedded in our species. Immensely readable, quirky and full of insight into our human condition, this book drops my jaw at least once per chapter.”
— Recommended by Meklit Hadero

Get it from Thomas Library.

14. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory by Alasdair MacIntyre
Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality by Michael Walzer
“I’d offer two books. They are masterful works of moral philosophy that have changed the way I think about justice, work and virtue. MacIntyre is not an easy read, but these two books changed my life.”
— Recommended by Barry Schwartz

Get them here and

here from Thomas Library.