Reading List: 12 books by recent TED speakers

TED’s list of “essential reading” for Fall—books by TED speakers:

With summer dwindling to its last few days, it’s time to put away the beach reads and get the mind back in gear with heartier fare. Why not start with some of the amazing books writer by recent TED speakers? Here, some picks.

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
Retells the tale of a forgetful writer’s journey to becoming U.S. Memory champion, exploring the singular importance of memory in our lives along the way. Watch Joshua’s talk >>

Wired for Culture by Mark Pagel
For the past 80,000 years, culture has played an integral role in shaping the lives humans lead. Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel explains the evolutionary processes that are so ingrained into our culture, and explores its effects on life today. Watch Mark’s talk >>

Quiet by Susan Cain
A look into the life and contributions of introverts in a society that favors loud and bold personalities, and how our current value system may be stifling their innovation and leadership. Watch Susan’s talk >>

The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
We may be living in the most peaceful time in human history. Steven Pinker explores the root causes of this surprising and hotly debated claim, and the implications it has for average citizens and military personnel. Watch Steven’s talk >>

That is All by John Hodgman
The last installment of Hodgman’s trilogy of fictitious trivia, wrapping up his history of made-up facts just in time for the 2012 apocalypse. Watch John’s talk >>

Batman: Death by Design by Chip Kidd
Graphic novel imaginings of foul play during the architectural boom and bust in Gotham City. Watch Chip’s talk >>

And below, Bruno Giussani — TED’s European Director — picks five essential books from TEDGlobal 2012 speakers.

Stealth of Nations by Rob Neuwirth
If you haven’t read this book yet, you may be ignoring a massive and essential portion of the functioning of the real global economy. It’s mandatory reading for anyone thinking or acting globally.

The Philosophical Breakfast Club by Laura Snyder
The previously untold story of four men who met at Cambridge University in the early 19th century and brought about a revolution in science, in the process inventing the word “scientist.”

Hybrid Reality by Parag and Ayesha Khanna
A rapid yet deep excursion in the emerging reality of fading boundaries and increasing human-technology hybridization. (Parag Khanna was a guest host at TEDGlobal.)

World 3.0 by Pankaj Ghemawat
Despite the popularity of the idea in recent years, the world is actually not “flat”, and this data-rich book persuasively proves it. Ghemawat has the data to back it up.

Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang
A rare and eye-opening exploration of the lives of Chinese migrant assembly line workers — those who populate the “factory of the world” — told from their own perspective.

Reading List: 12 books by recent TED speakers.


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About the Author

Laura J. Snyder, Ph.D., is a science historian, philosopher and writer whose most recent book, The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends who Transformed Science and Changed the World, was an Official Selection of the TED Book Club, a Scientific American Notable Book, and winner of the 2011 Royal Institution of Australia Poll for Favorite Science Book. It was also named an "Outstanding Academic Title" in history of science and technology by the American Library Association. Snyder is Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University in New York City and writes frequently about science and ideas for The Wall Street Journal. She is a Fulbright Scholar, a Life Member of Clare Hall College, Cambridge, and Past President of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.

 She is currently working on a book about how new optical technologies in the 17th century revolutionized not only science, but also art and the rest of culture. Follow Laura Snyder on Twitter and Facebook.

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