30 Ted Talk Books Recommended for 2021

We compiled a list of 30 Ted Talk Books, that could change your life.TED is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment, and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 110 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. If you enjoy this booklist please check out our other book lists and see the difference that they can make in your life.

Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler

Entrepreneur Jesse Itzler will try almost anything. He brazenly pretended to be an established hip-hop artist to secure a meeting with a studio head – and it led to a record deal. He convinced a bunch successful business executives to invest in an unprecedented business plan – and it turned into Marquis Jet. He sincerely offered to run a 100-mile race in Spanx to get the attention of the beautiful founder of the company – and ended up marrying her.

His life is about being bold and risky. And it’s brought him plenty of rewards.

So when Jesse felt himself drifting on autopilot, he hired a rather unconventional trainer to live with him for a month – an accomplished Navy SEAL widely considered to be “the toughest man on the planet”!

Living with a SEAL is like a buddy movie if it starred the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air…and Rambo. Jesse is about as easy-oing as you can get. SEAL is…not. He even shows up at Jesse’s apartment with an inflatable raft just in case the Itzler family ever has to escape Manhattan by crossing the Hudson River.

 

Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu

Once the poster girl for doing it all, after she had her first child, Tiffany Dufu struggled to accomplish everything she thought she needed to in order to succeed. Like so many driven and talented women who have been brought up to believe that to have it all, they must do it all, Dufu began to feel that achieving her career and personal goals was an impossibility. Eventually, she discovered the solution: letting go. In Drop the Ball, Dufu recounts how she learned to reevaluate expectations, shrink her to-do list, and meaningfully engage the assistance of others―freeing the space she needed to flourish at work and to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships at home.

 

Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks by Persi Diaconis

Magical Mathematics reveals the secrets of fun-to-perform card tricks—and the profound mathematical ideas behind them—that will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it.

Third Stage of Life: Aging in Contemporary Society by Daisaku Ikeda

Buddhist philosopher, peace activist and octogenarian Daisaku Ikeda has spent a lifetime studying and teaching about life’s universal sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death. His life exemplifies the health and happiness possible from a compassionate practice of Nichiren Buddhism. In The Third Stage of Life, a dialogue with two Japanese journalists, he shares his insights on how to make one’s golden years a “third youth.”What’s the secret to living long? What are the keys to a healthy life? Is aging a period of decline or an opportunity to bring one’s life to a satisfying conclusion? What example can we set for in others in our third stage of life?Drawing on the lives of many individuals down through the ages, Mr. Ikeda discusses these and many other questions that affect us as we grow older. From the practical to the spiritual to the personal—as when his wife of sixty years joins the discussion in later chapters—The Third Stage of Life will inspire you to keep challenging and lead a life that shines.

Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace

But underneath the public turmoil, something much greater occupied Gabel-a secret kept for 30 years, only acknowledged in the scrawled-out pages of personal journals and hidden in lyrics. Through a troubled childhood, delinquency, and struggles with drugs, Gabel was on a punishing search for identity. Not until May of 2012 did a Rolling Stone profile finally reveal it: Gabel is a transsexual, and would from then on be living as a woman under the name Laura Jane Grace.

Foolproof, and Other Mathematical Meditations by Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes wants to convince us that mathematics is too important and too much fun to be left to the mathematicians. Foolproof, and Other Mathematical Meditations is his entertaining and accessible exploration of mathematical terrain both far-flung and nearby, bringing readers tidings of mathematical topics from Markov chains to Sudoku. Hayes, a non-mathematician, argues that mathematics is not only an essential tool for understanding the world but also a world unto itself, filled with objects and patterns that transcend earthly reality. In a series of essays,

The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen

Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth’s past dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of our possible future.

Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the twenty-first century have analogs in these five extinctions. Using the visible clues these devastations have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside “scenes of the crime,” from South Africa to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record—which is rife with creatures like dragonflies the size of sea gulls and guillotine-mouthed fish—and introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth’s biggest whodunits.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Francesca Cavallo

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2″ is the sequel to the sensational New York Times bestseller, and the most crowdfunded book of all times. The authors, Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, will take you and your kids on an empowering journey through 100 new bedtime stories, featuring the adventures of extraordinary women from Nefertiti to Beyoncé. The unique narrative style of “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” transforms each biography into a fairy-tale, filling the readers with wonder and with a burning curiosity to know more about each hero.

The Prophet (A Borzoi Book) by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching,

Five-Carat Soul by James McBride

The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.

As McBride did in his National Book award-winning The Good Lord Bird and his bestselling The Color of Water, he writes with humor and insight about how we struggle to understand who we are in a world we don’t fully comprehend. The result is a surprising, perceptive, and evocative collection of stories that is also a moving exploration of our human condition.

Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women by W. Brad Johnson PhD

Increasingly, new employees and junior members of any profession are encouraged–sometimes stridently–to “find a mentor!” Four decades of research reveals that the effects of mentorship can be profound and enduring; strong mentoring relationships have the capacity to transform individuals and entire organizations.

But the mentoring landscape is unequal. Evidence consistently shows that women face more barriers in securing mentorships than men, and when they do find a mentor, they may reap a narrow range of both professional and psychological benefits. Athena Rising is a book for men about how to eliminate this problem by mentoring women deliberately and effectively.

A Crack in Creation by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Novel by Madeleine Thien

Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations―those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.

With maturity and sophistication, humor and beauty, Thien has crafted a novel that is at once intimate and grandly political, rooted in the details of life inside China yet transcendent in its universality.

Lovesong: Becoming a Jew by Julius Lester

Julius Lester was born the son of a black Methodist minister in the south. His book Lovesong is a beautifully written account of his spiritual journey away from the conventions of his Southern heritage and Methodist upbringing, culminating in his personal self-discovery through a conversion to Judaism.

Growing up in the turbulent civil rights era South, Lester was often discouraged by the disconnectedness between the promises of religion and the realities of his life. He used the outlets available to him to try to come to grips with this split and somehow reconcile the injustices he was witnessing with the purity of religion. He became a controversial writer and commentator, siding with neither blacks nor whites in his unconventional viewpoints. He became a luminal figure of the times, outside of the conventional labels of race, religion, politics, or philosophy.

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

How does a dying person learn to live each day “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty? How does a young mother and wife prepare her two young children and adored husband for a loss that will shape the rest of their lives? How do we want to be remembered?

Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism by Mario Biagioli

In the court of the Medicis and the Vatican, Galileo fashioned both his career and his science to the demands of patronage and its complex systems of wealth, power, and prestige. In this fascinating cultural and social history of science, Biagioli argues that Galileo’s courtly role was integral to his science – the questions he chose to examine, his methods, even his conclusions.

A Mathematician's Apology by G. H. Hardy

G. H. Hardy was one of this century’s finest mathematical thinkers, renowned among his contemporaries as a ‘real mathematician … the purest of the pure’. This ‘Apology’, written in 1940, offers a brilliant and engaging account of mathematics as very much more than a science; when it was first published, Graham Greene hailed it alongside Henry James’s notebooks as ‘the best account of what it was like to be a creative artist’.

One of the main themes of the book is the beauty that mathematics possesses, which Hardy compares to painting and poetry. For Hardy, the most beautiful mathematics was that which had no practical applications in the outside world (pure mathematics) and, particularly, his own special field of number theory.

Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci by Mike Lankford

Why did Leonardo Da Vinci leave so many of his major works uncompleted? Why did this resolute pacifist build war machines for the notorious Borgias? Why did he carry the Mona Lisa with him everywhere he went for decades, yet never quite finish it? Why did he write backwards, and was he really at war with Michelangelo? And was he gay?

In a book unlike anything ever written about the Renaissance genius, Mike Lankford explodes every cliché about Da Vinci and then reconstructs him based on a rich trove of available evidence—bringing to life for the modern reader the man who has been studied by scholars for centuries, yet has remained as mysterious as ever.

Seeking to envision Da Vinci without the obscuring residue of historical varnish, the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of Renaissance Italy—usually missing in other biographies—are all here, transporting readers back to a world of war and plague and court intrigue, of viciously competitive famous artists, of murderous tyrants with exquisite tastes in art ….

The Fire’s Stone by Tanya Huff

It was a long fall from Clan Heir to common thief, but Aaron never wanted any part of his father’s brutal outlander reign. In fact, besides coin purses and jewels, there’s very little in all of Cisali that interests Aaron, until he stumbles—quite literally—into a prince’s bedchamber…

Prince Davish of Ischia is a skilled swordsman both on the field and beneath the sheets, at least when he isn’t outrageously drunk. But the wine helps him forget all the ways he’s disappointed his father, his family, and soon enough, his young bride-to-be…

A trained Wizard of the Nine with more raw talent than real-world experience, Princess Chandra has no interest in the politically arranged marriage. She flees to the royal city of Ischia seeking a way out of the union. But there, she discovers something far more shocking than Prince Davish’s rakish reputation…

The Stone of Ischia has been stolen. A powerful talisman, The Stone protects the city from the active volcano that looms over its terraces and streets. Without it, Ischia will be destroyed and the kingdom of Cisali will fall. Its only hope is an unlikely band of heroes—a failed thief, a drunken prince, and a runaway wizard—who must face pirates, powerful magic, and their own carefully guarded secrets in order to find and restore the Stone of Ischia.

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart

In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of an Russian immigrant janitor and ardent fan of “printed, bound media artifacts” (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?

Recommended Books

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