TED speakers can teach you a lot. They're experts in their subject areas, of course, so the content of their talks are almost invariably valuable, but they're also great examples of how to wow an audience. And as some of the top minds in the country, they're also good for one more thing -- recommending books.
Recently the TED blog did fans of their events a favor, rounding up a massive list of 58 books recommended by some of TED's top speakers over the years. If you're looking to fill up your own bookshelves or e-reader with everything from graphic novels to history to poetry, then it's worth checking out in full. If you're an entrepreneur who's more in the market for ideas focused specifically on areas like tech, business, and personal achievement, here are a few of the best from the list.
1. Where Wizards Stay Up Late by Katie Hafner
This book is "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," said noted author and social media analyst Jamie Bartlett. "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."
2. The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us About Being Alive by Brian Christian
3. Data-ism by Steve Lohr
"There's so much hype out there about 'big data,' and in my work at Wired and now at Iodine I've been responsible for some share of it," writer Thomas Goetz confessed to TED attendees. "Lohr's book thankfully discerns the real power--and limitations--of data-driven decisions."
4. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein
"Naomi Klein's impressive scholarly work about climate change and our lamentable record of responding to it lays bare exactly why our predicament has become as dire as it has," said planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, recommending Klein's book.
5. Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux
"This book is about the rise of self-management as a new and future form of organization. Laloux shows how a number of extraordinary organizations, from nursing to power generation, have reinvented their management practices simply based on a different perspective of how we could relate to one another. Their workers have flourished and their market share has grown. I love this book because it is at once practical and inspiring," social entrepreneur Hilary Cottam told her audience.
6. Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed by Frances Westley
Conservationist Patricia Medici told her listeners that she's read (and enjoyed) this book many times, but "the main message I got from it when I read it the first time was that when trying to change the world (in whatever field you work with), it's important to stop every once in a while and really think about what you are doing. It is OK to change plans, it is OK to change strategies, it is OK to revamp. Sometimes we are so deeply involved with what we do and the methods we use to reach our goals that we do not even see when it is not working."
7. Exodus: How Migration Is Changing Our World by Paul Collier
"From his position as a truly independent thinker, Collier analyzes migration from the perspectives of all involved: receiving country, the migrant and the nation left behind. He provides no policy blueprint, but makes everyone think in new ways," claimed global health expert Hans Rosling.
8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
"Gilbert has a phenomenal lens on how creativity really works. Throughout the book, she reminds you that if you take creativity off a precious pedestal and just keep working on something, magic does happen," raved founder and sharing innovator Rachel Botsman.
9. Willpower: Why Self-Control Is the Secret to Success by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
"I love this book because it explained so many things to me ... about me," said anthropologist Helen Fisher. "This book is packed with gripping stories about those who have struggled with temptation (from Oprah and Eric Clapton to Henry Morton Stanley and more) that vividly illustrate how to engage this precious fuel, willpower, to win in business and romance."
10. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Here's what UX master Margaret Gould Stewart said, recommending this one: "Dweck's treatise on growth versus fixed mindsets has been extraordinarily influential in my professional and personal life. One of the greatest things that holds us back from reaching our full potential is fear of failure. By believing that we can grow and change our abilities through hard work and grit, we can get past that fear and unlock all sorts of possibilities in ourselves."
11. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
"This book changed me," enthused writer and artist Emilie Wapnick. "It made me think, sob, and reevaluate how I interact with the people in my life. It is a unique blend of memoir, self-help, and cultural commentary. The central message of the book (that asking for help is not a burden, but a gift) is masterfully interwoven throughout Amanda's story of her evolution as artist, wife, and friend. I have never been so taken by a book."