2020 has been a year like no other. It was a year of intense pain and anxiety, of losses and endings but it was also a year of new beginnings and deep introspection. As the world is rejoicing the possibility of getting several vaccines quite soon and envisioning a world where the virus has been eradicated, it’s time for you to relax.
And there is no better way to relax than reading some great inspirational books in the chilly holidays, especially if you could choose from a special list of books, specially recommended by TED speakers.
- Confessions of a Radical Industrialist by Ray C. Anderson
Endorsed as an “awe-inspiring tale by educator, Christine Ladwig, this is a book about how entrepreneur, Ray C. Anderson founded Interface in 1994 and transformed it into one of the globe’s largest commercial carpet manufacturing firm that is environmentally sustainable.
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The world witnessed many popular movements internationally to protest inequalities caused by the vice of racism, despite the pandemic. Published in 1963, this book explores the civil rights unrest through the lenses of the perceptive African American author James Baldwin. Historian, Hasan Kwame Jeffries says that the book inspired him to “keep seeking the truth and to keep speaking the truth.”
- The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky
Ali Kashani, an esteemed AI specialist says he can’t spend a week without recommending this book. Belsky creates a clear picture of the mess and uncertainty that form the groundwork for pathbreaking innovations. Innovating requires a commitment to deal with uncertainty, mistakes and failures and Belsky shows how to stand strong amid that chaos until you finally get there.
- Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
Recommended by journalist John Biewen, this book is about the extraordinary life of Douglas, who became a leading abolitionist after escaping enslavement since school.
- The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro
If you want to read an inspiring book about politics and power, then this is the book for you. This Pulitzer Prize winning book is a biography of the controversial power broker of New York City and the “master builder”, Robert Moses. Educator Lucas Husted recommends this book adding that it inspired none other than Barack Obama when he was in his 20s.
- Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
A novel replete with characters that are flawed but lovable, cowardly yet brave, tragic and still heroic. In short it is one of those rare books, whose characters become your friends and leave a mark on your psyche forever. Data journalist, Mona Chalabi, urges all to “just go read it”.
- The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eva Eger
What can be more inspiring than a memoire by a survivor of Holocaust who became a clinical psychologist. Author and professor at Wharton, Adam Grant recommends this book saying, “it’s more than a book – it is a work of art. It gave me goosebumps”.
- My Favorite Thing Is Monsters: Book One by Emil Ferris
This is a 416 pages long graphic novel, mostly done in regular ball point pen. The intense cross-hatched drawings remind readers that if you have the right idea and vision, something as basic as equipment cannot hold you back. It is highly recommended by podcast host, Saleem Reshamw.
- The Autobiography of Ben Franklin
The real-life story of America’s founding father is defined as “America’s first self-help book by educator George Siedel. This book narrates a life so extraordinarily inspiring that readers are bound to feel motivated.
- Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
The real story of driving a startup to a billion-dollar enterprise, Tony Hsieh’s book is nothing less than a classic. He demonstrates the power of belief and what it can achieve in the dynamic world of business where new ideas can propagate new norms, provided you are not afraid to do something for the first time. A wonderful recommendation from acclaimed psychologist Gil Winch.