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Robin Lee

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Books that every citizen of the world should read.

Even in this enlightened 21st century, we have not been able to overcome a problem that is still a blight to our world: Ignorance. People making the wrong decisions because they are misinformed or simply do not know any better.

So this is what I propose. We, the people of TED, come up with a suggested reading list of books with a great cultural, scientific, social, economic and religious relevance and make them standard reading across the world.

By doing this people are much more aware of other cultures, other peoples, other ideas, other religions, outside their possibly narrow view of the world. We broaden the horizons of people's thinking and we can help eliminate intolerance where people reject what they do not understand.

Topics: books ignorance
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    Aug 2 2012: Lord of the Rings

    It gives a sense for justice and that even the smallest people can change a world if their hearts are brave ...
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    Aug 3 2012: By creating a list you immediately exclude new works.

    By dictating what 'should' be read, you stifle the instinct to explore and to value one's own discoveries.
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    Aug 3 2012: Pilgrim's Progress.
  • Aug 3 2012: The only books I would put on a global list would be children's books that teach basic values that are common to all cultures, if there are any such books. Today we supposedly value thinking that is "out of the box." I would not help build the box..
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      Aug 3 2012: "I would not help build the box"..
      Seconded.
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    Aug 3 2012: I am concerned by this concept of 'making them standard reading'. Who are WE to standardise anyone's reading list? A suggested reading list might be quite a helpful guide for people who have limited access to reading material or who have had a limited education making the choosing of books difficult. However in order for it to cover all the great writing from all over the world throughout history the list might be rather too long and in too many languages to be really helpful.
  • Aug 2 2012: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

    Animal Farm, by George Orwell

    Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill

    Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

    The Bible
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    Aug 2 2012: Dr. Seuss lol
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      Aug 2 2012: I guess I think this is sort of profound! If adults went back and read all the great works of children;s literature it would be a way to reparent and make them identify their highest best values.
      We teach kids that they should share, be kind, be fair, love goodness but too many people appear to have skipped those classes.

      I love Rudyard Kipling and his poems like "I keep 6 honest serving men, they taught me all I knew. Their names are Where and What and Why and When and How and Who." and his "IF: poem. (I will try to get a Youtube version and attach it) Kids and adults all need inspiration. I also love Gunga Din by Kipling and I love Jim Croce's version.

      http://youtu.be/tK4HDCIr_E8

      People in other eras also saw through the evils of their time. I love this:

      http://youtu.be/pZyy6GxK7g4

      He was for a time prowar and he even convinced his own son to fight and he was killed in one of the world wars but that boy who should never been sent for health reasons died a terrible death and it woke him up.

      http://youtu.be/wzLjkIKWH6c

      And then it all ends for me with Auden:

      http://youtu.be/4Li3LPgjWcI Byron liked women though

      :

      http://youtu.be/g3O2H3bV1eo
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        Aug 2 2012: A ton of children's books out there have hidden messages if you really think about it. There was a movie on "Where the Wild Things Are," which was approved by the original author, and it got mixed reviews. The movie was more about a kid dealing with the divorce and a ton of emotions he's going through because of it. The children's book, was not so much about that. Actually, I've read the book some time ago and I still didn't really find any "hidden" messages.

        If is a very good poem!
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        Aug 2 2012: Hmm, I should check out more of Rudyard Kipling...

        I didn't know Kipling did a lot of war stories.
    • Aug 5 2012: Although you “lol”ed your comment, the Seuss story The Sneetches(The Sneetches and Other Stories) was the first to come too my mind. In fact most of the books that immediately came to my mind were “children’s books”, perhaps a fact will destroy any credibility I might have.
      I feel that children’s stories can tell you so much about the society from which they originated. They can express the ideals of a culture, as well as the issues that are viewed as societal problems. Not only that they tend to teach things that we all need to be reminded of from time to time. There is also the benefit of the stories being short so people would never think “That’s several hours of my life I‘ll never get back!”. The downside of translation is the elimination of the charm that rhyme adds to many children’s stories.
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        Aug 6 2012: I pretty much said Dr. Seuss more as a representation of children's books in general. But, just like a lot of children's books out there, there's also that complexity or depth within Dr. Seuss books that even adults can see.

        Children's books do indeed tell you a lot about society. Take Grimm's Fairy Tales for instance.
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    Aug 2 2012: When ignorance is the blight how come 21st century is an enlightened one ?

    It is difficult to make any book to be standard reading because not everyone everywhere has the same perspective.....say I will say following should be must read (well not only read but understood also)

    Origin of the Species
    Origin of the Family Private property & State

    Many will disagree with my above two choices...
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    Aug 4 2012: By Standardizing reading are we to become intolerant of books that fall outside of the standardization? Are we to accept only the ideas of the chosen authors and denounce those authors who take the opposite view? Here's a list of books I have enjoyed: Dune, The Celestine Prophecy, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, The Hobbit, See You At The Top, and Rich Dad Poor Dad. By no means am I suggesting you read them, it's simply my preference.

    Wanted to add some interesting related links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C5%A9g%C4%A9_wa_Thiong'o
    http://www.themillions.com/2011/06/six-egyptian-writers-you-dont-know-but-you-should.html
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    Aug 4 2012: "Crime and Punishment" Fyodor Dostoevsky

    The most haunting, and honest inner monologue I've ever read. If you have ever felt caught, shamed, or terrified... Passages of this novel, will feel as if they were directly transcribed from your own mind. The most compassionate book ever written, in my humble opinion.

    "Enders Game" and "Speaker for the Dead" by Orson Scott Card. Two of the most exciting, and thought provoking science fiction novels ever written, which truly give you a sense of being a part of humanity as a species.

    Finally "Stranger In a Strange Land" Robert A Heinlein One hell of a coming of age tale, about a martian coming to earth and trying to start a sex cult... Aren't all men the same?
  • Aug 3 2012: Quantum Philosophy: meanings answers and promises
  • Aug 3 2012: Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
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    Aug 2 2012: "The Dragon never sleeps" by Glen Cook 1987

    I know this is not in the range of what one would expect conversai to put up here but i love sci-fi and this writer is truly an unsung great.the story is truly, for it's time beyond it's time,beyond bloody star trek that's for sure.
  • Aug 2 2012: The Right Use of Will, Ceanne DeRohn, Four Winds Publishing
  • Aug 2 2012: Start something that matters - Blake Mycoskie

    Blake first motivated me to start PlanetPen.com after I learned all about TOMS shoes and the idea of Buy 1 Give 1 away. His book is my guide for making a difference in this world.

    A brilliant read, cause and man
  • Aug 2 2012: The Fault in Our Stars
    Even though it is entirely based on the lives of two teenagers the story tells so much more than their love story. The book encourages us to think about our place and role not only in the society but in the universe. Who are we and what do we know about ourselves and the world?