TED Conversations

Prashanth Gopalan

Founder & Curator, TEDxUW


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What's that one book, movie or work of the human imagination that will make a thinking person think more deeply?

I still remember reading Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy at the age of 10, Jack Whyte's "A Dream of Eagles" septology at age 16, "God's Debris" by Scott Adams at age 19 and Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground" at age 20.

These works changed the way I looked at things, and there was simply no going back. They gave me the the opportunity to experience a vision of something awe-inspiring in scope for the first time, knowing that it was vastly larger than myself. I remember that magical feeling I experienced reading these works, and knowing that great things were in store for me just waiting to be discovered.

Very few things I've read or watched have been able to evoke that sense of wonder and amazement in me since. I'd like your help changing that.

I'm looking for suggestions of works - books, essays, movies, poems, art, speeches etc - that have helped you experience a similar sense of wonder and delight - the highest expressions of a thinking mind.

I'm open to anything: Works of human thought and reflection that are grand in scope and sweeping in their narrative. Nuggets of philosophical reflection, contemplation and spiritual rumination that have helped us understand ourselves and the (in)humanity of others with more clarity. Works that are cathartic, illuminating or inspiring. Really any product of the human mind that would make a thinking person think more deeply, cohesively and understand.

I'm hoping that together, we'll be able to create a new selection of curated works of the human imagination that others can bookmark, use and follow in turn.

I look forward to your suggestions. Thanks in advance for all your support.


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  • Nov 12 2012: Choose a good list, but that varies from person to person. What do you want to learn? As was noted earlier Gandhi is always good. Science and Sanity goes a number of places. The Brits are wise using Buzan and Debono with students. Taleb and Deming are good at telling people stuff that they don't want to think about. However, the greatest help in becoming a thinker is to have a NT in your Meyers-Briggs. Is that encouraging? Sadly no. REally the greatest model to us might be Winston Churchill who had Jones to take care of physics and other p;eople to do other things. One person can't cover all aspects that are important alone. To do what you need to do team Gopolan would need to read,study, and learn everything So I am advocating a think tank or graduate bull session

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