TED Conversations

Seth Godin

Entrepreneur, Squidoo


This conversation is closed.

What's the overlooked gem, the book I haven't read that I must?

Every reader has at least one, that book that never caught on, or is out of print, but that resonates so much with people that they can't forget it. I still remember reading "The Republic of Tea" on the Sunday it came out years ago. And of course, Steve Pressfield's "The War of Art" which I've purchased and handed out a dozen times so far...


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Feb 26 2011: 'Time Enough for Love' by Robert Heinlein is another book I would add to my previous suggestion (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance).

    Born in the early 20th century the protagonist, Lazarus Long, has just managed to live long enough to benefit from the invention of the rejuvenation machine which extends his life (or, as his various stories reveal, lives) to the point where we find him 2000 years later full of the tales, experiences and wisdom of a man who has seen it all. Through its telling Heinlein explores human nature, 'future history', culture, adventure, and other things. Included among his various novellas of experiences are two 'intermissions' filled with the 'Sayings from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long'. Some of my favorites:

    Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it!

    Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.

    Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.

    When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere

    A zygote is a gamete’s way of producing more gamete’s. This may be the purpose of the universe.

    People who go broke in a big way never miss any meals. It is the poor jerk who is shy half a slug who must tighten his belt.

    ...and my personal favourite:

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.