TED Conversations

Simon Tam

Founder and Bassist, The Slants LLC

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What were your top 5 books that you read in 2011?

What were some of your favorite books that you read last year? What opened up your mind to an idea worth sharing? What inspired you to take action? What entertained you?

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    Jan 19 2012: This is when Shelfari.com becomes useful:

    -Life Ascending by Nick Lane: A really exciting book about evolutionary biology and those 'inventions' in our shared biological history that mattered. It was written in 2009 so it has the advantage of being up-to-date.

    -The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins: A great read for those who read 'The selfish Gene' and wished it would go on. You just don't see evolution the same again after reading a book like that.

    -Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman: Professor Feynman sharing his life experiences. For anyone who likes the guy it's a must.

    -Starman: The life of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. A revealing look at the Space Race, particularly from the Soviet side.

    -God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens: Excellent book about religion from recently deceased Christopher Hitchens. RIP

    I would also like to mention 'Planet of the Apes' which I read in its original language (French). The Ape society that Pierre Boulle describes in this book is quite clever and none of the books that are based on it quite do it any justice. Interestingly, the ending is nothing like the 1968 movie and more like the 2001 dud (Tim Burton).
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      Jan 19 2012: Thanks for sharing, I'll have to check some of these out!
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    Jan 18 2012: One book that I read last year, that I think everyone would benefit from reading was Chinua Achebe's “Things Fall Apart”.

    To me a great book is one which after reading it you feel you have had a life experience which will forever impact your thinking. This, for me, is such a book.

    Would enjoy discussing it with anyone else who has read it. Here:

    http://www.wedialog.org/conversations/60?selected=60#post_60
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    Jan 19 2012: Island-Aldus Huxley
    true hallucinations- Terence Mckenna
    cats cradle- Kurt Vonnegut
    VALIS-Philip k. Dick
    The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind - Julian Jaynes

    clearly reading specific in its nature.
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      Jan 19 2012: Nice! Always have enjoyed Huxley and Vonnegut
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    Jan 18 2012: The Other Wes Moore, which a TED colleague recommended.
    Gathering Blue, the sequel to The Giver which I loved as a child
    How to get out of your own way by Tyrese
    The Medici Effect, recommended by a mentor
    The Pilgrimage, because I love Paulo Coelho

    All of these books inspired me to take action and think differently about recent projects or collaborations I've worked on. Some, like Tyrese's book, got me to understand more about my habits and behaviors.
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      Jan 18 2012: The Other Wes Moore is a great book; I had the chance to work with him to help create some innovative ideas on reforming education. What an incredible and dynamic leader!