Sneak Peek at TEDBookstore

Last week, I had my very own ‘Sophie’s Choice’ moment, but not for children… but for books.

TED (the conference) offers an onsite bookstore with handpicked titles. The Bookstore is run by a socially responsible business, BetterWorldBooks, which donates monies in the millions to literacy programs in the developing world. Like any bookstore in a community, it offers a place to discover.

Along with a handful of guest curators, the job is to carefully choose a list of books to add to add to the conference experience. At first, I was happy to help but then came the task of picking a few. It wasn’t quite one of those “what books would you take with you if the house were on fire” or “bring with, on a deserted island” kind of thing but still more agonizing than I would have originally thought. Here are 3 that made the list:

Wrinkle in Time. By Madeleine L’Engle.
This was my favorite book in 6th grade. Even though this has an allure of physics and math (with an evil force threatening the planet), the book holds gems of life’s truths. These words help me learn sometimes the only way to save the world — the UNIVERSE — is to be strong and know your own mind, especially when it’s different from everyone elses’. Or in Meg’s words: “Alike and Equal are not the same thing at all.” Buy it: A Wrinkle in Time: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition (Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet)

Thinking Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman
Notice how women aren’t equally represented on the TED stage (or on the global corporate, leadership, and governance stage)? Well, until we appreciate how humans make the craziest (i.e. stupidest) decisions based on biases, we’ll never create a more just (and more importantly, better) society. (His 2010 TED talk on the experiencing vs. remembering self is well worth watching. ). Buy it here: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Fixing the Game
. By Roger Martin

“The dumbest idea in the world is maximizing shareholder value.” That is what fellow thinker, Roger Martin, and independent director of RIM and Thomson Reuters thinks. And he’s right. As long as we chase the wrong metric, we won’t fix the financial system. A smart conversation starter, and I think one that corporate directors ought to debate further. Buy it here: Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL.

Reforming Wall Street, retooling for 21st century … these are wicked challenges. The kind that will need fresh new points of view, that are welcomed, and creating new measures so we add ways to increase value creation. Hence these picks.

If you were asked to curate a list, what books would you pick and why?

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1 Reply

  1. Great picks, Nilofer – thanks for sharing!

    As promised, I’m adding some picks here. They’re all business-related books, all of which covering increasingly important concepts to successfully deal with the business environment:

    – The Power of Pull (John Hagel, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison)
    – Little Bets (by Peter Sims)
    – Design of Business (by Roger Martin)

    I think the concept of small moves is getting more relevant, particularly in face of increasing complexity. Moreover, as business success requires managing tensions, integrative thinking turns out to be an essential skill for me.

    Further, I’m quite eager to read “Quiet” by Susan Cain – I just received my copy. Though I’m not sure about her approach, claiming that that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy, I do think that introverts are partly underrated and deserve appropriate settings to unleash their potential.

    – Ralph

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