WORK | Top 10 books according to Female TED Speakers

by Grace Gordon June 25, 2017

Holiday season beckons and with it a trip to Waterstones is never far behind. For a little respite from the daily hum drum I'm often to be found skirting past the intellectual fare, straight to the rom-com sections.

When heading for the beach the only time I do opt for something which edges scarily close to the I'll have to read this sentence twice section is when it comes as recommended by someone I admire. And who better to admire than the mighty women who take on TED Talks? I've spoken before about my love of all things TED but in case you’re not familiar with the concept, TED (which stands for Technology, Education and Design) is a nonprofit movement dedicated to spreading ideas through conferences, talks and events both live and streamed through its wildly popular YouTube channel, which has a not-so-casual seven million subscribers.

With talks from the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, Shonda Rhimes and Amy Cuddy, and covering topics from body language to the power of saying yes, the talks are always informative, fascinating and empowering.

Here I've whittled down 10 of the best book recommendations from female TED speakers in 2017 so far. 


1. Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

Recommended by: Astrophysicist Katherine Freese
Synopsis: An in-depth look at the true story of a group of millionaires and whizz kids who scammed the banking system.

2. The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel

Recommended by: Theoretical astrophysicist Katherine Freese. 
Synopsis: The Glass Universe reveals the hidden history of a group of pioneering women whose contributions to the study of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars.

3. Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah

Recommended by: Refugee activist Luma Mufleh.
Synopsis: Radiance of Tomorrow is about postwar life in Sierra Leone and follows the story of two friends who return to their destroyed village following the civil war.

4. Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty

Recommended by: Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning and Editor At Large of Oprah’s magazine O
Synopsis: Celebrated sports coach Phil Jackson tells the story of his success.

5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Recommended by: Neuroscientist and author, Lisa Genova, who wrote Still Alice
Synopsis: This is a book abour the real life story of Henrietta Lack, whose cancer cells – taken without her knowledge – became one of the most important tools in medicine.

6. The Storytelling Animal by Jonathan Gottschall

Recommended by: Author Emily Esfahani Smith
Synopsis: An investigation into the ways stories shape our lives as humans.

7. Lucky Jim by James Hart

Recommended by: Writer Anne Lamott
Synopsis: A former business executive details how he rose from a life of poverty to one of privilege. 

8. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Recommended by: Health activist T. Morgan Dixon
Synopsis: In an interview with Stylist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called this Orange Prize-winning novel “the book that has the most emotional meaning for me”. It follows the stories of three central characters living through Nigeria’s civil war.

9. Dancing With Demetia by Christine Bryden

Recommended by: Neuroscientist and author, Lisa Genova, who wrote Still Alice
Synopsis: This is the real life story of Christine Bryden, a top civil servant and single mother of three children who she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 46.

10. Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Recommended by: Podcaster Helen Zaltzman
Synopsis: A detailed look at how activism has changed the world for the better.


Love Grace x

Grace Gordon
Grace Gordon


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