Books worth reading, as recommended by Bill Gates, Susan Cain and more…

Yeah, this greatly expanded my to-read list.

Find repose by exciting the mind. Some of the world’s leading thinkers offer the books that inspired them and their work. Skim the list for your favorite speakers, or get nerdy on a topic you’ve always wanted to know more about. Below find 52 books, recommended by TED speakers.


Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
Crown Business, 2013
Recommended by: Tim Brown (TED Talk: Designers — think big!)
“‘Creative confidence’ is the creative mindset that goes along with design thinking’s creative skill set.”
See more of Tim Brown’s favorite books.

Creating Minds, by Howard Gardner
Basic Books, 2011
Recommended by: Roselinde Torres (TED Talk: What it takes to be a great leader)
“Gardner’s book was first published more than twenty years ago, but its insights into the creative process — told through the stories of seven remarkable individuals from different fields —…

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Path to Mylae

I laid down my book. Hannah wanted to know what it is. I re-oriented it so she could see the cover and told her it is a Conan book of the original stories by Robert Howard. (The Conquering Sword of Conan)

She asked if sword and sorcery is what I read. I admitted that I tend to read lots of it, as one cannot read quantum mechanics all the time. She reads mysteries.

In retrospect mine was a pretty poor stated answer. I read lots of both non-fiction and fiction. With fiction it is thrillers, mysteries, and sci-fi but more fantasy. With non-fiction I am more diverse about equally physics, biology, history, biographies, prognostication. My answer could be interpreted as I just read two things.

I asked who is her favorite author. She thought about it for a while. Maybe because I am still in the mindset of interviewing people for jobs we have open, I offered a qualification: Just someone you enjoy reading. She asked could she answer with a poet. I replied that works. She named T.S. Elliot. It happens a friend of mine has a cat named T.S. Elliot Destroyer of Worlds.

She left to go to work. I went into the Kindle app on my phone and bought The Waste Land on my phone. I started reading it and ran across “You who were with me in the ships at Mylae !” I felt like I should know of Mylae, but it did not readily come, so I looked it up to go off reading about the First Punic War.

Ah, the stuff my brain suffers because of a pretty woman who talks to me.

Book Review: Single & Happy: The Party of Ones

Single & Happy: The Party of OnesSingle & Happy: The Party of Ones by J. Victoria Sanders

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Back in late 2011, I ran across the Single & Happy blog. had drawn me in, but I started looking at various tags including dating. Lots were people talking about current dates and especially the horror that is online dating web sites. Single & Happy was a better, maturer different.

My only other experiences with blog writers who publish a book is to collect the best blog posts, give them to an editor, maybe expand a bit upon them, and publish the collection. Instead we get an actual book influenced by prior work and so something new and exciting.

While not a single black woman, I am single and almost black. I strongly sympathize with the plight of attempting online dating. The dating stories seem eerily familiar. And the advice Victoria gives on being a friend to yourself is good advice. It happens I a friend posted on Facebook on why she hates the question, “Why are you single?” so I referenced a quote from this book.

Somehow after decades of being single, I think I am happy. Well, happy-ish. There is room for improvement. It is good to know there are others out there working on the same issues willing to talk about the challenges.

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Review: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was okay. The book seemed more about the philosophy of religion and politics and their intermixing than I expected and without a clear point. It was more Xenocide than Ender’s game. Scarily, the coworker who loaned me it said this was the best book of the series.

This book is a fantastic draw for the attention of cute early to mid 20 year old women. Not just the theatre geeks came to talk about it. Five women in places I regularly go who ignored me with other books just had to ask. Three total strangers who had never seen me asked. Three women and two guys I am acquainted with also were excited to ask. Most had seen the musical. The rest were disappointed to have missed it. Only a couple had read the book. The cover like the musical posted is best for this.

I wonder… Is there a book a woman could be reading say at a restaurant that would make a guy just have to ask if she had seen the movie, play, or similar?

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Review: Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Middle age widower marries a girl a year after the death of his statuesque wife. This girl struggles in the shadow of this woman whose standard up to which she cannot possible live. Only it all falls apart.

I like the last ~50 pages best. Everyone starts getting past the obfuscation of trying to act like who they think others want them to be. It shifts from an accounting of boring diary days to drama, risk, and events.

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Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I understand the Swedish title translates into the The Men Who Hate Women. That is a more appropriate title. Though, I would imagine such a title would hurt sales in England and the USA. Each part has a statistic regarding violence against women in Sweden. I was not quite prepared for this. A very faithful to the book movie would be NC-17.

Reading the graphic violence made me feel sad. Also difficult is the intertwining of attraction and love with hurt and anger. The hero and heroine are tragic-ish. The villains are sadistic. No character has an easy to understand relationship with another. Everything is complicated by something. Well, okay not Vanger and his right hand man Frode. That was only simple boss and employee.

Salander is a goth, hacker, perceived sociopath. (She acts more sociopath than she is.) My adolescent reading was perhaps too much TSR novels about D&D settings. Women were strong. Salander evokes a toughness she would rip those other women apart.

I am glad to have read the book. Now. Can I take the movie?

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