TEDxLondon Recommends…. Speaker Books

We love our speakers and are so proud of all the work they do. They are an incredibly talented bunch who have written books, manifestos, poems, campaigns and calls for change on all manner of important issues. Here are some of their latest works (in no particular order) for your next set of must-read books:

Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side by Julia Shaw

Are you evil? Using a compelling mix of science, popular culture and real life examples to break down timely and important issues, Dr Julia Shaw presents an explanation of why we think and do bad things. She explores questions like: how similar is your brain to a psychopath’s? How many people have murder fantasies? Do your sexual proclivities make you a bad person? This is a wide-ranging exploration into a fascinating, darkly compelling subject.

Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill

Reimagining ancient myths and archetypes, poet Nikita Gill brings some of literature’s most maligned or underwritten female characters out of the shadows. From Medusa to Circe, she challenges our ingrained fear of the ‘difficult’ woman as hard, unnurturing and unmaternal and shows us how powerful women would be if we protected and helped each other. See a live performance of her poems from Great Goddesses at her TEDxLondonWomen talk here.

Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen

In Happy Fat, comedian and TEDxLondonWomen speaker and host, Sofie Hagen, shares how she removed fatphobic influences from her daily life and found self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife. From shame and sex to airplane seats, love and getting stuck in public toilets, Sofie provides practical tips for readers – drawing wisdom from other Fat Liberation champions along the way. Her talk from TEDxLondonWomen is a similar theme here.

Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change by Ore Ogunbiyi and Chelsea Kwakye

As a minority in a predominantly white institution, taking up space is an act of resistance. Recent Cambridge graduates Chelsea and Ore experienced this first-hand, and wrote Taking Up Space as a guide and a manifesto for change. Their hope is black girls use this book as a guide and everyone else sees how they can be a better friend, parent, sibling and ally.

The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Rauf

Author of award-winning The Boy At The Back Of The Class, Onjali Rauf’s latest children’s book looks at the impacts of domestic violence from the innocent voice of 10-year-old Aniyah.  

“Following the disappearance of her mum, Aniyah suddenly finds herself living in foster care. With her life in disarray, she knows just one thing for sure: her mum isn’t gone forever. Because people with the brightest hearts never truly leave. They become stars.

So when a new star is spotted acting strangely in the sky, Aniyah is sure it’s her mum, and she embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to make sure everyone else knows too — an adventure that involves breaking into the Royal Observatory of London, a mischievous scurry of squirrels and the biggest star in Hollywood…”

Work like a Woman by Mary Portas

Are you ready to be your best self at work? Packed with advice, tips and decades of business experience from Mary Portas, this is a book for every one of us: whatever level you are, wherever you work. It’s about calling time on alpha culture and helping every one of us to be happier, more productive and collaborative. It’s time to #WorkLikeAWoman. Check out Mary Portas’s most recent take on how the world of work needs to change in her TEDxLondonWomen talk here.

Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen by Amrou Al-Kadhi

How do you navigate who you are, when who you are is sometimes at odds with itself? For a long time, Amrou Al-Kadhi struggled to negotiate the intersections between their queer and Islamic heritage. These identities felt completely polarised, as if Amrou’s identity was founded on a tectonic fault at constant risk of rupture.

Amrou’s beautiful memoir is the story of their search for acceptance and belonging: about their childhood, their education, their discovery of drag and about how, after years of rage towards it, they finally began to understand Islam in a new, queer way.

Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li

“Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence. In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.”

Author and activist, Winnie M Li’s debut novel, Dark Chapter is inspired by the events leading up to, and after, her rape – a day that changed the course of her life forever. Dark Chapter won  the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2017 and has been translated into nine languages. Find out more behind Winnie M Li’s recovery and writing of her novel in her TEDxLondon talk here.

The Boxer By Nikesh Shukla

Acclaimed writer and editor of the collection of essays, The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla returns with his most recent book aimed at young adults – The Boxer. 

“After a racist attack on his way from school, seventeen year old Sunny is feeling lost and isolated. He takes up boxing as a way to regain his confidence and at the club Sunny finds the community he’s been desperately seeking, and a mentor in trainer Shobu, who helps him find his place in the world.

Told over the course of ten rounds of a boxing match, this powerful story weaves between the aftermath of the attack and the tense final fight with his ex-best friend Keir.”

Find out why diverse stories are so important in Nikesh’s interview at TEDxLondon here

Choked: The Age of Air Pollution and the Fight for a Cleaner Future by Beth Gardiner

Breathing is the most universal experience there is. But in too many places, it carries a hidden danger. Scientists have linked air pollution to a long and growing list of health problems, from heart attacks and strokes to dementia and premature birth. Environmental journalist Beth Gardiner in her debut book, Choked, shows how the air we breathe is literally killing us and what we can do to clean it up. Her TEDxLondon talk introduces the dangers of air pollution here.

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey through LGBTQ+ Culture by Amelia Abraham

Today, the options and freedoms on offer to LGBTQ+ people living in the West are greater than ever before. But is same-sex marriage, improved media visibility and corporate endorsement all it’s cracked up to be? At what cost does this acceptance come? And who is getting left behind in the LGBTQ+ community? Combining intrepid journalism with her own personal experience, Amelia Abraham searches for the answers to these urgent challenges, as well as the broader question of what it means to be queer in 2019.

Do Something: Activism for Everyone by Kajal Odedra

Inspired by the stories of change and her work as the UK Director of Change.org, Kajal Odedra’s debut book is full of lessons from the real world on how to DO SOMETHING. Having worked for a campaigner for over a decade, Kajal knows people power works. Her book encourages everyone to take action, start planning your resistance with practical blueprints and tips in order to make the change you want to see in the world. For a short intro into how people power works, you can also watch her TEDxLondon Salon talk here.

The Art of Logic by Eugenia Cheng

Acclaimed author of How to Bake π, Eugenia Cheng’s latest book shows how mathematical logic can help us see things more clearly in the world of shocking newspaper headlines and social media. Clear-sighted, revelatory and filled with useful real-life examples of logic and illogic at work, The Art of Logic is an essential guide to decoding modern life.

Watch out for Eugenia’s upcoming children’s book, Molly and the Mathematical Mystery coming out in September 2020 – an explorative and creative approach to the sometimes scary topic of maths.

In Their Shoes, by Jamie Windust

Being published on 21st October 2020, don’t forget to pre-order Jamie’s debut book. Combining light-hearted anecdotes with their own hard-won wisdom, Jamie Windust explores everything from fashion, dating, relationships and family, through to mental health, work and future key debates. From trying on clothes in secret to iconic looks, first dates to polyamorous liaisons, passports to pronouns, Jamie shows you how to navigate the world and your evolving identity in every type of situation.