It’s summertime and that means chilling with a book is a must. Here’s some reads inspired by TEDxLondon speakers. 

Whether you’re on a staycation or heading somewhere exotic, we’ve got some fantastic summer reads for you to enjoy. We tapped into our amazing repository of TEDxLondon speakers to get inspired and pulled a selection of titles that suit different tastes. 

After all, our speakers are a talented bunch, so don’t miss out!

1. Complicit by Winnie M Li

“My name is Sarah Lai. You won’t have heard of me. A decade ago I was on the cusp of being a big deal. But that was a long time ago. Now, instead of working in Hollywood, I teach students about it. And these are the two most important lessons you need to know about the film industry:

1) Those with the money have all the power.

2) Those with the power get whatever they want.

Ignore these rules and the whole system will crumble. Stick to the rules and you’ll succeed. But at what cost? Ask yourself, what would you have done?”

2018 TEDxLondon speaker, Winnie M Li, returns with her second novel, Complicit. A harrowing, slow burn thriller, the novel is inspired in part by the #MeToo movement and explores power, choice and misogyny within the film industry. 

Red book cover that reads 'Complicit. You know what's going on. Would you speak up? Winnie M Li'

2. Life Is Sad and Beautiful by Hussain Manawer 

‘Depression became such a part of my life; it was embedded in me as a person. I felt as if it was written in bold, yet invisible across my face. It sat within the sympathetic eyes that looked at me from the ones who loved me. It hovered around my spirit, shook parts of my soul and dragged me through episodes of my years. But somehow, through poetry, I found a way out. I was able to make sense of it all…’

Known as ‘The Original’s Mummy Boy’, Hussain’s debut poetry collection invites readers on his journey through depression and grief, and out the other side to a better place. His words will remind readers that even in your lowest moments you can find the gold dust. Technically, Hussain isn’t a TEDxLondon speaker but he has hosted two of our events and shared one of his poems from Life is Sad and Beautiful on our stage. 

Book cover that reads 'The Sunday Times Bestseller. The Original Mummy's Boy, Hussain Manawer. Life is Sad & Beautiful'.

3. How to Stay Safe Online: A Digital Self-care Toolkit for Developing Resilience and Allyship by Seyi Akiwowo

“Digital spaces are a positive force for change, connection and community, but left unregulated, they are not always safe.

Globally, women are 27 times more likely than men to be harassed online. Black women are 84% more likely to face online harassment than white. There has been a 71% rise in online disability abuse and 78% of LGBTQ+ people have experienced hate speech online.”

In 2019, Seyi joined us on the TEDxLondon stage to share how to protect our online spaces from abuse, hate and fear. In 2022, her first book on how to stay safe online was published. Described as an urgent and necessary digital self-care tool, the book gives practical tips on navigating digital spaces and includes interviews with well-known figures like Jameela Jamil and Laura Bates. 

Yellow book cover reading 'How to stay safe online. A digital self-care toolkit for developing resilience and allyship. By Seyi Akiwowo'

4. In The Wars: A Doctor’s Story of Conflict, Survival and Saving Lives by Waheed Arian   

Born in war-torn Afghanistan, Waheed Arian’s first memories are of bombs. His first-hand experience of the power of medicine inspired him to dedicate his life to healing others. But how does a boy with nothing hope to become a doctor?

In 2022, we were honoured to have Waheed tell his story on the TEDxLondon stage and share his message of hope and compassion. This beautiful autobiography is a tale of courage, ambition and unwavering resilience in the face of all the challenges that life can throw in your way.

Book cover reading 'Dr Waheed Arian. In the Wars. A story of Conflict, Survival and Saving Lives'.

5. The Book Of Non-Binary Joy: Embracing the Power of You by Ben Pechey    

‘Oh hello darling, and welcome to The Book of Non-Binary Joy! This book is here to help you be yourself – free from judgement and expectation – as you unlock more joy in your life. Take my hand, and let’s start your journey of self-love today.’

Ben joined us on the TEDxLondonWomen earlier this year to share a message about how trans and non-binary joy isn’t radical – but an everyday possibility. Their book is a beautiful compliment to this message, covering insights and activities on topics like mental health, pleasure, fashion and self-expression. This guide is here to help you thrive as your authentic – and most fabulous – non-binary self. 

Book cover reading 'The Book of Non-Binary Joy by Ben Pechey. Embracing the power of YOU.'