These are the books you need to read, according to female TED speakers

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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We may have a to-read list as long as our arms (just call us tsundoku), but we’re always on the hunt for new book recommendations.

So when we saw this list of 50 books recommended by TED speakers in 2017 we knew resistance was futile.

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, whittles down 12 of the best book recommendations made by women speaking at TED events in 2017 so far, from tennis ace Serena Williams to Still Alice author Lisa Genova, featuring fiction and non-fiction works that we can’t wait to get stuck into.

Simply scroll through to get started.

  • 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.

    Buy: £6.99 from

  • 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. 

    Buy: £6.49 from

  • 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.

    Buy: £9.98 from

  • Where We Belong by Hoda Kotb

    Recommended by: Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning and Editor At Large of Oprah’s magazine O

    Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Hoda Kotb presents a collection of inspiring stories of people who found their life’s purpose in unexpected ways.

    Buy: £10.55 from

  • 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.

    Buy: £9.98 from

  • 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.

    Buy: £8.99 from

  • 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.

    Buy: £16.99 from

  • Dancing With Dementia 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.

    Buy: £13.99 from

  • The Storytelling Animal by Jonathan Gottschall

    Recommended by: Author Emily Esfahani Smith

    Synopsis: An investigation into the ways stories shape our lives as humans.

    Buy: £11.59 from

  • 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.

    Buy: £6.99 from

  • 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. 

    Buy: £13.93 from

  • Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons

    Recommended by: Serena Williams

    Synopsis: Hip hop mogul Russel Simmons explains how to use meditation and stillness as a tool for success.

    Buy: £12.78 from


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter