Your summer reading list: Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill and Melinda Gates and many more share their book recommendations

TED Blog

Books - vector illustration

Summer: the season for cracking open a good book under the shade of a tree. Below, we’ve compiled about 70 stellar book recommendations from members of the TED community. Warning: not all of these books can be classified as beach reads. And we think that is a good thing.

books-Elizabeth-GilbertPicks from Elizabeth Gilbert, author 

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. “The only book I have ever bought by the crate-load. I give copies of this sumptuous masterpiece to everyone I care about. I could try to describe it further, but … it would be more efficient if you just read it yourself. (Watch Maira Kalman’s TED Talk, “The illustrated woman.”)

Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror in Science by Richard Holmes. “I just finished writing a novel about
18th- and 19th-century scientific exploration, and this engaging book was a…

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Inside the animator’s studio: Creating universes and (literally) shattering the Earth

TED Blog

If you haven’t seen the TED-Ed Lesson “A rare, spectacular total eclipse of the sun,” you should really check it out. Not only will you learn a good deal about the science behind these extraordinary events, you’ll also get to soak in some beautiful and detailed artistry from animator Bevan Lynch. We caught up with Lynch for a quick, behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to create an entire universe from scratch, with a few Earth-shattering pitfalls along the way.

How do you come up with the ideas for your animations?

Pre-production for me is often the most fun and also the most challenging part of the animation process. There are so many fun choices to make, but knowing which are the right ones can be tough.

Visual ideas come to me in many different ways. Sometimes I’ll read a script and know exactly how I want to…

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Three lessons for designing for the whole world: Margaret Gould Stewart at TED2014

Interesting

TED Blog

Margaret Gould Stewart. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Margaret Gould Stewart. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

“What do you think of when I say the word design?” Margaret Gould Stewart, director of product design at Facebook, is here to talk about the kind of design that you normally don’t think about — the design of digital systems that are used by billions of people each day.

As examples, Steward reminds the audience that Google handles 1 billion searches per day. People upload to YouTube more in a single day than all of the US television networks broadcast in the last 5 years combined. Facebook transmits the photos, messages and stories of over 1.23 billion people, or about 1/6 of humanity.

“What’s really hard at designing at scale,” she says, “is that it requires a bizarre combination of two things, audacity and humility.” Audacity to believe that what you’re doing is important, and humility because it’s not about the designer’s portfolio…

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