There are only a few weeks left in summer, and TEDx Salem 2015 is less than two months away! If you’re looking for some reading suggestions for that last camping trip, road trip, or lazy stay-in-bed weekend before school starts, look no further!
Here are some staff-recommended picks that are sure to please. In keeping with this year’s theme, these books explore what “fearless” means to each of us…
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
Saerom Yoo: “[The book] is about the deadliest ascent to Mt. Everest [before the 2014 climbing season] and tells the story of people who pursued a dream, risking their lives. Reading it puts you on the edge of your seat and puts you right in the shoes of the climbers, who sometimes cannot think straight due to their ambitions and delirium. You don’t think, WHY DIDN’T THEY TURN BACK? You get it because you feel empathy for the characters, even if you’re not a daredevil at all.”
Stephanie Knowlton: “I think it shows the sometimes thin line between fearless and reckless.”
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brené Brown
Deb Vaughan: “As the parent of a three year old, the concept of being vulnerable with feelings in our house is a powerful way to approach conversations as she learns how to process and express bigger and bigger feelings. And the idea that I am enough – Tell me that wouldn’t change most people’s lives. The quote I have on my desk at work is: “Quick and dirty wins the race. Perfection is the enemy of done. Good enough is pretty effin’ good!” I quote it to my coworkers all the time!!!”
The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance – Steven Kotler
Brian Hart: “This book features some of the most amazing high adventure athletes in the world and how they have overcome fear to reach “flow” states on a regular basis. One of the best parts of the book is also one of the darkest, and explains the dangers of being fearless. In short, their addiction to being in the flow state, which is scientifically proven to fire the same triggers in the brain as cocaine, heroin and pot combined, end up literally killing many of them. They become fearless of just about everything…”
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall
Saerom: “Born to Run is close to my heart because I’m one of those people who never considered herself a runner. But this book is so inspiring because it looks at a tribe of fellow humans in a remote part of our world, running for DAYS without any of the fancy running equipment and no injuries. It explores the history and science behind humans’ relationship with running, and you realize that WE’RE ALL RUNNERS. I read it while training for my first half marathon, which was a very scary goal for me. It left me inspired and feeling strong. I still think back to it from time to time, when I’m daunted by the physical challenge of running. Oh, and I totally rocked the marathon, by the way. :-)”
Face the Music: A Life Exposed – Paul Stanley
Jay Shenai: “A somewhat surprisingly informative autobiography, quite introspective for an individual so strongly identified with aggressive self-promotion and masked, macho rock-and-roll. Along with the glamour and glitz of this “backstage pass,” Stanley also shares the anxiety and trauma of his chaotic upbringing in New York City before joining Gene Simmons to form the band KISS.
Putting the group’s own efforts at mythologizing aside – How did someone born with an ear deformity (microtia), rendered deaf in one ear from birth, decide he could and would make such an impact on music? My favorite image comes relatively early on, when an awkward pre-teen Stanley Bert Eisen sits on a bench waiting for his appointment with his therapist, and unwraps a Blimpie sandwich to eat in the park, alone. I like how he describes the solitude and the sandwich. Imagine the feeling, of being ready to take on the world despite all the evidence to the contrary, and all the doubters; not sure how, but just waiting for the opportunity to come.”
The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
Saerom: “Harry Potter and his friends constantly face the risk of death fighting the evil Death Eaters and Voldemort. Harry sometimes does cross into reckless territory, though. I’m reading it for the first time currently and I’m on book 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). I’m constantly amazed at the adult themes discussed in the books.”
Editor’s Note: If you see Saerom around, please don’t talk about the ending. We’re trying not to spoil it for her.
The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness – Elyn R. Saks
Brian: “It’s an incredible autobiography about how [the author] struggles to maintain a ‘normal’ life while struggling with schizophrenia every day.”
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
Stephanie: “Both the author and main character were fearless at a time when women had little if any voice.”
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
Brian: “…hands down one of the most inspiring books I have ever read.”
– To get your tickets to TEDx Salem 2015, click here!