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  • Writer's pictureNisha Anand


I was recently asked by IDEAS.TED.COM to join 67 other influential TED speakers in recommending a life-altering read. While I have been inspired by many books, articles, and poetry throughout the years, there are two in particular that I felt compelled to share. First is a book by another TED talk alumna. This work by my friend, Valarie Kaur, describes a world that we all wish to see, and gives us the tools to get there. Here's what I had to say:

See No Stranger is a perfectly timed book. When others see America descending into darkness, Valarie Kaur asks us to reimagine ourselves, our connection to each other and society. She presents revolutionary love as the call of our time — reclaiming love from mere sentimentality and recasting it as a potent force for social change. When loving our enemy seems hard, she offers practical advice. This book is a must-have guide on how we can walk through this darkness together and emerge better than before.
— Nisha Anand (TED Talk: The radical act of choosing common ground)

The second recommendation I have is the latest literary work from my long-time mentor, social justice warrior, and former Obama White House advisor, Van Jones. Over the years, Van Jones has taught me through his leadership what it means to find common ground and he's proved to me time and time again that it can work. His latest book outlines the lessons I've been fortunate enough to have received as his colleague and friend.

Beyond the Messy Truth is an honest, empathetic and solutions-oriented look at the divides in the current US political landscape and, more importantly, how to heal them. Van Jones examines both political parties and the people behind them, presenting a roadmap for coming together to solve our toughest problems. Looking beyond the tribalism of today, Jones calls for a “bipartisanship from below” and invites us to find common ground with unlikely allies. Full of real-life examples and critiques of current paradigms, this book is essential for all bridge-builders.
— Nisha Anand (TED Talk: The radical act of choosing common ground)

You can read the full list of book recommendations from other thinkers and leaders here on the IDEAS.TED.COM.

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