Four of the speakers that participated in the first TEDGLOBAL conference in Oxford (which I co-produced in July 2005) have all published new books recently:
Former Afghani minister and head of Kabul University Ashraf Ghani (watch his TEDtalk), together with Clare Lockhart, has penned "Fixing Failed States: A Framework For Rebuilding A Fractured World". They discuss the "between forty and sixty nations" -- that's one-quarter of all the countries in the world -- that are broken to various degreees and have become "the breeding ground of networks of criminality and terror", and suggest an integrated state-building approach that goes beyond military intervention and humanitarian aid to make them "stakeholders in a global system". It's a radically optimist book. Since Ghani spoke at TEDGLOBAL, he and Lockhart have co-created the Institute for State Effectiveness.
In "We Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production", British innovation and creativity guru Charles Leadbeater (watch his TEDtalk) makes the case, based on countless well-documented examples from all over the world, that innovation in the era of the Web has become a collective, collaborative effort. "You are what you share", he writes. Walking his talk, he shares part of the final book and the full first draft on his website.
Groups of people increasingly coming together to share, work or take public action are also the starting point for Clay Shirky's new book "Here Comes Everybody: The Power Of Organizing Without Organizations". The social-media master (watch his TEDtalk) contends that "when new technology appears, previously impossible things start occurring". For example: "We are used to a world where little things happen for love and big things happen for money. Love motivates people to bake a cake and money motivates people to make an encyclopedia. Now, though, we can do big things for love". The reference, obviously, is to Wikipedia, which is just one of many examples used by Shirky. Recently, he told me that the book somehow was born at TEDGLOBAL 2005: "That speech was the opportunity to link a lot of my earlier work into a coherent structure". He's blogging and discussing the book at HereComesEverybody.org.
Carl Honoré's previous bestseller "In Praise Of Slow" discussed our culture obsessed with speed (that's the topic of his TEDtalk). In his new book, "Under Pressure: Rescuing Childhood From The Culture Of Hyper-Parenting", he applies that lens to growing up in today's developed societies, and says that we are raising "a generation of overprogrammed, overachieving, exhausted children". Based on extensive research -- fact after example after anecdote (including that of the father of a tennis player who drugged his child's opponents) -- and beautifully written, "Under Pressure" is not a parenting manual. "Slow", in the meantime, has built up to somewhat a global movement, and Carl is one of the co-founders of a website for all things slow, Slow Planet. Where they remind us that "slow is not about doing everything at a snail's pace; it's about working, playing and living better by doing everything at the right speed".
The next TEDGLOBAL will take place in Oxford, 21-24 July 2009. More details will be forthcoming in September.
(Note: Some of the cover images above may be different from what you will find online or at your local bookstore, depending on the different country-specific editions of each book.)