Your Summer Reading List of Bestsellers from 2021 SXSW Speakers

Bookstore SXSW 2019 - Photo by Ann Alva Wieding

The temperature in Texas is steadily rising and that can only mean one thing: summer is just around the corner. If you're anything like us, you’re ready to kick back and soak up some rays with a good book. To help you get inspired over the next couple of months, we put together a list of stellar, newly released books from some of the amazing authors who recently spoke at SXSW 2021. Be sure to add these to the top of your summer reading list!

SXSW 2021 Bestsellers

Make a TikTok Every Day: 365 Prompts for Attention-Grabbing TikToks Dave Jorgenson

In 2019, Dave Jorgenson launched a new Washington Post account on a little-known Chinese social media platform -- and quickly built an impressive following. Watch his highly-entertaining session from SXSW 2021 "How GenZ Duets the News on TikTok" to learn what he has learned over the course of this improbable two-year journey. Watch his session with creator, actor, and human rights activist Jackie James as well as Ian McKenna of NowThis.

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race Walter Isaacson

Bestselling author Walter Isaacson has established himself as the biographer of creativity, innovation, and genius. He has written about Einstein, a genius of the revolution in physics, and Steve Jobs, a genius of the revolution in digital technology, and his latest book the revolution happening in biochemistry that's being led by Jennifer Doudna and her pioneering work in CRISPR gene editing. Watch his compelling conversation about CRISPR technology with veteran journalist Katie Couric.

Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth – Avi Loeb

Harvard theoretical physicist Avi Loeb lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star. At SXSW 2021, he sat down with Leah Crane of New Scientist to talk about the many possibilities of life beyond Earth. Watch their conversation here.

Interior Chinatown: A Novel – Charles Yu

Charles Yu's latest novel won the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction for its infinitely inventive and deeply personal exploration of the Asian experience. At SXSW 2021, Charles Yu discussed his work with CNN's Lisa Ling. Their conversation is all the more poignant in the wake of the current rise of anti-Asian hate crime.

Making Dollars While Making Change: The Playbook for Game Changers – Jonathan Quarles

Social entrepreneur Jonathan Quarles wrote Making Dollars While Making Change: The Playbook for Game Changers to document his experiences in helping to mitigate the impact of the Flint, Michigan water crisis. He discussed his journey with Patrick McKenna in a SXSW session with the same title as his book.

Mau: MC 24 – Bruce Mau

Brilliantly creative optimist Bruce Mau lays out 24 design principles to inspire and provoke massive change in Mau: MC 24, published last summer. Don’t miss his fascinating chat with Sanford Kwinter of the Pratt Institute about Designing for the Cluster.

Willie Nelson's Letters to America – Willie Nelson

In Willie Nelson's Letters to America, scheduled for a June 29 release, the legendary musician shares some of his most intimate thoughts and stories with the nation. Get a headstart on this volume by checking out his Keynote conversation with Austin-based music writer Andy Langer.

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity – Amy Webb

The powerhouse behind the incredibly popular Emerging Tech Trends Report annual presentation at SXSW, Amy Webb is also the author of the 2020 book The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity.

Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas – Alexi Pappas

In Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas, Olympian and filmmaker Alexi Pappas shares what she's learned about confidence, self-reliance, mental health, embracing pain, and achieving your dreams. In March, she sat down with actor / comedian Bill Hader, who is the focus of one of the chapters in her new book, for a conversation.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives – Lori Gottlieb

The massive best-seller from Lori Gottlieb — Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed has helped to de-stigmatize the importance of mental health. Watch her interview with fellow author Kelly Corrigan to learn more about the power of therapy.

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters – Priya Parker

Priya Parker's 2018 best-seller The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters has become even more relevant in the wake of a year of pandemic-imposed social isolation. At SXSW 2021, she covered her thoughts on the ever-evolving concept of human interaction with her husband Anand Giridharadas.

Get inspired by a wide array of visionaries from SXSW 2021. Watch videos from the event on our YouTube channel. Stay up to date on everything SXSW and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SXSW News.

Photo by Ann Alva Wieding

By SXSW Staff Writer




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