By Emily McConkey

To celebrate International Literacy Day, we asked speakers to share some of their most cherished, influential reads.

It’s important to recognize the immense blessing it is to live in a country in which the majority of its adults and children can read and write. International Literacy Day asks us to observe the current status of adult and child literacy around the world, and consider the ways in which we can contribute to efforts to eradicate inequality and poverty around the world and promote awareness of the importance of adult literacy and learning.


Of Beetles and Angels by Mawi Asgedom


The Timewaster Letters by Robin Cooper


The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz


The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr


A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith


POW! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting From the Power of Surprise by Andy Nulman

It’s been fascinating to explore favourite book titles with our speakers, many of whom are authors themselves. Favourite books tell a lot about a person, and it’s especially interesting to see how reading has influenced our speakers in their expertise. Andrew Au offered a particularly thoughtful comment on The Power of Full Engagement: “I used to think that life was a marathon with one steady, consistent pace. This book has changed my outlook—life isn’t a marathon, but a series of sprints and pauses. You need to make time to recover and engage in all parts of your life to reach (or come close to reaching) your potential. It’s a fascinating book that looks at how superstar athletes have adopted this philosophy and is a key ingredient in their game plan.”

Many of our speakers have written bestselling books of their own! To learn more, check out our Famed Authors category here.