All too familiar with all the things he had done or not done in his life, novelist Keiichiro Hirano had trouble accepting himself as a “good” or a “bad” person, until he realized that maybe he was a bit more complicated than that.

Above, moments from his beautiful TEDxKyoto talk, “Love others to love yourself.” (In Japanese with English subtitles)

Watch the whole talk here»

Ever wonder what TED staffers read when we’re not watching talks? Well, wonder no more; we’re here to tell you. We’re closing up shop next week for some R&R before 2014, but before we set off, here are the books we’ll be reading in a cozy corner of the house while we’re away: 

  • Ahab’s Wife: Or, The Stargazer by Sena Jeter Naslund (Amanda, keeper of TEDx wisdom)
  • AOL.com by Kara Swisher (Becky, TED online detective)
  • Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (Hailey, TEDx editorial robot)
  • A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor (Michelle, book editor extraordinaire)
  • Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie (Nadia, editorial wizardess)
  • The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker (Rachel, TEDx application wrangler)
  • How Music Works by David Byrne (Saba, TEDx office master)
  • The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg (Tahlia, master of friendship & YouTube)
  • My Struggle (vol. 2) by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Thu, TED prosateur)

So, there’s our picks. But you don’t have to take my word for it…

We are all born artists. If you have kids, you know what I mean. Almost everything kids do is art. They draw with crayons on the wall; they dance; they inflict their singing on everyone.

Art is about going a little nuts and justifying the next sentence, which is not much different from what a kid does. Kids do art. They don’t do it because someone told them to. They aren’t told by their boss or anyone, they just do it.

Unfortunately, at some point our art — such a joyful pastime — ends. Kids have to go to lessons, to school, do homework and of course they take piano or ballet lessons, but they aren’t fun anymore. You’re told to do it and there’s competition. How can it be fun?

Besides, if you continue to act like an artist as you get older, you’ll increasingly feel pressure — people will question your actions and ask you to act properly.

What should we do then? We need to start our own art. Right this minute, we can turn off TV, log off the Internet, get up and start to do something. Let’s be artists, right now. How? Just do it!

Writer Young-ha Kim looks at creativity in our lives in his TEDxSeoul talk, Be an artist, right now!”

"Art is about going a little nuts and justifying the next sentence."
—Novelist Young-ha Kim at TEDxSeoul

Young-ha Kim is a writer who is fascinated with the world of art — all art. In his talk at TEDxSeoul — "Be an artist, right now!" — he tackles all the excuses we give ourselves that halt the creation of our art, and draws inspiration from the creativity of children and fearless artists transforming dance, drama, literature, and beyond.
Check out the entire talk below:

"Art is about going a little nuts and justifying the next sentence."

—Novelist Young-ha Kim at TEDxSeoul

Young-ha Kim is a writer who is fascinated with the world of art — all art. In his talk at TEDxSeoul — "Be an artist, right now!" — he tackles all the excuses we give ourselves that halt the creation of our art, and draws inspiration from the creativity of children and fearless artists transforming dance, drama, literature, and beyond.

Check out the entire talk below: