TED : « How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are »

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Writer Andrew Solomon has spent his career telling stories of the hardships of others. Now he turns inward, bringing us into a childhood of adversity, while also spinning tales of the courageous people he’s met in the years since. In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.

Andrew Solomon is a writer on politics, culture and psychology.

Why you should listen

Andrew Solomon’s 2012 book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. Their struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love — so very different, yet sharing profound common links — are documented in every chapter.

Woven into these courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent. Solomon’s previous book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the 2001 National Book Award for nonfiction.

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