Curated Reads by the National Library, Singapore

History has shown that inspiration, combined with imagination, hardwork and perseverance, is a potent recipe for groundbreaking innovations.

The invention of motorised vehicles and airplanes has enabled us to travel farther and faster; the discovery of vaccines and life-saving medical devices has led to better and longer lives; and the plethora of electronic gadgets available today has helped make life a breeze for many.

Without prior mistakes and failures, none of these inventions and innovations would have occurred. Read on to discover the inspirations of others, and be inspired yourself!


Innovations that will Change Your Tomorrow


The fairytale view of history implies that innovation has an end. It doesn’t. What we want and what we need keep changing. The incandescent light was a 19th-century failure and a 20th-century success. Now it’s a failure again, edged out by new technologies, like LEDs, that were, themselves, failures for many years. That’s what this issue is about: all the little failures, trivialities and not-quite-solved mysteries that make the successes possible.


Check out 32 intriguing and fascinating inventions that are primed to improve or add flavor to our everyday routines at home, in the office and at our recreational haunts.




The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

Adam Grant, an organisational psychologist, shares three things about the so-called “originals”, whom he describes as “nonconformists, people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them” and “drive creativity and change in the world”. In this TED talk, we learn about the habits and behaviours of "originals", such as embracing failure.


The 'Aha!' Moments of Famous Inventors

Find out from this infographic what sparked off the creation of some of the world's best known brands, gadgets and services.


Dead Poets Society
Call no.: 791.4372 DEA-[ART]

In this Academy Award-winning movie, an English teacher inspires his students to seize the day and stand up for one's beliefs.

Visit our library@esplanade to borrow a copy of the film.

Video disc cover image credit: All rights reserved, Touchstone Home Entertainment, 2012.