Feel like getting inspired, motivated or just looking for a feel-good cry? Then look no further. There’s no better way to start your day than with a fresh cup of coffee and a nice TED talk to make you feel ready to take on your day. TED stands for Technology, Education and Design — features “ideas worth spreading” and if you’re not familiar with them, by now you should be because they can change your life. This is only the greatest repository of speeches and presentations by the most brilliant minds, most fascinating people, education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus, and music legends of our time.
Awhile back, I made a goal to watch every TED Talk. So, I watch at least one weekly. The more good shit that goes into your mind, the more good shit comes out. I have rounded up few of the most inspirational, tear-jerking and downright beautiful Best TED talks ever here. Each talk is shorter than 30 minutes, so feel free to bookmark for later consumption.
Did I miss one that you love? Share it with us in the comments.
Hans Rosling: The best stats you’ve ever seen
You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world.”
Michael Specter: The danger of science denial
Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.
David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes
Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is “Big History”: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.
Atul Gawande: How do we heal medicine?
Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine — with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.
Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education
Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script — give students video lectures to watch at home, and do “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.
Vijay Kumar: Robots that fly … and cooperate
In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams — for construction, surveying disasters and far more.
Susan Cain: The power of introverts
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 minutes
In this highly personal talk from TEDMED, magician and stuntman David Blaine describes what it took to hold his breath underwater for 17 minutes — a world record (only two minutes shorter than this entire talk!) — and what his often death-defying work means to him. Warning: do NOT try this at home.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas: How PhotoSynth can connect the world’s images
Blaise Aguera y Arcas leads a dazzling demo of Photosynth, software that could transform the way we look at digital images. Using still photos culled from the Web, Photosynth builds breathtaking dreamscapes and lets us navigate them.
Cameron Herold: Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs
Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: This child might be an entrepreneur, says Cameron Herold. In his talk, he makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish — as kids and as adults. (Filmed at TEDxEdmonton.)
Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers … (Filmed at TEDxPugetSound.)
Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish.
John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding
With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father’s wisdom.
James B. Glattfelder: Who controls the world
James Glattfelder studies complexity: how an interconnected system — say, a swarm of birds — is more than the sum of its parts. And complexity theory, it turns out, can reveal a lot about how the economy works. Glattfelder shares a groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable. (Filmed at TEDxZurich.)
Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability
Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share. (Filmed at TEDxHouston.)
Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are
There has been a lot of research into how others perceive our body language, and the importance of sending the right message. However, Amy Cuddy delves into how we are influenced by our own body language — and how a few strategic power poses can make a world of difference in our self-confidence and stress levels.
Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation
Dan Pink explores the efficacy of rewards and punishment in the workplace — and the results are surprising. Differentiating between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, and different types of rewards, Pink explains why we need to rethink how we run our businesses, and how leaders can motivate more effectively.
Nilofer Merchant: Got a meeting? Take a walk
Nilofer Merchant’s concept is quite simple: We are sitting 9.3 hours per day on average — and it is slowly killing us. “Sitting has become the smoking of our generation,” she says. So instead of having the typical work meeting, take your meetings outside — and you’ll be surprised by how easily fresh air can drive fresh thinking.
Ken Robinson: Schools Kill Creativity
This brilliant talk by Ken Robinson will make you laugh out loud, and also make you seriously think about our education system. Robinson discusses some of the pitfalls of education in America, including how we measure academic ability and intelligence, and how we need to encourage creativity in our children.
Rita F. Pierson: Every kid needs a champion
Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.
Andrew Solomon: Love, no matter what
What is it like to raise a child who’s different from you in some fundamental way (like a prodigy, or a differently abled kid, or a criminal)? In this quietly moving talk, writer Andrew Solomon shares what he learned from talking to dozens of parents — asking them: What’s the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?
Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology
At TEDIndia, Pranav Mistry demos several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data — including a deep look at his SixthSense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper “laptop.” In an onstage Q&A, Mistry says he’ll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all.
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