There’s something incredibly satisfying about watching an insightful TED Talk. It’s like a quick massage for the brain that leaves you feeling inspired, and often in awe. What started as a one-off conference about technology, entertainment and design for a privileged few became a viral video phenomenon and massive global movement. For the first time in their history, TED is heading down south to Brazil for their annual TED Global Conference from October 5–10, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro.
This year’s panel ranges from a nomadic filmmaker to a Buddhist monk, a technologist trailblazing cancer research to a chef who’s preserving the culinary heritage of Brazil. As we gear up for the conference, let’s take a look back at some of the most influential TED Talks of years past – here are the top ten videos curated from the founder’s favorites and a few so insanely popular videos you’ll want to add another view to the millions.
Few experts can claim they were knighted for their academic achievements, but Sir Ken Robinson is one of them. As the public school classroom continues to be the battleground for politicians and pundits alike, Robinson makes a moving case for schools to reevaluate their teaching methods, and champions the role of creativity and different types of intelligence in children. Robinson’s TED Talk has been making the rounds online since its release in June 2006.
Not all TED Talks revolve around lofty, ambitious goals. Some operate more like life-hacks in five minutes. New York Times tech columnist David Pogue delivered a talk outlining 10 timesaving tips to help people with everyday technology. From skipping voice prompts, power point presentations, and Google shortcuts, each of these tips will help you save time and make your days more efficient.
While much focus in the autism debate has been about “curing” the condition, noted animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin discusses how her autism helped her see the world in a way others could not. Having been diagnosed as child, she breaks down how her mind works through visual thinking and how it has revolutionized farm-animal welfare. She makes the case that the world needs all kinds of thinkers – visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers and all the rest.
Even the most worldly and well-read of us suffer from preconceived notions about what they consider the “developing world.” As a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks the most common myths about GDP, child mortality and other global social indicators with the zeal of a radio announcer.
Many leaders can wax poetic about change but few inspire real action. Fascinated by the ability of influential leaders in the world, from companies and politicians, to enact change, Simon Sinek went about determining the X factor that all these leaders shared. From Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers, Sinek identifies the common patterns in how these leaders think, act and communicate.
As companies have come to rely upon the almighty algorithm, author and executive director of MoveOn.org, Eli Parser, passionately argues that is it this type of information curation that is keeping us inside a “filter bubble.” With nothing to challenge our worldview, it hurts our democracy and us in the long run.
While it’s surprising a self-described introvert embracing public speaking on such a large scale as a TED Talk, Susan Cain’s discussion of the “extrovert ideal” brings up some great points. The former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant rallies against the value system that encourages outgoing and alpha behavior as the end-all ideal for everyone. Cain argues that introverts bring different talents and abilities to the table and their innate nature should be encouraged not discouraged.
Managers and directors take note! Career analyst Dan Pink examines the surprising science of motivation, starting with a fact that’s well known among social scientists but not to most office managers. Pink questions the traditional thinking of rewarding certain behavior and some enlightening alternatives that go beyond the usual incentives.
Human rights lawyer delivers some real talk about the dysfunction of the American justice system and what we can do to fix it. While it may not be traditional click-bait for the creative class, Stevenson talks with great candor about race relations and the prison system – something that’s a bit more pressing than say “how to use a paper towel.”
The beauty of TED Talks is the way they grant access to some of the top leaders and thinkers to anyone with an Internet connection and the thirst for knowledge. Catch up on all your favorite talks with the Ted talk app for the iPad. Watch Ted Talks on the road or in bed with the Logitech Hinge Flexible iPad Air Case. This versatile and protective case adapts to your lifestyle and lets you enjoy all your favorite media from a comfortable position. A smooth-gliding hinge steadily props up your iPad from any angle within a 50-degree range.
Are we missing any of your favorite talks? Let us know in the comments below.