“Ideas Worth Spreading” – 6 Influential TED Talks



BY MEGAN TAYLOR

Since 1984, TED [Technology, Entertainment, Design] Conferences have been giving millions of people inspirational advice and information on a variety of topics. Founded by Harry Marks and Richard Saul Wurman, the annual conference for technology and design has since evolved into a media organization that shares hundreds of free talks and speeches online. Now known as TED Talks, these speeches are given by humanitarians, educators, politicians, children, and many others on topics, such as technology, culture, entertainment, and design, to name a few. Each day, people from around the world continue to broaden their knowledge and be motivated by the videos. However, there are a few TED Talks that are must-sees and a great place to begin if you are interested in exploring the world of TED Talks. Let’s take a look at six influential TED Talks that have become some of the most watched due to their powerful messages.

“The Power of Vulnerability” – Brené Brown  

Researcher, professor, and podcast host Brené Brown is on the mission to spread the message that loving someone means being vulnerable and that courage is contagious. In her TED Talk, Brown shares just that. In 20 short minutes, she connects with the audience through stories of human connection with the purpose of understanding humanity. Audience members will learn more about empathy, love, and belonging, all while seeing that being vulnerable can be a good thing at times.

“The Happy Secret to Better Work” – Shawn Achor

Psychologist Shawn Achor discusses a hot topic in his video and goes against the myth that people must work hard in order to be happy. In fact, he suggests that we are thinking about the myth all wrong and that happiness actually drives our productivity. Maybe the quote “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” has a great deal of meaning. Watch Achor’s TED Talk to find out.

“10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation” – Celeste Headlee

Sometimes people find themselves at a loss for the right words and don’t know what to say in certain conversations. Celeste Headlee understands just that. Through her work as a radio host, she has learned that many people don’t know how to hold a conversation. To help, Headlee states her 10 rules for having better conversations. For starters, she says “Go out, talk to people, and listen to people. And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

“A 12-Year-Old App Developer” – Thomas Suarez

TED Talks are also available for children and teenagers. Twelve-year-old Thomas Suarez used his love for videogames to teach himself how to create games and apps. Now, he is inspiring other children to do the same. Interested in seeing what Suarez has created? Download the iPhone game “Bustin Jeiber” and have some fun.

“The Danger of a Single Story” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“The Danger of a Single Story” is a personal favorite of mine. I show this talk to my students at the start of each school year. Based on Nigerian history and tragedies, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells audience members how our lives and cultures are all just interwoven stories. All stories from different cultures and backgrounds are important and need to have their stories told. In return, people should listen to as many stories as possible from all parts of the world, for if we only hear a single story about a person, country, or culture, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and jeopardize creating a misunderstanding.

“Underwater Astonishments” – David Gallo

There are many wonders in the deep blue sea that have yet to be discovered. In five minutes, David Gallo introduces us to the works of ocean explorers Edith Widder and Roger Hanlon. Using vivid images as a backdrop, Gallo shares stories about the lives of unique sea creatures.

Based on the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading,” TED Talks have been around of over a decade and continue to grow in interest and topics. A visit to the organization’s website, ted.com, will get you hooked and engaged on learning more about the world and those around you.


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