Let’s TED


I have to spend about 20 minutes a day pumping breast milk while my baby is at daycare – this means I have a good amount of time on my hands where well… I can’t use my hands. (I know they make those hands-free pumping bras but the inconvenience of changing into one of those does not outweigh the convenience it provides.) Enough about boobies. The point is this time gives me the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the videos I never seem to find time for.

So the other day I asked my Twitter friends what their favorite TED talk is. There are some gems in here for sure:

Want to be happy? Be grateful. David Steindl-Rast
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.
Recommended by Natalie

The key to success? Grit. Angela Lee Duckworth
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.
Recommended by Elleonce

How great leaders inspire action. Simon Sinek
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 …
Recommended by Mike

Before Avatar … A curious boy. James Cameron
James Cameron’s big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create unreal worlds all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic — from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving — and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “Titanic” and “Avatar.”
Recommeded by Liz

Normal: Joli Talusan Vega
Joli Talusan Vega is a 10-year-old with a message. She is a survivor of childhood retinoblastoma, a very rare pediatric cancer of the eye which has left her with a prosthetic right eye. As a result of her cancer and subsequent vision disability, Joli has developed a deep sense of compassion, care, and justice. She has a kind heart and a mature perspective on what it means to be a good friend and a caring person; she sees the beauty in what makes us different.
Recommended by Olivia

The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance. Shawn Achor
In Shawn’s TEDxBloomington presentation, he says that most modern research focuses on the average, but that “if we focus on the average, we will remain merely average.” He wants to study the positive outliers, and learn how not only to bring people up to the average, but to move the entire average up.
Recommended by Jose

Your Elusive Creative Genius. Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
Recommended by Jensen and Danielle

The Power of Vulnerability. Brené Brown
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.
Recommended by Alexandra. I can also pipe in and say this one changed my life.

So now I want to hear from you – which TED talks (or any other videos!) would you recommend? 

  1. Elizabeth Gilbert’s was so so great. My favorite thus far. Thanks for all the new suggestions!

  2. Katie F.

    Great suggestions-thanks! But I gotta say, buy an old sports bra and cut holes in it. Saves money and saves hands not to keep working, but to hit the TED talk play buttons with either hand-ha. I promise you’ll love the extra freedom!

    • I totally get that… my issue is more in the hassle of changing in and out of a pumping bra. I really hate taking my shirt off more than once a day. You know?

      • Katie F.

        Totally! The required shirt wrangling for hands-free is irritating to be sure.

    • I don’t wear a nursing bra… :/ I already wear a sports bra all day. But I suppose if I’ll be nursing / pumping for the next year maybe I should reassess.

    • I actually saw Sarah Kay perform live here in OKC! She’s brilliant.

    • Shana Rainey

      Sarah Kay FTW! She is phenomenal.

      Also, Dan Pink’s talk about motivation is fascinating/frustrating/brilliant.

  3. Jensen

    Ah, after I commented about the Elizabeth Gilbert one (which is still a favorite), I watched one by Chris Hadfield — he’s an astronaut who went blind in space and he talks about the difference between perceived fear and actual danger — definitely a new favorite.

    And thanks for sharing the round up! I was curious as to everyone else’s favorites 🙂

  4. Rebecca

    GACK! I listened to Angela’s talk on “Grit” years ago and then literally three times the other night. I heard of grit from my dad, but then from Seth Godin again in prior years. I totally attached to it, especially when I did your eCourses. Grit makes sense to me.

    As an ultra marathon runner, who delivered babies for many years, I would not want to wash the dirt from trails off my ankles until I HAD to…as gross as that sounds, there was something in the miles that reminded me that I can both be an eloquent, strong and wild woman. They all merge together. No right way to be woman, although my deep south roots might tell me different; fortunately, my mom never has followed the status quo.

    Some more favorites (since most of mine are mentioned above) especially around work and leadership:

    (Much to my surprise) Tony Robbins: How Can Drive Make You A Success
    David Brooks: The Social Animal
    Mike Rowe: Are People With Dirty Jobs the most Successful?
    Jennifer Senior of All Joy and No Fun just spoke, video not released yet
    Martin Seligman: The New Era of Positive Psychology


  5. Kristin

    The sound of a nursing bra seems so factory farm. I applaud your hands being full of your own boobs!

  6. Jennifer

    Alex Sheen – Because I Said I Would
    He speaks about the power of a promise. So simple but so true.

  7. Alien Mind Girl

    I have watched too many of them to pick out a favorite, but I usually seek out the environmental/science/tech stuff.

    Janine Benyus on biomimicry is a favorite.
    I also loved Ron Finley, the guerilla gardener.

    Oh, and who was the lady who turned life into a videogame? Loved her too. Jane McGonigal, “the game that can give you ten extra years of life.”

    Also… I am not sure how educational it was for me, but Adora Svitak is a rock star. Watched her talk twice cuz she’s awesome.

    There are several on the “watched them twice” list. So many awesome and diverse TEDs! I can’t actually pick favorites, in truth. Too many.

  8. Kyla

    I would definitely recommend the 2006 Ted Talk “How Schools Kill Creativity” by Sir Ken Robinson!

  9. Sara Berkes

    I love the Simon Sinek talk. Have you watched John Maeda’s talk? He’s brilliant, and so insightful. I actually wrote a little review of it: http://blog.fidmdigitalarts.com/john-maeda-ted-talk/ to try to inspire my peers to watch more TED Talks (a bunch of them didn’t even know what they were! It boggled my mind). I’d highly recommend it.

    Also, I would looove if you would do a post about some of your favourite non-fiction books… have you done that already? If so, can you point me to it? I’d love to know what you read!

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  12. Emily Duncan

    I feel like this was perfect timing for this post, because I had just watched a TED talk about gender equality and women continuing to achieve more leadership roles in the workforce. I was wracking my brain to tell all my girlfriends about this video, because its that good, when you posted your post. I thought you would appreciate her message. There’s a also a book she wrote that I want to read. I hope you share this video too. GIRL POWER!
    thank you for doing what you do. I’m always inspired by your posts and I can’t wait to watch all your recommendations.

  13. Erin

    Amanda Palmer’s talk on art was amazing.

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