In a Schumpeter article in The Economist back in March, it was noted that some people find the TED conferences “ludicrous”, “sinister”, and even “a recipe for civilisational disaster”. A little harsh, no?
To me the TED talks are exactly what the organizers claim them to be: ideas worth spreading. Most of the time the ideas really are worth spreading far and wide. They provide much food for thought, in coffee break length, sharply delivered, easily accessible and ultimately … free.
“TED has done more to advance the art of lecturing in a decade than Oxford University has done in a thousand years”, – The Economist.
Some might argue that TED is a marketing machine for authors to sell more books – but even so, I don’t mind having a great book brought to my attention through a great talk, in fact that’s exactly the way I’d appreciate it.
The only problem I have is not watching enough of the talks. Time to ramp it up. So for June I’m going to watch a TED talk every day. Bam.
Below is a list of the 30 talks I watched. For each one I made some notes about the talk, more for personal reminders rather than a proper summary. Not all of the talks are good, in fact some are pretty bad, so I’ve marked with a * the ones I think are really worth the time.
I’m a huge fan of Richard Dawkins and Sir Martin Rees for example, but their talks at TED just don’t bring across their usual brilliance. Whereas Ray Kurzweil, Sam Harris and Hans Rosling are brilliant and captivating, talks that I could watch again and again.
- 30th – Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions*
- 29th – Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend*
- 28th – Sir Martin Rees: Earth in its final century?
- 27th – James Flynn: Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’
- 26th – Richard Dawkins: Why the universe seems so strange
- 25th – Henry Markram: A brain in a supercomputer*
- 24th – Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man
- 23rd – Clifford Stoll: The call to learn
- 22nd – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness
- 21st – Stephen Hawking: Questioning the universe
- 20th – Tim Ferriss: How to feel like the Incredible Hulk*
- 19th – Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?*
- 18th – Regina Dugan: From mach-20 glider to humming bird drone
- 17th – Kevin Kelly tells technology’s epic story*
- 16th – Marc Pachter: The art of the interview
- 15th – Richard Branson: Life at 30,000 feet*
- 14th – David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful*
- 13th – Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep*
- 12th – Arthur Benjamin: Lightning calculation and other “Mathemagic”
- 11th – Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology
- 10th – The best stats you’ve ever seen – Hans Rosling*
- 9th – Jon Ronson: Strange answers to the psychopath test
- 8th – Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do
- 7th – Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action*
- 6th – Russell Foster: Why do we sleep?*
- 5th – Ray Kurzweil: The accelerating power of technology*
- 4th – Dan Dennett: Dangerous memes*
- 3rd – Apollo Robbins: The art of misdirection*
- 2nd – Edward Snowden: Here’s how we take back the Internet
- 1st – The military case for sharing knowledge