April 29, 2009
Best of TED Talks
We recently became addicted to watching and listening to talks from the TED Conference. The Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference has been featuring talks from leading thinkers not only in technology, entertainment, and design, but also religion, science, literature, psychology, personal growth, and numerous other areas. Their archive currently features over 400 talks from the TED2005 conference up through TED2009. One great thing is that along with high quality streaming video of each talk, they also offer most of the talks on MP3 download so you can download them and listen to them on the go.
Here we're showcasing 15 of the most popular TED talks which we certainly enjoyed and did some write ups on. We'll continue adding to this Best of TED Talks list as we watch and listen to more talks that we find to be particularly excellent.
1. Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight
In this moving talk delivered at the TED conference, brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor provides a first-person account of her own stroke and the experience of losing control of her bodily functions as well the functions of the left side of her brain. Instead of it being a painful or frightening experience, she said the stroke put her in a intense state of bliss and nirvana. Sharing this experience became her motivation for recovery. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
2. Malcolm Gladwell: What We Can Learn From Spaghetti Sauce
In this interesting talk delivered by bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, he explores how the food industry went from looking for the perfect single spaghetti sauce recipe to a more diverse approach of creating a variety of spaghetti sauces to suit the desires of shoppers. He examines this trend through one of its main proponents Howard Moskowitz who used the field of psychophysics to create a variety of original sauces for Prego in the 1980s. Once this variability was proven to be successful it spread to the rest of the food industry, and Gladwell feels we are all happier for this increase in choices. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
3. Matthieu Ricard: Habits of Happiness
Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard examines happiness and well-being in this TED talk. He differentiates between pleasure and happiness as pleasure if fleeting and reliant upon circumstance. He feels that true happiness is found by training the mind to be happy regardless of the situation we find ourselves in and to tap into the deeper happiness of the awareness that we are more than our fleeting emotional states. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
4. Helen Fisher: The Science of Love, and the Future of Women
In this TED talk, anthropologist Helen Fisher discusses a study she was involved in which examined the brains and biochemistry of people in love. She points out the ways in which we have evolved in order to trigger love, lust, and attachment to a mate. She also examines the changes of women's roles in society and how she feels this will ultimately lead to the happiest marriages. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
5. Benjamin Zander on Music and Passion
Conductor Benjamin Zander shares his passion for classical music in this TED talk. While the statistics say 3% of the population are classical music lovers, Zander attempts to prove that we are all lovers of classical music. He takes listeners on a journey of what he calls one-buttock playing where the pianist is moved with the music and in turn moves the audience. He then plays a Chopin prelude and proves that nobody is tone deaf. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
6. Richard Dawkins: The Universe is Queerer Than We Can Suppose
In this mind-bending lecture from TED.com, biologist Richard Dawkins examines the universe from the standpoint of contemporary science and finds that our universe is much stranger than we are capable of supposing. He provides many examples in the biological world about how assumptions such as a rock being solid and our bodies being the same throughout our life are incorrect. Stretch your perspective with Dawkin's case for "thinking the improbable". This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
7. Tony Robbins Asks Why We Do What We Do
Self development expert Anthony Robbins speaks at the TED Conference on what motivates people. Robbins insists that he isn't a motivator, but instead he is out to find what motivates people and what is it that makes the difference in the quality of people's lives. He discusses briefly the core human needs that drive people. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
8. Vilayanur Ramachandran: A Journey to the Center of Your Mind
In this TED talk, neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran provides some neuroscientific explanations for puzzling psychological and physiological phenomena. He covers why after certain brain injuries patients cannot visually recognize their mother, how to amputated patients can overcome the pain of phantom limbs for only $3, and why certain people see colors when they look at numbers and letters. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
9. Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
Sir Ken Robinson gives a humorous and inspiring talk on rethinking education and its relation to creativity. He feels that education becomes increasingly narrow as students proceed through it leaving many forms of intelligence and creativity behind. In order to confront the unknown future, Robinson sees creativity as the essential component as future generations face new challenges with new ideas. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
10. Seth Godin on Standing Out
Seth Godin feels that days of status quo marketing through the television industrial complex are coming to an end. People are too busy to pay attention to the nonstop advertising of average products for average people. What grabs people's attention is something remarkable, or rather something worth making a remark about. And their remarks spread the ideas or products to the world and make it a success. Learn about the cutting edge of spreading ideas with this talk by Seth Godin. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
11. Isabel Allende: Tales of Passion
In this TED talk, Chilean-American novelist Isabel Allende stands up for passionate feminism when confronting global issues. She feels women's energy is needed to alleviate the suffering of women and poor people in developing countries. During the talk she tells tales of courageous women throughout the world. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
12. Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice
Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, discusses some of the observations he makes in his book in this talk from the TED conference. He argues that the vast explosion of choices in advanced capitalist societies has led to increased paralysis in terms of decision making and ultimately decreased satisfaction. He provides a number of examples to back up his thesis that more choice and individual freedom is not always best. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
13. Elizabeth Gilbert: A Different Way to Think About Creative Genius
Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert examines the way society looks at artists and the way artists look at themselves in this TED talk. She feels that the creative people should view their work as channeling God's creative gift to them rather than as their own personal creative genius. And she hopes such a shift might prevent some of the madness and self-destruction that occurs in so many of our modern artists. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
14. Brian Greene on String Theory
Try wrapping your mind around string theory with this TED talk delivered by physicist Brian Greene. He starts the talk with the story of the German mathematician and physicist Theodor Kaluza who proposed that the universe might have more dimensions than the three-dimensional space apparent in of the physical world. This led much later to the attempt at discovering a unified theory through string theory and superstring theory which proposes 10 dimensions. Brian Greene ends the talk with describing some experiments which are being conducted that could lead to proving the existence of other dimensions. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
15. Dan Gilbert: Why Are We Happy? Why Aren't We Happy?
Check out this TED talk from Harvard psychologist and the author of Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert. Gilbert provides info from studies that reveal that what we often think will make us happy is the opposite of the case. He shows that because we have the ability to consider the future, we are much better prepared for the results and can usually be happy regardless. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.
And here are 30 other talks we've added to our site which look interesting. Almost all of them are available on MP3 download through TED.com site. Check them out:
Al Gore: 15 Ways to Avert a Climate Crisis
Al Gore: New Thinking on the Climate Crisis
Amy Tan on Creativity
Aubrey de Grey Says We Can Avoid Aging
Bill Clinton on Rebuilding Rwanda
Bill Gates: How I'm Trying to Change the World Now
Billy Graham: Technology, Faith and Human Shortcomings
Bono's Call To Action For Africa
Chris Anderson: Technology's Long Tail
Daniel Goleman: Why Aren't We All Good Samaritans?
Dave Eggers' Wish: Once Upon a School
Doris Kearns Goodwin on Learning from Past Presidents
Dr. Dean Ornish on Healing
E.O. Wilson on Saving Life on Earth
James Watson on How He Discovered DNA
Jane Goodall on What Separates Us From the Apes
Jeff Bezos on the Next Web Innovation
Jimmy Wales on the Birth of Wikipedia
John Wooden on True Success
Karen Armstrong's Wish: Charter for Compassion
Martin Seligman on Positive Psychology
Michael Pollan Gives a Plant's-Eye View
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on Flow
Ray Kurzweil on How Technology Will Transform Us
Richard Dawkins on Militant Atheism
Rick Warren: Living a Life of Purpose
Robert Wright: How Cooperation (Eventually) Trumps Conflict
Stephen Hawking Asks Big Questions About the Universe
Steven Levitt Analyzes Crack Economics
Steven Pinker on the Myth of Violence
You can always browse all the TED talks on the TED site right here:
Posted by LearnOutLoud