I don‘t know about you, but I watch at least a handful of TED videos per week. There are masses of interesting and insightful talks, even if it has nothing to do with your interests or field of study.
Chris Anderson is a curator of TED; he‘s had a say in nearly every single TED Talk that has been presented on stage. Because of his privileged proximity to all these talks, a recent question on Quora prompted Chris to reply on his favourite talks, which he took the most away from.
“Here’s a maverick physicist giving an eloquent argument about the power of knowledge…framed in an incredible talk, full of unexpected twists and turns. Deutsch helped convince me that knowledge is far more than just a weird evolutionary trick invented by one of earth’s species,” writes Anderson of the talk, strangely but intriguingly named, “Chemical scum that dream of distant quasars.”
“Back in 2005, Shirky spoke about how the Web was enabling new models that should encourage institutions to ‘let go’ and allow others to do some of their work for them. I think it helped convince us that we should be willing to risk giving away our best talks for free online,” explains Anderson of this one, titled “Institutions vs. collaboration.”
Why is Etcoff’s talk, “Happiness and its surprises,” one of Anderson’s all time faves? “This is one of a whole collection of talks on happiness that have really changed my thinking and, um, I think actually made me happier.”
“Bryan spoke about a tough subject–America’s broken justice system–in a way that was unbelievably compelling. He won the longest standing ovation in TED’s history. And I haven’t been able to get him and his cause out of my mind ever since,” Anderson reveals about his reaction to Stevenson’s hugely thought-provoking talk, “We need to talk about an injustice.”
Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Anderson calls this one, titled “The long reach of reason,” an “unusual talk,“ explaining that “it was given as a Socratic dialogue.” Together, Pinker and Newberger Goldstein “reach the conclusion that pure reason has shaped history profoundly, though it sometimes takes hundreds of years. If the world bought into this view, we’d do a much better job of listening to each other.”
What are your favourite TED Talks? Let us know in the comments below.
Follow Theunis on Twitter: @Theunis_BWB