Emily McManus

Editor, TED.com, TED

This conversation is closed.

What's your favorite single sentence from a TEDTalk?

Jill Bolte Taylor: "I am the life-force power of the universe."

You know it when you hear it: the sentence, the quote that gives you chills. Maybe it's exceedingly wise, or maybe it's just funny or pithy -- but it's an idea worth spreading in one sentence. What's your favorite one-sentence quote from a TEDTalk?

Closing Statement from Emily McManus

The conversation continues! Jump over to John Mardlin's new thread to share your favorite single sentence from TED2011 http://www.ted.com/conversations/858/what_is_your_favourite_single.html

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    Feb 15 2011: My preferred sentence has no sense without its context. It's "They will in a minute" from Sir Ken Robinson's talk Schools Kill Creativity. That was the answer from the girl drawing a picture of God to her teacher who said that nobody knows what God looks like.

    I think the world would be completely different if we all were so focused on our real convictions and we really believed on what we are doing as much as this girl does.
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    Feb 14 2011: "Let my dataset change your mindset" by Hans Rosling.
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    Feb 11 2011: Jason Clay: "You can't wake a person who is pretending to sleep"


    Context: "I often talk to refugees: "Why was it that the West didn't realize that famines are caused by policies and politics, not by weather?" And this farmer said to me one day something that was very profound. He said, "You can't wake a person who's pretending to sleep."
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    Feb 11 2011: This is an easy one for me. In my opinion, the single most beautiful sentence ever uttered on the TED stage: "Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind." - Wade Davis


    Context: "When each of you in this room were born, there were 6,000 languages spoken on the planet. Now, a language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. A language is a flash of the human spirit. It's a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind. A watershed, a thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities."
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    Feb 25 2011: "Your daughter isn't sick, she's a dancer".

    ... Sir Ken Robinson
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    Feb 25 2011: "The first time you do something, it's science. The second time, it's engineering. The third time, it's just being a technician."

    Clifford Stoll on... everything - http://www.ted.com/talks/clifford_stoll_on_everything.html

    While not technically a single sentence, it is a single concept.
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    Feb 14 2011: Itay Talgam "If you love something, give it away"

    It also epitomises TED with its generousity in posting TED Talks online free in 2006, in offering TEDx to the whole world in 2009, enable so many thousands of passionate people who care about ideas and about building the future to bring together their local TED communities. Carpe Diem. Thank you TED.

    PS: Musician Sting has a similar quote "If you love somebody, set them free"
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    Feb 14 2011: "The first boy said 'I bring you gold', and the second boy said 'I bring you myrrh', and the third boy said 'Frank sent this'."

    Sir Ken Robinson says Schools Kill Creativity

    I show this talk at the beginning of each school year to about 75 teachers to remind us how valuable the creativity of students is and to remember not to squash it as we are trying to deliver our curriculum!
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    Feb 14 2011: "It's a story about us, people, being persuaded to spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about."

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    Feb 11 2011: My fav sentence would be from Richard Dawkins' talk in 2002:

    "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in, some of us just go one god further."
  • Feb 11 2011: A girl drawing something.
    - What are you drawing? (teacher asks)
    - I'm drawing God
    - But nobody knows how God looks like (teacher says)
    - They will know in a minute!
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    Feb 22 2011: Sir Ken Robinson: "I believe that creativity should be treated with the same respect as Maths, English and Science" (Big round of applause) "Thank you, that's it, that's my whole talk. Right 15 minutes. Ok, so I was born..." (More laughter.)

    His humour made it compelling to listen to an important topic and not the feel impending doom because of the subject matter.
  • Feb 16 2011: "The reality of the society that were in is there are thousands and thousands of people out there, leading lives of quiet screaming deperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don't need, to impress people they don't like. It's my contention that going to work on a Friday in jeans and t-shirt isn't really getting to the nub of the issue."

    Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work
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    Feb 15 2011: "I say to you, trust yourself and believe. Whatever happens don't give up." -- William Kamkwamba

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    Feb 15 2011: "You are enough" - Brene Brown
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    J J LEE

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    Feb 15 2011: "Chance favors the connected mind." by Steven Johnson on 'Where good ideas come from'
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    Feb 14 2011: Reading through the conversation on Hidden Gems, I was just reminded of another perfect sentence, and had to submit again:

    "I am a mathematician, and I want to stand on your roof." - Ron Eglash
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    Feb 13 2011: "Chance favors the connected mind." Steven B Johnson, from his TED talk and book, Where Good Ideas Come From. Concise, thought-provoking, could be a slogan for the liquid nexus of ideas that is TED
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    Feb 11 2011: On raising our children: "Our job is to look and say, 'You know what? You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.' "

    Brene Brown.
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    Feb 11 2011: The sentence I've chosen comes from what I love from TEDTalks. ‘Robert Lang folds way-new origami’ first mentioned the case of Yoshizawa, an origami folder, who created a language, a way to communicate, a code of dots, dashes and arrows. Mr Lang depicts the importance of following your wishes -no matter how unimportant they may seem a priori- and how by unleashing one's potential, and trusting in the «global knowledge», in the long run, it finally pays off.

    The sentence is "as weird and surprising as it may sound, origami may someday even save a life."

    It relates to a heart stent developed by Zhong You at Oxford University that folds down using an origami pattern to hold open a blocked artery when it gets to its destination, but it needs to be much smaller for the trip there, through the blood vessels.

    Let’s celebrate the passion of Yoshizawa for creating new languages, as well as the willingness of many others –including Zhong You- for talking those new languages which at the end of the day enriches all of us as a species.
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    Feb 11 2011: "Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own. Don’t put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you … failure has to be an option in art and exploration because it’s a leap of faith. In whatever you’re doing, failure is an option, but fear is not."

    James Cameron.
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    Feb 19 2011: Halla Tomasdottir about Vigdis Finnbogadottir -- first female to become head of state, single mom, a breast cancer survivor who had had one of her breast removed. At one of the campaign sessions, one of her male contenders alluded to the fact that she couldn't become president; she was a woman, and even half a woman. That night she won the election, because she came back -- not just because of his crappy behavior -- but she came back and said:

    "Well, I'm actually not going to breastfeed the Icelandic nation, I'm going to lead it."
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    Feb 16 2011: I love that sometimes we need to go to the opposite side of the world, to realize assumptions we didn't even know we had, and realize that the opposite of them may also be true.

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    Feb 15 2011: "I tried. And made it" ~ William Kamkwamba

    Talk: William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind
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    Feb 15 2011: Well, my preferred sentence is "If I designed the Internet, childhood.com would be a loop of a boy in an orchard, with a ski pole for a sword, trashcan lid for a shield, shouting, "I am the emperor of oranges. I am the emperor of oranges. I am the emperor of oranges.""

    Read more: http://www.sweetspeeches.com/s/370-rives-_-rives-controls-the-internet#ixzz1E2HY0VUk

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    Feb 14 2011: "Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded."
    Suheir Hammad
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    Feb 13 2011: "We need to love all children of all species for all time," William McDonough
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    Feb 22 2011: There are so many!
    Nic Marks: "I have a dream - stop thinking that the future will be a nightmare"
  • Feb 18 2011: 'If we want to change our trajectory, in life or in a balloon, we have to change our altitude'. Bertrand Piccard's solar-powered adventure
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    Feb 17 2011: "...How finding your passion changes everything" ~ Sir Ken Robinson
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    Feb 17 2011: "Work Smart, Then Work hard and Don't forget to have FUN"
    From : My seven species of robot by Dennis Hong
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    Feb 16 2011: There were so many from his talk, but from "Bill Strickland Makes Change with a Slide Show" about the fountain and flowers in his education center:

    "I think that welfare mothers and at-risk kids and ex-steel workers deserve a fountain in their life...so the first thing you see at my center in the springtime is water that greets you; water is life, and water of human possibility, and it sets an attitude and an expectation about how you feel about people, before you ever give them a speech."

    I think there is a lesson to be learned here for how we set up and create a culture of learning and of helping people.
  • Feb 16 2011: "That's progress!, when we prove things are wrong", (Neil Turok)
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    Feb 16 2011: This was in Chris Anderson's Crowd Accelerated Innovation talk: "We need to believe in the richness of human capacity."

    As an educator, I like language like this because it means we're not treating children as non-learners but as self-directed scholars.
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    Feb 16 2011: "creativity starts when you cut a zero off the budget"
    Jamie Learner
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    Feb 16 2011: "Let's all stop being so damned respectful"
    final phrase
    by Richard Dawkins in

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    Feb 16 2011: I just can't decide between these two...

    David Deutsch in Our Place in the Cosmos: "PROBLEMS ARE SOLUBLE"

    Malcolm Gladwell in Spaghetti Sauce: "...in embracing the diversity of human beings, we will find a surer way to true happiness."
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    Feb 15 2011: Stewart Brand: "We are as gods (on the earth) and we have to get good at it"


    For more context the full closing quote of the talk is "In the Whole Earth Catalog my first words were, 'We are as gods and we might as well get good at it'. In Whole Earth Discipline my first words are, 'We are as gods and we might as well get good at it'"
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    Feb 15 2011: I'm a sucker for Amory Lovin's talk about winning the oil endgame. This is the best line from it:

    "Thos... inefficient [air]planes are worth more to society dead than alive. We ought to take them out back and shoot them, and put bounty hunters after them."
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    Feb 15 2011: When Ben Dunlap says for the second time "You are being paid double the wage of every other textile worker in the region and this is the way we do business. Any other questions?"
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    Feb 15 2011: I loved Elizabeth Gilbert saying "I showed up for work and did my part".

    This piece was in reference to her genius in the room as she tried to get the job done!
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    Feb 15 2011: "When we give the world what we want the most, we heal the broken part inside each of us." Eve Ensler "Happiness in body and soul"
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    Feb 15 2011: This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee -- and that's really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that's excruciatingly difficult -- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive."

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    Feb 14 2011: 1- "Whatever you are doing failure is an option, fear is not." - James Cameron: Before Avatar ... a curious boy

    2- Technology has not delivered political change in Iran. You've got to look at the outputs, and you got to say to yourself, "What can I do to produce that particular output?" That is the politics of the 21st century." Carne Ross: An independent diplomat
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    Feb 11 2011: The last sentence from Barry Schwartz "Using our practical wisdom" talk:

    "In giving us the will and the skill to do the right thing -- to do right by others -- practical wisdom also gives us the will and the skill to do right by ourselves."