TED Conversations

Chris Anderson

Curator, TED


This conversation is closed.

Has a TED Talk ever influenced you? How?

We get beautiful feedback on how much people appreciate watching TED Talks. But as well as learning, has a talk ever actually changed your (or someone else's) behavior? Or led to something intriguing? I'm curious to get some stories about how an idea can have impact... big or small, significant or just funny. I may share a couple of the best at TED2011 next week.

Topics: ted talks

Closing Statement from Chris Anderson

Many thanks to all who answered. I found a lot of these responses really moving. My take away is that perhaps the biggest single impact of TED Talks is in expanding peoples' sense of possibility and thereby motivating them to get up and realize their potential.

  • Feb 27 2011: Chris,

    Your talk on “Crowd Accelerated Innovation” inspired us to think big about how sharing videos can be used to slingshot good ideas into mainstream culture.

    So we created innovideo.tv, a curated gallery of videos about innovative ideas.

    Assuming that only half of the people who have gone to the “Charlie bit my finger – again!” video on YouTube (http://goo.gl/8jviM) watched all 59 seconds, then humanity has spent 253 years watching that one video.

    Imagine the change we can create if we harness that power to share innovation in video format.

    Thank you for inspiring us with your talk, Chris. We hope that innovideo.tv can continue working with the crowd to shine light on ideas and create desire to do good.


    -the Innovideo team
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    Feb 23 2011: A TED talk saved my life. At a TED University session a few years ago, I learned about 23andme, the genetics testing company. I took the test, and found out I was at high risk for blood clots, particularly after surgery. A few months later -- unexpectedly -- I needed surgery on my knee. I told my doctors about the genetic test; they put me on blood thinners; and then -- as foretold -- I had a blood clot that went to my lungs. Because my doctors had prescribed the blood thinners, the clot just put me into the hospital instead of killing me. I'm fine now, but grateful to 23andme, and grateful to TED.
  • Feb 23 2011: Liz Gilbert's talk at TED2009 hit so close to home, it's scary. When she said, "It's exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me." it hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember the moment well. I was transiting the back of the theater and it her words stopped me in my tracks. I almost dropped the camera I was carrying.

    It took me a few seconds to realize that the reason it smacked me so hard was that it's the same thought (said much more eloquently than I could put it) I had been wrestling with for over a decade. I've watched people try to put my career changes and life path in context of a few bits of software that I created in the late 90's that have done quite well. As my public career has morphed from software to photography and now settled in a world somewhere between, I've watched as people explain it. And it always came back to stuff that happened ten years ago, not now or not the path that I'm currently on. And, quite frankly, I hated that. I despised it, in fact.

    But then, as she went on with her talk and argued that it'd be much better to think about creativity as something that flows through us, I was able to start changing my thoughts on the matter—in real time as she continued to talk, and I somehow managed to keep making photos of her with the camera I almost had dropped a few minutes before—and start recasting my view on it.

    Instead of trying so hard to live up to something in the past that I happened to be in the right time and place for, Liz's words guided me to consider a different view on it of being a conduit for that creativity. Maybe that would be enough. Furthermore, if I could indeed follow her advice and be the best conduit for my own creative spark, maybe I would be that much more ready for the next right time and place and prepared to apply everything I could. And if that time never came, well, I'd done my part.

    By the time she finished, I was both emotionally spent and at peace with the idea. Thank you Liz
  • Feb 24 2011: I remember watching Richard Dawkins ted talk before i knew that TED existed.I was a devout hindu and at the same time was (am) a science student. Eventhough all the science i have been reading never suggested God existed but i kept on believing. That talk moved something inside me. It waged a war inside me. I had been praying all my life and suddenly i didn't have enough belief. It was like being cured from Schizophrenia. The transformation was very painful but the revelation was a delight. I found an answer to a question - "why there is so much pain and suffering in this world". Because we get rid of our burden of responsibility thinking there is some powerful and benevolent being that will do it for us. Being atheist made me realized that atitude will cost this planet a lot. TED is really a GODSENT in that matter (hehehehehehe) as it has been attacking that attitude. It shows people that even a single person can bring the revolution to life, whether it's Sunitha Krishnan fighting sex slavery or Dawkins fighting mass schizophrenia.
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    Feb 24 2011: Chris,

    I suppose this would be a good time to thank you for all you've done with TED--I have lacked any form of mentorship for the last 5 years throughout my undergraduate studies, until recently at least, and TED Talks have really sustain me through the disheartening youth culture of mediocrity and un-inspiration.

    When I first found TED, I was an under-performing high school student, barely made it into a state university, and had lost the love for learning that had so passionately consumed me since my days of Montessori. I am now one of the first--if not the very first--undergraduate ever to present in the main program of the annual meeting for the American Philosophical Association in their 120 year history; I've had 2 major lung surgeries during which i started a surgery recovery blog that has reached thousands across the world; I have facilitated a new partnership between a major non-profit and a major bay-area startup; I was selected by the Office of the President of my University as a distinguished scholar candidate for next cycle (Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell); and I have started a philosophy-action student group at a local high school that is in the process of being integrated into my University Department of Philosophy.

    I don't say this to brag, as the accomplishments of TED speakers and those who might post here vastly overshadow my own; I say this because I want to illustrate how massive of an impact TED has had on my life. I can trace a specific set of talks to all of these accomplishments, and though I don't have space to go into this here, they include talks by Ken Robinson, Tim Ferriss, Aimee Mullins, Tony Robbins, Mike Rowe, and Shimon Schocken among others.

    The intellectually-starved and mentor-deprived youth of today, my students included, find in TED inspiring examples and a rare fountain of social hope in an otherwise oppressive and broken education system. I hope to have even a fraction of the impact you've had here with TED.

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    Feb 27 2011: TED has given me the strength to fight for a better world.
    Since I discovered TED I am always scheming on ways to improve things, ways of uniting people for a greater good and for the first time in my life i feel that It's possible!
  • Feb 26 2011: I tell people I meet that the Internet was invented just so that TED.com could exist. It is quite simply one of the most valuable websites that has ever been created.

    Has TED changed my behaviour?

    My initial reaction would be to say " No, not really...".

    But wait, TED constantly changes my mood, and like most TED devotees, that change of mood is invariably positive in nature - taking a cue from the Home Page - TED talks increase my fascination, my wonder, my enthusiasm, my inspiration and my understanding. Who knows where such mood-enhancement will lead, long-term?

    I just love the range of TED talks. From astrophysics to spaghetti sauce, from rats sniffing out landmines to the confessions of an advertising man, from mirror neurones to some of the best talks on marketing you could ever hear.

    Sir Ken Robinson has rightly come in for a lot of praise for his TED speech, which at this rate will soon overtake Shakespeare's Henry V's battle-cry at Agincort. But I believe that Sir Ken's speech is just the tip of a TED iceberg crammed full with insights and ideas. Go explore the whole pantheon of TED talks - it'll be worth the effort.

    So I'll finish as I started:

    TED. Why the Internet was invented.
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      Feb 26 2011: Very well said, I dont need to comment, your opinion on ted is very similiar. Although in addition to TED, youtube is why the internet is created.
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    Feb 24 2011: Well it has often made me think, but the biggest impact on my life so far is helping me get together with my wonderful girlfriend by helping me be braver. I had watched Brene Browns talk about the power of vulnerability. It wasn't exactly a new idea, but it was powerfully communicated. I was visiting my friend Callie in the States, and we had become closer during my visit. So riding in the car on the way to the airport I was writing a letter as a parting gift, but I decided to tell her how I felt about her. She is a wonderful, smart, funny and kind person who struggles in a poor part of America without wealthy parents to pay her way into college. It was as heartfelt as I get, and as I opened up so did she, and I am visiting again in two weeks, this time as her boyfriend. So thank you TED, this is only a small part of the greater wisdom I think I have earned from your talks.
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    Feb 23 2011: It's very hard to asses something that gets under you skin as deep as TEDTalks...

    I guess every TEDTalk has influenced me in that I can now put into words many of the beliefs I already had before watching it, which in turn helps me make impact among my peers' thinking and my own.

    For example, I've always felt education is broken in a way, but I could never formulate a single "why", whereas now I can form several (schools kill creativity, math is not taught in a practical way, etc.). I've also felt that there's something wrong in the way we perceive morals and religion, but couldn't express what I thought was right, whereas now I can point at the "golden rule" (which I was actually thought in school, but handn't realized it's such an old and culturally universal saying) and Richard Dawkins' talk.
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    Feb 27 2011: Ted Talk constantly influences who I am every day. I was introduced to Ted Talk a few years ago and one of the first memorable presentations that changed how I approach challenges in my life and how I teach in the classroom is Benjamin Zander on music and passion.

    This talk was absolutely amazing and shows the importance of being passionate about what we do and how it carries over to others.
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    Feb 26 2011: You have recently experienced a major loss in your life yet you will bring so much optimism and hope to all of through the TED venues and sharing of ideas. I continually find that sharing various TED talks in my classes and workshops provides the kind of perspective that all of need to have now and in the future. Often it is not one talk but the threads through many talks that weave differently for each of us. My tapestry will be different that yours but yet common elements and threads.
    Thanks for providing a platform from which we can weave our tapestries.
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    Feb 25 2011: Ted.com has completely changed how I look at the world. I am much more optimistic about the future now, especially a more just future for women, and I look at everything in a different, enlightened way, thinking about what is going on behind the scenes, who is running everything, and Ted has especially raised my awareness of the importance of design. Besides giving me a whole new pantheon of heroes, ted also affects my daily life:
    -I get mad at the stop signs after watching a speech about how roundabouts are so much better!
    -I practice breathing daily after I saw a speech that called it 'brain-brushing,' like teeth-brushing, which totally changed how much of a burden I considered it.
    -I have something to add or ask about in almost any conversation
    -I went semi-vegetarian
    -I recognize what an extraordinary time period it is to be alive for
    -I feel like part of a global community
    -I spend 10-20 minutes a day watching a TED speech- I've seen about 700 at this point. I also attended TEDxPSU, a TEDxGlen Echo watch party, and got into the Washington Post complaining about its TEDWomen coverage. TED makes real all the ideals we have about what humanity should be like.
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      jag . 50+

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      Feb 26 2011: Nice, thats great. Especially the part abput feeling part of a global community. Sometime when I see people arguing over crazy things like race and religion, it feels so small and unimportant.
  • Feb 25 2011: I am an educator and TED has inspired both me and my students in countless ways. My favourite TED talks have been by Sir Ken Robinson, Adora Svitak, Madeline Albright, Isabel Allende and Tony Porter.

    However the one TED talk that has truly impacted me is Dave Egger's "Once Upon a School".

    As an educator I wear 2 distinctive hats: as a an academic in a recognized academic institution and as a popular educator working in the larger community. In my role in academia I am challenged by the limits imposed by the bureaucracy of education. As a popular educator I practice the Freirean philosophy of education for the people which is based on an anti-oppression learner centred paradigm.

    Dave's talk has inspired me to work toward uniting these two oppositional paradigms. I have begun by developing a pilot program in my college to get first year students published. This project titled "The Next Big Idea" will launch in the 2011-2012 academic year. The next step involves applying for a grant to create a popular education space in the community that will link the community with popular education practices. And finally I intend to build action learning into the curriculum for my courses. This will call for students to connect with community members and share their learning & experiences, allowing all learners, both formal & informal, to inspire one another.

    I have watched his Ted Talk countless times and am continually inspired by the project he developed.

    Thank you, Dave Eggers!!
    • Feb 26 2011: I really liked Dave Eggers' talk too. Another related and equally inspiring TED talk that you might like is by Zoe Weil called "The World Becomes What You Teach" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5HEV96dIuY
      • Feb 26 2011: Thank you for suggesting Zoe Weil's talk. I loved it and have ordered her books from my local library and will look at integrating her ideas into my curricula :)
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    Feb 23 2011: A TED talk changed my life. About five years ago I was doing an online search about Richard Dawkins when I found his TED talk. I then started watching other talks as they went online and a few years later became a TEDster myself for the first time in 2009.

    It may be a cliche, but it is still true: TED2009 blew my mind and when the pieces came together again they were aligned differently ... better! The experience was repeated in 2010 and I have high expectations for what will happen in a few days in 2011. I can honestly say that I lead a better life by thinking bigger and acting on ideas.

    TED does that to you, it gives you ideas and energizes you into taking action to make this world a better place.
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    Mar 2 2011: I am a beginning college professor in Engineering and discovered TED while a graduate student a few years ago.The talks have inspired me to become a better student, researcher, educator, and teacher. When people ask me what I do, I respond that "I teach".

    I could go on about how I am inspired, motivated, challenged, and touched by the TED talks, but instead I want to focus on the ripple effect that TED has had on my teaching and my students.

    TED talks bring into context a lot of concepts that are part of my classes. The objective of using the TED talks is to inspire but most importantly to let the students see that all of what they are learning is related to the real world, or on what they will do when they become professionals. Sometimes to give them a little guidance, and to expand their sphere of ideas, of influence.

    As a result of featuring these talks, the level of motivation, and the quality of the work that the students do has increased significantly. That is a wonderful result, but suddenly at the start of the class I now have students wanting to discuss a talk that they saw, or ask me questions about something outside of class that they were curious about that we saw in a talk and wanted to know more.

    One of my students has now declared he wants to be part of the first manned Mission to Mars( after watching the talks about Space and Mars), some have decided to build robots, others have started their own organizations or clubs (Mini Baja vehicle, leadership groups, faith based groups), others have applied to internships or scholarships at NASA, JPL, Raytheon, etc that they would have never thought to do (and have gotten them). Students are sharing the talks at home, with other students, and now with other faculty. Some of those faculty members have now started to use TED talks in their classes, and the cycle repeats. It's not all of them, but enough to make a difference as it trickles down to others.

    Inspiration, motivation, challenge, repeat as needed
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    Feb 28 2011: I have listened to Liz Gilbert's talk on creativity over and over, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of it. As a student in the extremely competitive environment of a music conservatory, I've become quite disillusioned with the often cut-throat environment of the arts. It seems so contradictory! If someone is pursuing what they love, they should not be judged or put down for "inferior standards" or any of that nonsense. When I first saw Liz's talk a year ago, it was a breath of fresh air to hear her "Ole" to all artists out there for giving their all.

    The second time I listened to the video of her talk, I was in an extremely different place in my life. I had just had a nervous breakdown due to the overwhelming pressure of music school, had been hospitalized in a psychiatric institution, and had replaced music with writing as my creative outlet. Listening to the talk a second time, I was hit even harder with the importance of loving what I do, no matter what that is or how "well" I'm doing it. As a friend of my family put it, the very idea of a competition in any sort of field of art is as ridiculous as having a "loving" competition. No one can judge the extent of someone's love for any field or how well they communicate it. I didn't take this to heart, and it drove me into a mental hospital. I only pray that others will heed Liz's inspiring words before they find themselves in a similar place. I am a perfect example of an artist who put too much faith in myself rather than my "genius" as she put it; my God as I would prefer to put it. Ole to Liz for her inspiring words, and Ole to all those artists out there who doubt themselves and their work. Keep at it.
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    Feb 27 2011: I have, since always, an allergy to meetings. This Fried's talk ( http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jason_fried_why_work_doesn_t_happen_at_work.html ) led me to organize new kind of meetings: standing meetings. If you have to stand during a meeting... the meeting will take al lot less time.
  • Feb 27 2011: About 18 months ago I saw Johnny Lee’s Wii Mote Hack’s at a fortuitous time. We had grant money to spend on technology to change our Detroit Charter Schools archaic ed- tech environment. I bought everything Johnny said was needed, downloaded his software and put together a presentation for my school. They were going to purchase a few SMART Boards. Instead we now have Wii mote Interactive White Boards in all 40 classrooms in our school. We also had money left over for three mobile labs, a set of student response systems per grade level, and document cameras for all classrooms that teach Math and Science.

    I have gone on to share Ted Talks with other teachers including Sugata Mitra shows how kids teach themselves. This inspired the use of Skype, using computers in project based group work, and for myself, I try to take a “Granny cloud” approach to teaching, offering encouragement wherever and whenever I can.
    Sharing TED Talks with my middle school students has had a profound impact on them as well. Living in Detroit can be discouraging in the best of times, but TED Talks give us hope; hope that innovative, insightful, compassionate, people are finding workable positive solutions to the world’s problems. I can only hope that the inspiration they seem to derive from the talks has a lasting impact motivating them into action. It is still too early to tell.

    Thank you for creating and sharing this forum. I treasure it.
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      Feb 27 2011: Wow. Someone who has actually successfully implemented more than one idea from TED in their daily work (as opposed to just experimenting with it or doing something similar to it).

      The world needs more people like you!
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    Feb 26 2011: Inspiring TED talks change the way I teach.
    Ali Carr-Chell caused me to design my classes more actively and increased my tolerance to noise and movement.
    Dan Meyer and Conrad Wolfram reinforced me to change the way statistics are taught in my department.
    Sugta Mitra inspired me to have one lesson totally based on student-driven learning, and has also helped me change the way research methods are taught in my department.

    And Barton Seaver caused me to decrease the animal protein portions in our family meals.
  • Feb 25 2011: Ken Robinson and Temple Grandin have profoundly influenced my life. They encouraged me to step out write a book on literacy and begin Pedia Learning. Our goal at Pedia Learning is to educate the whole child: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Currently we are focused on literacy, the foundation of all academic pursuit. We publish books and curriculum that promote the respect of all types of learners, engaging student's strengths while strengthening their weaknesses.
    As an educator my reading methods classes did not prepare me to teach real students who thought differently from me. My sons, who were born engineers, could not read after finishing their kindergarten and first grade phonics program. Rather than labeling them with a disability, I saw their gifts and began to search for answers. I discovered reading centers around our country successfully teach children with "reading disabilities" simply by systematically teaching them the keys to unlock the English code. In this material I found the solutions to my own spelling difficulties and recognized its importance to logical-literal thinkers. With this systematic teaching they soared.
    Their younger sister is kinesthetic, She thinks while moving. I have learned to incorporate kinesthetic activities into teaching reading, while developing the auditory connections and teaching the logical system to our language. Because of Ken Robinson she is now happily enrolled in an intense gymnastics school and I value her learning there as much as her book work.
    In addition to writing, and beginning Pedia Learning, I have taught Logic of English classes for parents and teachers. Countless people come up to tell me "I wish someone had taught me this way in school. I thought there was something wrong with me."
    Ken Robinson's talks are so influential because they touch a deep chord within all of us. He encouraged me to step out to try to change education and make a difference in people's lives.
  • Feb 24 2011: I'm new to TED. I found it a couple of weeks ago and I've spent a good few nights staying up late listening and digesting the amazing things people are sharing here. I'm a creative innovator but I live in a small UK city that seems to be a creative dead zone.

    TED talks have given me permission.

    Permission to believe in myself, permission to believe in my ideas and permission to believe I can make a difference in the world.

    Having watched so many talks it is difficult to choose one that has influenced me more than others but right now i'm working out what tribe I want to lead having listened to Seth Godin's 2009 talk on 'the tribes we lead'.

    I look forward to reading about how others of you have been influenced.


  • Feb 24 2011: Alain De Botton's talk about success have really changed how I'll plan out my future. I have been worrying a lot about how to "succeed" in life, thinking mostly about what carrier to choose, which one is most prestigious and so forth. But everything he said really resonated with me and I decided to dig a little deeper when thinking about my life. I especially like the line, "the funny thing about success is that we think we know what it means". I was just intensely agreeing with everything he said! It was like all those vague thoughts I had before became clear and coherent. Really what I needed to hear. I plan on reading some of his books later. :)
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    Feb 24 2011: In earlier comment I covered exactly 2000 characters ( allowance in this post ) to pass the first part, the inspiration. I realize this thread is searching for action. I wanted to point out the first actions from my side. I am creator of a not yet known project that is a display system that uses web technology -- it's meant to be for public and semi-public spaces such as a commuity. A lot of people say that this project is called Digital Signage. But I always felt that "Digital Signage" view was biased towards the world of panels being used for propaganda.

    I am using a lot of energy to point out that this is not digital signage. The use of panels in public and semi-public spaces, using a social function, should not be called digital signage, I feel. And it is a difficult endeavor -- it's important to press the same note again and again, but also I had great problems because of the communication, the cases, let's say in Benjamin Zander's words, the impulses. The notes ( or communication and cases of uses ) needs to show a story that sticks and people can digest. That is where the connection with TED is helping:

    TED is helping me to explain this project better. When I created the project before knowing TED I had a technological view -- I knew the general direction but failed to tell the story that relates to life. Now, after TED, I am able to explain to the world that we can insert social panels in walls everywhere to make the world a better place to live -- these are not to be ad/corporation/broadcast controlled. This is to be made by locals, to share art, to share love, to share inspiration. In a way, like TED does online, but to do that in physical locations.

    I also seen many projects displayed at TED talking about that. A lot more mature projects and things that scaled already -- like the hole in the wall, and also social robots made by MIT. Also the lovely robot from the lovely MarylinMonrobot can be used in social spaces to educate people.
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      Feb 24 2011: I empathise with your frustrations. For my project, what used to take me two hours to explain, including how it worked technically, I have broken down to seven different elevator pitches of 60 seconds and now contains nothing of how it works. I choose which elevator pitch I use depending on what angle I think the recipient of the pitch can appreciate the problem. Good luck and look forward to seeing your TED talk on your project in the future.
  • Feb 24 2011: There are so many ways that TED talks have impacted me, I'm not even sure where to begin. I teach ESL to adults in Israel. As part of their learning, they are often assigned a talk to listen to and we sometimes use them in class. One day I assigned one of my student's Shimon Schocken talk about biking with juvenile delinquents here. Of course, being a cyclist himself, he knew him and he cycles with him, and he even arranged for me to meet him, as I told him he is one of my local heros. The William Ury one about another way of looking at peace is the middle east is another fabulous learning piece for my students and always leads to great conversation and pretty decent language, as they speak emotionally and aren't focused on rules. Lots of other student stories as well. Personally, both Brene Brown's and Hedy Schleifer's talks took me to some very cool and introspective places-as a middle aged single woman living alone in a very strange culture and country. I watch both of them when I need a lift or a gentle reminder about what is important in life.
    TED just rocks my world. Some days I get home so late I am just plain too tired to feed my body-but never too tired to have my daily TED dose and feed my soul. Thanks you guys-keep them coming.
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    Feb 24 2011: TED talks have an impact on me every day. And through me, both personally and on social media, hundreds of others are likewise touched.

    I've watched all or parts of more than 200 talks. Each one has offered something special: sparked a thought, generated an action, touched an emotion, initiated a thought process, inspired, amused, entertained, charmed, challenged... the list goes on...

    Some of my favourites (for a diversity of reasons) are:

    All of those by:

    Aimee Mullins
    Jacqueline Novogratz
    Eve Ensler
    Hans Rosling

    Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids
    Researcher Storyteller Brene Brown Tells Story About Connection
    Cindy Gallop: Make Love Not Porn
    Deborah Scranton On Her "War Tapes"
    Eddi Reader On "What You've Got"
    Elizabeth Gilbert On Nurturing Creativity
    Elizabeth Pisani Speaks on AIDS Research
    Helen Fisher On Love
    Isabel Allende Tells Tales of Passion In A Riveting TED Talk
    Iyeko Performs At TEDxAtlantic
    Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world
    Jessica Jackley on Poverty, Money...and Love
    Jill Sobule Sings To Al Gore
    Julia Sweeney On Letting Go Of God
    Julia Sweeney, Comic Actor, on the Facts of Life
    Karen Armstrong On The Charter of Compassion
    Jewish Author Lesley Hazelton Reads The Quran Slowly
    Liza Donnelly on How Humor Can Empower Women
    Mena Trott On Blogs
    Natalie Merchant Sings From Her New Album
    Natasha Tsakos Is WOW! In "Upwake"
    Rachel Sussman Shows Photographs Of The World's Oldest Life Forms
    Roz Savage: Why I'm rowing across the Pacific
    Sarah Jones As A One-Woman Global Village
    Sheena Matheiken on The Uniform Project
    Sheryl Sandberg on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
    Stacey Kramer on How Terrifying News Became a Priceless Gift
    Sue Gardner on The People's Encyclopedia
    Suheir Hammad Performs Poems of War, Peace, Women & Power
    Sunitha Krishnan’s Fight Against Sex Slavery
    Taryn Simon Photographs Secret Sites
    Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds
    Women’s Advocate Zainab Salbi Talks Women, War, and Peace

  • Feb 24 2011: Sir Ken Robinson is my favorite! For years I have bemoaned the education system and my children's places in it. Since listening to his talk, I've gotten off my couch and done something about it. Two of my children have been moved to charter schools. I've become an effective avocate for them and next week I will be speaking before our state legislature on proposed reforms that are detrimental to the charterschool system in New Mexico. I wouldn't have seen myself in this position a few years ago. Sir Ken inspires!
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    Feb 24 2011: In august 2007, I received this email form you.
    Dear TEDizens, I'm pleased to tell you that today we're premiering the first online talks… Over the coming months we'll continue to release ever more of these talks. These represent just the tip of the iceberg...
    All best, Chris Anderson, TED Curator, 
Emeka Okafor, Conference Director

    To access such a wealth of knowledge without the need to travel to the conference was great, This welcomed way into the energy and foresight of TED speakers was information based, and sometimes inspirational.
    Then one day, I viewed: Eddi Reader
    I was completely taken, I found myself shaking and sobbing over the unbalance of what was given to me versus what I had actually given back. As executive producer of five Cirque du Soleil shows and of ‘Ulalena in Hawaii, I felt these isolated efforts were not enough. Suddenly TED became "emotion based".

    Your choice to link us all through WHAT YOU’VE GOT was pivotal . It moved me from emotion to action, and has had long lasting staying power, especially during the recent economic downturn and loss of friend and family to sickness.
    I am now involved with many projects helping others doing things that count.

    TED talks kept the promise, the “iceberg” is revealed and it stands as “what matters the most”. Let’s not let it melt.
  • Feb 24 2011: Favourite talks and why:
    TED India is by far the best collection I've heard so far - I think because the projects are resounding in how impossible, how many barriers, how small they began, and how far they've come.

    All my favourite talks are funny. The reason I loved TED from the moment I started was that I realized the best insight was carried across with humour.

    JK Rowling's "Best of the Web" talk was what got me onto TED. I have rewatched that talk over 10 times fully and sent it to all my best friends who would entertain watching my link. It's still to date the only talk that's made me cry. It's the talk that has completely touched me - in the poetic delivery, and in the depth of nuanced insight. It was a talk that expressed my two most important values in ways I had never heard anyone else manage to encapsulate together - not just the idea of failure, but the idea of utterly feeling rock bottom and building up again. Also of being grateful every day when you are reminded of how many are so much worse off for no justifiable reason. So kudos to TED for putting that one on.

    Most importantly, TED creates community - in an inclusive way. To say you like TED is to declare that you love learning, that you're curious, and hopefully open. It is not a badge of stature you can buy like an LV, but a badge that others respect you for and are drawn to you unconditionally because you put the time, belief, and passion into watching those videos and being touched. To say you like TED doesn't mean you exclude those who haven't heard, or aren't interested. But it creates a common lingo for those who are - eyes light up, and instantly you know someone else is gets fired up with interesting conversations. TED helps connect strangers who are committed to ideas. That makes the world a smaller and more understanding place. :-)
  • Feb 24 2011: The Elizabeth Gilbert talk on Creativity rocked my world! Her application of ways ancient cultures perceived creatives and artists was inspiring and empowering. I love the idea of having my creative "outside" of me. Taking power over my creativity and that "genius" that guides me, and telling it what I need sometimes. It takes some of the pressure off and now when someone says "you're a genius" for something I've created, I silently thank MY genius for its part and for sticking with me. On days/weeks when I'm struggling with my creativity or at odds with my genius...or flat feel like my genius does not exist, I listen to her talk. It's like a mediation to bring me back to a place of comfort and inspiration and be receptive to my genius and my passion. I am hearing her speak in person tonight in NYC and I'm so excited and so thankful for the difference she has made in my thinking and doing!
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    Feb 24 2011: Not only has it been a great learning experience to watch TED talks but I have been very much influenced by the talks to keep a multi-disciplinary eye on what is going on around me. I should say that at the university I tend to get focused on a specific subject, yet everyday TED talks remind me to step back a little and view things from a wider perspective. I believe this to be a very useful attribute of the whole TED experience.