x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Power of Limits

This event occurred on
November 17, 2015
Northbrook, Illinois
United States

Join us as we screen three prerecorded TED Talks and have a discussion afterwards. Refreshments will be served.

Post Event Recap:

After a brief introductory TEDx video, three TED Talks were screened:

- Psychologist Barry Schwartz, "The Paradox of Choice"
- Multimedia Artist Phil Hansen, "Embrace the Shake"
- Philosopher Ruth Chang, "How to Make Hard Choices"

Most of the audience enjoyed Barry Schwartz’s talk on the negative side effects to having too many choices, although some expressed reservations. One many said he would much rather have endless choices than have no choices or limited ones. Another pointed out that without a plethora of choice, we wouldn’t have the culture we have today. But his points about lowering expectations in certain instances, the stress of going to the grocery store, and our whole lives being spent making choices resonated.

Phil Hansen’s visually-stimulating talk and positive message seemed to be the most popular video of the evening. We liked his creativity, and how his story involved getting stuck in a dark place but finding a way to move beyond limitations and achieve success (or be okay with failure). After all, we all have limitations, but if we can find a way to embrace them we can better love and understand ourselves.

Someone said Ruth Chang’s talk helped her realize she is a drifter, and that she had never consciously looked for choices. Another called her talk empowering, because it gives us the agency to make choices and not agonize over them later. Still another participant said it was interesting that Chang didn’t mention consulting with people you admire to help you make decisions and gain perspective. We enjoyed that her talk reframed how we think of hard choices, instead of the “good choice”, we follow the one that indicates what we value about ourselves. We also noted that though the idea of family values or a guiding morality can help us in decision making, those values are not always set in stone. Ultimately we can’t know what will happen, but by simply living with our choices we are standing behind them.

Further Reading/Watching:

- Barry Schwartz books available through the library
- Phil Hansen's book Tattoo A Banana: And Other Ways to Turn Anything and Everything Into Art
- Ruth Chang's website:
- Phil Hansen's website:
- TED Playlist: Talks to watch when you have a big decision to make
- TED Playlist: How We Make Choices
- TED Playlist: Talks to watch when you don't know what to do with your life

Northbrook Public Library
1201 Cedar Lane
Northbrook Public Library
Northbrook, Illinois, 60062
United States
Event type:
Library (What is this?)
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Organizing team


Northbrook, IL, United States