10 Inspirational TED Talks

Since 2006 TED talks have been offered online for free from TED.com. The acronym ‘TED’ stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and was originally conceived by Richard Saul Wurman way back in 1984 as a conference. Back then the focus was toward technology and design, reflecting the Silicon Valley origins of the organisation and the slogan that was adopted when the organisation first started is still used today: Ideas Worth Spreading.

Today’s TED talks cover a much wider range of topics, illustrated by some of the most popular talks in 2018. Here at Customer Thermometer we love some of the inspirational TED talks which can be uplifting and motivational while at the same time enlightening and educational. So we have selected 10 inspirational TED talks which we think you will enjoy.

Why the Secret to Success is Setting the Right Goals

Over 2.1 million views.

Speaker: John Doerr – An engineer, acclaimed venture capitalist and the chairman of Kleiner Perkins.

In this engaging TED talk from an extensively experienced presenter, John Doerr demonstrates how setting the right goals and using ‘objectives and key results’ (OKRs) can make the difference between success and failure.

3 Myths About the Future of Work (and why they’re not true)

Over 1.3 million views.

Speaker: Daniel Susskind – An Oxford Economics graduate and co-author of the best selling book: The Future of Professions.

Daniel dives into automation anxiety in this thought provoking TED talk. We have all heard how machines, robots and AI are set to make most of us redundant in the not-too-distant future. Daniel identifies three myths: the terminator myth, the intelligence myth and the superiority myth which he examines and challenges in this presentation.

The Secret to Great Opportunities? The Person You Haven’t Met Yet

Over 1.6 million views.

Speaker: Tanya Menon – Associate Professor at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Her goal as a researcher, educator, consultant and parent is to create new ways for people to connect with each other.

Tanya Menon reflects on how we all tend to remain within our own socially narrow groups and circles of people who are similar to us. We all tend to follow the same paths and routes, day after day. She encourages her audience to widen their social worlds and connect with people who they would not ordinarily connect with.

How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google manipulate our emotions

Over 2.4 million views.

Speaker: Scott Gallaway – professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business and author of The Four: The Hidden DNA of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

Warning: This TED talk contains some colorful adult language!

Scott Gallaway embarks upon something of a rant in this lively presentation. He describes how our fundamental emotions are exploited by the likes of Amazon and Facebook. There’s a great QnA session toward the end – with fewer expletives!

Be Humble – and other lessons from the philosophy of water

Over 1.5 million views.

Speaker: Raymond Tang – An IT professional and founder of the Cultural Leadership Toastmasters Club at Westpac.

In this relatively short presentation (under 10 minutes) Raymond Tang describes how he eventually found the ancient Tao Te Ching text, only 81 pages long. He highlights a passage from the text comparing goodness to water and the three lessons he learned from this.

How Language Shapes the Way We Think

Over 4.1 million views

Speaker: Lera Boroditsky – Associate professor of cognitive science at University of California San Diego.

In this highly engaging presentation Lera Boroditsky describes how there are around 7,000 languages spoken around the world and each is responsible for its own cognitive universe. She presents some fascinating examples including an Australian Aboriginal community that uses cardinal directions as part of their normal greeting exchanges, resulting in them developing significantly enhanced direction cognition.

Don’t fail fast – fail mindfully

Around 1.5 million views.

Speaker: Leticia Gasca – Executive Director for the Failure Institute, the first think tank in the world devoted to studying business failure and the reasons behind it.

Warning: This TED talk contains some adult language.

This worthwhile TED talk looks into how we respond to failure. Failure tends not to be shared, unlike success. The speaker suggests that when we fail we should be failing mindfully, being aware of the impact of failing, the lessons that can be learned and being aware of the responsibility to share those lessons with the world.

The little risks you can take to increase your luck

Around 2 million views.

Speaker: Tina Seelig – Professor of the Practice in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University.

In this talk Tina Seelig acknowledges that most new ventures fail and that innovators and entrepreneurs need all the help they can get. She identifies three techniques that can be used to catch what she refers to as ‘the winds of luck’.

Why you should define your fears instead of your goals

Around 5.4 million views.

Speaker: Tim Ferris – Well known, best-selling author of The 4 hour work week.

In this great talk Tim Ferris describes how he once came close to committing suicide. He goes on to share his recipe for avoiding self-destruction and describes a technique for explicitly defining fears and mitigating their negative impact.

Why we do what we do

Over 23.2 million views.

Speaker: Tony Robbins – Well known and widely respected life coach and author of many best-selling self-help books.

This is an old favourite from 2006 in which Tony Robbins describes how emotions underpin our motivations. How do we take what we dream about and make it happen? Tony Robbins provides some valuable and motivating guidance.

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