Some TED talks are given by world-famous presenters at the renowned annual conferences, while others are saved for smaller locales. The one thing they have in common: they’re thought-provoking and informative, helping to open minds and hearts around the world. If you have loads of extra time on your hands, you should watch them all (you’ll learn so much!) – but for anyone with just a few (maybe under 18) minutes to spare, here are 10 TED Talks that will immediately change how you see the world. Enjoy!
Mike Rowe: Learning from Dirty Jobs
Mike Rowe, the host of “Dirty Jobs,” tells some compelling (and horrifying) real-life job stories. Listen for his insights and observations about the nature of hard work, and how it’s been unjustifiably degraded in society today.
Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.
Aimee Mullins: My 12 pairs of legs
Athlete, actor and activist Aimee Mullins talks about her prosthetic legs — she’s got a dozen amazing pairs — and the superpowers they grant her: speed, beauty, an extra 6 inches of height … Quite simply, she redefines what the body can be.
Shane Koyczan: For the bullied…and beautiful
By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it’s like to be young and … different. “To This Day,” his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowd-source style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious, live reprise with backstory and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson.
Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.
Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she’s tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don’t judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16 years old.
Majora Carter: Greening the ghetto
In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx — and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.
Hyeonseo Lee: My escape from North Korea
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was “the best on the planet.” It wasn’t until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope — and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind.
Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music
Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.
Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Which one of these powerful talks is first on your listening list?
**All TED talk summaries taken from ted.com
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