If you know me at all, it’s no secret I’m rather obsessed with TED talks. I think one of the absolute coolest things about being the internet generation is the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, and the fact that we can have an expert on pretty much anything break it down for us in 20 minutes or less. What?! How are we so lucky?
I was chatting with a friend recently about some good TED talks to look up (and sharing about the TED Radio Hour podcast, obviously, because ITS THE BEST), and I decided a list was in order. 9 times of out 10, when I listen to a really great TED talk, I want to buy the person’s book afterwards (because, let’s be real, 9 times out of 10 the speaker has a 200 page book that explains in detail their 20 minute talk). A friend once joked extroverts love TED talks because they get all the information of a research heavy book in 20 minutes or less, and it feels like they socialized with the speaker; introverts love TED talks because they get a 20 minute intro into the next book they’ll be buying. Pretty much. Sooo maybe this isn’t a typical “book list”, but kinda sorta it is? Also this is my website and I get to do what I want.
Here are 5 TED talks that changed my life:
(most definitely not an exhaustive list, and in no particular order)
If I Should Have a Daughter…, Sarah Kay
Okay, try to listen to the first 5 minutes and not fall out of your chair. Just try. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to her beginning piece because it’s just. that. good.
Sarah Kay is a brilliant poet; her mastery of words leaves me in awe daily (literally daily. I’ve been reading her poetry every night before bed). As if that isn’t good enough (which, IT IS), how she’s using her passion and talent in the lives of young people is truly inspiring. Even if you aren’t a word nerd, this talk is wonderful.
Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection, Reshma Saujani
You can probably tell by the title of this alone that I am alllllll about it. But let’s get vulnerable for a second: the first time I watched this I was in tears. Because this is a daily struggle of mine …and of friends my age …and of my girls who are still growing up. Girls’ strive for perfection seems so normal, I never even considered striving for bravery instead. Everyone should watch this and rethink how they treat the women in their lives (including themselves).
The Power of Introverts, Sarah Cain
This. Yes. Not only did so much of Cain’s talk resonate with me, her work is equally research heavy and eloquent. Yes, I immediately bought her book after watching this. Yes, I loved it. Instead of simply bashing on extroverts and their way of doing things, Cain points out ways for us to allow introverts to truly shine in their power. Her book does a super helpful job of explaining what an introvert actually is – we aren’t just shy, we aren’t just anti-social. Extroverts and introverts alike should be more aware of how the other functions, so we can respect the differences and love the differences.
The Power of Vulnerability, Brene Brown
Get ready for a punch to the gut, because this one gets me every time. Turns out we actually need to show our weaknesses to each other to really see each other to truly connect with each other – who would have thought? Brown is a fascinating researcher with a ton of great books. I think this talk is a gateway drug to becoming addicted to all her work. Worth. It.
The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Adichie
The pain of a Single Story is something that affects everyone, everywhere – yet I had never considered the concept until watching this beautiful talk. Adichie is all around wonderful – her books, her sass, her views on feminism. I love it all. This is her in her prime, talking about something so personal to her and yet so universal to the world. Once you watch it, you won’t be able to stop seeing the single stories you’ve believed about people in your life.
*Bonus: The Power of Story, Krystina Wilkinson
Oh my goodness, I just referenced myself on a list which feels so embarrassing and so ridiculous. And yet, if I’m being 100% honest while compiling a list of TED talks that truly changed my life, I’d be lying if I left mine off. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, and one of the coolest ways I saw God show up. I’m still so resistant to the attention it brings, even 2 years later. So this is me being honest and vulnerable (Brene would be so proud!), which I’m trying to do more of these days.
I could easily add 20 more to this list (…and probably will eventually), as I can easily talk about TED talks f o r e v e r. What are some of your favorites?? What should I be sure to watch next?