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7 TED Talks You Need To Watch Now (or Soon)

Updated on April 24, 2013

Introduction

TED Conferences started in 1984 as a union among Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Its flagship was the conference, but a lot of the conferences are also archived as videos on their website ted.com. The video talks are very often thought provoking, and features some of the most famous people of our times, including Dr. Stephan Hawking, Steve Jobs, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, Skeptic Michael Shermer, but also up-and-coming researchers, speakers, and performance artists in variety of areas.

I am an engineer by education, but my interest is in human nature and psychology. Here are seven TED Talks I find fascinating, and I'll explain why. I also listed a book available on Amazon that you can read if you want to look further into the matter.

In no particular order...

Bart Weetjens on Hero Rats

Yes, Rats can be Heroes... by getting trained as bomb and landmine detectors, as well as sniffing out tuberculosis (TB).

These are not ordinary rats, of course, but giant pouched African rats, which is actually quite tame, and being native, is far more adjusted to the African environment than any sort of dogs.

Another way man utilizes nature to its advantage for good, isn't it?

Steve Jobs on... Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Technically this is not a TED Talk, but it's listed on TED's "Best of the Web".

This is Steve Jobs' 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University, where he disclosed that he got cancer, and the operation, and he was... mostly cured. However, as we now know, he wasn't, because he didn't get chemo, and the cancer eventually came back and killed him. However, that's not the point. The point is his advice: live your life as if each day is your last, stay hungry (for knowledge), and stay foolish (to become wiser).

Philip Zimbardo on Psychology of Time

Philip Zimbardo is a psychologist that was perhaps most famous for his infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment". However, that's hardly the only thing he did. His study on happiness shows that there's a link between how we perceive time (past, present, and future), and how we classify events into those categories, and how happy we are. Some people dwell on different periods, while we need a balance in our lives to achieve proper happiness.

Daniel Kahnemann on Experience vs. Memory

Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahnemann had been studying the human mind, and why we do what we do for decades. He is a clinical psychologist, but he practically invented a branch of economics that is affecting Wall Street and financial markets all over now, on how people react to decisions that affects their financial futures. In this TED Talk, he talks about how you remember things is NOT the same as how it actually happened, as you recorded an experience of the event, not the event itself. And that fundamental difference is crucial in many decisions that you need to be aware of.

Malcolm Gladwell on Choice, Happiness and... Spaghetti Sauce?

Malcolm Galdwell had been writing for the New Yorker magazine since 1996, and he wrote several bestsellers about how people think and act. In the TED presentation, he explained how the availability of choice became a revolution in marketing and it started with a simple spaghetti sauce.

Michael Shermer and Why People Believe Weird Things

Do you really hear demonic messages when you play certain songs backwards? Do you really see demon faces in the smoke of World Trade Center ruins on 9/11? Or Jesus or Virgin Mary on a piece of toast, glass window, or even a wood door? Michael Shermer, publisher of the Skeptic magazine, explains why do people believe weird things, by linking it to our survival instinct, and the propensity to see links between events (even when there is none) as it's better safe than sorry".

Sir Ken Robinson on School vs. Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson is a noted British author and creativity expert, and he has a very interesting view that is gaining attention: that the current school system is designed to turn out industrial workers with minimum of competence for the industrial age, NOT to foster creativity and innovation needed for the information age.

This video is the most watched TED video ever at over 15 million hits

This message was echoed by several other "experts" for their own agenda, but you need to hear it directly from the source to understand WHY he thinks this is the case, and how can it be fixed.

Conclusion

I hope you find these TED Talks interesting food for thought. I certainly did so, as they inspired me in many different ways.

What are the TED Talks you find fascinating? Share a link below.

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