The best of TED Talks

Column by Jonathan Rudnick

jonathanrudnickTED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, was originally a closed annual conference where industry experts discussed their greatest accomplishments and most impassioned ideas.

Since 2006, the best talks of these conferences have been uploaded on Youtube and, and as of a year ago, have reached a billion views. The recent addition of these online talks is representative of TED’s slogan, “Ideas worth sharing.” Each speaker is given 18 minutes or less to tell their story, and talks can vary in topic from new technological advances to global issues, the arts, simple advice and much more, but they are all captivating. Here is a list of some of the best TED has to offer.

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

In this motivating talk, clinical psychologist Meg Jay talks about her experience counseling twenty-somethings and the insights she gleaned from it. Jay tries to motivate our generation into planning for the rest of their lives rather than letting opportunities pass them by. She came up with three ideas she thinks every young adult needs to hear — and she’s right.

Nilofer Merchant: Got a meeting? Take a walk

Nilofer Merchant’s talk is a short one. and it carries one simple idea: We sit 9.3 hours in our day  and it is killing us. “Sitting has become the smoking of our generation,” Merchant said, and it is time to make a change. Instead of asking someone to meet you somewhere where you will both sit, ask them to go on a walk with you. The results may surprise you.

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do

Easily the most enthusiastic speaker on this list, life coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins gives an inspiring talk on why people act, how you can motivate yourself and what brings us all together. His talk is funny, interactive with the audience and touching at the same time. Plus, you get to watch him high-five Al Gore.

Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your world-view

Statistician Hans Rosling doesn’t sound like the most interesting speaker, especially when you find out his talk is about the statistics of third-world countries and poverty. But Rosling’s innovative methods of displaying these statistics, coupled with his sportscaster-like announcing as the statistics dance across the screen, is enough to make any viewer as inspired by his statistics as he is.

Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod

This short talk features Rob Reid employing “copyright math” to illustrate the $58 billion in losses the Motion Picture Association states the economy has sustained due to copyright theft. Reid’s humorous talk shows numerous holes in the Association’s logic, revealing that, maybe, piracy isn’t quite as damaging as we are led to believe.

Honorable Mentions:

If you have the time, these TED talks are definitely worth a look

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire happiness

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness

Rudnick  is a first-year politics and computer science double major and can be reached at


Comments are closed.