Big ideas can come in small packages.
Take TED talks, the beloved lectures on technology, entertainment, and design. Some of the most insightful talks don’t take up more than 10 minutes of the viewer’s time.
They’re perfect for when you want to expand your horizons and still get to that thing you’ve been meaning to do.
Here are some talks to turn to if you want to get smarter in a hurry.
Business consultant Julian Treasure remarks on the downsides of gossip, negativity, and excuse, and highlights the values of speaking honestly and non-judgmentally.
Treasure also outlines six tools to consider when speaking, including pitch, volume, and timbre. The talk reminds people that anyone can marshal the power of words, so long as they do it intentionally.
Duration -- 9:58
Kurzweil, a futurist and inventor, argues in two decades' time human thought will be a mixture of biological and non-biological processes.
According to Kurzweil, the brain will operate the same as it does today, but if you need some extra juice you'll be able to connect to the cloud for external neural connections -- all thanks to nanobots that live in your brain and connect to that cloud.
Duration -- 9:52
In 2003, Harbisson, an artist who was born colorblind, had an antenna implanted in the base of his skull. A sensor on the end of the antenna picks up incoming light and translates it into sound waves.
This puts Harbisson in the unique category of people known as cyborgs -- part-human, part-technology. His talk offers a strange glimpse into his futuristic life.
Duration -- 9:35
Tulley, the founder of the San Francisco-based school Brightworks, believes in letting kids make mistakes for themselves by tinkering and experimenting.
His talk extols the virtues of playing with fire and taking things apart, all in the name of figuring out how the world works.
Duration -- 9:18
The billionaire philanthropist has given several talks at TED, but his bleakest one warns the public of viral pandemic on a massive scale. Pathogens that travel through the air can (and have) killed millions.
Vaccination is more important than ever, Gates says. Everyone should see the value in getting themselves and their families protected.
Duration -- 8:32
A grin is way more than a grin, entrepreneur Ron Gutman says. In reality, smiling rates can indicate potential longevity and trigger positive emotions.
Gutman presents a number of studies explaining the reasons for and benefits of smiling. For instance, a Penn State study found smiling made people seem more likable and competent.
Duration -- 7:26
Duckworth, a UPenn psychologist, presents research that says IQ and raw talent aren't the secrets of success. Rather, it's the ability to keep going after failure.
Duckworth calls this trait 'grit.'
Interviewing everyone from West Point cadets to spelling-bee champions, Duckworth's research on grit has transformed the way psychologists and businesses think about success.
Duration -- 6:12
Kohn, a progressive political pundit, says political correctness isn't the mechanism by which people should relate to one another.
Persuasion doesn't begin with politics, she says, but with emotions.
Kohn's talk advocates for active, compassionate listening to start 'the kinds of conversations that really lead to change.'
Duration -- 5:59
Cardini, a designer and teacher, urges people to reconsider the value of multitasking. He says it's overrated from an actual productivity standpoint.
And a lot of research agrees.
Instead, Cardini encourages people to try out monotasking -- doing one thing at a time until finishing, and then starting the next task. It could make life a little easier.
Duration -- 2:52