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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Favorite TED Talks

I love TED talks. For those who don't know, TED talks spread powerful ideas through talks that are under 18 minutes. These talks cover a wide variety of topics, from creativity to science to leadership, so there is something for everyone. And with my school deciding to host a TEDx event, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

How many lollipop moments have you had?

This TED talk is short but incredibly powerful. Dudley demonstrates how leadership is not in positions or grand actions, but in the little things we do every day that make other people's lives better. As an example, he recalls a day in which his humor encouraged a young woman to stay in college and caused her to meet her future husband. His actions helped that woman tremendously, but he didn't remember it at all. He dubbed this moment and others like it "lollipop moments". For a funny, quick TED talk, I would highly recommend this video.

2. The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This TED talk is all about representation, storytelling, and stereotyping. Adichie starts off this talk by telling the audience how, as a child, she only wrote stories about Western cultures, because that was the only culture represented in the books she read. After reading stories featuring African culture, she started writing stories with African characters. From there, she explains how having only one story of a person or a culture is damaging, talking about stereotypes she faced living in America and stereotypes that she believed of other cultures. This talk deftly explains the connections between stories and stereotypes without any blaming or shaming.

3. Why City Flags are the Worst-Designed Things You've Never Noticed by Roman Mars 
City Flag of SF. As it turns out, it's very badly designed 
This TED talk is very unique. The most striking difference is that it is presented like a radio show, complete with a presenter that is (gasp!) sitting down and with prerecorded interview segments. Another difference is that unlike in most TED talks, this topic is not discussed very often and, at first glance, does not seem very significant.  Despite this, it still manages to be insightful as well as entertaining, using a fairly simple topic to explain elegant design principles that can be used in many other things.

4. Play This Game to Come Up With Original Ideas by Shimpei Takahashi 
And finally, another short talk, this time about creativity. In this, Takahashi shares a simple game that he uses to generate ideas for his job at a toy company. This game may not be useful for all creative endeavors, but the principle behind the game is quite so. That is, maintain an open mind and consider any and all ideas that come to you, even if they seem unorthodox. Not all of your ideas will end up working, but eventually you will find the few "golden" ideas that you may not have thought of otherwise.

I hope you enjoy these! Feel free to share some of your favorites TED talks
in the comments below.

Written by Jenna M., Homework Assistant

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